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Close Up 7 Female Bosses On The Women Leaders Who Influence Their Success

7 Female Bosses On The Women Leaders Who Influence Their Success

7 Female Bosses On The Women Leaders Who Influence Their Success
By Jessica Liew
By Jessica Liew
July 22, 2021
We hear from young Malaysian visionaries mobilising industries from social work to start-ups, and medical to global movements, on the veteran superwomen and mottos that shape them

Melissa Ngiam, COO Of Yayasan Generasi Gemilang (GG)

Melissa Ngiam
Melissa Ngiam (Photo: Khairul Imran/Generation T Asia)

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with amazing women leaders but the one who made the most profound impact on me was actually Noelle Tan, the ex-COO of Yayasan Generasi Gemilang.

She made a dramatic career change, leaving the commercial sector to pioneer GG with our founder Daniel Tan back in 2010. Her strong religious faith and passion for meeting the needs of the under-served inspired me to make that similar decision and I’ve never regretted it since. Noelle was not only a good leader, but someone whose personal faith and values were incorporated into her everyday life and work.  

What My Role Model Taught Me

I learned to push myself to do better and try new things. This industry focuses on bringing positive impact to the needy. You also learn to give your best regardless of good or bad circumstances.

Noelle has also inspired me to lead by example. I’ve not seen her ask something of someone that she wouldn't follow through. She moves comfortably from the boardroom of multinational corporations to working barefoot with low-income communities. I also learned how to lead teams with a genuine care for the people.

On Leading By Example

I hope to be someone who inspires others to love people. Whether at work, at home or in our communities, what is the legacy we want to build? Not simply one of personal pursuit but a life where you were able to positively impact the lives of others.

See also: 5 Women In Tech Championing Sustainable Change

Daisy Ng & Becky Nguyen, Former Co-Presidents Of Lean In Malaysia

Daisy Ng
Photo courtesy of Daisy Ng
Becky Nguyen
Photo courtesy of Becky Nguyen

Daisy: My very first female role model is Helena Morrissey. I had just started my career as an investment banker in an all-male team in London. I looked around for a role model and Helena Morrissey was a shining example. She was then an investment manager at Newton Investment Management and married with children, balancing the elusive act of a high-flying career and family.

Becky: There are many you could call “inspirers” who empowered me with their stories and perspectives. My recent inspirer is Sheryl Sandberg. She is one of the most outstanding female leaders in the technology world. At 38, she became Google’s vice president of global online sales & operations, and in her mid 40s, COO of Facebook. She showed an impressive determination to empower other women by founding Lean In in 2013.

Learning From Their Role Models 

Daisy: Helena Morrissey inspired me not to accept status quo or binary options (“change the system” she always said) and to seek win-win solutions with wisdom and grace. My bosses always told me one of my strongest traits is I never give up, look beyond current circumstances and find innovative solutions.

Becky: Sheryl Sandberg’s work raised my awareness of the glass ceiling, existing in each individual woman when having less expectation in their own development, less confidence in their own success and end up in giving less effort and to moving up in their career. Even if a woman is successful at work, she still has to face bias judgements of being too aggressive, too ambitious or not spending enough time for family. These barriers might be one of the reasons that hinder us from having more female leaders. Gender equality is a mission for both men and women. It starts from a better workplace that evaluates contribution and ability. It starts from the family where we put equal expectation on our kids.

How I Hope To Lead Fellow Females

Daisy: Seek your own definition and continuously define yourself. Don't let history or others tell you what you can or cannot do.

Becky: I want to raise the standard of a female leader by my own success, and to just inspire other women by saying that if I can do it, they can, too. The best way to be a role model is to live the fullest and be the best version of yourself.

Gender equality is a mission for both men and women. It starts from a better workplace, it starts from the family

Becky Nguyen

Jenn Low, Founder Of Wanderlust + Co

Photo courtesy of Jenn Low
Photo courtesy of Jenn Low

I really look up to both Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Both women have led such colourful lives and overcome unimaginable challenges, and have not just survived, but thrived, whilst maintaining such a hopeful, optimistic approach to people, communities and life.

Lessons From Her Female Icon

In 1997, Ellen decided to be open and honest about herself and she ended up losing her show and what seemed like her career, at that time. Despite that she was committed to equality, promoting kindness and doing what she does best as an entertainer. I found it so moving that 19 years later, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Former US President Obama, and it just goes to show that good things truly take time. We live in this digital world that has spoiled us endlessly but really there are no shortcuts, and nothing beats incremental effort.

The Role Model She Strives To Be

The work we do should never be for recognition, but if it comes as part of the journey, that’s a nice bonus. I would love for young girls or women to be inspired to be more tenacious, to be kind and passionate about their dreams and goals, and never waver in their pursuits.

See also: The Malaysian Women Honoured With Prestigious International Awards

Lovy Beh, Director Of BP Healthcare Group

Lovy Beh and her mother Datin Poh Lay See
Lovy Beh and her mother Datin Poh Lay See (Photo credit: Lovy Beh)
Lovy Beh and YB Yeo Bee Yin
Lovy Beh and YB Yeo Bee Yin (Photo credit: Lovy Beh)

I have two role models in my life, the first is my mother, who loves me and asks for nothing in return. I respect her finesse, her gentleness, patience and hardwork in running the household, and love for her family.

My second role model is YB Yeo Bee Yin, former minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment. She was the youngest female minister of the current cabinet, who also served as MP of Bakri, Pakatan Harapan Youth vice chairman and DAP's National Assistant Publicity Secretary. At the age of 29, she became assemblywoman for Damansara Utama, making her the youngest member of the Selangor State Assembly from 2013 to 2018. She also wrote a book, Reimagining Malaysia.

Timeless Lessons From My Role Models

From my mum, to love unconditionally and to do good onto others without thinking of return on investments. From YB Yeo, to be dynamic, passionate, and work smart with efficiency. Despite being busy, she still strives for a good work-life balance.

The Woman I Aspire To Be

To have tenacity and passion. You are never too young or too old to start something. Be the voice when no one else can, the change if you want a change, and to do things right with integrity. Everyone has their own gifts and talents, use them wisely and give back to the community or industry you’re in.

See also: 19 Inspiring Women In Malaysia's Food And Drink Scene To Follow On Instagram

Raeesa Sya, Founder Of Orkid Cosmetics

Raeesa Sya
Photo courtesy of Raeesa Sya

I look up to Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia from 1762 until 1796. She expanded the Russian Empire, improved administration, and vigorously pursued the policy of Westernization. She brought the enlightenment era to Russia by writing numerous books, pamphlets and educational materials. She was also a champion of the arts, keeping up a lifelong correspondence with Voltaire and other prominent minds of the era, creating one of the world’s most impressive art collections in St. Petersburg’s Winter Palace.

The Values That Stuck To Me

When we look at women of power there's no harder role than governing a nation especially in the 18th century, when there was no such thing as feminism. Catherine taught me to be ruthless but kind and knowledgeable. Strength despite uprisings and to always build allies. To love my country and its people.

See also: Orkid Cosmetics' Founders On The Global Appeal Of Halal Beauty Today

How I Want To Influence Fellow Women

To dream bigger and believe that if we put our mind to something, we can achieve it regardless of our social status or background. Anything can be learned. Action will lead to results. To look beyond stereotypes and to break the glass ceiling. Be an innovator, be kind, challenge yourself always and stay real.

Be an innovator, be kind, challenge yourself always and stay real

Muhaini Mahmud, Co-Founder Of Kiddocare

Photo: Brian Fang/Tatler Malaysia
Photo: Brian Fang/Tatler Malaysia

My female role model is Oprah Winfrey. I admire and look up to her resilience and her undying spirit of never giving up in pursuing her dreams and goals.

How My Role Model Influenced Me

Her indomitable will to pursue her dreams influences me to believe in myself and not give up in pursuing my goals. Watching her grow from strength to strength influenced and showed me that when you keep believing in your dreams and have faith in yourself, you will go further and achieved it.

My Message To Ambitious Females

I would like to inspire and urge people out there to be strong willed, to never give up and to always believe in themselves and their dreams. It’s important that women and girls are confident and to pursue their dreams no matter how challenging it would be.

See also: 7 Asian Women Are Childfree By Choice: Read Their Stories


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