Aisha de Sequeira is the Managing Director and Head of investment banking for Morgan Stanley in India. With a working experience of 20 years, Aisha has achieved great heights!
Described as the ‘master of investment banking’, Aisha’s tenure with Morgan started with a summer internship. Thereon, she went ahead serving for 11 years in the mergers and acquisitions section to set up Morgan’s presence in Mumbai, India.
Aisha had turned down the opportunity to work in India where she grew up, stating that she was happy and content in New York. Years later, when she stepped closer to home, she had the responsibility of laying the foundation of Morgan Stanley in India as well as taking it to great heights. Aisha succeeded remarkably when Morgan Stanley India was able to shepherd 17 transactions in just nine months of its existence, becoming the number one firm in India’s capital market.
The vibrant entrepreneur is said to be one of the most influential women in India’s financial industry. Under her headship, Morgan Stanley worked on 10 transactions in 2012. Aisha’s zeal has helped Morgan reach the top of the success ladder.
Growing up in a conservative culture, MC Mary Kom has struggled her way out of orthodoxy and into the world of boxing. She first stepped into the boxing wing to earn bread and butter for the family, but it soon turned into a passion. Being a quick learner, she took a mere two weeks to learn the basics of boxing.
To put her accomplishments into perspective: Mary Kom is a five-time world champion in amateur boxing, and the first-ever woman to receive the Arjuna award – conferred by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India – in the year 2003. Mary Kom strongly feels for the society and works hard to help budding talents in the field of boxing. She has started giving boxing training in Manipur to around 37 children who are poor but are no less in ardour towards the sport. Observing her efforts, the government has come to her support with land and finance.
She believes that any hurdle in life can be overcome, if you show utmost dedication and work hard towards eliminating it.
LADY OF NUMBERS
Chua Sock Koong is a typical case of luck favours the prepared! A trained accountant, Sock Koong started her career with the Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) as a treasurer and worked her way up to become the CFO and then the Group Chief Executive Officer, thus being one of a few women in the world to head a communications company. The phenomenal rise in her career graph is worth inspiration.
SingTel, Asia’s leading communications group, is the largest listed company on the Singapore Exchange by market capitalisation. SingTel connects 550 million mobile users across 20 countries and has won numerous accolades under her leadership. Sock Koong also sits on the Boards of Bharti Airtel Limited, Bharti Telecom Limited and key subsidiaries of the SingTel Group, and is the member of the Singapore Management University Board of Trustees and the Public Service Commission.
Making a bold move in the recent past, she urged regulators to give carriers such as Optus the right to charge rivals such as WhatsApp and Skype for use of their networks or risk a major decline in network investment. Sock Koong believes the future of the telecom industry lies in the digital space, smartphones, apps and cloud computing, which she plans to brighten further under her broad exposure, significant experience and proven leadership.
HUMBLE AND POWERFUL
As the founder of HTC and VIA Technologies, Cher Wang has an extensive knowledge in the field of Technology. Created in 1997 and based in Taiwan, HTC is a Taiwanese multinational manufacturer of smartphones and tablets. Cher Wang is considered to be the most powerful woman in technology and wireless segment. Cher started her career with hawking motherboards in 1982 for First International Computer, which was co-founded by her sister Charlene.
The year 1987 saw the advent of VIA Technologies, an integrated chipset maker and was co-founded by her husband Wen-in-Chen. HTC came into existence 10 years later as a contract manufacturer of notebook computers just before the telecom industry was hit with smartphones.
Cher strongly believes that it takes humility to realize that we don’t know everything, we should not rest on our laurels, and we must keep observing and learning always. Wang is an eager philanthropist who prefers to stay away from the limelight despite her many accomplishments.
Aruna Jayanthi, the CEO of Capgemini India believes that there are no glass ceilings for people working in the IT sector of our country; it’s a mere myth. The IT department is growing so fast that there is no room for such inhibitions today. She believes in the fundamental principle of men and women bringing different strengths to the table. Aruna, leading one of the largest business units of the Capgemini group, is a woman of broader pictures, and thinks that it all depends on an individual and not on the industry.
A Pioneer in the IT industry, Aruna has worked with both multi-nationals and pure play companies. Having developed a fascination for technology, she is focused to increase the integration and performance of over 40,000 plus employee base. The strongheaded Aruna has also been the Chairperson of Board of Governors of National Institute of Technology Calicut, and a speaker at numerous events, where she regularly highlights her belief in gender transparency in her segment.
A tireless promoter of equality in her sector, Aruna Jayanthi is at the forefront of positive change in the IT sector.
THE GIFTED MIND
When the H5N1 virus made a dramatic appearance in Hong Kong in 1997 in humans, Dr. Margaret Chan was at the helm of the affair. Such a leap by a viral strain was never seen before. The bird flu outbreak took several lives and seemed difficult to contain. But the manner in which Dr. Chan handled the whole event shot her into the limelight, and in due course of time she was appointed as the Director General of the World Health Organization. The lady had exhibited commendable intellect and diligence while battling against world’s worst epidemic that was capable of wiping out the human race from the face of the earth.
Born in Hong Kong in 1947, Dr. Chan never intended to study medicine. She wanted to be a teacher and spent a year teaching English, Geography and Mathematics. But fate had planned it so that she not only ended up studying medicine but also went on to become one of the best health professionals till date. In the past, she has introduced new initiatives to improve communicable disease surveillance and response, enhance training for public health professionals, and establish better local and international collaborations.
With an experience that extends beyond three decades, Dr. Chan has successfully altered the landscape of medical care through her initiatives.
STAR OF TASTY PUFFS
Best known for her fragrance and tobacco-flavouring business, Huabao International Holdings, Chu Lam Yiu is continually lauded as one of the cost-creative young minds in the industry. Having founded her company in 1996 with an aim to educate more and more people towards tobacco flavouring, Chu Lam Yiu has turned Huabao into a flagship brand.
According to the Annual Report of Huabao International, the company maintains its development a strategy of tobacco-flavourings, accelerating development of food flavourings and exploring daily-use household cleaner fragrances as its core business. Chu Lam Yiu takes a key interest in the creation of strategy for the brand and is responsible for all executive decisions regarding the investment, operation and development of market. Despite being a billionaire, Ms Chu is media shy and prefers to remain as anonymous as possible.
She had developed a flair towards flavours and fragrances during her initial college years only, which gave her enough reasons to get involved in the business soon after her graduation.
The queen of fragrances was not content with her success in tobacco flavouring. Considering the tobacco industry is limited in the scope of innovation, she shifted her base in food flavouring in 2004. She further signed a deal with Shanghai Peacock Flavours and Flagrance Technology, co-founding a joint company. In 2005, she further expanded her stake expanded her stake to 20% in the medicine company called Weihai Maifu in Shandong province and renamed it as Weihai Huayuan.
Chu Lam Yiu’s personal wealth detonated after Huabao went public in 2006. She got her company listed via a reverse merger with Lite, a listed computer company in Hong Kong acquired for HK$70 million (US$9 million). She is also listed as on China’s 400 richest people in 2012.
THE DYNAMIC PERFORMER
When Geetanjali Kirloskar got married to the grandson of S L Kirloskar, the founder of Kirloskar Group, she knew that she had walked into a free world where she would get the liberty to fulfill her desire to be a business woman. Thereon, she went to weave a tale of success and has several titles to her disposal. She has been involved with Pratibha, an advertising agency of the Kirloskar Group; Lintertainment, which focused on marketing and promotion of Hindi movies; Life’s Like That, a TV show on Times Now; and Quadrant, a joint venture with the IPG Worldwide Group Quadrant. Though, she created quite a buzz with her stints, the attraction of ruling the world from her family’s turf made her come back to the family business where she reviewed the core investments and set up new ventures. In a major career shift, she has recently forayed into the healthcare and hospital business and holds the position of the Chairperson of Sakra World Hospital, the first 300-bed tertiary care multi-specialty hospital in a joint venture with Japanese hospital chain Secom and Toyota Tsusho Ltd. at Bangalore. The lady is multifaceted, dynamic and forever beaming with energy!
As stated by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, she is “a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.” At the age of 15, she was shot in the head; however, being born with a strong will power she survived the attack.
In today’s world, most of our children make excuses to skip school for at least a day. However, in an educationally unrest country like Pakistan there is a girl, Malala Yousafzai, who wants education for every child born on the planet. She is a young and fearless 18-year-old soul who advocates for girl education even after Taliban issued a death threat against her. Being the youngest person to receive a Nobel Prize in 2014 at the age of 17, she is trying her best for all the girls from all the parts of the world to be allowed to receive education.
In the year 2013, European Parliament awarded Malala Yousafzai the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. United Nations declared her 18th birthday to be celebrated as Malala Day on November 10. She is an international symbol of hope and courage. In her autobiography, ‘I Am Malala’ she wrote:Today we all know education is our basic right. Not just in the West; Islam too has given us this right. Islam says every girl and everybody should go to school. In the Quran it is written, God wants us to have knowledge.
A BEACON OF DEMOCRACY
Having been born to a revolutionary father Aung San, who laid the foundation of the modern Burmese army, Aung San Suu Kyi had patriotism running through her veins. She spent majority of her childhood with her mother Khin Kyi, who was appointed a Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960. Suu Kyi’s stay with her mother helped in shaping her political and religious views, and as a result she grew up to become a fireball – full of enthusiasm and passion, and a woman of substance. However, it was her motherland where Suu Kyi essayed her success story that got penned down in history in golden letters, and ever since her return to Burma in 1988 Suu Kyi has been at the centre stage of her country’s struggle for democracy and human rights. She has launched a vociferous campaign against the atrocities of the military junta, for which she had been placed under house arrest for almost two decades, hence becoming one of the most prominent political prisoners in the world. Her struggle for democracy in Myanmar has won her many admirers across the world. She is an incredible tale of blood, sweat and tears!