As the first woman President of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Naina Lal Kidwai has one of the key roles to play in the Private Banking Segment. She is the first woman president of FICCI. Naina has built a reputation as one of the finest investment bankers of the country. Since she took the position as a General Manager at HSBC India, the bank has shown a high growth prospect.
Despite being born in a family of high achievers, Naina Lal Kidwai had to struggle with the gender bias at several stages. Nevertheless, the woman boss is both humble and discreet in her approach. She was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School, though she finds it a sad social comment as Indian men have been going there for at least 25 years and the dissimilarity between the genders upsets her.
She began her career in the year 1982, when she joined the ANZ Grindlays Bank, which is now known as the Standard Chartered Bank. She took a couple of banking assignments before moving to Morgan Stanley’s India operation. As the group General Manager and country head of HSBC India, Kidwai has been instrumental in charting the growth path of HSBC in India for the past 10 years.
Her notable achievements include receiving Padma Shri award in 2007 for her contributions in the areas of trade and industry. She believes that one must concentrate on achieving and resetting targets for oneself; awards are picked along the way.
You ask any young, talented and career-focused Emirati woman about her idol, and there will be a common answer shouting – Sheikha Lubna Khalid. An inspiration to millions of women across the globe, this royal princess of Sharjah is a perfect example of a goal-oriented lady.
Her dedication towards work came into picture in the initial years of her employment as a computer programmer when she worked for 10 complete hours each day. This was a mere stepping stone in her career, she achieved her first milestone when her talent was noticed by the Ruler of Dubai, and he appointed her as the head of Tejori.com (a business-to-business project). From there she never looked back.
Vivacious and ever-smiling, Sheikha Lubna became the first woman to gain a high-ranking job in the UAE Government. She even refused offers from the US, with a view to serve her own land. She realizes her duties towards the society as well, and widely volunteers at the ‘Friends of Cancer Patients’, where she interacts with patients and fills them with hope; she is also a member of the Board of Directors at the Emirates Foundation, Abu Dhabi for Philanthropy.
Sheikha Lubna comes across as a tough woman when it comes to work, and a light-heated, pulsating persona when visiting university campuses or social service centres.
THE REAL ESTATE MAGNATE
Chen Lihua is one woman who can narrate her success story with élan. A descendent of Manchu royalty, Lihua was born in 1941 at the Summer Palace. It was a violent year of Japanese invasion and by that time Manchu-dominated Qing Dynasty had already fallen; consequently her family became poor. Poverty forced her to quit high school and start a furniture repair business. She moved to Hong Kong in the early 1980s where the furniture business fetched her enough money to buy 12 villas. It seemed hardships had proven to be her best teacher.
In no time, the real estate became her area of expertise. Later, she moved back to Beijing to expand her real estate business, and in the early 1990s she founded Fu Wah International Group. Apart from real estate, the company’s portfolio also includes agriculture, tourism, electronics, hospitality and red sandalwood art production.
Having inherited the red sandalwood furniture from her ancestors, her love for the wood grew with time. She is an avid promoter of the red sandalwood and has built the China Red Sandalwood Museum, the first and the largest privately owned museum that has a huge collection of the red sandalwood furniture.
Today, the lady is one of the few cherished female billionaires in the world.
BANKING ON EXCELLENCE
Making her presence felt in the banking sector, which had traditionally been a male bastion, was not a cake walk for Chanda Kochhar. Kochhar’s voracious appetite for success and her grit to reach the top could be seen in the manner she expanded the ICICI Bank. She was one of the few who exhibited a consistent growth record and overcame every limitation with much confidence and zest. She has played a significant role in shaping the retail banking sector in India and has been credited for her brilliant management of the ICICI Group.
The MD and CEO began her banking career in 1984 as a management trainee. She was instrumental in establishing ICICI Bank during the 1990s, and eventually went on to become an undisputed Tzarina of the banking sector in India. While building the retail business from scratch, she focused on technology, innovation, reengineering and expansion of distribution. Kochhar has proved her point by successfully leading the Bank’s corporate and international banking businesses during a period of economic volatility and subsequent global expansion by Indian companies.
She has been hailed as the torch bearer of the transition at the India’s largest private sector bank that experienced a major slump just after the 2008 financial crisis.
BEAUTY WITH BRAIN
Remember the lady that made George Clooney to believe in the institution of marriage… again! Yes, Amal Ramzi Alamuddin it is. The world witnessed panache when the famous Hollywood actor George Clooney and thriving Lebanese–British attorney Amal Alamuddin got married in 2014. And the magic began!
She currently serves as a Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, England. Born to an American University professor Ramzi Alamuddin and Baria a veteran journalist, she moved to London to sneak out safe from the Lebanese Civil War.
A bright student that she was, she earned herself a scholarship to attend the Oxford University back in 1996. She started her career in an international law firm based in New York City, and soon became a part of several UN Commissions. Her excellence at work may be judged from the fact that she is the legal adviser of the King of Bahrain.
Despite being engrossed in solving one legal case after another, she never skips to step out in style. George Clooney’s words “Amal, whatever alchemy it is that brought us together, I couldn’t be more proud to be your husband”, sums up Amal Alamuddin’s entire personality as a woman of substance.
BOLD & BEAUTIFUL
It has been a busy year for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as she is back on celluloid after a five-year sabbatical. Last seen in Guzaarish opposite Hrithik Roshan, this Indian beauty has once again a number of Bollywood blockbusters in her kitty.
One of the leading Bollywood divas for more than a decade performing roles such as an ashy aspiring dancer in Taal or a resilient Queen in Jodha Akbar, this exquisite beauty has raised versatility to another level.
From being a nifty actress to a customary daughter-in-law, she is a perfect blend of talent with tradition. She had smashed a million hearts when she had announced her marriage plans with Abhishek Bachchan. Later, she taught the world how to carry a baby bump in style, and post-delivery she looked graceful even with those extra kilos. And then, just when the world thought that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had closed her innings, she gave one of her best appearances at Cannes in 2014.
She believes in doing everything in style, so hold your heart guys, the fever is going to grip you again; the stunning beauty is back!
THE COMPASSIONATE CEO
A very few women have reached the top rung of the banking sector in India, and Arundhati Bhattacharya is one such example. She is the Chairperson and MD of India’s largest commercial bank and juggles her responsibilities with panache. The fact that she has been appointed the first woman chairperson of a bank that was established two centuries ago makes her accomplishment all the more noticeable. Having joined the SBI at the age of 22 as a Probationary Officer, Bhattacharya has carved out a niche for herself.
The lady has always worked hard to identify the underlying problems and fix them. And in the present scenario, she considers technology an important fuel on which SBI’s future would rely. Under her leadership, SBI has recently come up with digital branches keeping in mind India’s ever-growing mobile phone users and tech-savvy consumers. However, what takes the cake is the installation of nearly 800 solar power ATMs in the remotest areas of the country.
She has been pivotal in setting afloat several new businesses such as SBI General Insurance, SBI Custodial Services and the SBI Macquarie Infrastructure Fund. Bhattacharya is also famed for her human-resource policies that help retain women workforce efficiently.
Bhattacharya has revolutionised the banking sector with her bold decisions and is one of the most approachable CEOs that country has produced till date!