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International Women’s Day: Weighing in on Gender Equality and Female Empowerment


The working woman should be lauded for her contributions to modern society, and this International Women’s Day, The Great Room had the privilege of sitting down with four such ambitious and highly capable women for their insights, experiences and advice.

Walaimas Jerdmethawut
Sales Manager, Upfield Professional
The Great Room Gaysorn Tower, Bangkok

As Sales Manager at the world’s largest plant-based consumer product company, Jerdmethawut is living her dream of working with a firm that shares her passion for the environment and delivering healthful products to the people.

The difference between men and women in leadership is… Men tend to be direct, and they do not take things to heart after an intense discussion. Women are great in a collaborative setting and at being emotionally sensitive to the people around them, which leads to great teamwork. We just need to be open-minded, as there are skills to learn from both genders.

Women at work should… Empower each other while being mindful. They should speak up for what they believe in, rise above the noise and focus on delivering results. This is how they can stand out from the crowd.

My female role model is… My mother, who taught me about hard work and diligence. In the 30 years, she has worked for our family business, she has only ever given herself one day off a month. She even taught herself English and Mandarin so she could better communicate with her customers. Her work ethic inspires me to never give up and to never stop learning.

Chloe Cortinovis
Co-founder and Managing Director, Bienvenue Factory
The Great Room Raffles Arcade, Singapore

After a 20-year career in brand development, Bienvenue left Europe for a new eye-opening adventure in Asia. She co-founded Bienvenue Factory in 2018, and is changing the retail landscape with omni-channel trade strategies.

A good leader is… Someone with sharp emotional intelligence, and who can bring people together through an inspiring vision and an unswerving exemplarity!

My hope for women today is… That they be allowed to take control over how they want to manage their personal and professional lives. In my time, recruiters would dare to ask me during interviews if I was planning on having a third child. I very much hope this has now stopped.

My superwoman power is… I can juggle thousands of responsibilities at the same time. I am immune to stress.

I would like to celebrate International Women’s Day by… Replacing all the world leaders with women and see how the world works then.

May Yin Lee
Account Manager, Teads Hong Kong
The Great Room One Taikoo Place, Hong Kong

A self-professed “people person” with a background in customer service, May knew she would be a great fit in the media industry. After a few years working in agencies, she realised that Advertising Technology (Adtech) was the future, so she joined Teads and now helps its clients reach their audiences in non-intrusive ways.

My advice to those looking to join this field is… Not to be afraid to show your personality — it could be your best weapon. Also, think outside the box because everyone is different and being agile with people is a useful skill. Finally, be nice to everyone. That intern you worked with might become your client one day.

Gender equality means… Allowing everyone the opportunity to be whomever they want to be. Women as leaders are rare in this male-dominated industry, but so important, which is why I’m aspiring to be one.

My female role model is… Sabrina Cannon, a manager from my days working for Harrods in London. She was charismatic and smart. I really looked up to her. Despite her busy schedule, she was always looking for ways to maximise her team’s potential. She gave me the drive to be the best version of myself, and played an important role in shaping who I am today.

Maria Karacheva
Director of Sales & Marketing, Ramada Resort by Wyndham Khao Lak
The Great Room Gaysorn Tower, Bangkok

Leading three departments — Sales, Marketing and Distribution — for an established big name hotel is no walk in the park, but it is all in a day’s work for industry veteran Maria Karacheva. After a decade working for another international chain, a hunger for change and an opportunity to learn something new led her to the Ramada Resort by Wyndham Khao Lak.

The women I think have moved the needle for female empowerment are… Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg and Mari Copen, just to name a few. I am very impressed with this generation of women who aren’t afraid to speak up and demand change for a better future. We have a long way to go to achieve gender equality, but I have no doubt that female empowerment is in the good hands of these bright, young women.

On International Women’s Day, I want young, career-minded women to know… That it is not going to be easy, but it is absolutely possible. Besides, what would be the fun in doing anything that is too easy? I also feel like some women, myself included, feel easily discouraged in the workplace. We should stop taking things personally and just strive for the best. If we don’t stand up for ourselves, nobody will.

My superwoman power is… Super multitasking. My schedule is packed daily both inside and outside the office. This may surprise you, but the more I have planned, the more I am able to achieve.