Meet the Chairs of the Business Coalitions for Women EmpowermentStories /14 December 2018
A total of 23 companies from business coalitions supported by Investing in Women have now been certified by EDGE, the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality. Much of this success is attributed to the leadership of the business coalition chairs in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Who are the women at the helm of the Business Coalitions for Women Empowerment?
Ms Shinta Kamdani, IBCWE Chair
IBCWE Chair Shinta Widjaja Kamdani is the CEO of the Sintesa Group, which, through its subsidiaries, runs businesses in the property, industrial, energy, and consumer product sectors in Indonesia and around the globe. She is credited for transforming the Sintesa culture to be more inclusive and participatory from a top-down management style.
Before becoming Sintesa CEO, Ms Kamdani was Vice President of Sintesa subsidiary PT Menara Duta, which constructs and manages commercial offices, residential buildings, and retail shopping centres. She was also President Director of PT Puncak Mustika Bersama, which manages the Sintesa Group’s luxury and budget chain hotels.
In addition to leading the IBCWE, Ms Kamdani is Deputy Chair of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Vice Chair of the Employers’ Association of Indonesia. She also founded Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia, Angel Investment Network Indonesia, and the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Ms Kamdani has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Barnard College of Columbia University in New York. She also joined the Executive Education Program of the Harvard Business School. Ms Kamdani’s achievements have been recognised by numerous award-giving bodies, including Forbes, which named her one of Asia’s 50 Powerful Businesswomen in 2012 and 2013.
“The state should not be the only driver of gender equality; companies should also be involved. By creating a friendly environment for both women and men, businesses help employees become more productive and the company more advanced,” Ms Kamdani said at the awarding of EDGE Certification to IBCWE members in October.
Ms Zarchi Tin, BCGE Chair
BCGE Chair Zarchi Tin is the Executive Director at First Myanmar Investment Co., Ltd. (FMI), one of the biggest public companies in Myanmar and the first company to be listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange. FMI’s core businesses are in financial services, real estate, healthcare, and tourism. Concurrently, she also serves as a Non-Executive Director at Yoma Bank and FMIDecaux Co., Ltd.
Prior to joining the FMI Group, Ms. Tin has over 15 years of professional experience in international and Myanmar corporations, such as BNP Paribas, Central Bank of Canada and Yoma Bank across various industries including business development, corporate strategy, and investment banking.
A Myanmar national, Ms Tin holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Strategy from the University of Oxford in the UK, an MBA in Finance from the University of Ottawa in Canada, and a BA in Economics from Vesalius College in Belgium. She has obtained the Financial Risk Manager designation from the Global Association of Risk Professionals and Board of Director Certification by the Thai Institute of Directors.
Ms Tin is actively involved in promoting gender equality in the workplace. In addition to leading the BCGE, Ms Tin is also a mentor of the Myanmar Women’s Mentoring Network. “Our goal is to help build the business case for gender equality in Myanmar by leading by example and learning from our collective experience,” Ms Tin said at the launch of the BCGE, where eight EDGE Certifications were awarded to six founding members. Currently, the BCGE has the highest number of EDGE Certifications among the four business coalitions.
Ms Ma. Aurora “Boots” D. Geotina-Garcia
Co-Chair, Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment
Ms Ma. Aurora “Boots” D. Geotina-Garcia is the Chairperson of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PhilWEN), which she initiated in 2017 to consolidate the efforts of six women’s groups focused on women’s economic empowerment.
On the same year, PhilWEN partnered with Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, to create the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE), a business coalition working to pursue gender equality in the workplace and women’s economic empowerment in the Philippines, where Ms Garcia sits as Co-Chairperson.
Ms Garcia is also the Co-Chairperson of the ASEAN Women’s Entrepreneurs’ Network, as well as a member of the Board of other women’s organizations such as: Business and Professional Women Makati, Women Corporate Directors Philippines Chapter, and Samahan ng Pilipina para sa Reporma at Kaunlaran.
Apart from her work around the women empowerment advocacy, she is also the President of Mageo Consulting Inc., a company providing business advisory and corporate finance services.
Ms Garcia is the former Chairperson of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and also sits as Member of the Board of Directors of several government and private corporations engaged in real estate development, banking and retail.
Ms Garcia started her professional career at SyCip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. (SGV & Co.)/Ernst & Young (EY), the Philippines’ leading professional services firm, in 1974 where she
became a Partner in 1990. She headed the firm’s Global Corporate Finance Division from 1992 until her retirement from the partnership in 2001.
She has advised private and public sector clients in various aspects of corporate finance such as mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, restructuring, among others, for more than 25 years. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Accountancy from the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1973. She completed her Master of Business Administration from the same university in 1978. Ms Garcia is a Certified Public Accountant.
Madam Ha Thu Thanh, VBCWE Chair
VBCWE Chair Madam Ha Thu Thanh is the Chairperson of the Board Members and one of the founders of Deloitte Vietnam. She is also Chair of Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD). In 2017, she was voted one of the “20 most influential Women Entrepreneurs in Vietnam” by Forbes and the “Asia Pacific Entrepreneur Award” by Enterprise Asia.
Madam Thanh has made significant contributions to the development of accounting and auditing sector in Vietnam. She teaches accounting and auditing at universities and government agencies; was actively involved in drafting Auditing Standards; and pioneered in applying the International Financial Reporting Standards for businesses in the country.
With more than 35 years of experience in the field, Madam Thanh has advised multinational firms, foreign investors and listed companies in corporate governance and service quality control. She is one of the first Vietnamese to study Finance and Accounting in the US, and is a Certified Public Accountant in Vietnam and Australia. She also has a degree and practice in Law.
In addition to her role in VBCWE, Madam Thanh holds key positions in Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development, Vietnam Corporate Governance Initiative, Vietnam Women’s Union, Vietnam Association of Certified Public Accountants, and Vietnam Association for Women Entrepreneurs, among others.
“By having gender equality in all employment opportunities, companies attract and retain talent. In return, the employees improve productivity and business efficiency. Gender equality policies will help improve image and brand, an important invisible asset of our companies,” Madam Ha Thu Thanh said at the launch of VBCWE in September.
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