Blazing their way to the top, these POWER WOMEN have constantly shown their grit and determination to be among the best of the best in their field. Never settling for the status quo, many have ventured where few women have. By proving their mettle through actions and not words alone, they have shown they can handle the fast-paced corporate and political environment.
A Legacy Of Greatness
In the following pages, International Business Review salutes women who have demonstrated their exceptional skills in taking charge of some of the largest companies and agencies in Malaysia, and are guiding them to make a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the nation and its future.
From being the first woman to be Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia to now chairing the national investment firm Permodolan Nasional Berhad (PNB), Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz has achieved many milestones in an illustrious career which has seen her establish herself as one of the most respected persons in public service. Showing no signs of slowing down, Tan Sri Zeti actually came out of retirement to assume chairmanship of PNB.
A doyen of the financial and corporate world, Tan Sri Zeti is presently one of the members of the Council of Eminent Persons entrusted to advise the Government on matters pertaining to economic and financial matters. Having retired from Bank Negara in 2016 after helming the central bank for 16 years, She has been regarded as one of the world’s best central bank chiefs by Global Finance in 2009 and was also awarded the William ‘Bill’ Seidman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Leadership in the Financial Services Industry for 2018 at the Asia Banker Future of Finance Summit 2018. Clearly, the right woman for the job.
Safeguarding Those Who Serve Our Country
Nik Amzilan’s appointment as CEO of LTAT marked a milestone, as it was the first time over the past 36 years that the RM10 billion pension funds board for the armed forces changed its CEO. Previously, the Chief Investment Officer at Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP), she brings over 20 years of experiences in equity investment to her new role as LTAT CEO. Full force ahead, she intends on transforming LTAT to make the fund more sustainable when deriving its income.
Strengthening Asia Pacific Ties
As Secretary General of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Tan Sri Dr Rebecca Sta Maria represented Malaysia in trade talks around the world. Now her sights are set on steering the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) down a strong path as its first female executive director. She is only the second Malaysian appointed to this post. Her role as MITI sectary-general from 2010 to 2016 has made her familiar with bilateral, regional and multilateral relations. She does not shy away from taking the lead, as she done with negotiations involving ASEAN, APEC and the World Trade Organisation on behalf of the Malaysian Government.
Tan Sri Rebecca brings a welcome change to the positon as she encourages interactive discussions, which are instrumental to driving inclusivity within APEC. Her appointment was all the more significant given she would be presenting the progress of APEC’s goals under the Bogor Declaration in 2020, which is one of APEC’s flagship initiatives.
Educating Future Generations
From a rented bungalow to a group of schools for children as young as 18 months right up to pre-university studies at 18 years old, Cempaka Schools has grown from leaps and bounds over the past 36 years under the leadership of Datuk Freida Mohd Pilus. Having started Cempaka Schools in 1983 to ensure that her sons receive the best quality education, she has since been the guiding force behind the development of thousands of youths. For her, schools need to continue to evolve in order to provide an education that is relevant to the times, producing children who will continue to make a positive difference long after they leave the school’s doors. That is why she aims for all Cempakans to be scholars, sportsmen and gentlemen, imbued with a can-do attitude that encapsulates the motto “Nothing
Taking charge to Improve Urban Living
Armed with 26 years’ experience as a town planner, Norliza Hashim is utilising her knowledge of urban development to lead Urbanice Malaysia. A company under the Malaysian Ministry of Housing and Local Government, Urbanice was set up to promote sustainable urban development and create better cities in Malaysia, a task very much in her league. A passionate advocate for innovative solutions that will enhance the liveability of towns and cities in the country, Norliza also guided Urbanice to help organise the UN-Habitat 9th World Urban Forum (WUF9) in 2017. This event brought government, industry and civic sector leaders from all over the world together in Malaysia to discuss the challenges of urbanisation.