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Blog : BOARD TALK

Three words: Asian/Women/Achievement

Posted on March 24, 2013 at 1:30 PM

The words 'Asian', 'Women' and 'Achievement' go together far more often than many people in the UK realise. But put together they can also represent a whole set of challenges which anyone from outside those particular cultures could be forgiven for missing.


It is doubly important then, to showcase the achievements and the individuals behind them as inspiration for other women looking towards careers and progression in an open society based on merit. Pinky Lilani, OBE, has made it her business to do just that.


The Asian Women of Achievement Awards shortlist is just out. (Yes, I happen to be on it but trust me that is the least interesting point to be made here - and the company I am in is incredibly strong). The awards are in association with RBS.


In partnership with Caspian Media, Pinky Lilani has been responsible for a portfolio of events and projects that support and celebrate the success of women. I was privileged recently to attend an event around their Women Of The Future ambassadors programme, which connects award-winning women (the Ambassadors) with female sixth- formers as potential mentors and advisers.


Role models, role models, role models - they offer a very powerful means of change.


Ms Lilani is also behind the Women of the Future awards, in partnership with Shell, which are open to all women aged 35 or under. Far too late for some of us, but setting a bar worth aspiring to for many others.


At the AWA awards, there is also a Global Empowerment Award, given to "an individual leader whose vision inspires economic and social progress across the world." Pinky Lilani keeps busy. 


Earlier this year she was on the BBC Woman's Hour 'Power LIst' of the "100 most powerful women in the UK today." Not bad for someone who came from Calcutta, India to the UK after a whirlwind courtship and "no idea how to cook" and found her way. 


I had issues with the 'Power List' (and doubtless I documented them on social media at the time). For a start, I couldn't help notice that Ms Lilani was one of the very few 'non-white' faces present. The list did also include Victoria Beckham.


Clearly there is a great deal of room for improvement. In a country which needs urgently to sort out its thinking on immigration, education and the need for innovation, thank heavens for (some) resourceful women - and for role models - for the future of business. 




Categories: Representation, Women, Leadership