Asia Society | Women Leaders of New Asia

WATCH: Women of Asia at Work

In conjunction with the UN Commission on the Status of Women Conference, Deputy Director of UN Women Lakshmi Puri, Deborah Gillis, Kaoriko Kuge, and Nobuko Sasae explore the ways in which women have affected Asia’s workforce in the 21st century.

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International Women’s Day with Maya Krishna Rao

Maya Krishna Rao 1As a run up to the International Women’s Day on March 8, WALK will finally have its Mumbai debut at the Asia Society Mumbai Center after more than thirty performances in various spaces like offices, schools, colleges, on the streets, and at the 2013 Jaipur Literature Festival. This was the response of the theatre artiste to the horrendous tragedy that transpired in New Delhi, December of 2012. The artist interacts with the audience through provoking the observer, to reflect and understand the monologist.

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The Women of the Cambodian Spring

Opposition parliamentarian Mu Sochua, a delegate of this year’s Women Leaders of New Asia summit, saw her brave countrywomen standing up to corruption and demanding change during the country’s most recent election. Read Mo Sochua’s full article on the Daily Beast, here.

The Other Half of Tomorrow

THE OTHER HALF OF TOMORROW is a portrait of contemporary Pakistan as seen through the perspectives of Pakistani women working to change their country. A series of seven linked chapters, the film introduces us to the disparate contexts that make up a complex culture — from a women’s rights’ workshop in a village in rural Punjab, to an underground dance academy in Karachi, to the playing fields of the Pakistan Women’s Cricket Team.

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“Destination: Board Diversity” by Aliza Knox

Aliza Knox

Aliza Knox

Driven by the benefits of a more diverse board, companies around the world are actively working toward gender inclusion at the highest levels of their business. Glimmers of diversity on corporate boards are slowly, but steadily, appearing. The issue of board diversity is now garnering the attention it deserves, and together, we can find new ways to build on this increasing momentum.

Let’s take a look at some statistics.

In the US, almost 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have at least one woman board member. However, there are far fewer female directors at smaller companies, with only 60 percent of the companies in the Russell 3000 index having at least one woman director, and half of the small cap companies in the Russell 2000 Index with no female directors at all. In addition, while 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have at least one female director, less than 20 percent have 3 or more women serving together.[1]

In Europe, a McKinsey study of 235 companies suggests that the majority of large businesses are devoting significant resources to resolve the gender imbalance at the board level, making progress with diversity, recruitment, and promotion processes. Indeed, 63 percent of the companies have at least 20 different initiatives in place as part of their gender diversity programs. And in eight out of nine countries, there are now more women on corporate boards–for example, 20 percent of board members in France are women, up from 8 percent in 2007, and 19 percent in the Netherlands, up from 7 percent.[2] However, despite the growth, the relatively low percentages suggest there’s still a ways to go on board diversity.
Companies in APAC are behind on the board gender diversity curve. In a sampling of the largest companies in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore, only twenty-two out of 700 boards had more than two female directors.[3]

There are positive developments in the APAC region. According to the Australian Institute of Corporate Directors, the proportion of women on Australia’s boards rose from 8 percent in January, 2010 to 14 percent in July 2012, meaning that almost 30 percent of all board vacancies over that period were filled by women.[4] A McKinsey review also noted broader awareness around diversity and talent development within some APAC companies. South Korean executives, who stated that they expect to accelerate diversity measures in their companies, were particularly notable in their acknowledgement of the importance of gender diversity initiatives.[5]

Interestingly, in Pakistan, women make up 30 percent of boards (where the majority are family owned companies, and founders have learned that their daughters, more than their sons, want to help run the company).[6]

It will take 158 more board seats held by women to reach 10% female representation on SGX Boards

Singapore is lagging in its corporate board diversity: 60% of SGX-listed firms don’t have a single women on the board. Globally, Singapore’s female participation in boards ranks second to last, just ahead of India. Growth of female representation in boardrooms is heading in the right direction, but is slow, with 6.6% of SGX boardroom positions held by women in 2008, up to 6.9% in 2010.[7]

Why should we care about diversity at the highest levels of business? Because gender diversity on boards is proven to deliver competitive advantage, help boards relate better to customers, and aid with corporate growth and talent acquisition.

Diversity improves financial performance
In the US, companies with gender diverse boards delivered markedly better results. For example, Fortune 500 companies who had at least three women on their boards of directors found that:

  • Return on equity increased by at least 53 percent.
  • Return on sales increased by at least 42 percent.
  • Return on invested capital increased by at least 66 percent.[8]

In Europe, 89 European companies with more than two women on the board outperformed, on average, their  sector in return on equity (11 percent vs. an average of 10 percent),  operating result (EBIT of 11 percent vs. 6 percent), and stock price growth (64 percent vs. 47 percent).[9]

In Australia, board diversity affected ASX 500 corporate performance as follows:

  • Companies with women on the board delivered a higher return on equity (ROE) than those without women on their board.
  • Over three years, companies with no women directors delivered a -.1 percent ROE, vs. almost 7 percent for companies with women directors; over five years, the respective numbers are .5 percent vs. just over 9 percent.
  • Companies with women on the board outperformed companies with no women on the board in 8 of 10 sectors.[10]

Last, in an extensive study of SGX-listed companies, gender diversity on boards–noted for bringing about a greater exchange of ideas, improved group performance, and new insights and perspectives–was found to have a strong, positive association with firm performance.[11]

Diversity enhances organizational performance
A McKinsey study examined differences between leadership behaviors based on gender and looked at behaviors that positively affect organizational performance. The study found that the leadership behaviors more frequently exhibited by women improve organizational performance by strengthening three dimensions:

  • Accountability (via expectations and rewards behaviors)
  • Leadership team (via role model and people development behaviors)
  • Work environment and values (via people development and participative decision making behaviors)

In contrast, leadership behaviors frequently exhibited by men strengthen other dimensions:

  • Coordination and control (via control and corrective action)
  • External orientation (via individualistic decision making)[12]

Female directors were also found to have better attendance records than male directors, male directors have better attendance on more gender-diverse boards, and women are more likely than men to join monitoring committees.[13]

Having both men and women on a board ensures a more balanced set of skills and behaviors to govern the organization.

Diversity breeds innovation
Diversity is tied to stronger problem solving and creativity. The London Business School found that innovation improves with gender mix, peaking when there is close to a 50:50 proportion of men and women on teams.[14]

The sentiment that diversity benefits innovation is shared by key thought leaders: Alan Lafley, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble, said “Diverse organizations will out-think, out-innovate and outperform a homogeneous organization every single time.”[15]

Diversity brings you closer to your customers
Consider another reason to prioritize board diversity, this time from the perspective of effectively catering to your customers. Many companies serve audiences of myriad ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, languages, and genders. Yet, company boards don’t always represent the customer base they serve, despite the fact that a board’s primary mission is to understand its customer base to build the business.[16]

Simply put, how can we expect to serve our customers if we can’t relate to them?

AutoNation, the largest auto retailer ($4.6B market cap) in the US, recently added to its board Alison Rosenthal, a woman with experience in social, growth, international, and mobile. Mike Maroone, AutoNation’s President and COO, said “We looked at our board [and realized] it’s male dominated, while women make over 50 percent of the purchasing decisions in our business.”

Also, consider LuluLemon, which recently added Facebook local and mobile executive Emily White to its board. Christine Day, CEO of LuluLemon, stated “We wanted a board member who understands how our target guest thinks, is a leader in the world of digital innovation and social, and understands steep growth. Emily is part of a new generation that is going to change the game.”[17]

John Donohoe, CEO of Ebay, who added Facebook product marketing exec Katie Mitic to their board, stated “We were looking to add people who understand the web of the future and our consumer (50 percent of whom are women), and who are product and tech savvy.”[18]

And when I asked Deborah Ellinger, CEO of The Princeton Review, for her thoughts on gender diversity, she said “There is no question that having a woman on board helps, especially in companies where the customers are predominantly women. We see things from a different angle, and therefore are able to provide a very different perspective.”

Recent Asian examples of female leaders who bring a different perspective to corporate boards include Wei Christianson, CEO and managing director of Morgan Stanley, on the board of Estee Lauder; Ying Yeh, vice president and chairman of Nalco, on the board of ABB/Volvo; and Jennifer Li, CFO of Baidu, on the board of Philip Morris.

Diversity aids recruiting
Finally, don’t forget about board diversity’s impact on a company’s ability to attract talent. Over half of university graduates worldwide are women, which represents a significant future talent pool for businesses everywhere. To attract these graduates, you’ll need some recruiting firepower on your board for your outreach efforts.

In a recent New York Times profile of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and the first woman on Facebook’s board of directors, one industry professional referred to Sheryl as “radioactive plutonium when it comes to a recruiting weapon within Facebook,” saying “Young women really want to be her and learn from her.”[19] Imagine the recruiting benefits of having someone on your company’s board who’s surrounded by that much magic.

Women on a board can be also be role models for current employees, serving as real-life examples that women can succeed at the highest levels of a company and industry. In a recent gender diversity survey of 13 large companies in Asia, one respondent said: “Women in high positions encourage junior women. It shows by example that there is an opportunity. I am the first female director to take such a position… In Japan, when hiring new employees at an organisation job fair, this can increase the number of female candidates. It gives a good public image.”[20]

Designing and improving diversity programs at the board level can take shape in any number of ways. While there’s no single solution to the problem, there are no boundaries, either. That means we can all look to our teams, partners, peers–even our governments–for guidance. We can embrace the opportunity to rely on our own creativity in making the right changes for our companies. And we can take cues from other pioneers in the industry who are well on their way to enviable levels of diversity on their boards.

1. Create motivation
Governments can set legally binding quotas for the proportion of women on corporate boards. For example, because of a quota implemented in Norway ten years ago, women sit on 40 percent of boards there today.[21] This success lead the European commission to draft a proposal to force Europe’s listed companies to reserve at least 40 per cent of their non-executive director board seats for women by 2020 or face fines and other sanctions[22].

The mere threat of quotas can also bring about change. For example, in the year that the French government introduced, but didn’t yet pass, a quota for women on boards, companies in France doubled their female representation on boards.

Instead of forcing quotas, Malaysia opted to use a shared goal among companies as a source of national inspiration (Corporate Governance Blueprint 2011), setting a target of 30 percent of women directors on boards.[23]

This is similar to the policy instituted in 2004 to increase women in the ranks of civil service, which resulted in the ratio of women in senior leadership roles there rising steadily from 18.8%  to 32.3%  in 2010.[24]
Companies should consider other motivating factors unique to their situations. For example, in Japan–which has one of the lowest female labour participation rates among OECD countries–the labor force is predicted to shrink by 15 percent between 2010 and 2030, threatening GDP growth. Women can help fill this gap.

High-visibility industry experts or persons of authority can also help create urgency around gender diversity simply by calling attention to it as a critical component of corporate governance. This approach has been used in Singapore. Magnus Böcker, CEO of Singapore Exchange Ltd. has said “It is imperative for boards to comprise an appropriate mix of skills and mindsets. Our listed companies are encouraged to review their Boards’ composition and balance of gender diversity, to meet the increasing demands from investors on good governance and corporate sustainability.”[25]

2. Plan for succession

Let’s assume a company has prioritized gender diversity at the board level, or is looking to replace or add members. How does that company create a pipeline for the next generation of female directors?

Many regions around the world are already making strides toward finding, recruiting, and nurturing female candidates for future board positions. For example, the European Business Schools and Senior Executive Women recently launched a call to action for business schools to identify and promote female senior leadership, enable professional networking for women, increase the inflow of women to business schools, and tailor curricula to prepare female candidates. Following the call to action, a growing list of “board ready” women–7,000 as of June 2012– highlights the enormous female director candidate pool for European (and global) corporations.[26]

In the US, the Forté Foundation, a group of 39 business schools, asked its member schools to identify at least five potential women to serve as corporate board members. The foundation will partner with other groups to expand the list, with a goal to produce a pool of roughly 165 board ready women. Last, Forté will offer assessment tools and education to prepare women for potential board positions in the future.[27]

In Australia, the Australian Institute of Company Directors has developed a wide range of initiatives to increase the pipeline of women on boards and in senior management positions, including recommendations for boards to report on diversity policies and goals for senior management; transparency in board selection processes; and a database for current and aspiring women directors.[28]

The Singapore Institute of Directors has created a site where women can post their interest in serving on boards. To make further strides locally, perhaps the SID can initiate its own programs with business schools and women’s networks in a similar fashion to the European and US efforts above. The need for urgent action in Singapore is clear: it will take 158 more board seats held by women to reach 10% female representation on SGX boards.[29]

With the new corporate governance code in Singapore, the definition of an independent director is now more strict. As a result, companies will need to hire new independent directors, which represents a great opportunity for boards to consider female candidates.

3. Be creative
I challenge all of us to think more creatively about how to find and develop potential female director candidates: Within our own companies, can we pilot programs where women can serve on internal committees or subsidiary boards? How about grooming mid- and top-level executives for board positions early on? For example, the Australian Institute of Company Directors developed the Chairmen’s Mentoring Program, where leading chairmen and experienced directors of ASX 200 companies provide personal guidance to aspiring female directors over the course of a year, share their knowledge of governance issues, and help mentees build their professional networks.

To complement our internal activities, can we also look externally and consider sourcing director talent from outside our industry? For example, Google’s board of directors includes Shirley M. Tilghman, president of Princeton University, and Ann Mather, who has a varied background in media, finance, and computer animation.

As, Susan Wojcicki, a member of Google’s senior management team, said: “With stiff competition and fast product cycles, there’s not enough room to be gender-biased. What matters is being able to show product innovation and growth.”[30]

I look forward to seeing more global companies proactively harness the contributions of both men and women at the highest levels of their organizations. Until that point, however, we need to revolutionize our thinking around corporate boards and aggressively seek out the diversity in leadership that will make our businesses thrive.

Aliza Knox is a senior executive at Google Asia Pacific who sits on the board of a listed company in Australia, as well as on a workforce development organization in the US.


[1] Connor, Michael. “Women Lack Numbers and Influence on Corporate Boards.” Business Ethics. 19 March, 2012. [online]

[2] Devillard, Graven, Lawson, Paradise, Sancier-Sultan. Women Matter 2012: Making the Breakthrough. McKinsey and Company. 2012. [online]

[3] Yi & Mak. The Diversity Scorecard: Measuring Board Composition in Asia Pacific. The Korn/Ferry Institute. 2012. [online]

[4] Australian Institute of Company Directors. Appointments to ASX 200 Boards. 2012. [online]

[5] Süssmuth-Dyckerhoff, Wang, Chen. Women Matter: An Asian Perspective. McKinsey&Company. June 2012. [online]

[6] Fowler & Rodd. “Why Having Women on Corporate Boards Matters.” BigThink. 12 May 2012. [online video]

[7] Dieleman & Lim. Singapore Board Diversity Report: Gender Diversity in SGX-Listed Companies. October 2011.

[8] Joy, Carter, Wagner, Narayanan. The Bottom Line: Corporate Performance And Women’s Representation On Boards. Catalyst. 2007. [online]

[9] Why Gender Diversity Matters. Texas Wall Street Women. [online]

[10] ASX 500-Women Leaders Research Note. The Reiby Institute. 30 June 2011. [online]

[11] Pei. Is Board Diversity Important for Firm Performance and Board Independence? Monetary Authority of Singapore. April 2012.

[12] Desvaux & Devillard. Women Matter: Female leadership, a competitive edge for the future. McKinsey and Company. 2008.  [online]

[13] Adams & Ferreira. Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance. Journal of Financial Economics. 4 Aug 2009. [online]

[14] Gratton, Kelan, Voigt, Walker, Wolfram. Innovative Potential: Men and Women in Teams. London Business School and The Lehman Brothers Centre for Women in Business. 2007. [online]

[15] HIPInvestor. “Does Your Company’s Diversity Match Your Customers?” TriplePundit. 26 March 2012. [online]

[16] HIPInvestor. “Does Your Company’s Diversity Match Your Customers?” TriplePundit. 26 March 2012. [online]

[17] Lee, Aileen. “Why Your Next Board Member Should Be A Woman.” TechCrunch. 19 February 2012. [online]

[18] Lee, Aileen. “Why Your Next Board Member Should Be A Woman.” TechCrunch. 19 February 2012. [online]

[19] Perlroth & Cain Miller. “The 1.6 Billion Dollar Woman, Staying On Message.” The New York Times. 4 February 2012.  [online]

[20] Mahtani, Francesco, Ng. Gender Diversity Benchmark for Asia. Diversity & Inclusion in Asia Network. March 2009. [online]

[21] “Waving a big stick.” The Economist. 10 March 2012. [online]

[22] Fontanella-Khan, James. “EU Pushes 40% quota”, Financial times- Brussels, 3 Sept 2012 [online]

[23] Fowler & Rodd. “Why Having Women on Corporate Boards Matters.” BigThink. 12 May 2012. [online video]; Tee & Lee. “Grooming More Women for the Board.”, 19th Nov 2011 [Online]

[24] Lee, Xieli. “Malaysia calls for more Women in Boardrooms.” Human Resources Magazine, Singapore, July 2011

[25] Dieleman & Lim. Singapore Board Diversity Report: Gender Diversity in SGX-Listed Companies. October 2011.

[26] The European Business Schools Women on Board Initiative. “Women on Boards: Vice-President Viviane Reding meets with leaders of Europe’s business schools and industry.” Press release. 19 June 2012. [online]

[27] Damast, Alison. “A Call to Action: U.S. B-Schools to Identify Board-Ready Women.” Bloomberg Businessweek. 29 June 2012. [online]

[28] “AICD Takes Action On Board Diversity.” The Australian Institute of Company Directors [press release]. 24 Nov 2009.

[29] Dieleman & Lim. Singapore Board Diversity Report: Gender Diversity in SGX-Listed Companies. October 2011.

[30] Wojcicki, Susan. “Good news about women in tech.” TIME Ideas [online]. 2 Nov 2011.


Asia Society is doing a program on China’s most Creative Women

Asia Society is doing a series of discussions with women from China in a program entitled, Creative Women in  Contemporary China, as part of China Close Up, which is Asia Society’s yearlong programmatic focus on China. Creative Women in Contemporary China is a series of conversations with some of China’s most innovative and creative women. Upcoming discussions will feature novelist Sheng Keyi on November 27, and activist Wu Qing on December 12. Previous program featured entrepreneur and social activist Claire Chiang. For more information, go to:

WomenCorporateDirectors Addresses Diversity Topics from 2012 Board of Directors Survey – by Susan Stautberg

Susan Stautberg

Susan Stautberg

The issue of diversity on corporate boards is gaining interest globally – with countries such as Malaysia implementing quotas – but male and female directors around the world disagree on how to best address the lack of women in the boardroom.

In the newly released global 2012 Board of Directors Survey – conducted by WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD), Heidrick & Struggles, and Harvard Business School Professor Boris Groysberg – men and women corporate directors reported similar viewpoints on most strategic priorities, but not on diversity.  Just over half the women directors believe that quotas are an effective tool for increasing diversity in the boardroom, but only 25% of men agreed.

The survey elicited responses from 1,067 directors in 58 countries, including several in Asia, and is the largest and most global survey the group has facilitated. 

When asked to rank the most effective ways to build diverse corporate boards, women directors cited “board leadership serving as champions of board diversity” as the #1 factor. Men in the survey ranked this equally with “developing a pipeline through director advocacy, mentorship, and training.”

“Women tend to put the responsibility squarely on board leadership, while men see it as both a pipeline and a leadership issue,” said Henrietta H. Fore, Global Co-Chair of WCD and of the Asia Society Board of Trustees. “Women view the board chairs, lead directors, and nominating committee chairs as the real change agents in building a diverse boardroom.”

As the largest global organization of women corporate directors – with new chapters opening in Japan, and soon the Philippines, and South Korea – WCD sees board leadership as the instrumental force in making their boards more diverse. The group promotes its “Call to Action” to business leaders – a series of action steps that includes roles for various stakeholders, including:   

  • Search firms and nominating committees. Similar to the National Football League’s “Rooney’s Rule” (which ensures that an African-American coach is considered in each coach search), these groups should ensure that every director slate includes at least one woman.
  • Academic institutions, research groups and the media. More research and resources should be focused on the business case and business issues around board diversity.
  • Investors and shareholders. Prudent investors should demand that their boards select the best board members, period, and not just those who are best friends with the CEO.
  • CEOs. But diversity-friendly CEOs are also a powerful force for change. At Campbell’s Soup, then-CEO Doug Conant became an active sponsor for an exceptionally talented executive in his ranks who he knew had what it took to lead the company. Today, that person, Denise Morrison, is CEO and director. At DuPont, Chad Holliday championed Ellen Kullman, who now serves as the company’s CEO and chairman of the board.

In addition to the “Call to Action,” WomenCorporateDirectors has also launched their Global Nominating Commission to provide guidance for boosting the number of women on boards of the Fortune 500, FTSE 100, Nikkei 225, and other corporate groups in Asia and throughout the world. Through databases and other resources, such initiatives can help make sure that companies know how to find diverse talent and will compile the best approaches for supporting diverse board recruitment.

Other tactics that are being employed globally – most particularly regulatory quotas mandating certain percentages of women on boards – are finding a much more mixed reaction among directors.

While women directors are more sympathetic than men to the idea of quotas, the whole topic of regulation in general is one that concerns male and female directors across the board. According to the Board Survey’s U.S. respondents, the threat of increasing regulations on top of those already levied since the start of the global financial crisis is seen as the biggest obstacle to achieving strategic objectives. Both men and women directors in the U.S. cited the “regulatory environment” as the top challenge for their companies, followed closely by the need to “attract and retain top talent.” Directors outside the U.S. named regulatory environment and talent concerns equally.

Rather than a regulatory solution, the individualized needs of different companies demand a complex and more nuanced set of tools to improve diverse representation in the boardroom — including the advocacy of many different layers of stakeholders.

Enlisting more women directors is part of a larger effort, in fact, to increase board diversity across many levels. Global companies today require governance informed by the kind of diversity that isn’t easily addressed by quotas. This calls for different cultures within boardrooms and for different skill sets, experiences and ideas from directors.

Within a company, leadership can insure that there are women and other diverse candidates with the ability to achieve success.  They can identify talent and make sure that these individuals are visible to senior management and to outside networks.  Pipeline arguments can be mitigated as talent is identified and celebrated, and as channels through various networks to the boardroom become more open to these candidates.

Social and historical realities may call for governments in certain parts of the world to take a more active role in pushing private enterprise to adopt a more equitable gender balance, as was the case with new mandates introduced last year in Malaysia. But elsewhere, a nuanced and pragmatic approach makes more sense.

An internal mandate and business case for diverse leadership in governance allows for an organic change to occur without regulation and c-level management can contribute to this by finding senior diversity candidates and helping to open networks to the boardroom through the leadership of their companies.

Susan Schiffer Stautberg is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of WomenCorporateDirectors (WCD), the only global membership organization and community of Women Corporate Directors.

Featured Women in Leadership: Annie Koh

Annie Koh

Professor Annie Koh

Annie played a major role in bridging the academia and the business industry. She spearheaded many major partnerships between SMU and the business world. Annie is the Vice President for Business Development and External Relations at the Singapore Management University (SMU). She also holds the position of Academic Director of the Financial Training Institute, Center for Professional Studies, International Trading Center and Business Families Institute at SMU. She sits on several advisory boards, governing councils and steering committees, as well as financial and government sectors.

Her paper An Analysis of Extreme Price Shocks and Liquidity among Systematic Trend Followers (2010), co-written with Bernard Lee and Cheng Shih-Fen was published in the Review of Future Markets and the Social Science Research Network. Currently she is working on studies of Private Wealth Investor Behavior, cases on Family Business and Family offices and the Asianisation of the Eugene F. Brigham and Michael C. Ehrhardt’s Financial Management: Theory & Practice.

Annie is also a sought after conference speaker, a panel moderator and an expert commentator. Recently she has moderated Strategic Shifts: The Future of Finance where they discussed the implications of the Eurozone crisis, industry restructuring and consolidation, and the emerging technologies in personal finance. They also discussed the major shifts of the international financial industry, where they tackled the significance of the emerging economies of the BRIC countries. She also moderated Strategic Shifts: The Future of Human Capital, where they discussed employee productivity trends, closing corporate gender gaps, as well as the shift of work from the “ageing West to the emerging countries with young population.”

Annie was a 1998 Fulbright Scholar and received her PhD in International Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Please click on the following links to watch the conferences on Strategic Shifts:

Strategic Shifts: The Future of Finance

Strategic Shifts: The Future of Human Capital

Featured Women in Leadership: Pat Gallardo

For over four years now, Pat Gallardo-Dwyer has been spearheading Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts’ efforts as the group’s global Director of CSR and Sustainability. She oversees, directs, and leads the implementation of CSR efforts in about 73 hotels and resorts worldwide.

During her tenure, Shangri-La has marked a number of firsts and recently became the first hotel company to be listed in the Hang Seng Sustainability Index for two years in a row. Shangri-La has also become a finalist in the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow’s Awards in 2011 and just last month, became one of Travel and Leisure magazine’s Global Vision Awards for Leadership winners. 

Pat launched a campaign in 2009 entitled, Sustainability: Shangri-La’s Social Responsibility, a global CSR campaign aligning hotels with a CSR strategy that aims to ensure focus in five areas of CSR: namely Stakeholder Relations, Health & Safety, Environment, Supply Chain, and Colleagues. Two major projects were also realized, Embrace: Shangri-La’s Care for People which commits hotels to long-term education and health programs in local organizations—changing the lives of over 9,000 children; and  Sanctuary: Shangri-La’s Care for Nature, a project which unites all the habitat restoration and species conservation initiatives amongst the hotel’s resort destinations. Sanctuary today is not only found in all of Shangri-La’s 11 resorts, but also in city hotels in China such as Xian, Shenyang, Beijing and Qingdao and soon, Chengdu for the panda sanctuary.

Pat has an MA in Globalization and Governance from the University of Birmingham (a joint program with the London School of Economic), and is an Asia 21 Fellow with the Asia Society.

NEWS: Laura Walker, President & CEO of New York Public Radio participated in the Committee of 100 Leadership Delegation

Laura R. Walker, President & CEO, New York Public Radio

Laura R. Walker, President & CEO, New York Public Radio

Laura Walker, the President and CEO of New York Public Radio, participated in the Committee of 100 Leadership Delegation* to China last May, where they met with business leaders, academics, journalists, artists, and cultural ambassadors. The trip facilitated cultural exchanges with artists and institutions that may lead to special programming initiatives in New York, featuring content originating from China.  This summer, Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese activist  gave his first national broadcast interview since arriving in the U.S to WNYC’s The Takeaway. During the show, he talked about his work to support the rights of persons with disabilities. Pankaj Mishra also appeared on the WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show, to discuss Stories of the thinkers whose ideas shaped contemporary China, India, and the Muslim World. Last September, New York Public Radio’s Studio 360 took a close look at the North Korean film, Comrade Kim Goes Flying, a film which is a result of the collaboration between North Korea and Western Filmmakers.

*The Committee of 100 is an international, non-profit, non-partisan membership organization that brings a Chinese-American perspective to issues concerning Asian Americans and U.S.-China relations.

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