Women's Success: 7 Quotes From Michelle Yeoh, Catherine Renier, Joanna Hotung
What did it take for you to strive for success? And what does it mean to be first––to be a pioneer––in your industry?
These are two questions we put to some of Asia's most powerful and influential women. Here are their responses.
Catherine Renier, the first female CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre
“Women should never be afraid to reach for the stars. It is a matter of confidence to envision yourself in your dream job. It is also a combination of hard work and patience. No need to rush your career but approach it step by step with a clear objective and a careful balance lifestyle. Keep time for yourself and your family. With these objectives in mind, the sky's the limit and the stars are the objectives.”
Joanna Hotung, founder and CEO of the KG Group
"We have to show girls from childhood that being brave is better than being perfect. At home, in school, at work and in all aspects of life, women are still conditioned to meet others’ expectations. Women already know how to demonstrate empathy, organisation and inner strength. In order to have more power and influence–be first–we need to have the courage to make mistakes, experiment and act differently from the norm."
Mimi Tang, fashion industry veteran and founder and CEO of Wing's Share Company
“This is an era of ability, courage, ambition and equality. For years, surviving as a successful female leader was no easy job for me, yet I did it with determination, assertiveness and ‘breakthrough’ mindset. We women have to love and believe in ourselves. It's important to unlock your full potential and seize the opportunity to think bigger and aim higher. Building networks and reputations are important, as is being a role model to lead and influence others. Let’s be open-minded and treat others with respect and honour, instead of perpetuating prejudice and inequality."
Michelle Yeoh, Hollywood actress
“I have been very blessed where I did not have to fight for a lot of the things that a woman often has to. I have had equal opportunities in work, in education and in the ability to voice my beliefs and express my views. I hope that as I continue my pursuits, both professionally and also my volunteer and charity projects, that I show that it can be done. Because if I can do it, then I want other little girls to say 'I can do that too'. That belief I think is the most important message. In the film industry, I also see things are changing, as more mature and very successful actresses have taken on the roles as producers themselves, not to be on the sidelines, and have stepped forward and stepped up to successfully create many many more roles for other strong women and for their stories that need to be told.”
See also: Tatler Hot List: 16 Women Fighting For Fairness In Asia
Roshni Mahtani Cheung, founder and group CEO of the Asianparent Group
"I recently read a McKinsey’s report, Women in the Workplace 2020, which illustrated the uphill climb and the decades-old perception of women’s roles that needs to be reversed. Two things struck me: the pandemic is hampering women’s, particularly mother’s, careers as they take on disproportionate shares of housework and childcare even though both parents are working at home. This is deterring those firsts.
It’s a complete shame because two: female representation in senior leadership is a huge boon to organisations, profits- and culture-wise. Yet at this level, women are more likely to be “onlys” (i.e. only women in the room).
If we want more “firsts” from women, we can’t have “onlys”. We need more women in the C-suite, throwing down ropes, mentoring female employees and would-be founders in their climb up the hill. This support network is what we sought to create with Female Founders.
And while it’s encouraging that today’s dad is far more involved in parenting, the burden he carries must be equal to mum’s, all the way to the peaks of both their careers."
See also: Is Tech Still Forgetting About Women?
Peter Cheung, communications expert
“Women have always been the firsts and of power and influence in my life. My late Mom, with my five elder sisters, raised me as a child in Canada, and in a household full of women, it’s no surprise that I was raised [with the belief that] women are “firsts”. This has continued all my life, from my late Mom, whom I regard as the example of strength and courage, to becoming a junior competitive tennis player and having a mentor and coach who was a former Canadian Women’s National Champion. She instilled a lot of values in me on and off the court that still impacts me today.
In my career, I have always been surrounded by women who are “firsts”, in their talent, expertise, strategic thinking and professionalism. I have had many female bosses in my career who I deeply respect as they have propelled me to higher performance, improvement, and learning because of their innately, intrinsic and natural sense of consistency, day in, day out, which has deeply impacted me as a person."
See also: Peter Cheung's Hot List: The Most Iconic Moments In Hong Kong Fashion
Kim Robinson, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Kim Robinson salon
"Being the best is much more important than being the first to do something. Being empowered with knowledge and a sense of self-belief is an important foundation to achieve success, regardless of your gender.
Being in the beauty industry, I understand the way we look affects how we feel. Women can be criticised for taking care of their appearance to a level others may deem unnecessary but feeling confident builds the foundation to any successful person. There's nothing wrong with investing in yourself—whether on the inside or outside.”
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