Women are proving to be effective leaders in the tech and financial sectors, especially with the current challenges of digitization posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the recent Asia-Pacific virtual launch of the Women Future 2021 conference, a number of female industry players shared their experiences of navigating the difficult terrain caused by the global health crisis in the region.
Among those who spoke at the virtual meeting was Insular Life Senior Vice President and Marketing Director Gae Martinez, who discussed his company’s “Sheroes Movement” campaign, whose four pillars are financial literacy, health and fitness, finding solutions for women and opening up access to businesses and social networks.
When the Inquirer asked what makes women effective in traditionally male-dominated industries, Martinez said, “Professional women are family-oriented, have strong foresight and are focused on personal development.
Leila Martin, president of the first government-backed digital bank, Overseas Filipino Bank, agreed.
“Asian women are highly educated and have a strong work ethic. We also have the tenacity to learn different languages, which is essential if we are to connect globally, ”she explained.
Pebbles Sy, head of technology and operations at GCash, cited the environment in the Philippines that has enabled women to thrive in their chosen fields, saying the gender equality situation in the country is better than in the past. some neighboring territories.
“Half of our senior executives at GCash are women and it wasn’t intentional, we just hired the best. There’s really no barrier for us women, it’s just a matter of doing your job and working hard, ”she continued.
Kimstore.com owner and founder Kim Lato spoke about how she held her ground and continued her electronics store as a new college graduate during the 2008 financial crisis.
“My dad said it was impractical to do this as a side activity, what more as a full time activity. He told me it wouldn’t work. But when I spoke to my mom, I said it was going to be important in the future, ”she shared.
And how prophetic this statement has become for her, as Kimstore is now the largest electronics “e-commerce” in the country. “I want to be the electronics Amazon in the Philippines,” Lato said.
Fintech Space Taiwan’s general manager Shan Luo, meanwhile, acknowledged the “passion and patience” of women, saying that it is “very important to have soft skills in difficult discussions.”
Wijitleka Marome, Deputy Director of the Bank of Thailand’s Fintech Department, agreed. “Women in senior management can express their abilities and skills to support innovations,” she said.
For his part, Jael Tan, head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said: “What is important is to establish links on a bilateral basis and then develop them into a wider collaboration. The path to innovation seems daunting, but we always think big and create small partnerships along the way. “
Xendit Philippines Managing Director Yang Yang Zhang, a citizen of the world whose experience spans West to East, said she chose to settle in Asia, the Philippines in particular, because of the growth prospects.
“Asia is a place that welcomed innovation and upheaval. In Asia, there is a spirit of openness, ”she said. “The Philippines is ready for hyper-growth, and I want to be a part of it,” Zhang continued.
Lato also recognized the pandemic as “the catalyst to amplify e-commerce initiatives” not only in the Philippines, but also in the Asia-Pacific region.
For more in-depth discussions on the role of women in technology and finance, and to learn more about the women leaders who have helped shape the global landscape, interested parties are invited to the Women Future Conference of November 1 to 5.
—Armin P. Adina, CONTRIBUTOR
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