The 9 women helping to shape Southeast Asia's future

The Women of the Future Awards honours young women who are outstanding in their fields. For the first time ever, the UK-based awards are highlighting talents from Southeast Asia, including Eco-Business managing editor Jessica Cheam.

WOF winners
The winners of the Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia pose with Her Excellency Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner to Malaysia and Pinky Lilani, founder of the Women of the Future Programme. Image: Eco-Business

Nine women from Southeast Asia’s professional, arts, media, and community sectors were unveiled as winners of the inaugural Women of the Future Southeast Asia Awards at the Hilton Singapore on Tuesday, including Eco-Business managing editor Jessica Cheam who won the media and communications category.

The Women of the Future (WOF) Awards, a UK-based platform that recognises outstanding women under the age of 35 in various fields, expanded its area of focus to Southeast Asia this year, a region where WOF said that the potential of talented women is immense and untapped. 

This year’s winners were selected from a shortlist of 50 candidates from 10 countries across the region.

The winners in their respective award categories are:

  • Arts & Culture: Laura Mam, Singer/Songwriter, CEO and Founder, Baramey Production (Cambodia)
  • Business: Christina Gao, Global Product Manager, Shell (Singapore)
  • Community Spirit & Public Service: Phyu Hninn Nyein, General Manager, Farm Advisory Services, Proximity Designs (Myanmar)
  • Entrepreneur: Khai Lin Chua, Co-Founder and CFO, Fundnel (Singapore)
  • Media & Communications: Jessica Cheam, Managing Editor, Eco-Business (Singapore)
  • Professions: Mary Bounthalath, Trade Commissioner, Office of the Embassy of Canada to Lao PDR (Laos)
  • Property, Infrastructure & Construction: An Nguyen, Director, Research & Consulting Services, CBRE Vietnam (Vietnam)
  • Science, Technology & Digital: Chern Ein Oon, Senior Lecturer, Universiti Sains Malaysia (Malaysia)
  • Social Entrepreneur: Cherrie Atilano, Social Entrepreneur & Founder/President, AGREA Agricultural Systems International, Inc. (Philippines)

Pinky Lilani CBE DL, founder of the WOF Programme, said that in a region faced with significant human resource challenges, women are a tremendous untapped resource that can contribute to Southeast Asia’s rapid growth.

“Through the Women of the Future Awards we aim to recognise and inspire women so as to deepen and broaden the female talent pool, and build a global collaborative network of women to inspire and mentor each other
to support progress in Asia,” she said.

“We are extremely delighted to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our Award winners and shortlisted candidates at our first Women of the Future Awards in Southeast Asia. These talented young women are reshaping
their various fields and helping to create a better future for all, while blazing a trail for a new generation of women,” she added.

Judging began in July last year and the judging panel was chaired by Vicki Treadell, British High Commissioner to Malaysia.

Eco-Business managing editor Jessica Cheam, the winner for the media and communications category, said she was looking forward to working with the Women of the Future team to help advance gender equality in the rapidly-growing Asean region.

“The award is about Eco-Business’ important work, in purposeful journalism and reporting on critical issues of the day in this era of fake news.”

Chris Wei, executive chairman, Aviva Asia & FPI and Global Chairman, Aviva Digital, added: “Congratulations to the Award winners and nominees who have made huge achievements in their respective fields. I believe they will continue to inspire many generations of female leaders to come.”

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