The Visitor by Norma Abbas, 1991

Last week in Kuala Lumpur, 34 women across all industries and functions gathered at the LeadWomen program to share experiences, explore strengths, and learn about savvy career navigation. An air of conviviality enveloped the room, laughter and selfies filled the afternoon. Is it possible to admire great leadership when you’re in the midst of working with a group of inclusive leaders? I did just that, taking time to listen to their stories.

Now in its third year, LeadWomen has built a connected community of diverse and supportive leaders for the next generation of talent. Much has changed for women in leadership in Malaysia. According to The Economist’s Women in Leadership in Asia research, in 2016, Malaysian women were more active than ever before, in commercial and political positions and comprising 10.2% of board positions on Malaysia’s top 100 companies. That’s been a positive shift, although not everything is rosy. Malaysia ranks 106th on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index. Anne Abraham, the CEO of LeadWomen, and her team are working to reduce this gap by developing women in careers, leadership and on boards.

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