Career Advisor Future Ready Series: 'Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights For An Equal Future'

In conjunction with International Women’s Day 2020, the Asia Law Academy and Career Advisor held a  successful Future Ready Series, titled “Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights For An Equal Future.

The dialogue session, which took place at BACPAC, VSQ @ PJ City Centre, was attended by over 50 students and lecturers. The event featured four distinguished speakers – YM Datin Raja Riza (Vice-President, MERCY Malaysia), Ms. Sheena Gurbakhash (President, Association of Women Lawyers, Malaysia (AWL)), Ms Adeline Lew (Senior Attorney, IBM Malaysia) and Dr. Jasmine Begum (Director of Legal, Corporate & Government Affairs, Microsoft Malaysia). 

Ms Aneera Joshini Chowdhury moderated the event highlighting four key topics: (1) Value Based Decision Making: Critical Thinking & Decision Making; (2) Leaning In: How Not To Fall Over – Creating And Sustaining Competitive Advantage; (3) Human Capital And Employment: What Am I Worth?and (4) Leading With Character And Integrity – How Top Women Succeed.

Speaking on the first topic, YM Datin Raja Riza shared her personal experiences on being a practising lawyer and her struggles in the initial stages of being a young working mother, and how she realised her passion for humanitarian work with MERCY Malaysia. Her advice to the younger generation in order to thrive in a competitive job market – “Find your passion, be adaptable to change and always be willing to learn and listen.” She also emphasized the importance of perseverance and hard work, as well as developing good communication skills.

Ms. Sheena Gurbakhash highlighted the importance of personal branding as a job seeker, with regards to the second topic. She shared some useful tips to stand out and create a good first impression. For example, investing in a professional photo shoot or corporate profile picture for job applications. An author and performing arts enthusiast, she encouraged students to reflect on the key ingredients for success – talent, hard work, discipline, knowledge, and perseverance.

She also spoke candidly about realizing what it meant to be a writer through the experience she gained. Ms Gurbakhash had worked in an advertising agency, where she had to write copy every single day on a variety of products, etc. Her working experience at the advertising agency made up her ‘10,000 hours’ of deliberate practice to improve on her writing skills. Even when she didn’t feel inspired to write, she pushed forward. She went on to explain that Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘10,000-hour Rule’ makes all the difference to become exceptional in any field.

Ms Adeline Chew who presented on the third topic, touched on the need for a mindset shift in young women entering the workforce- “vocalize your needs and know when to speak up.” She also encouraged young female students in the audience to avoid self-doubt – “realise your worth and own your achievements at work, big or small”.

The final speaker for the day, Dr Jasmine Begum, impressed the audience with her presentation slides on the fourth topic and leadership skills for success in a demanding corporate world. Based on her work experience in the tech world, and armed with a legal background, she stressed on five key points – “(1) Own your authenticity; (2) Find your influencer/mentor champion – for example, seasoned legal practitioners, etc; (3) Build your personal network/circle of leading members within a particular industry; (4) Filter feedback – reflect on criticisms to improve your skills; and (5) Invent your future – find your passion, be the change and inspire others within your community.”

During the Q&A session, students posed some interesting questions to the guest speakers. Ghazi Hakem asked, “How do men support women to achieve their potential at the workplace instead of demotivating them,” to which guest speaker, Ms Adeline Lew responded – “women’s successes shouldn’t be viewed as a privilege because we all have the right to be successful.”

A group of female student were also interested on learning tips to multitask which drew a similar response from all  four speakers – “Prioritize." There are things that are urgent and need to be done immediately, then there are those things that are not that important”, said Ms. Sheena. Other speakers also chipped in and placed emphasis on the need for “personal time and self-care”.

The informative dialogue session ended with light refreshments over a networking session between speakers and students.

A special mention to Ms Julie Thomas (Program Consultant, Asia Law Academy) and Ms Erica Sree (Program Coordinator, Asia Law Academy) for going the extra mile and working with the BAC Career Club to make this event a valuable experience for everyone!

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