Meet the ethnically diverse women who are smashing barriers in business

HERoes Ethnically Diverse Women Role Models list

Today INvolve – the global network and consultancy specialising in diversity and inclusion – reveals the HERoes Ethnically Diverse Women Role Models list, supported by HSBC.

20 women chosen for their meteoric rise to success in business and their inspirational stories, share their experiences from around the world.

Right across the globe – from the UK and the UAE to the Philippines and Kenya – powerful women feature in this year’s list; all forging a path for women in business to smash the glass ceiling.

Let’s meet a couple

Diana Velarde, Delivering Deal Value Director, PwC México

Diana has always had big dreams and is motivated by a keen ambition to succeed. Her eagerness and curiosity to expand her horizons means that she is equipped with wide-ranging and in-depth expertise that she uses to drive diversity and inclusion through her role, and across society. Her courage in taking leaps of faith are admirable, and empowers others to believe in their own potential too.

México continues to operate in a patriarchal system where it is accepted that women should be the ones at home while the men go out to work. Many men still believe that a woman cannot manage seniority at work, because how else would they run their household?  As a unified front at PwC, we want to motivate women to build a career and break down the barriers that still stand in their way.

Vaishali Rastogi, Global Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunication Practice for Boston Consulting Group in Singapore

Vaishali is passionate about creating a gender-balanced business world and has been intentional in recruiting and retaining women talent. During Vaishali’s tenure as BCG’s Head of Southeast Asia, the number of women hired increased by 40%, and she is proud to have enabled an environment which allows employees to manage their work-life balance, with more women taking up flexible working hours.

I had great mentors, but I think if I had visible roles models it would’ve helped me really get that inspiration and to calm that inner voice that sometimes nags me on whether I can do something or not. It’s incredibly important – I call it the multiplier effect, where one role model can inspire so many others. I hope I can play a small role in creating that multiplier effect.

HERoes Ethnically Diverse Women Role Models list

Each Role Model’s story is unique, but some common themes and regional differences have emerged.

Many of them have experienced difficulties in patriarchal societies, where women struggle to find confidence to speak up and ensure their voices are heard or are only permitted an online presence at meetings.

This contrasts with women in the West, who typically start from a better place in terms of acceptance in top roles and boardrooms but face higher childcare costs and scattered extended families which can impact on their progression. Meanwhile, women in the East, UAE and parts of Africa often have extended families who routinely offer childcare support, which can allow them to forge an unbroken career path.

Uniting all the women on the list is their ambition to succeed and a firm belief in the importance of role models. Many of the women say they didn’t have role models to follow during their early careers, so they have become role models in their own right to ensure the next generation don’t experience this. 

The power of sharing lived experiences and championing positive role models cannot be underestimated when it comes to forging opportunities for this, and the next, generation of women leaders. We increasingly live and work on a global stage, and the HERoes Ethnically Diverse Women Role Models list brings us stories of success, struggles and obstacles overcome in business that can inspire us all.

Suki Sandhu OBEFounder & CEO, INvolve
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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