Singer, Songwriter & Composer
My mother has always taught me to be patient and calm in life. Her spirit of wanting to work till the end of her life always motivates me. Besides my mother, I also want to thank Shrijana Singh Yonjan, who I met on my Nepali Tara journey. She taught me that to lead others, first you have to be able to lead yourself and I find that very true.
Chief Operating Officer, Daraz
People first: No matter how well we plan strategically, in the end, people are at the forefront of execution. Aanchal, our Managing Director puts people first and the company has set this as a core philosophy to build that culture and trust. Recently we announced ‘no clock in clock out’, no need to respond to company messages and emails outside office hours, and no meetings on Monday. This helps employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. The entire thought process is focused towards winning people’s trust and creating a healthy, productive, conducive work environment.
Empowerment: Right structure and routines are crucial but at the same time in order to make that effective, people should have the courage to speak. Aanchal has set the right structure in place where team members feel very comfortable to share their constructive ideas which is not limited to their functional domain. Another important aspect is the true assessment of what people need in order to perform, focus on what people lack in terms of skill set and how the gap can be fulfilled, empowerment is another core focus area that she prioritises on.
Right Focus: In our culture, there is often a tendency to beat around the bush and not get directly to the point. In order to achieve what we want, the right approach and perspective is needed. She has built that culture to see things in a correct and organised way. Setting up priorities, taking a data driven approach, keeping consistency of focus and strategising to materialise core purpose, she has set the path.
Director of Advancement & Athletics, Lincoln School
Author, The Legend of Machig and The Magical Monkey of Swayambhu
I am so incredibly fortunate to have a mother as a role model, not only as a leader but as a human being. She has worked tirelessly in the public health sector in Nepal, leading large organisations for over 30 years.
Specifically, her work has helped reduce maternal mortality in Nepal and the region, improved nutrition in remote parts of the country, and helped countless individuals with visual and other impairments.
The most powerful value I have learnt from my mother is that of compassion. Strong leadership begins with one’s intention, one’s motivation. It’s the foundation. What motivates us to lead – money, fame, and power, or something far more altruistic? If our motivation comes from a place of kindness, of wanting to help others, then ultimately leaders will earn genuine respect.
Other key leadership ingredients are humility, awareness and gratitude. Developing one’s self-awareness can help us perceive positional power and our potential influence as leaders. I believe it is essential to relate to any individual within an organisation, regardless of their position, as a human being – someone worthy of respect and someone who needs to feel valued.
Finally, my mother taught me that leadership is not about needing to be “The Boss.” Quite the opposite, in fact. Strong leadership is distributive and collaborative. It is about building teams and developing trust. It is about working towards common goals. Some of the strongest female leaders I have come across can recognise the unique strengths inherent in each individual and then work towards guiding and empowering them to realise their own leadership potential. This is leadership at its best.
Co-Founder, Sinka & Amore Pizza
Focus on elevating others: I have found female leaders on my team and throughout my experience tend to be more caring by nature. They are focused on mentoring and coaching their subordinates with care. Their egos are less likely to stand in their way which I found is what leads to making people feel cared for and valued.
Learning to be more empathetic: I have mostly found men leaders being cocky and imposing their seniority and just focus on commanding. I think we have also heard multiple times that women tend to be too kind to be good leaders. But my experience entails that women are able to create more emotional connection between employees and making people feel valued as humans not machine. I have found women leaders leading by example whereas men leaders imposing their superiority on their subordinates.
Being vulnerable: In a world which demands perfection, it’s very hard to be true and reveal your weakness and insecurities. Men tend to hide their emotions and imperfections whereas I find women to be more transparent with their emotions and being more vulnerable which I guess helps them make deeper connections. It shows authenticity to display vulnerability rather than to showcase false images, and which also gives room to others to showcase their vulnerability and makes the team more comfortable.
Chief Operating Officer, Mega Bank
My journey from a trainee assistant to COO has been successful due to the leadership lessons I have learnt from the women leaders I worked with during my banking career. I have been directly working with woman leaders since 2002/2003 in Nabil Bank and Mega Bank.
Work and family balance: I learn and always motivate myself observing that if a woman can lead at the front and contribute despite being in a work balance situation of office and family, why can men not devote and ensure impactful performance considering that we do not need to worry as much as women in terms of family care and work balance. This is a good lesson I learnt from wonderful women leaders Anupama Khunjeli, Raveena Desraj Shrestha along with other women leaders during my career.
Proven leadership during crisis: In the past two decades, we have experienced several shocks in the Nepalese banking industry wherein female leadership has proven to be successful and well managed against competitive shock. Women leadership in Mega Bank Nepal has been proven time and again. A good lesson learnt in handling a crisis situation (pandemic) at Mega Bank was under the guidance of women leaders.
Diversity and gender parity: The benefits of diversity and gender parity in leadership and decision-making should not be under-estimated in a country like Nepal. Women provide imaginative perspective, different skill sets, cultural and structural differences that enhance the working of any organisation. Empowering women will always bring about better results.