It's International Women's Day today and as I celebrate the start of my second-year tenure at Brave Bison, I'm proud to be the first female general manager appointed in the Asia Pacific region, based in Singapore.
One of the reasons that I chose to move to Singapore in 2014 was my belief in the career opportunities available here as a female. I believe that Singapore is a country that is investing in pushing this agenda and equality in the boardroom, however, we still have a very long way to go.
Brave Bison is doing its part to onboard female leaders and also promote female talent within the business. Claire Hungate our chief executive officer is one of the very few female chief executive officers on AIM. In fact, the percentage of female chief executive officers throughout Europe and America is terrifyingly low, whereas Singapore is a step ahead of the rest of the world when we look at the progress that it has made over the last few years alone.
We recently onboarded Kate Burns as a non-executive director. Kate was notably the first Google employee outside of the USA and joined the Google team as director, UK, Ireland and Benelux in 2001.
In the last three months, we have hired three new females into APAC in positions of production manager, art director and brand solutions director While our business is intent on equalizing the gender gap, especially in senior positions, we are not quite there yet.
We have great female talent across the business that we are developing and promoting into new and more senior roles to recognise there contribution to Brave Bison’s success. A great example of this is Sophie Crowther, who has been with the Brave Bison team since graduating from her law degree in the UK four and a half years ago. Sophie has been heading up our influencer talent relationships. She started working for Brave Bison in the European headquarters in Covent Garden, London. The business recognised Sophie’s talent very early in her career and as a result, promoted Sophie into a role in the APAC HQ in Singapore.
Sophie is now successfully and quickly growing this part of our business, recently hiring a multi-lingual assistant, Meredith Yong to support our work with SK-II in Japan. Whilst Sophie continues to grow this department she’s now expanding her own skills and career development by supporting our production team, run by Chris Smith.
Sophie recently traveled to New Zealand and single handly managed a complex production with Land Rover than involved 1000miles of driving from Christchurch to Queenstown spanning across The South Islands. This is a great example of how Brave Bison as a business is supporting and developing our female talent and encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone
As a female leader, I am a strong believer and supporter of taking risks, aiming very high and fighting for what you believe in
As a British amateur boxer, I faced my own personal challenge at a university as female boxing was not accepted as an Olympic sport nor recognized by BUSA (British University Student Association). As a result, I fought hard to firstly affiliate our boxing club to the University Student Association so that our boxing club could compete with other universities and have the same rights as all other sports. Once we achieved this, I then worked hard to promote female boxing nationally, at the time (1999) female boxing was widely unaccepted in Europe.
Eventually, in 2012, woman’s boxing became the last sport, finally accepted at the International Olympic Committee to create complete parity with all other Olympic sports.
I had the honor of being asked to work at the London 2012 Olympics as a score moderator, sitting ringside with Barry McGuigan and other great boxing legends. Reaffirmation of the fact we should never give up on our dreams and every little we do for women’s equality really does make a big difference.
The development and growth of our team are at the heart of our strategy in 2019. Our aspirations as a business will also allow us to develop the most important asset that we have in APAC, our people. We are very excited to be able to give not only our female employers but the entire team a chance to develop their careers and personal goals whilst having a lot of fun doing this as a team.
Having a diverse skill set within our business, diverse culture and equal opportunities is integral to our success. We all share these values and common goals. Taking risks, listening to our intuitions and learning from each another has proven to be a very successful path to growth and opportunity, opening new doors for us all.
This week, let's celebrate the inroads we have made and think about how we can do more to bring greater gender balance and diversity to all global businesses.
Caroline Troman is general manager APAC at Brave Bison.