KUALA LUMPUR: At EcoWorld, women represent half the workforce and play a large role in the success of the company.
Chairman Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin said the company has successfully built an “ecosystem” of women and men who supported each other at all costs.
“We value our female workforce very much. There are generally two groups of women who work with us – one group just wants a job. They work hard but after that, they want to go back to their families.
“The other group is ambitious and wants to move up. We support both groups....In fact, we need both in our ecosystem. That’s how great companies are built,” said Liew during the EcoWorld Women’s Summit at the Bukit Bintang City Centre sales gallery here yesterday.
The summit, themed “Women 360°”, aims to recognise a woman’s ability to manage various roles. The EcoWorld Women’s Summit is part of a series of engagement workshops by EcoWorld for its Professional Women’s Network (PWN), which was launched last year in conjunction with International Women’s Day.
EcoWorld has 1,100 employees, half of whom are women.
Many of the property developer’s senior executives are women and, according to Liew, its next chief executive officer could well be a woman.
“(EcoWorld president and CEO) Datuk Chang (Khim Wah) and I spend a lot of time interacting with our staff. The senior staff and the juniors interact a lot and that’s where we pick up potential talent, both women and men.
“Once we identify them, we will train them ... some will last, some will not but that’s how we will identify our next CEO, our next general managers and other senior managers,” said Liew.
Chang asserts that with EcoWorld, women are not just percentages.
“Women here really come up based on their own merits. And over the years, many of our women have outperformed the men.
“They have a lot of determination and tremendous skill and the men, well, we will just have to keep up,” said Chang.
Speakers at the forum included British High Commissioner to Malaysia Victoria Treadell, TalentCorp chief executive officer Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani, IBM Malaysia managing director Chong Chye Neo, Women:girls founder and president Low Ngai Yuen, Hong Leong Investment Bank managing director and chief executive officer Lee Jim Leng, model/actress Bernie Chan, Star Media Group Editor in Chief Datuk Leanne Goh and dimsum chief marketing officer Lam Swee Kim.
Speaking at a panel discussion, Treadell shared her personal journey from joining the British Foreign Service as a junior clerk to achieving her ambition of being able to represent her country in the diplomatic corps.
Her message to women, which was the message that resonated throughout the day, was to aim high but never try to be a man.
“What makes you special is your gender and how you see the world. You have to be confident, have a vision and also a plan about how you are going to achieve your vision,” she said.
Liew Tian Xiong, EcoWorld executive director, feels that events like the summit help women find inspiration from those who have trailblazed before them.
“I don’t think Malaysia is an incredibly sexist society compared to a lot of other countries. There are many women who are flying high and doing great as mums and thriving in their careers.
“But there is still a segment of women who feel oppressed and it’s important for this group to know that they don’t have to feel that way."