Pride of Singapore: Female Bosses

Globally, Singapore boasts one of the highest female representations at CEO level. Canon Singapore’s very own Ms. Noriko Gunji, President and CEO, is one example. As CEO, she oversees and leads Canon Singapore’s employees and partners in Sales, Marketing and Operations. We pay homage to a few notable Singaporean women who have attained similar success and earned the respect of their peers and the community.

Rachel Lim & Viola Tan, Love, Bonito

The Love, Bonito brand is a familiar one to many Singaporeans. Their confidence in knowing that their products bring satisfaction keeps them going. Along the way, they have also picked up some lessons learnt through overcoming hard knocks and obstacles.

Love, Bonito exemplifies how far a simple purpose leads to a big idea, and for Rachel Lim and Viola Tan, they are proud to have found their calling. In the early years, the founders were often not taken seriously, “especially since we were women and we were young” – as Rachel put it.

Despite the increasing competition in the e-commerce market, Love, Bonito remains confident in their market position. They believe their fundamentals in having built a great team, and their continual commitment to attracting people better than themselves, bodes well for the future.

Irene Ang, Fly Entertainment

As CEO of Singapore’s largest Artiste Management Agency, FLY Entertainment, Irene Ang’s rise to the top was only possible through sheer hard-work and having an unshakable vision.

Irene began building FLY Entertainment two years into her role as Rosie Phua on the popular local sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte. Ltd. Initially, many of her peers were skeptical at her attempts to sign veteran actors to her startup agency that no one had heard of.

When the economic crisis hit in the 1990s, the shutdown of production companies left many artistes jobless. These circumstances provided her with the motivation to “be a hero” – by banding the interests of actors and production houses together under a singular agency.

Despite her success, Irene has no intentions of slowing down. Her next move is to focus on positioning Singapore’s artistic talents regionally, and do this by serving as a mentor for Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE) and of course, CEO of FLY Entertainment.

Joanne Paranjothy, Rebecca Paranjothy & Vanessa Paranjothy, Freedom Cups

Three sisters, Joanne, Rebecca and Vanessa Paranjothy, started Freedom Cups in October 2015. This social enterprise provides underprivileged women with menstrual cups by employing a buy-one-get-one free system. Menstrual cups are reusable and hence cheaper than sanitary products in the long run. For every menstrual cup purchased, one gets sent to a woman in an underprivileged community.

Freedom Cups’ journey has not been an easy one. In a society that believes that disposable sanitary products are the only viable option, changing mindsets has been one of their biggest challenges.

Their efforts in promoting Freedom Cups have been met with backlash, as many saw it as inappropriate to discuss menstruation in public. This only strengthened the sisters resolve and motivated them further.

In Philippines, they initially met with resistance with the village chiefs they were reaching out to. After much persuasion, they were able to give Freedom Cups to the married women. Eventually, the chiefs relented and allowed for distribution to all women.

The Paranjothy sisters know they have a long way to go in building the brand awareness of Freedom Cups. Armed with a “we try, we fail and we try again” philosophy, they are not stopping anytime soon.

These remarkable individuals remind us that regardless of gender, it is possible to impact change in the fields we hold genuine passion for.

For more local inspiration throughout this month of August, follow our LinkedIn page here at Canon Singapore.

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