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UN Women 2021 Asia-Pacific WEPs Awards:
Meet the Regional Judges
2022 Regional Judges
Aurora “Boots” Geotina-Garcia
Chairperson, ASEAN Women's Entrepreneurs' Network (AWEN) Ma. Aurora “Boots” Geotina-Garcia is the President of Mageo Consulting Inc. A Certified Public Accountant, she started her professional career at SGV & Co. / EY Philippines. Boots was the first female Chairperson of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and now sits as Member of the Board of several private corporations engaged in various industries. Boots leads the Philippine Women’s Economic Network as its Chairperson. She also co-chairs the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment and was the former Co-Chair of the ASEAN Women's Entrepreneurs' Network. She was recognized as ASEAN Woman Entrepreneur at the ASEAN Business Awards in 2019. “We believe that gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace must be embedded in our business strategies as it will yield sustainable benefits, including higher profitability and productivity and increased ability to retain talent. We continue to strive for inclusive progress built upon a common understanding across the workplace, home, and broader community."
CEO, Pakistan Business Council Ehsan Malik is the Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Business Council (PBC), are search based business advocacy body representing the leading businesses in Pakistan, including the larger multinational companies from 14 countries. PBC’s objective is to lobby for the transformation of policies and operating environment to achieve sustainable growth, employment, exports and import substitution. Prior to joining PBC in January 2016, Ehsan was the Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Pakistan for nine years, a period in which the business quadrupled in size. In a 24 year career with Unilever, Ehsan served as CEO of Unilever SriLanka, led the consolidation of Unilever’s regiona lbusinesses in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and spent several years in the head office in the UK. Before joining Unilever in 1991, Ehsan worked for a Pakistani conglomerate with interests in media, pharmaceuticals, hotels, tractor assembly and oil lubricants in partnership with Wyeth Laboratories, Intercontinental Hotel Corporation, Ford and Gulf Oil. Ehsan is Member of the Board of Directors of Abbott Laboratories Pakistan Limited, National Foods Limited, Gul Ahmed Textiles Limited and Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan Limited. A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, Ehsan is an alumni of the Wharton and Harvard Business Schools.
Business and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP Asia-Pacific Harpreet is a Business and Human rights Specialist at UNDP. She provides technical and advisory support to governments and businesses on how to mitigate and address human rights risks and impacts in operations and supply chains in Asia. Previously, Harpreet led Genpact Centre for Women’s Leadership at Ashoka University where she steered the Women, Workplace & Rights agenda and designed cutting-edge programs that enabled women to lead with equality and dignity. At the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, Harpreet highlighted corporates’ human rights impacts through her research and writing. In her early years, Harpreet led governance projects in the conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir in India using media and communication and supported the track-II diplomacy process. Harpreet serves as a Council Member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Human Rights.
Specialist, Care, Gender and Economic Inclusion Group, IFC Lauren Gula has extensive experience working with global businesses to advance gender equality through workplace policies and practices, gender-inclusive supply chains and innovative partnerships. She spent over 12 years at the UN Global Compact where she led the organization’s work on gender equality, including the Women’s Empowerment Principles and WEPs Gender Gap Analysis Tool, in collaboration with UN Women. Lauren was also responsible for developing the UN Global Compact’s Target Gender Equality program, focused on corporate goal-setting and action to advance gender equality in business. Lauren is passionate about the opportunity to accelerate progress on women’s economic inclusion by addressing the global care crisis and recently joined IFC’s Gender and Economic Inclusion Group to support Care2Equal, a global, multi-year program aimed at identifying solutions and unlocking investment to improve access to care in emerging markets, including quality childcare, elderly care and mental health and well-being. Lauren holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the New School in New York and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Development from Dalhousie University in Canada.
Director of Advisory Services, Value for Women Ltd Luis Marquez has been working for over 15 years in promoting gender equality in the public and private sectors through his work with organizations like the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, United Nations, and dozens of investors and corporations across Asia, Africa and Latin America. At Value for Women, Luis leads projects that provide impact investors, banks and governments with gender-lens advisory support. Luis holds a BS in Business Administration from Boston University and an MA in International Relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “Applying a gender lens to the workforce, market and value chains of businesses is not rocket science. It is the right and smart thing to do. The WEPs help us by giving us a common language to speak to each other about how to take gender action and learn from each other.”
Executive Director, Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE). Maya Juwita is the Executive Director of Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE). Along with the board members, she initiated the establishment of IBCWE in October 2016. Maya has master degree in business law from University of Gadjah Mada in Indonesia and she is an HR professional with more than 20 years of experience, both in private sector and development sector. Prior to IBCWE, Maya joined WWF Indonesia as Head of People Development and Management where she developed 3-years roadmap for people development program including internal trainer group for the organization. She spent 4 years as Southeast Asia Regional HR Manager for the World Agroforestry Center and initiated the Junior Scientist Forum, the development program for junior scientist. Maya Juwita has experience in facilitating various training program such as leadership, people management program, gender bias, anti-sexual harassment and discrimination. As HR practitioner, she has the experience in managing overall people processes including organizational design, diversity & inclusion and change management. With her experience, Maya is leading the assistance program to IBCWE members in transforming their policies and practices using the gender lens, including diversity and inclusion aspects. In collaboration with UN Women, Maya is currently seating as judge for Women Empowerment Principles (WEP) Award, for Indonesia and Asia Pacific region. Maya is appointed as one of advocates for G20 EMPOWER Program, representing Indonesia in G20 forum, along with other business leaders from Indonesia. She also assists the B20 Secretariat to develop policies recommendation from business perspective.
South East Asia and Oceania Regional Director, WEConnect International. Mrinalini Venkatachalam is the Regional Director for South East Asia and Oceania at WEConnect International, a global nonprofit network that works with multinational corporations and multilateral organizations to generate market-access opportunity for women’s business enterprises in over 125 countries through supplier diversity. The organization identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women’s business enterprises based outside the U.S. that are at least 51% owned, as well as managed and controlled, by one or more women, and then connects them to qualified buyers across the globe. WEConnect International’s network of corporate members, primarily Fortune 500 companies, represent over $1 Trillion in annual purchasing power. Over the last twelve years, Mrinalini has engaged with large corporates, government agencies, SMEs and community organizations to provide them with a platform to create measurable social impact. She speaks regularly at community events, corporate events, and conferences about the role that gender equality plays in achieving a more sustainable world for everyone. Mrinalini has been awarded the Singapore Women's Weekly's Great Women of Our Time award in the Public Service and Education category and has been nominated as one of Cleo Singapore's 2016 top ten Changemakers.
Senior Manager, Global Operations, Asia & Oceania, United Nations Global Compact. eha Das is the Senior Manager, Global Operations, Asia & Oceania with the United Nations Global Compact. A seasoned sustainability professional, she has previously managed the Anti-Corruption portfolio of the UN Global Compact and engaged the private sector in collective action initiatives around the world. Neha has also practiced law for several years, advising on corporate and compliance laws, human rights due diligence, and CSR regulations. Neha holds a Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School, USA and a B.A. LL.B (Hons.) degree from National Law Institute University, India. She has been a member of Transparency International’s Business Principles Steering Committee and was part of the UNDP’s Asia Pacific SDG Financing Facility (AP-FIN).
Patricia Mathias - Picture.JPG
Head, Gender Platform, AVPN. Patricia joined AVPN in April 2020 as head of the Gender Platform to launch the Asia Gender Network and improve the lives of women and girls across Asia. Patricia has experience in both for profit and not for profit organizations, most recently serving as the CEO for Magic Bus Singapore and SouthEast Asia, a charity that helps lift children out of poverty. During her four year tenure, Patricia led strategy planning and fundraising for the region, and established local operations for Magic Bus in Myanmar. Previously, Patricia spent 20 years with Procter & Gamble where she held marketing and leadership roles and was responsible for multiple brands across various consumer goods categories. She has lived in India, Singapore, Malaysia and China.
30 for 2030 Youth Leader, Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Awareness 360. Rijve Arefin is a multi-award-winning community development practitioner and a devoted youth activist. He has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 and highlighted as the Featured Honoree for Social Impact. He also received The Diana Award - the most prestigious accolade a young person can receive for their humanitarian work, continuing Princess Diana’s legacy. He was recognised with the Putra Icon Award. He served as the Target Gender Equality Programme's Advisor at the UN Global Compact. Over 1 million people have benefited from the work of his organisation, Awareness 360, of which he is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair.
Samantha Hung is Chief of Gender Equity Thematic Group at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) where she provides leadership for advancing gender equality across all aspects of ADB operations. A dual Australian/British national, Samantha has over 20 years of experience in gender equality at project, program and policy levels in the Asia Pacific. Before joining ADB 11 years ago, Samantha held gender specialist roles for the New Zealand Agency for International Development, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, UNICEF, Australian Government and UK Institute of Development Studies.
Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Specialist, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Stephanie Perrin is the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion Specialist with the APEC-Canada Growing Business Partnership at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, a leading organization for research, analysis, and consultation on Canada-Asia relations. Steph is strengthening the Partnership’s integration of gender equity with the aim to enhance inclusive, sustainable economic growth for micro, small, and medium enterprises in six APEC economies. Steph holds a Master’s degree in International Studies from Simon Fraser University, and she is passionate about advancing gender justice, knowledge sharing, and global cooperation.
Programme Manager, Catalyzing Women's Entrepreneurship, UN ESCAP. Ms. Sudha Gooty is the Programme Manager of United Nations ESCAP’s regional initiative titled Catalyzing Women’s Entrepreneurship. This programme blends innovative financing tools, policies and ICT to advance women's entrepreneurship in Asia and the Pacific region. Ms. Gooty’s career spans over 17 years with various agencies in the United Nations System including International Organization for Migration, UNDP and UN ESCAP in the areas of Women’s Economic Empowerment, Climate Change Finance, Democratic Governance and Disaster Risk Reduction. She has worked at the sub-national, national and regional level in several countries in Asia including Lao PDR, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Thailand. An Indian national, Ms. Gooty holds a Masters in Rural Management and currently lives in Bangkok, Thailand.
Regional Gender Specialist, UNDP RBAP. Ms. Tshering Choden is the Regional Gender Specialist of UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub to collaborate with UNDP’s regional programming and projects, with a focus to design and implement the regional gender equality programming to develop regional gender equality insights. Ms. Tshering holds extensive experience in both the public and the private sector and across various agencies in the United Nations System in the areas of gender mainstreaming, youth empowerment, Women, Peace & Security, etc. Ms. Tshering holds a Masters’ Degree in Sustainable International Development and a postgraduate Masters in Sustainability, Development and Peace.