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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Gender Inclusion |

5 Extraordinary Influencers Shaping Asia

5 Extraordinary Influencers Shaping Asia

Forbes recently announced its 30 under 30 Asia class of 2017 and it’s no surprise to see that diversity and empowerment was the core ideology they employed when making their selection. This is their second year publishing the Asian market list which recognizes 300 innovators, young entrepreneurs, influencers, and disruptors (game changers) from 10 different industries.

Last year 98 women made it to the list – this year it’s 97. While diversity is evident from the wide geographical representation of the individuals who made the list, gender diversity still looks a little slim. It was interesting, however, to see an increase of women making the list in areas of Consumer Tech and Social Entrepreneurs. Though Retail & Ecommerce, Manufacturing & Energy and Healthcare & Science saw a decline in women representation. Now there could be multiple reasons for this, however, I’m anxious to see what the class of 2018 will look like.

Until then, and without discrediting any of the talented and inspiring individuals who made it to this year’s list, irrespective of their gender or industry, here are my pick from the lot.

1. Yu Jia, CEO, UniCareer

Learning what she could at Morgan Stanley, Yu Jia felt there was a huge gap between the needs of corporate China and the talent market. And that notion spawned UniCareer – an online platform that takes its users through various learning and career development stages. Its users, mainly professionals and students, engage in a customized learning experience that prepares them for the corporate world thanks to the exposure they get from corporate mentors. At 28, Yu Jia, now heads a $4.3 million dollar organization that’s helping China’s talent pool grow and be recognized.

2. Doh Bomi, Cofounder, Enomad Corp

I’m personally always impressed by companies that take real-life challenges of developing frontier markets and make it their core purpose. For Doh Bomi, 26, the challenges may not have been so distressful considering how innovative and advanced South Korea is, however, her company Enomad Corp developed a lightweight and portable generator that can address energy issues across developing nations. The technology she’s developed converts energy from any moving water stream and enables USB-connected devices to charge.

3. Maria Tsuruoka, Cofounder, Symax

Formed in 2014, Symax has developed an application and hardware to preemptively detect diseases and illnesses, thus promising its users a healthier future. At Symax’s core is its founder, Maria Tsuruoka, 27, whose philosophy of providing her customers a low-cost, easy to use health analyzing tool has helped her secure funding from Draper Nexus Venture Partners and iSGS Investment Works.

4. Bridget Loudon, Cofounder, Expert360

Remember how I once talked about agile talent and its importance in the 21st century? Well Bridget Loudon saw it coming in 2014 and started Expert360 – an online platform where companies can hire experienced consultants and specialists. What makes it so special? In just 3 years she’s raised $8 million in capital, has over 2,500 companies hiring 12,000 consultants that use the platform across 97 countries!

5. Srikanth Bolla, CEO & Founder, Bollant Industries

My pick of the lot is Srikanth Bolla because of his truly remarkable journey and persistence to excel. Growing up blind in rural India in a family of farmers, Bolla overcame several challenges and became MIT’s first blind international student. After earning a degree in business management, he founded Bollant Industries which manufactures eco-friendly, disposable and compostable packaging. Adding to this extraordinary accomplishment is Bolla’s core philosophy of employing and empowering “differently-abled”, unskilled and uneducated people. At 25, Srikanth Bolla is a true source of inspiration.

The year 2016 saw much debate, news, controversy and chatter about diversity related issues and there’s hope that 2017 and the years to come will not only address them but see a significant positive change. The world needs more influencers like these 5 to inspire us all.

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