Get on Board with Deloitte’s Board-Ready Women Programme

Deloitte Malaysia launched its inaugural Board-Ready Women Programme 2023 in partnership with the Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia, Boardroom Malaysia, and the 30% Club Malaysia.

The Board-Ready Women Programme, an initiative under the Global Boardroom Programme, aims to prepare and position aspiring women for board placements,  equipping them to be effective in their roles.

In Malaysia, Siti Hajar Osman is the CoLeader for the Global Boardroom Programme and will be leading this Board-Ready Women Programme.

At the programme’s launch event, Datuk Ami Moris, Chair of 30% Club Malaysia, addressed the state of women in Malaysian boardrooms. 

She highlighted the remarkable achievement of women now holding slightly over 30% of board seats in the top 100 publicly listed companies on Bursa Malaysia. This milestone underscores a significant step towards gender parity and a growing acknowledgment of the immense value diversity brings to the corporate world.

In her speech, she emphasised, “Collectively, Corporate Malaysia can be a force for good to create a more cohesive society, as envisaged by the Madani Economy, where every individual has equitable opportunities to contribute and thrive.”

The programme comprises four interactive modules conducted over two months, each delving into critical aspects of governance, personal attributes, live boardroom simulation, and leadership qualities.

These are :

Session 1: (that took place on 6 September): Governance & Technical, which will provide an introduction to key corporate governance & technical principles as well as the legal aspects for the role.

Session 2: Personal Attributes, will focus on building a personal brand, navigating board dynamics and leveraging on mentorship to accelerate the board journey.

Session 3: Live Boardroom Simulation, will be a mock boardroom simulation and breakout session with feedback and guidance on some leading practices from the facilitators.

Session 4: Inspired Board-Ready Women and Graduation, the final session will cover the importance of board diversity, shed light on the current barriers that exist for women as well as provide valuable advice to help prepare participants for their board journey.

To commemorate the successful completion of the series, a graduation celebratory luncheon will be hosted.

Participants in this programme will gain invaluable insights into the latest industry trends, technical thought leadership, and essential soft skills necessary for women leaders to excel in the boardroom.

They will also have the opportunity to network and share knowledge with senior board members, industry experts, and seasoned professionals, setting the stage for a brighter, more inclusive future in corporate leadership.

Shaping Entrepreneurial Women Scholarship 

The story of the Heriot-Watt University Malaysia – 30% Club Malaysia scholarships begins in 2010, when Dame Heather McGregor, alongside a determined group of women, ignited the spark that would become the 30% Club UK in the UK. The 30% Club was launched in Malaysia on 8 May 2015.

In 2016, Dame McGregor became part of the Heriot-Watt University family. With a campus thriving here in Malaysia and the local chapter of the 30% Club making strides, she saw an opportunity to create the Shaping Entrepreneurial Women Scholarship that would empower Malaysian women to pursue an MBA, thus equipping them for the leadership roles of tomorrow. 

These scholarships that are not just about education, but about equipping future leaders with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to be better leaders within Corporate Malaysia

An MBA is a proven pathway to building successful careers so together Heriot-Watt University Malaysia & the 30% Club Malaysia, established an annual woman scholarship with the end game to increase women representation at senior levels of business.

This partnership with Heriot-Watt University is in line with the our objective of strengthening the female boardroom pipeline to ensure that we get better gender balance in the boardrooms and senior management of Malaysian corporates. 

The next intake is in January 2024 so we encourage women employed in our Corporate Members’ organisation to apply when for the scholarships when the notice goes out later this year.

Recently, several members of the 30% Club Malaysia Steering Committee(SteerCo) met some of the scholars. We delved into their stories, learned about their journeys, and shared updates about the ongoing progress of the 30% Club Malaysia. Beyond just scholars, they are advocates of a business-led revolution, champions of change in their own right.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to AFFIN Group for hosting us at the spectacular Menara Affin in TRX. A shout out goes out to the two participants of the recently concluded Accelerate Wahine 100MYR StartUp Competition, an educational entrepreneurship competition. 

They prepared some scrumptious snacks for all to enjoy during tea. This competition was supported by some of the SteerCo & volunteer advocates of 30% Club Malaysia.

Over tea and treats, we shared laughter, stories, and dreams. Because empowerment isn’t just about numbers; it’s about connections!

Research Collaboration with Monash University Malaysia

30% Club Malaysia is thrilled to share a dynamic research collaboration with Monash University Malaysia’s School of Business.

What started as a serendipitous meeting between our Co-Lead of the Influence Pillar, Rejina Rahim, and Professor Grace Hooi, Head of the Economics Department, at a March 2022 event, has blossomed into something remarkable.

The result of which is one of the PhD students took on the research to examine the impact of female representation at decision-making levels on corporate performance on Bursa Malaysia’s public-listed companies (PLCs).

The research found that for every 10-percentage point increase in the representation of women on boards and female executives, there was a significant improvement of 1.4% and 1.2% on the return on investment.

30% Club Malaysia strongly believes that the path to getting Malaysia’s economic engine fired up for a sustainable future lies in empowering all segments of society.

A path towards gender parity and the all-encompassing stakeholder economy has the potential of contributing up to USD50 billion to Malaysia’s GDP according to McKinsey’s Global Institute study in 2018. With this recent finding by Monash University. Malaysia alongside the growth of women representation on Bursa’s PLCs, we hope to see that the ROI numbers grow in tandem for the benefit of all.

Read about it here. Also read about Navigating the Gender Pay Gap: Occupational Insights and Business Strategies in Malaysia here

Views: Invisible factors give rise to persistent workplace inequality

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts would not live up to their promise if we’re blind to the invisible factors that hold people back from fully participating in the economy, workplace and school. 

Yi-Ren Wang , Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Asia School of Business illustrates this in her op-ed, part of a series of thought leadership pieces, Equity, Equality & Prosperity, in collaboration with The Edge and the 30% Club Malaysia.

Read about it in The Edge ESG section here.

30% Club Malaysia Celebrates a Milestone for Gender Diversity in Corporate Malaysia

      • – Achieved 30% women board representation on aggregate for top 100 PLCs

      • – Aims to achieve gender parity in boardrooms of all PLCs by 2030

      • – Appoints new strategic pillar leads and creative agency to support ambition


    Kuala Lumpur, 13 July 2023 – A significant milestone has been achieved in
    Corporate Malaysia with women holding 30.6% of board seats of the top 100 public
    listed companies (PLCs) and close to 25% of seats of all PLCs on Bursa Malaysia,
    based on data provided by the Securities Commission.



    The achievement, proclaimed as a first step for meaningful gender diversity on
    Malaysia’s boards, was achieved on 1 June 2023, six months ahead of the 30% Club’s
    target date of 31 December 2023.





    Dato’ Ami Moris, Chair of the 30% Club Malaysia and Advisor at Maybank Group said,
    “The 30% representation is seen to be a tipping point in providing women leaders with
    an influential voice, and for boards to move closer to gender parity. The biggest jump
    in women on board representation was recorded from 2021 due to Bursa’s Listing
    Requirements for all PLCs to have at least one woman director by 1 June 2023,
    supported by the collective action of leaders of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).”



    “There is increasing push for DEI efforts to serve Environmental, Social and
    Governance (ESG) imperatives. As it evolves, DEI is about winning the battle for talent
    to future proof organisations for growth and innovation. Numerous studies have shown
    that companies with more diverse boards tend to outperform and are ahead on
    achieving their climate action goals. Investors are likewise scrutinising boards for their



    Stepping up on ambitions and goals

    Building on the momentum for diversity, the 30% Club aims to help catalyse more
    PLCs to achieve 30% women representation on boards. As of 1 June 2023, 45 of the
    top 100 and over 700 of all PLCs have yet to do so.



    Dato’ Ami said, “When the 30% Club was established in Malaysia in 2015, its 30%
    goal was thought to be highly ambitious. As comparison in the UK, women now hold
    nearly 40% of board seats of FTSE100 companies. Our next target is for parity of men
    and women on all PLCs by 2030. It’s a huge ambition, but not one that we shy away



    The continued success of the 30% Club Malaysia is attributed to leveraging its three
    strategic pillars:


    ● Activate Pillar – Activating Corporate Advocates that are interested in leading
    and signalling their DEI efforts. To date, 51 organisations have joined the 30%
    Club campaign. This year they include institutional investors, Khazanah
    Nasional Berhad and Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB).


    ● Influence Pillar – Engaging key stakeholders to embed DEI in public policies
    and advocate for DEI across their ecosystems. The 30% Club had worked with
    the Institutional Investors Council (IIC) to include 30% women on board
    representation in its revised Malaysian Code for Institutional Investors.



    ● Enable Pillar – Building a sustainable pipeline of board-ready women leaders
    and professionals through various initiatives such as the Board Mentoring
    Scheme in collaboration with PwC. Since 2017, 106 women have been
    mentored, and 41% of them have secured board positions.


    Since October 2021, the 30% Club Malaysia received active support from Maybank,
    its corporate sponsor. that marked a new chapter in the business-led campaign’s


    Dato’ Ami added, “As more companies embrace DEI, the demand for board-ready
    women candidates is set to accelerate. Increasingly, we are seeing more women with
    sustainability, digital technology and international background securing board seats.”

    “I would urge companies to move from mentoring to sponsoring women leaders in the
    boardrooms and senior leadership. This involves more active and concerted efforts to
    get women with the right competencies and skillsets to the right seats.”



    Appointing new leadership and resources


    Committed to strengthening and sustaining its business campaign, the 30% Club
    Malaysia is also pleased to announce its new steering committee with effect 1 July
    2023, comprising the following. INED is Independent Non-Executive Director. ED is
    Executive Director.


    Chair: Dato’ Ami Moris, Advisor, Maybank Group


    ● Activate Pillar, led by
    Marzida Mohd Noor, INED, Affin Bank

        • Frances Po, INED, Sentral REIT Management
        • ● Influence Pillar, led by
          Rejina Rahim, Co-Founder, Wahine Capital

        • Ar. Ahila Ganesan, INED, Velesto Energy

        • Low Ngai Yuen, INED, GDEX and OCK
        • ● Enable Pillar – talent engagement led by

        • Raj Kumar Paramanathan, Managing Partner, CnetG Asia

        • Geetha Kandiah, CEO, KASS International


          ● Enable Pillar – Board Mentoring Scheme led by
          Pauline Ho, Partner, PwC Malaysia

        • Norlela Baharudin, ED, Berjaya Corporation, and INED, Prokhas

        • Shireen Iqbal, CEO and ED, Alpha REIT Managers, and INED, UM Properties

        • New co-leads in their respective pillars.
        • The committee includes the Marketing, Communications and Secretariat leads:

        • Noelle Lim, Maybank Investment Banking Group

        • Jacinta Vythilingam, Spinmeister Communications

        • Syaheera Abdul Hamid, Maybank Investment Banking Group

        • Wan Mazlina Wan Mustafa
        • The 30% Club is also pleased to announce that TBWA\Malaysia, part of the
          TBWA\Worldwide creative collective, has come onboard to assist with creative and
          campaign efforts. TBWA has been named by Fast Company as one of the world’s
          most innovative companies in 2023, for the fifth year in a row since 2019.
        • Dato’ Ami said, “The skills and experiences of the new steering committee and
          professionals reflect the intensity of the 30% Club’s work going forward. On this note,
          I wish to thank the previous committee members for their dedication and invaluable
          contribution in laying the foundation for success. They have played an instrumental
          role in shaping the direction of the Malaysian chapter of the 30% Club, and serve as
          an inspiration to all of us. They remain as stalwart advocates.”
        • The steering committee takes advice and guidance from the Advisory Council
          comprising Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Dato’ Abdul Aziz Abu
          Bakar, and Anne Abraham.

      Great evening of networking and sharing on ‘Inspiring Allyship’

      Last month our Corporate Member AMCHAM Malaysia (American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce) along with 30% Club Malaysia hosted “Inspiring Allyship”. It was a special networking event to bring together corporate leaders, professionals, and advocates who share a common vision of cultivating a more inclusive corporate landscape.

      The evening began with a welcome address by Siobhan Das Bachran (贝诗凡) CEO, AMCHAM. Our Chair, Dato’ Ami Moris then shared with us some insights about what’s needed to move the needle further to improve gender DEI on company boards and at senior management levels within Corporate Malaysia.

      She also shared the good news that as at June 2023, women occupy 31% of the top 100 PLCs’ board seats in Malaysia. This was to have been achieved by the end of 2023, but advocacy and regulation have helped bring this forward! Now begins our journey to parity with more male allies on board.

      Three corporate leaders who are male allies also shared their thoughts and experiences about Male Allyship. In the context of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), a male ally refers to a man who actively supports and advocates for gender equality and works to dismantle gender-based biases and discrimination.

      Male allies recognise the systemic barriers and inequities that women and other marginalised genders face and take action to promote a more inclusive and equitable environment.

      We heard from Ahmad Shahriman M. CEO, CIMB Islamic Bank who shared with us about “Unlocking the power of male allyship”. This was followed by Rohit Nambiar, Group Chief Executive Officer, Tune Protect Group who enlightened us about “Allyship In Action. Then, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, CEO, PEMANDU Associates shared his thoughts on “Managing Polarities” and ended his presentation with a mash up of two Blues songs. One an original composition “Hey Brother, Hey Sister” and the Eric Clapton classic “Before You Accuse Me (Take a look at yourself)”. 

      There was also a brief Q & A with all three speakers that may spur more male allies to join us on our journey to parity.

      Thriving diversity with Great Eastern General Insurance Malaysia

      Great Eastern General Insurance Malaysia celebrated its recent joining as a Corporate Advocate of the 30% Club Malaysia and to generate greater awareness about #DEI and #ESG.

      Here are some points from the panel discussion on Thriving By Unleashing The Potential Of DEI at Great Eastern:

      👏 Ng Kok Kheng, CEO of Great Eastern General Insurance Malaysia said diversity is not limited to gender and is about mutually benefiting all generations with wisdom.

      👏 Surina Ismail said we should value diversity – minorities enrich us with their different perspectives. And we need to make the business case for #DEI to get buy-in.

      👏 Michelle Ann Iking said sometimes barriers are self-imposed. Women need to advocate for themselves more, and maximise time and opportunity with mentors that are assigned to them at workplaces.

      Great Eastern has 64% women represented with one third in management and senior leadership positions. It recognises that more women can be in management.

      Speed Mentoring – Bringing Together Mid-Career Women

      Last month the 30% Club Malaysia held a Speed Mentoring Event bringing together 84 mid-career women from 25 companies, creating an unparalleled platform for growth and development.

      Guided by seven experienced and insightful mentors, the attendees had the invaluable opportunity to tap into a wealth of wisdom and knowledge. Engaging in small workshops and mentoring sessions, they not only expanded their professional networks but also collaborated to identify the barriers that hinder their progress.

      One prominent challenge that emerged during the event was the issue of visibility or the lack thereof. edotco former Regulatory Advisor Rema Devi Nair, a mentor imparted invaluable advice to women leaders seeking to overcome this hurdle.

      She emphasised the importance of women holding themselves to the same standards as their male counterparts. To be taken seriously and recognised as experts in their fields, women leaders must be prepared, purposeful, and knowledgeable, positioning themselves as the go-to experts within their organisations.

      Mentor Christina Foo, who is Board member of KPJ, UEM Sunrise, Ancom Nylex and Star Media Group offered valuable insights into effectively managing one’s time and making strategic choices. She empowered women to design their lives, emphasising the importance of setting boundaries and confidently saying “no” when necessary. By doing so, women leaders can allocate their time and energy towards endeavours that align with their goals and aspirations.

      CIMB Group Holdings Board Member Ho Yuet Mee compared women leaders to swans – graceful and elegant on the surface, but underneath, their feet are tirelessly straddling the challenges and tasks that come their way.

      Women leaders exude a natural sense of poise and grace, and inspire us with their ability to navigate through the complexities of the business world with finesse. But what most people don’t see is the sheer strength and determination that lies beneath their serene exterior.

      The 30% Club Malaysia would like to thank all our mentors Rema Devi NairChristina FooRejina RahimYuki Aizawa 愛澤友己Farhan AhmadYuet Mee Ho, and finally, the 30% Club Malaysia would like to extend its gratitude to its dedicated Volunteer Advocates, Raj Kumar ParamanathanVani Mahadevan, and Geetha Kandiah, whose unwavering support contributed to the seamless execution of this empowering event.

      The 30% Club Malaysia would also like to thank its Corporate Advocate CIMB Islamic for graciously hosting this event and providing an exceptional venue for the participants.

      Board Profile Writing Masterclass – What Our Mentees Say?

      Recently, the 30% Club Malaysia together with CnetG Asia and HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad organised the Professional Board Profile Writing Masterclass Programme for mentees of 30% Club Malaysia Board Mentoring Scheme.

      The programme which has been running for the past three years encompasses interactive discussions, live review of resume, writing workshop and networking lunch.

      The participants found the half-day session WoW! as it focused on self-reflections and the power of owning one’s space. Following are reflections from mentees after the programme.

      “This session has been valuable as it helps me to evaluate my strengths, weakness as well as what are the competences that I have for board position,” said Luanne Sieh.

      “Now, I need to lock myself in the room and put my thoughts in broad profile,” she added with a smile.

      For Rayvathi Rajendra she found the programme interesting and useful. 

      The programme is tailored especially for women who aspire to be on board. The interactive and real-time review of the board profile writing during the workshop was an enlightening experience – we had to apply the tips that have been taught in the first session.

      Emi Rice-Oxley wrote on her LinkedIn page that “humility is a virtue but sometimes it comes at the expense of underselling your expertise and achievements. This is true for everyone but especially women. The Masterclass helps distinguish overt, or maybe unconscious, bragging from real achievements,”

      She added that “the collective experience of the amazing leaders from diverse industries enriches learning greatly. Regardless of the industry, we share many common concerns and uncertainties in navigating our professional journeys but the support and encouragement we gave each other go a long way to boosting our confidence and success,”

      Having conversations, sharing thoughts and experiences from the participants have also helped the mentees to formulate their own thoughts and gave ideas on how to write their broad profile.

      For example, how does one convert experiences into strength and competences? And writing them for board profile in a way that entices the board members? This programme helps to address this challenge.

      The programme was conducted by Raj Kumar Paramanathan who is the Co-Lead of Activate Pillar of 30% Club Malaysia and Managing Partner of CnetG Asia, an executive search and leadership development firm.

      Approximately 15 participants from the mentees of 30% Club Malaysia Board Mentoring Scheme attended the programme.

      Engaging and Thought-provoking Panel Discussion on Gender Equality

      The 30% Club Malaysia collaborated with CIMB to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023 at Menara CIMB with a series of exciting sharing sessions and a stimulating all-women panel discussion.

      With the theme #EmbraceEquity, which is part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness around “Why equal opportunities are no longer enough”, the session was both engaging and stimulating, highlighting the need for more women to be included in the digital economy.

      The panel discussion featured female leaders who raised important points about how digital technology has opened new doors for women empowerment.

      As we continue to work towards gender equality, corporate advocates like CIMB has taken proactive steps to advance the discourse on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and inspire actions to achieve gender parity and inclusive diversity.