This morning on April 19th, 2023, the workshop “Leading Business Innovation – Insights from Female Leaders” was successfully held in Ho Chi Minh City. The workshop was organized by Investment Promotion and Business Support Joint Stock Company (IBP), Business Startup Support Center (BSSC), Ho Chi Minh City Young Entrepreneurs Association, and Ho Chi Minh City Association of Women Entrepreneurs (HAWEE).
The workshop had the participation of many successful and famous female entrepreneurs in Vietnam, along with the following speakers:
- Dr. Phaedria Marie St.Hilaire, Director of Phaedria Marie Consulting, Co-Founder and Chair of the Black Women Entrepreneurs Association.
- Ms. Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of PNJ Jewelry Corporation and Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City Association of Women Entrepreneurs (HAWEE).
- Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi, Chairwoman of the Board and CEO of IBP Company, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Young Entrepreneurs Association.
At the workshop, female entrepreneurs had the opportunity to chat and share their stories, how they overcame obstacles and affirmed themselves, as well as building a community of female leaders to connect female entrepreneurs not only in Vietnam but also around the world.
In Vietnam, the number of female leaders is impressive due to various factors. According to some reports, women in Vietnamese businesses account for nearly 50%. In Vietnam, the role of women is gradually being strengthened thanks to policies on gender equality. Ms. Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, the Chairwoman of HAWEE and PNJ Jewelry Corporation, shared that she felt fortunate to receive education and inspiration from both her biological and mother-in-law about the role of a wife in the family and overcoming the limits of traditional gender roles, such as taking care of children. Ms. Dung emphasized the importance of independent thinking, equality ideas, and potential for development in women. Women can develop strongly if they are not tied down by concerns about family, food, and money. Similar to Dr. Phaedria’s efforts towards the community of Black female entrepreneurs, one of Ms. Dung’s proudest achievements is founding the Ho Chi Minh City Association of Women Entrepreneurs.
During a discussion, Ms. Tieu Yen Trinh, the Vice Chairwoman of HAWEE and CEO of Talentnet Corporation, shared a different perspective on the role of women in various industries and environments. In the private sector, women are seen as strong leaders because they are responsible for positioning the company. Vietnamese women are often described as skilled in household tasks and capable of managing multiple responsibilities. As someone with influence in the recruitment and talent networking field, Ms. Trinh revealed that many foreign companies prefer to hire female personnel over male personnel. They believe that women have valuable qualities such as commitment, diligence, and perseverance. Nowadays, the role and position of female leaders in foreign investment fields and private sector blocs are becoming increasingly popular. In general, Vietnam is a unique and outstanding market in terms of the voice of women in business and on the market, based on evaluations of the Asia region.
Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi raises a critical issue regarding innovation as follows: “Many people talk about technological changes in business life. From Ms. Dung’s perspective, facing such rapid changes, sometimes women have too much to focus on: family, children, career… Is it why women are slower than men in the world of innovation? And what do you think about the role of women in promoting an organization in innovation?”
Ms. Dung shared her perspective on the difference in characteristics between men and women, citing that men are generally more dynamic due to the traits encoded in their genes. However, she emphasized that gender and age are only minor factors when it comes to innovation and creativity. Despite being at an age where she can afford to rest, she recognizes that the last 10 years have been a period of explosive growth in technology and business innovation. To keep up with the trends and avoid being left behind, she remains prepared to learn new knowledge and skills alongside her company.
Ms. Dung highlights that the most significant barrier to innovation lies in one’s mindset. Women tend to take things slowly but surely, but this trait must go hand in hand with a desire for innovation. Continual learning and improvement are the keys to success for women in innovation.
In conclusion, it is essential to change the mindset that inhibits women’s creative potential and provide opportunities for women to learn, grow, and contribute to innovation. By removing these barriers, women can become significant contributors to the growth and success of businesses.
Ms. Vo Thi Ngoc Huong, the General Director of Saigon Co-op Food, shared some valuable insights she acquired from a speaker at a recent workshop. Firstly, when traveling with her husband, a woman should not have the mentality of a wife but rather the desire to contribute. The second lesson she drew from the workshop was that “behind the success of a man will always be the shadow of a woman, but behind the success of a woman will be another woman. Women themselves are the driving force that motivates and supports each other.”
These lessons underscore the importance of female empowerment and the role of women in supporting and inspiring one another. Women should strive to break free from traditional gender roles and pursue their desires, aspirations, and contributions to society. By building a supportive network of women, they can drive each other’s growth and success in all aspects of life. Bà Vo Thi Ngoc Huong’s experience demonstrates that female leadership and contributions are crucial for the growth and success of businesses and society as a whole.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Anh, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Au Co Saigon – Bien Hoa Hospital, fully agrees with the aspect of being a “smart wife” that Ms. Huong has mentioned. She shares that in fact, both family and company have a similarity, which is the need for strategic planning. In the family, we can set specific goals such as strengthening family bonds, helping everyone understand each other’s love language, and so on to develop effective strategies. If we find a suitable family strategy, we will know when to advance and retreat to create a harmonious atmosphere while still maintaining our own voice.
Here are some main points of the workshop:
- “Risk smart”: Women often take risks after considering, analyzing, and evaluating the issue comprehensively.
- “After the success of one woman is another woman” is the lesson drawn from the sharing of Mrs. Cao Thi Ngoc Dung – Chairwoman of HAWEE & Chairman of the Board of Directors of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ). It can be seen that to become a successful businesswoman like today, she received great encouragement from her own mother and mother-in-law.
- “To empower women to speak up and assert themselves more, start by educating young girls to speak up about what they are thinking, for example: ‘What do I want?” according to Mrs. Huynh Thi Xuan Lien – Vice Chairwoman of HAWEE – Member of the Board of Directors of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ)
- “When you want something, set a “strategy”, whether it’s in work, love, or marriage” shared by Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hoang Anh – Chairman of the Board of Directors of Au Co Saigon – Bien Hoa Hospital.