Five shortlisted female professionals are set to break new glass ceilings in the traditionally male-dominated property and real estate industry at the upcoming inaugural Women of the Future Southeast Asia Awards on 20 March.

Women of the Future Awards logo

RICS is marking International Women’s Day 2018 by partnering with the Women of the Future Awards and sponsoring the Property, Construction and Infrastructure category.

2018 is the first time that the Women of the Future awards has been launched outside of the UK. It will focus on the emerging pipeline of talent in Southeast Asia across a wide range of different sectors.

Being a champion for diversity, and therefore women at work, is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. Everyone has a role to play in attracting, retaining and supporting the best talent, regardless of where they sit in the organisation.

As RICS Chief Executive, there is a need to help women across the sectors to feel confident and able to put themselves forward for new opportunities and become role models in the media.

The Property, Construction and Infrastructure category shortlist

Faith Bautista-Espino, Senior Consultant at CTBH (Philippines)

Faith is an active member of the Women’s Business Network in Singapore, which seeks to empower women in the construction industry and encourage female leadership positions. She has quickly risen through the ranks and today plays an integral role in helping CTBH win new business through her vast industry experience.

Istilah Yanti Binte Mohamed Abali, Project Manager at Turner & Townsend (Singapore)

Since joining Turner & Townsend Singapore as a graduate cost manager in 2014, Istilah has excelled. She is now a prominent professional in the construction industry with vast project experience. She is Co-chair of the Young Professional Future Programme in South East Asia and is focused on empowering others around her.

Michelle Lau, Managing Director at Phnom Penh City Center (Cambodia)

Michelle is a pioneer in the construction industry in Cambodia. As the Managing Director of Phnom Penh City Centre, her focus on urban planning is creating a new heart in the capital city, delivering an improved quality of life for Cambodians. Michelle has a ground-breaking vision of green development and international construction standards in Cambodia.

An Nguyen, Director of Research & Consulting Services at CBRE Vietnam (Vietnam)

An is currently a director for CBRE in Hanoi, Vietnam. Her responsibilities include overseeing feasibility studies, development and property investment consultancy for local Vietnamese and international clients. Her vision is to help improve the quality of property products offered in Vietnam and pave the way to a more transparent property market, as well as support young professional women.

Karen Ong, Local Director at Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants (Singapore)

Karen has a wealth of experience including 10 years' commercial real estate in the Singapore market. As a key part of the Commercial Leasing Team, she has contributed to the growth of Jones Lang LaSalle’s commercial markets business in Singapore. She has won many awards for her work and is a passionate mentor.

A focus on Istilah Yanti

One of the five shortlisted Women of the Future nominees, Istilah Yanti, exemplifies the type of female role model who is blazing the way forward in the property sector.

Istilah is on her way to becoming a professional consultant, a role model, and a future leader at global professional services consultancy, Turner & Townsend. Her drive and dedication has been an inspiration to her colleagues, and her tenacity and level of excellence has been appreciated by her seniors and the management team.

Hopefully, my nomination can inspire young talent and give them the ambition and drive to be part of this dynamic and ever-changing industry.

About the Awards

The awards, for women under 35, celebrates women who have achieved tremendous success in their respective fields. It covers a range of categories, including technology, business, built environment, media and entrepreneurship.

Women as a demographic group represent an extremely large untapped resource. We believe that the Women of the Future programme can encourage, motivate and provide role models to inspire and strengthen the female-talent pipeline, and as a result ease the challenges caused by the talent shortage in Asia.

Even as corporate boardrooms across the board are seeing more female C-suite leaders, the gender gap remains visible in the property, real estate and construction industries, where the gender imbalance requires targeted and concerted efforts to correct. RICS believes that the built environment should fully reflect the people it serves, and that anyone, regardless of gender or race, should be offered the best opportunities to reach their full potential within the sector.


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