January 2, 2019

Women in Leadership (WIL) put together a day-long engagement session titled ‘Women of Excellence 2018’. The initiative aimed at instigating knowledge and skills among the audience, most of which were working women and female students. The event had multiple keynotes, dialogues and panel discussions; the ultimate aim of which were – ‘To Empower Women’. Women of Excellence was presented by Dolonchapa and was organized in association with Le Méridien Dhaka, which was also the venue of the event. Women of Excellence was organized by Corporate & Excellence.


The event was inaugurated by Nazia Andaleeb Preema, President, Women in Leadership; Najmus Ahmed Albab, CEO & Founder, Corporate & Excellence; and Sohana Rouf Chowdhury, Director, Rangs Group.

Speaking on the significance of the occasion, Nazia Andaleeb Preema shared her valuable insights on the journey of Women in Leadership (WIL) and stressed, “Women have to stand up to believe in their passion. Through emotional intelligence it is really possible to achieve. Women need to own themselves to be visible in a meaningful way to make a difference in this journey of leadership which WIL is offering.”

Mrs. Sohana Rouf Chowdhury, the person behind the initiative of launching the country’s first ever privately owned women-only bus service ‘Dolonchapa’, highlighted the positive developments in women empowerment in the country. Sohana Rouf, the Director of Rangs Group stressed, “As a country we have made tremendous strides in increasing the avenues for women to participate in the workforce. The eagerness is there, the drive is there and all the signs of the trends that we see around us gives us hope that we will be able to actually see significant increase in representation of women in all walks of life in our lifetime.” She hoped that her passion project will go a long way.

There was also a poem recitation by Sumaiya Binte Sarwar, Senior Consultant, Brand & Marketing, ACI Logistics Ltd. on ‘Phenomenal Women’ at the inauguration.




Runa Khan is the Founder and Executive Director of Friendship, an NGO supporting remote communities in Bangladesh. Shedding lights on the strength, resilience and courage of women in Bangladesh, she set the context by expressing her feeling of pride and expressed why it is so important to discover oneself for a purpose. Runa Khan is a person with determination to provide accessible healthcare, education, inclusive citizenship, sustainable economic development and community building aid for the underprivileged people of the remote river-land areas. She spoke about her valuable hands-on experience garnered from her years working at the grass-root level and what she aims to accomplish through Friendship. People discouraged her many times saying that she will only be a little drop in the ocean. Runa said smilingly, “I now want them to understand what that little drop could do. You have to ask people out there who have been able to study, a woman who has been ostracized from her family, or has had a fistula or prolapse operation, an old man having a new life at the age of sixty; whether all these little drops are important or not. Each of us has to do our best and make Bangladesh a better place than what it already is.”



Zara Jabeen Mahbub is the Senior Vice President and Head of Communications & Service Quality of BRAC Bank Limited. Zara’s session explained the power of Personal Branding and Networking. She stressed the importance of focusing through our own actions and working on our strengths to get things done. “Personal Branding is what defines us at the end of our terms”, she said. She has developed an effective practice of team work from her very childhood. According to her opinion, the day one realizes to work diligently, and so passionately, it will be the end goal in the mind; and that goal automatically will brand that person. “Personal branding is about being yourself, working diligently, being authentic and focusing on your work, having a mentality of teamwork and working passionately. It’s our work that takes us forward,” she ends.



Zara had an insightful dialogue session with Farzeen K Chowdhury, Director of Paper Studio, on Personal Branding & Networking. Talking about the initiative, she expressed her feeling of not sticking to the traditional corporate structured environment. Taking the now or never call, she started Paper Studio which now delivers fine quality papers to the corporate houses. She took the inspiration from the rich textured stationary and hand-made papers that used to attract her from the very childhood. This has helped her a lot in terms of building her personal brand.

Zara then adds, shedding light on the importance of partnership in personal branding, that guiding each other in their personal and corporate life regarding anything can also work out significantly.

The dialogue session was then followed by a question-answer session where mailing etiquettes, dealing clients, creating one-to-one relationship with supervisor & team mates and overcoming personal obstacles were discussed.



Shwapna Bhowmick is the Country Manager (Bangladesh) of Marks and Spencer. She talked about personal excellence. “Personal Excellence is what you can do better than yesterday,” she begins. She shared some of her philosophies and beliefs on the followings.

Be the best of yourself: Knowledge, that one got yesterday, can be very irrelevant today. So it’s also very important how one can deal with it to mould it into the best version for today.

Try repeatedly: Taking the tough things as an adventure or a challenge can build the eagerness to try repetitively. “Life is all about trying, failing miserably, standing up bravely and trying again.”

Become a team-player: Working in a team can lead one towards success; no matter how tough is that.

Keep learning: The feeling of learning newer things can change the life. Learning the toughest lesson as a challenge can be turned into a strength.

Align yourself with the big picture: Heart-breaks, not getting what you want, are a part of life. Again, align them with the big picture and turn those as adventures. Maybe, you can achieve something out of them.

Make plans and Focus on the Strengths: Make a complete plan of your life. Maybe you are getting married or going to have a baby; but you have got a job that you need to take care of. Start planning about it today and keep focusing on your strengths taking your weaknesses into account.



Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group, explained how one can lead self, team and organization. She started the session shedding lights on the endurance level of women in our country. It’s high time the women should think of themselves more, as most often they think of the surroundings and others. She expressed that women are equal to excellence in any form and in any respect.

The young generation are the ones from whom we have a lot to learn and know. Women need to be stronger for leading self, team as well as any organization. She talked about her personal experience about managing a business and becoming strong over the course of time. When a person is about to do a work, he or she can gain a sense of pleasure and inner strength by doing it in a constructive manner. “Women are one of a kind. The urge of doing something new can make them stand out of the crowd. The power of unity can help a lot in this respect.”




The first Panel Discussion was held on the topic “Emotional Intelligence” which consisted of Ashraf Kaiser, Founder & Managing Director of Benchmark Limited; Nazia Andaleeb Preema, President of Women in Leadership (WIL) & Director of Bangladesh Brand Forum, and Afreen Huda, Cluster HR Head of Reckitt Benckiser Bangladesh Limited.

The panelists discussed about the meaning of emotional intelligence to both men and women. The audience also participated actively in the discussion as the session went on. According to the panelists and the participants, emotional intelligence is the ability to handle things in a better manner no matter how adverse the situation is. Also, taking it from the organizational point of view, women have to deal with a lot of negotiation with the surroundings and eventually they win much of it; being a key value edition for them. Nazia Andaleeb Preema shared, “Emotional Intelligence is an inner feeling. We need to feel it, and connect it with real life. We need to be aware to have belief in it and move around with it.” Adding to that, Afreen Huda said, “We have to be very aware to pass it on to the next generation. It is something that people are born with and can be made much stronger by nurturing it.”


The second panel discussion had – Deneb Latif, Director of Magnum Management Consulting; Sohana Rouf Chowdhury, Director of Rangs Group; Monalisa Shahreen, Deputy Commissioner of Taxes, People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Sharmin Sultan, Vice President & Head of Talent Management of Robi Axiata Limited, and Mahia Juned, Deputy Managing Director of The City Bank, as discussants.

The panelists shared their views on how women should be more service focused, leveraging their capabilities, being more participative in terms of providing service, and bringing out possible solutions for the barriers preventing women from reaching their true potential. Skill developing along with self-promotion is very much important for the women in workplace.

For managing customer services, lot of women are now joining in. Still there’s a feeling of hesitance among women in developing relationship with the external clients. The prevailing reason behind this is lack of proper facilities and encouragement. By creating the awareness of professionalism, this issue has already been solved to a greater extent; yet women need to be more participative to bring service excellence to a greater extent.


Women in Leadership (WIL) and Systems Solutions & Development Technologies (SSD-TECH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim to develop a dedicated virtual learning platform for women.

Nazia Andaleeb Preema, President of WIL and Zaman Md. Bahadur Khan, Executive Director of SSD Tech signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations. Najmus Ahmed Albab, CEO and Founder, Corporate and Excellence was also present at the signing ceremony.


The dialogue session consisted of Syed Tanvir Husain, Chief Human Resource Officer, Grameenphone Limited, and Samina D Amin, Group Chief HR Officer, Rangs Group. They both shed lights on the art of story-telling for communication or any presentation in personal and professional capacity. Providing clear messages and staying away from personal and prejudiced remarks can enhance the credibility of the power of storytelling.  With a question-answer session with the audiences, they also shared their philosophy about storytelling for interactive audience engagement.


The dialogue on Innovation Excellence had – Shariful Islam, Founder and Managing Director of Bangladesh Brand Forum, and Tina F Jabeen, Policy Adviser, Startup Bangladesh. They discussed why more women aren’t visible in the senior positions in the technology sector and whether the situation abroad is similar to the situation at home. Together, they suggest changes that can lead to Innovation Excellence of women in different sectors.

Shariful Islam set the context by talking about the huge potential of innovation in Bangladesh by the young demography. Shedding lights on the current innovation challenges for women, Tina then talked about eliminating workplace discrimination so that women can be encouraged to bring innovation for a business and country. Promoting local women as role models can also help greatly in this regard.


The occasion also marked a spellbinding performance art by WIL President Nazia Andaleeb Preema. Preema is one of the most prolific visual artists of Bangladesh. She is also a pioneer artist in the performance art scene of Bangladesh. To celebrate Women of Excellence, she presented the contemporary trend of modern art with the performance celebrating power through body, time and space which left the audience captivated and enthralled.


The occasion also introduced WIL ambassadors who will resemble the power of womanhood at the respective universities. Nazia Andaleeb Preema and Najmus Ahmed Albab together handed over WIL sachet to the campus ambassadors. “WIL is a platform that encourages women to engage in leadership. I believe the campus ambassadors will take the initiative forward and take leadership to the next level,” said Ms. Preema.


Noteworthy Rabindra Sangeet singer Shama Rahman also performed in Women of Excellence. With her mesmerizing voice, she left the audience fascinated with her mesmerizing performance.

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.