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Women with Ambition: Up Close with Freda Liu

This woman’s voice is one of the most influential voices in the business scene in Malaysia, and it is the voice of none other than Freda Liu. As the Lead Producer/Presenter on BFM 89.9 - The Business Station, many look forward to her no-holds-barred interviews.  

In our Women with Ambition series, Freda shares her insights and the lessons she has learnt from other influential women. Read on to find out how you can hold your head up high through the ups and downs of life. 


1. JP Morgan Chase, Citibank Inc. and Mastercard are just some of the companies who have adjusted the gender pay gap to close to one percent. Can you share examples of equality practices that your firm looks closely at?

The portion of employees in terms of gender is almost equal, and in fact, there are more women.  

Paternity leave in the organization is a month. I feel this is crucial because the message here is both parents have equal responsibility to raise the child. The only thing the father cannot do is breastfeed. 


2. If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?

Get your eggs frozen! For most women who decide to have children or are unsure about having children, this is probably something that’s at the back of their minds. If the decision to have children comes at a later stage, that’s one concern dealt with. That said, I have no regrets having my child when I was 32. He’s now at an age where he’s not dependent on me so it could work either way. 


3. Who inspires you and why?

Arianna Huffington for sure. Journalism is the essence of who she is. She sold Huffington Post and was unfortunately diagnosed with an acute case of burnout after collapsing and hurting herself in the process. The positive outcome of that was how she started her company Thrive Global, that raises awareness on vital issues like work-life integration, sleep, and mindfulness. It is a reminder to not burn the candle at both ends. 


4. What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

The importance of personal branding. We all have a brand, whether it’s by design or default. Whether we’re introverts or extroverts, it’s irrelevant. There are ways to position yourself as a subject matter expert, whether it's through writing or using videos. There's no time for false modesty. If you are an expert in an area, the world needs to know. 


5. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

I think you will experience sabotage. Two quotes come to mind. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people". The second is by Michelle Obama who said, “When they go low, we go high.” 

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