To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re pleased to feature an outstanding Australia Awards Alumni and a leader in the banking industry: Nanthala Salichanh
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”
Gender equality is a key component of Australia’s international engagement, and it’s important to a stable, prosperous, and resilient Mekong region.
With 15 years’ experience working with ANZ bank, Nanthala is leading the way in an industry that has been traditionally dominated by men.
After completing a Bachelor of Business Accounting @swinburneuniversityoftechnology, Nanthala joined ANZ Laos, working in several roles across the business and has been the Head of Markets, Laos since 2017. During this period, Nanthala made a significant contribution to establishing ANZ Laos as a well-recognized franchise and was recently appointed as Head of Markets, Laos and Myanmar. Nanthala is also an active board member for the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Lao PDR.
We started by asking Nanthala about International Women’s Day and what gender equality means to her:
“To me gender equality means everyone is equal and should be given equal opportunities. There are strengths of to each gender, where backgrounds, perspectives and life experiences can bring innovation and help us make better decisions. Leveraging the unique capabilities and different perspectives of each individual diversifies the workplace by valuing every voice including women
As business leaders, there are steps we can take to ensure equality in the workplace.
- Support and facilitate equal employment opportunities based on an individual’s ability, performance, and potential.
- Ensure our recruitment and selection practices are inclusive of gender equality where we have a gender balance in the applicant pool as well as the interview panel.
- Address any bias in our systems and processes that might disadvantage people from different genders or other groups
- Foster and promote a gender equal workplace culture where all individuals can grow and succeed.”
To ensure that more women take on leadership positions, Nanthala believes that gender equality needs to become a cultural norm ‘starting from the early years, from family, education level and society where gender equality becomes our cultural norm. We should advocate and support the values women bring to society, their families and communities. We should give more leadership opportunities to women and try to eliminate thinking that certain roles and positions are only for men. ANZ values gender equality including diversity and inclusion and women in leadership is put into practice. I don’t think I would be where I am now if ANZ didn’t support women in leadership.’
Nanthala enjoyed her time studying in Melbourne, Australia saying “I can write a book about my time living and studying in Australia but let me instead give you a snapshot. Melbourne was the place to be, like its motto at the time. It has a a diverse culture and population which makes the city livable and enjoyable. If I had to make the choice again, it would still be Melbourne. I could find anything I wanted to eat there, including food I could get at home.”
And she has maintained a close relationship with her fellow students and Alumni “I love being part of the Alumni network! I have many connections with alumni, especially working with Australian businesses. As a member of AusCham, I meet many Alumni and Australian friends by attending events such as panel discussions and workshops. I have a local and international perspective on life and meeting alumni balances both for me”
Finally, Nanthala has a simple message for International Women’s Day, especially for young women in Laos who are beginning to pursue their dreams and career: “Believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Give it a try and see the result. Everyone has their own uniqueness.”