Careers blog: Inspirational women in business


Feb 2022

    As we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, our female leaders share their stories and advice, and shed light on how they have navigated their different career paths. 

    Read on to find out from Michelle Gaines what makes a brilliant CMO while Kalusha Yap shares her key tips on how to succeed in a sales role. Jaclyn Bouchard talks about the importance of diversity, and Geetanjali Bhalotia shares her proudest career moments.

    "Modern marketers should be versed in digital development, analytics and data visualization."

    Michelle Gaines, Chief Marketing Officer

    What advice would you give anyone who aspires to become a CMO?

    Marketing is a thrilling career. The industry is always changing and, as an enthusiastic lifelong learner, I love that there is no end to the skills you can invest in that will help you become better at your craft. I would advise anyone aspiring to be a CMO to approach their career with insatiable curiosity.

    To grow as a marketing leader, you are expected to have depth of expertise in your domain. In my case, this means marketing principles, the psychology that drives buying decisions, and how to inspire through effective digital media, content and communications. Anyone in a leadership role also needs to learn critical soft-skills and develop emotional intelligence to motivate others. Equally importantly, they need to have the resilience to stay focused through the inevitable challenges.

    However, I think many aspiring marketers are drawn to the profession because of its creative elements and often shy away from investing in technical skills that would give them breadth. Modern marketers should be versed in digital development, analytics and data visualization. What’s more, a CMO is a general business leader who needs to be competent in corporate finance and accounting. To me, my knowledge brings me confidence when communicating with my C-suite partners, such as the Chief Financial Officer or the Chief Technology Officer, and it makes me a more well-rounded leader who understands how marketing drives business growth.

    The best advice I can give aspiring CMOs is to have expertise across their field, but also the insatiable curiosity to continually learn about all the other corporate disciplines that drive their business.



    "Doing your job masterfully makes you a valuable problem-solver to any customer, and an asset to any company."

    Kalusha Yap, SVP, Head of Asia Sales

    Sales has traditionally been a male-dominated world - what has been the key to your success in this field?

    I have three guiding principles that have anchored me throughout each phase of my career:

    1.           Master your job

    It is easy for a woman operating in a male-led field to forget that the power to succeed is in our hands. Doing your job masterfully makes you a valuable problem-solver to any customer, and an asset to any company. In sales, the key principles of the job are: one, having a deep understanding of your customer’s pain-points, and this requires a skill in extracting information that will get you to the heart of what they need; two, having a holistic knowledge of your company’s products/solutions to said problems; and three, instilling confidence and trust in the customer that you have the solution to solve their problems. 

    2.           “Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else”

    My most beloved uncle gave me this piece of advice. There are two parts to this. Firstly, being the best version of yourself requires you to know intimately what your values are and what you stand for. This knowledge holds you in good stead and gives you boundaries, especially in challenging or uncomfortable situations. Secondly, do not strive to be someone else, because there are so many unseen factors in their world that you are not privy to. We should learn from as many people as we can, but not lose ourselves in the process. This makes the learning easier, more effective and rewarding.

    3.           Always bet on yourself 

    It’s not about having a constant and unwavering belief in yourself. There may be many times in your career when you doubt yourself, when you feel small or inept. But it’s what you do despite the doubts that counts. Don’t give up, trust the process, and know that hard work, commitment, time and experience will get you to where you want to go!



    "Female mentorship was one of the most powerful tools to help me grow my career."

    Jaclyn Bouchard, EVP, Head of ESG Solutions & Corporate Responsibility

    In recent years, diversity has become increasingly important for companies and Finance as an industry. What does ‘diversity’ mean to you?

    To me, diversity means creating a workplace with representation reflecting the markets we serve and communities where we operate. Diversity is achieved when doors are unlocked, roadblocks are removed, and ceilings are smashed through with equitable policies and practices. As a woman in finance, I believe it’s so important to work for a company that gives everyone the same chance at achievement, putting the power to succeed in our hands. 

    As a woman in a leadership position at Preqin, I know the importance of mentoring others and the inspiration that can come from just being where I am – with a seat at the table, leading one of the 6 business units of the company. Even more powerful is the role my business unit, ESG Solutions, can play in shining a light on diversity in the wider alternatives industry.

    I am also proud to be a driver of Preqin’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive. As Head of Corporate Responsibility, I know the major positive impacts that seemingly small changes can have on our people. We recently created our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) policy which puts our commitments in writing. Off the back of this, we conducted a review of our policies and benefits through the lens of DEI to ensure these principles are woven into the fabric of our culture.

    Women are underrepresented in finance leadership, but I was lucky to find amazing women mentors who inspired me and helped me navigate the corporate world. Their mentorship was one of the most powerful tools to help me grow my career.

    ‘Lean in’ and all that jazz might seem like a gimmick but there are real moments when you find yourself as the ‘only’ one in the room and need that reminder to literally lean in and speak up.



    "Having the right network only helps you work smarter - instead of one brain you have many to draw on."

    Geetanjali Bhalotia, SVP, APAC Head of Research

    What is your proudest career accomplishment? 

    Being able to make an impact motives me. I feel proud of every step forward I take, whether it’s changing a simple process to make it more efficient or seeing someone I mentored being successful. However, one thing that I am particularly proud of is that two of my major career advancements happened right after my two maternity leaves. When you are away for few months, you can miss out on many opportunities. Also, people sometimes think women like to take a backseat at work once they start a family. However, for me it was about having a much bigger and stronger reason to return to work (it’s not easy to leave a newborn behind) and make an impact.

    My decision to take on a bigger role not only boosted my own confidence, but it also inspired many other women in a similar situation to put their hands up and ask for a promotion or career change. I’m very proud of that. And all together, we made a huge impact on the business.

    What advice would you give to your younger self?

    I have always been a person who would focus on delivering and used to think that socializing at work is waste of time, so I didn’t really invest much time in building my network. If I were to go back and re-do things, I would focus more on this as I’ve come to realize that having the right network only helps you work smarter - instead of one brain you have many to draw on. 



    To learn more about our company and culture, go back to the main Careers page.