Dialogue with Woman Innovator Naila Chowdhury
Naila Chowdhury speaks at the inaugural dialogue series.
The Woman Innovators Initiative seeks to inspire student passion for changemaking and social innovation. A dialogue with Chowdhury allowed students to ask probing questions to how she was able to define problems, identify solutions, and scale her actions to have greater impact on social justice issues. Naila Chowdhury, Chairman & CEO, TeleConsult Group, one of her many positions, holds a passion for creating self-sustaining programs that economically empower girls and women. She was the first woman director and later CEO of Grameen Phone Ltd. Working closely with Dr. Muhammad Yunus, Chowdhury was part of Grameen Phone's growth into the largest mobile operator in Bangladesh. Currently Chowdhury is implementing a social credit program in City Heights to provide microloans and tangible skills to small businesses.
The event facilitated participant insight into the challenges facing female leadership, the gender perspective in social innovation, and the compassionate side of entrepreneurship. She shared her professional development, giving participants a glimpse of the non-linear path that often lies ahead. Further, advice Chowdhury gave to a younger self mentioned the need to “be eager to help and learn and you will pave a path for yourself.” Additionally, that failure or failing is a great value and necessity to any venture- learning is part of the process.
Chowdhury encouraged students to seek the knowledge of each person and experience along the way. Moreover, that as a female, gender discrimination was common but equally inspiring. She channeled the negativity she received into something more positive; because her efforts are continuously driven by the love and compassion she has for others. Chowdhury advised students to find and keep a mentor who can assist them along their journey.
Many participants left wanting more of Chowdhury’s wisdom and in creating an action initiative to harness the motivation in the room. The next Dialogue with Woman Innovator Zara Marselian, President & CEO of La Maestra Community Health Centers, will continue the trajectory towards creating the female support system needed in social innovation. It will take place on
Tuesday, November 3, 2015 from12:15-1:30pm in KIPJ E/F.