The ICAEW Women’s Forum returns for a third season! In celebration of International Women’s Day, hear from our group of ladies as they share about accelerating gender parity and female empowerment in the workplace.
Held as a 4-part fireside chat format, join the half-hourly sessions and benefit from the inspiring dialogue through the live Q&A. Exchange ideas and learn from each other’s experiences as we discuss on topics featuring female empowerment in sustainabilty, overcoming obstacles and elevating to leadership roles, while navigating and forging ahead at the workplace.
Join our wardrobe curator in a special lifestyle segment and learn how to present the best version of yourself through the art of fashion. Dial in and participate as we gather to celebrate women’s achievements and a world where difference is valued and celebrated – collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity, register now!
Opening address by ICAEW:
Elaine Hong Regional Director, China and South-East Asia, ICAEW
Elaine is the Regional Director for China and South-East Asia at ICAEW. She is responsible for progressing ICAEW’s vision and strategic initiatives in the region to deliver member and student value, as well as manage stakeholder engagement. Previously, Elaine established the ICAEW office in Kuala Lumpur as the inaugural Head of Malaysia over a decade ago.
Immediately prior to re-joining the ICAEW, Elaine was the Executive Director - Stakeholders and Strategy for the Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA), the regional organisation representing the accountancy profession in Asia Pacific.
Serving on various roles in the industry for more than two decades, Elaine started her career at one of the global accounting firms namely Coopers & Lybrand, before transferring to its successor firm PwC. This was followed by roles in the commercial and education sector, the latter being at Sunway TES as its Assistant Director for professional accountancy programmes before her role at ICAEW. Thereafter, Elaine served as the Executive Director of Corporate Office at BDO Malaysia which included supporting BDO’s development in the ASEAN region.
Elaine is a Fellow of the ICAEW and is an active member of the ACA alumni out in Malaysia including having held office holder positions in both the ICAEW Malaysia City Group and its successor, the ICAEW Members Society, Malaysian Branch.
Julia Penny President, ICAEW
Julia qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant in 1989 having first completed an honours degree in Accountancy and Finance at Brighton Polytechnic.
Soon after qualifying she moved into a training role, initially teaching students and later moving into CPD training and technical roles. She specialises in audit, financial reporting and anti-money laundering and has worked for diverse organisations including Wolters Kluwer, Wilmington plc, Chantrey Vellacott and Baker Tilly (now RSM). She is currently self-employed.
Julia became involved with Thames Valley Society of Chartered Accountants early in her career and served first as treasurer and then as the Society President in 2001-2. Later she became chair of the ICAEW Technical Advisory Committee and then the Ethics Advisory Committee and was a member of both the Technical Strategy and Financial Reporting Faculty Boards.
Julia has been a Council member since 2013 and an ICAEW Board member since 2017. Julia is ICAEW President from June 2022 to June 2023.
Session 1: Empowering female leaders in sustainability
Pooi Funn Moong Director, Asia Pacific Chapter, Accounting for Sustainability (A4S)
Pooi Funn is the Director for the Asia Pacific Chapter of the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) CFO Leadership Network, where she is focused on bringing together leaders in the finance and accounting community to inspire and catalyse action towards a sustainable future.
Pooi Funn’s experience in professional services include leading assurance and advisory projects to assist organizations on financial reporting, internal controls, business processes, risk management and governance. While with Deloitte, she has worked with a wide range of organisations in the global financial services industry and involving cross-border, cross-functional and cross-cultural teams in the UK, Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Pooi Funn is a FCA member of the ICAEW and is currently based in Malaysia.
Yuki YasuiManaging Director, Asia Pacific Network, Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ)
Yuki is the Director overseeing the Asia Pacific (APAC) Network for the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) which was launched in June 2022. She is focused on bringing together the financial sector across developed and emerging APAC to accelerate an inclusive and just transition to a net-zero economy.Prior to joining GFANZ, she was at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative for 20 years and leading its activities in Asia Pacific for the last four years. She has represented UNEP FI at all three major sustainability reporting initiatives, GRI, IIRC and SASB, at various points in time. She is a qualified chartered accountant in the UK (ICAEW) and trained and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Session 2: Race to the top
Seah Gek ChooAudit Partner, Deloitte Singapore, and SheXO Leader, Deloitte South-East Asia
Gek Choo brings with her more than 27 years of experience in public accounting in Singapore, with a focus on serving multinational and local companies in the real estate and hospitality industries.
She has advised many companies on initial public offerings on the Singapore Exchange and has facilitated external seminars on updates to financial reporting standards and initial public offerings.
She is a Chartered Accountant of Singapore and a member of ISCA. She is also a Fellow Member of CPA Australia.
Gek Choo is part of the Singapore Real Estate team and is the Talent Leader for Deloitte Southeast Asia. She is also the leader for Deloitte Southeast Asia’s Boardroom Program, responsible for promoting dialogue amongst stakeholders and providing thought leadership on current and emerging issues. She is a faculty member of the Deloitte University Asia Pacific and conducts leadership programme for Deloitte leaders in the Asia Pacific region.
Yvette ChanManaging Director, Asia M&A Tax Practice Leader, Alvarez & Marsal
Yvette Chan is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal in Hong Kong and leads the Asia M&A Tax Advisory Practice within the firm’s global Transaction Advisory Group. She brings more than 18 years of tax advisory experience, specialising in China and Hong Kong taxation.
Yvette has assisted a number of foreign and Chinese clients to undertake China and Hong Kong inbound and outbound investments with regard to fund structuring, transaction structuring and devising tax efficient strategies for implementing fund management, business operations and arrangements for their initial greenfield investment or mergers & acquisitions in or outside China. In addition, Ms. Chan has advised on a number of tax structuring, tax due diligence, tax modeling review, mergers & acquisitions, corporate restructuring, pre-IPO restructuring, leasing, and tax compliance projects in the PRC and Hong Kong, and specialises in the structuring of M&A and financial transactions from a tax perspective.
Yvette has also assisted her clients as tax expert witness on M&A disputes, as well as in discussing and negotiating their tax positions with the tax authorities in China and Hong Kong. Yvette services clients in a wide range of industries including private equity and investment fund, digital assets, real estate, financial services, natural resources, infrastructure, consumer and industrial markets, telecommunications, education and healthcare.
Yvette has co-authored articles on Chinese taxation in the International Tax Review, Euromoney, China Tax Intelligence and Asia-Pacific Journal of Taxation. Ms. Chan has also taught internal courses and spoken at external seminars on Chinese taxation, particularly in relation to non-resident tax issues for inbound investments, as well as Chinese tax issues and considerations on outbound investments.
Before joining A&M, Yvette spent 5 years with KPMG in London and over 9 years in their Hong Kong office, most recently serving as partner in the M&A tax team. Yvette earned a master degree in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Oxford. She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a member of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Chartered Institute of Taxation in the United Kingdom, and the Taxation Institute of Hong Kong. She is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Session 3: Navigating today's work environment
Dinh Pham Quynh MaiMBA Student, Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK
Mai is a recently qualified ICAEW member with five years of experience at EY Vietnam, with a focus on serving clients in real estate and microfinance industries. She also served as core team member in financial accounting advisory engagements related to conversion from local accounting regime to international standards (IFRS, US GAAP) for listed and IPO clients. She is currently a full-time MBA student at Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK.
Shenola GonzalesHead, Cash Management and Investment Project, Mercy Malaysia
Shenola Gonzales, a Fellow Chartered Accountant from ICAEW, UK, has gained over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, beginning her career at Ernst & Young, UK. She has held diverse roles in managerial finance and accounting, business consulting, business development, and fundraising. In 2011, Shenola initiated her entrepreneurial journey and founded several successful businesses, exiting one of them in 2018. Previously the Head of Investments at Malaysia’s leading alternative investments platform, pitchIN, Shenola has a proven track record of delivering results by aligning and achieving mutual strategic goals with her clients during their fundraising efforts. She most recently held the position of CEO at Alevate Solutions, where she provided end-to-end solutions for SMEs embarking on their fundraising journey.Currently, Shenola is leading the Cash Management and Investment Project (CMIP) at Mercy Malaysia, the largest NGO in Malaysia, where the organisation is committed to achieving greater sustainability, with CMIP being at the core of their efforts.
Shenola considers her adaptability to any industry as her most valuable asset. She believes that finance can be communicated in a non-technical way, enabling everyone to comprehend the story behind a business and empowering them with accurate information to gain relevant insights.
Session 4: Dress for success
Biek SpeijkWardrobe Curator and Collage Artist, Biekaleidoscope
A Netherlands-born, Singapore-based fashion designer-turned wardrobe editor and artist. Biek is on a mission to help others be the best version of themselves through the art of fashion. As a designer with over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, it’s safe to say that I love fashion. I am passionate about deconstructing the conventional so it can be seen from a new perspective and highlight its true essence.
Fashion is a big part of my life. After working in several clothing boutiques as a teenager, I saw how clothing could transform a woman’s perception of herself. Then studying fashion for seven years at two art schools in the Netherlands, I developed an eye for collage-making. It helped me cut away the unnecessary and combine elements to create something new and better. I also started to question conventional design. How can a T-shirt get back its essence? How can I shed it in a new light so it works differently with the body, while still appreciating its design and workmanship?
Working for several years for a well-known denim brand, I learned the impact of small details and high-quality design. I then moved internationally to be a designer and fit specialist at a fast fashion brand in Beijing, China. This is where I incorporated collage-making skills into my design process - piecing together different clothes to create something new and unique.
My years in the fashion industry have exposed me to every aspect. I realized that clothing could make us feel confident and empowered, so I started Biekaleidoscope. Instead of designing more clothes, I want to be part of the solution. I teach women how to make conscious wardrobe choices by decluttering and focusing on what makes them feel great. I help develop a stronger relationship with clothes not by needing more but by creating beauty from what you already have. Much like the collage of life, it’s about embracing what speaks to you and discarding the rest to make it your own.
ICAEW members and non-members are welcome to join.
Should you experience any difficulties booking onto the event, please go to our events support page - how to book.
The opinions expressed by external guest speakers in interviews or other publications included on this website are, by their nature, those of the speaker. They are not necessarily fully endorsed by the ICAEW or purport to reflect the official policies and views of the ICAEW or its members.
Please note that the programme is subject to change.
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