Making the right move
“I’m motivated by my company’s mission to remove barriers between people and connect us as a single human race. I also want to be an example for other women to follow.”
Pitching for success
“I’m really grateful for all the recognition I’ve received since launching my company, Topia, in 2010, but LBS holds a special place in my heart. I owe the school a true debt of gratitude.
“Topia began as an idea during my MBA at LBS and I founded the original company there. The initial impetus came from first-hand knowledge of how cumbersome it is to have to relocate for work. I had a vision for a company that could address the issue of international employee mobility. Mobility was something close to my own experience working in different locations around Asia prior to taking the programme, and LBS gave me the perfect platform to explore different ideas and approaches."
“During my time at the School I started investigating the market to see if anything out there was tackling this and the idea to start something up began to take hold. I took courses with Professor John Mullins, one of the world’s foremost authorities in entrepreneurship, and slowly we began to codify the hypothesis into an actual business. LBS professors were also instrumental in helping me shape my pitch to secure funding."
“What began as an idea quickly blossomed into a very real opportunity. Topia is now the world’s first end-to-end global mobility management software suite – we service more than 100 multinationals in the US$32bn+ technology category. We harness technology to respond to mega-shifts in future of work trends: globalisation, demographic changes and AI-led disruption that are driving massive increases in remote working and employee mobility around the planet. We also picked up the award of Workforce Game Changer in 2017."
“Before I graduated, I managed to secure an initial grant of GBP£400,000 and had launched Move Guides, Topia’s predecessor. But it definitely wasn’t all plain sailing. Being a female entrepreneur is really tough. And breaking into the tech sector is tougher still. The majority of venture capitalists are male and you have to work really hard to get your ideas over. It’s well known that substantially fewer VC dollars go to women, and there are a range of additional obstacles, from unconscious bias to overt harassment.”
“I’m motivated by my company’s mission to remove barriers between people and connect us as a single human race. I also want to be an example for other women to follow - I’m passionate about playing my part in opening up the pathways for other female entrepreneurs. When you’re starting a company, running it and taking risks, you need to believe deeply in what you are doing, and in the core values of your mission. Then you need to find a real sense of resilience in all areas."Read more
Courage and conviction
“I drew a lot of strength from my support network, including fellow LBS MBAs and faculty. It helped me find the confidence to take the first leap, and is a continued support in my decision-making, company financing and personal health. LBS gave me an incredibly strong network of friends and colleagues who have brainstormed with me out of the goodness of their hearts over the years. And a number of our investors have come from the LBS alumni network."
‘I’m so grateful to have received this kind of support. Female leaders start behind in the race, so it’s hugely important to get backing and assistance where you can find it. Something that I would love to see is greater equality in things like parental leave, so that you have more equality in the home. Gender stereotypes still endure and I do believe that companies and policy-makers could do much more to address this."
“Building – and retaining – self-confidence is hugely important when you’re a female entrepreneur looking to break into the startup space, set up a business or even disrupt an industry. There will be plenty of people who will tell you that you can’t do it. When you’re a first-time entrepreneur, the majority won’t see you as being poised for success. And that’s amplified when you belong to a gender, race or any other kind of minority group".
“What you have to do is figure out a way of protecting and sustaining your core values and convictions. In 2017 I founded Mobility4All, a philanthropic initiative that supports those impacted by poverty, conflict and climate change, initially refugees. I’ve worked with large enterprises over the last decade focusing on the 1% who have the privilege of moving around the globe for work opportunities. I wanted to give something back to the other 1% of the population who are mobile for different reasons; people who have been displaced by war or climate change or poverty."
“Building a company is an incredible career and privilege and I’m passionate about entrepreneurship. I recommend it to everyone – regardless of background. With hard work, you can make it a reality.”
“What you have to do is figure out a way of protecting and sustaining your core values and convictions.”
“I drew a lot of strength from my support network, including fellow LBS MBAs and faculty. It helped me find the confidence to take the first leap.”