The number of female CEOs in Singapore is rising and looks to grow more in the private sector. Representation of CEOs that happen to be women are also rising, with more women showing up on directorial boards and shaping businesses for the better, in different types of industries.

This International Women’s Day, we look at 5 successful Female CEOs in Singapore who have proven just how much their mettle has made them the leaders they are today.

Rachel Lim

Home-grown fashion label Love, Bonito is a labour of love from a team led by co-founder and chief brand officer Rachel Lim, who started the business (then known as BonitoChico) with two others. Having rebranded the business in 2010, Rachel wants to help women discover who they are and be confident by dressing well and dressing right. The company designs clothes for Asian women and their bodies who have trouble finding sizes from international bands. In addition to her work at Love, Bonito, Rachel has spoken at local and international events as a guest speaker and a panelist, such as TEDx Talks, the Asian Retail Leaders Conference, Great Women of Our Time Forum, and The Future is Female.

Cynthia Chua

Cynthia Chua’s lifestyle empire started in 1996, where the founder of the Spa Esprit Group has fingers in industries like Food and Beverage and beauty and health.  This includes companies such as Strip, Browhaus, 40 Hands, Common Man Coffee Roasters, Tippling Club and Tiong Bahru Bakery. Under her leadership, Spa Espirit has 15 brands under it’s umbrella and spans span more than 100 outlets in 12 cities, including Bangkok, Shanghai and Hong Kong. For her work, she’s been awarded accolades such as Singapore Tourism Board’s Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year 2012, and Asia’s Most Influential SG in 2021 and 2022.

Susannah Jaffer

Former magazine editor turned media and e-commerce entrepreneur Susannah Jaffer is passionate about sustainability and eco-friendly practices in clothing and beauty labels. This has led her to found Zerrin, an online marketplace which sets to combat overproduction and overconsumption caused by fast fashion’s exploitative and unethical practices. With over 50 sustainable clothing and beauty labels, each brand is vetted through Zerrin’s Better Brand Framework, which focuses on five ‘P’s: People, Planet, Product, Packaging and Principles. Her work has led her to be included in Eco-Business’ Youth A-List in 2020, which recognises the work of sustainability changemakers under the age of 30 in Asia Pacific. She is a frequent panelist in talks hosted by companies, and mentors students in LaSalle.

Dr. Ayesha Khanna

Dr. Ayesha Khanna has always been associated with STEM, most famously with Addo, a global artificial intelligence (AI) solutions firm headquartered in California. She’s not just a ground-breaking female entrepreneur in Southeast Asia (as named by Forbes magazine), but also a strategic advisor on artificial intelligence, smart cities, and the metaverse to leading corporations and governments worldwide. She is also the CEO and founder of the charity 21st Century Girls, a charity that delivers free coding and artificial intelligence classes to girls in Singapore. The organisation conducts programmes dedicated to teaching coding to young women and getting them interested in STEM.

Tan Hooi Ling

Grab co-founder and Chief Operations Officer Tan Hooi Ling is blazing a trail for the next generation of female entrepreneurs in tech, with a focus on data. The Harvard Business School alum helped found Grab based on her own transport experiences in her home country Malaysia, where keeping track of taxis’ licence plate numbers and the distance from late night work locations to home was done before the rise of the smartphone. Now, the enterprising woman wants to normalise women in tech, and her work has led Grab to raise the proportion of women in leadership positions to 40% by 2030, up from the current 34%, while also being committed to equal pay.

The women mentioned in this are all leading companies that focus on their different passions and loves, channeling a story that is seen through their work today. Just like them, Presence Marketing Group is passionate about our work, channeling YOUR stories from the work you do today. We take your life’s work and create marketing stories and branding that will make your messaging more enticing to potential clients!

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5 Successful Female CEOs in Singapore
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