In June 2020, we held our first virtual awards ceremony for the Women of the Future Awards, Southeast Asia. Although, of course, we would have far preferred to be celebrating in person, it was nevertheless an important and wonderful opportunity to recognise remarkable female leaders in Southeast Asia. One such leader is the winner of the Women of the Future, Southeast Asia, Media & Communications Award: Sotheavy At. Here we spotlight Sotheavy’s work and talk to her about leadership in a world rocked by COVID-19.
Inspiring and empowering others in Cambodia With an impeccable track record as a communicator, trainer and filmmaker, Sotheavy is a Senior Innovation Programme Manager for USAID’s Development Innovations Project in Cambodia. She has over 15 years of experience working for NGOs and production houses in Asia, and oversees so many initiatives designed to bridge the gender gap in the tech and entrepreneurship sectors.
Sotheavy also runs a digital environmental advocacy campaign, Think Plastic, tackling waste management and trash disposal and, most recently, headed up the campaign ‘STAY HOME’, sharing verified COVID-19 news and helping more Cambodians stay informed and safe.
A few quick questions with our winner:
What has 2020 and its challenges taught you about leadership?
COVID-19 has taught me to be mentally strong, and demonstrate that strength to others. Instead of being worried and depressed, I took the initiative to run a campaign to enable Cambodians to stay well-informed and safe during the pandemic.
How can a network of female leaders empower each other during this time?
Motivation and kindness are two things we need to help us all get through this difficult time. By providing support to others, listening to ideas, giving feedback, challenging each other and keeping motivation levels up, we can help others in our network navigate a way forward.
Who or what has inspired you over the last few months?
I always get positive vibes from the Women of the Future Network! Everytime I open my Twitter account, I see stories of our female leaders trying their best to serve their communities and save lives.
Can you share any tips to help others during this time?
Protect yourself first. This will help you to be ready to protect others. Keep yourself safe, stay calm and stay positive during the crisis. This way you are leading by example, and this can help keep others calm and positive, too.
Find out more about the Women of the Future, Southeast Asia Awards
The Women of the Future Programme was founded by Pinky Lilani in 2006 with the mission to unearth and recognise the inspirational young stars of tomorrow and in so doing, to help burst open the female leadership pipeline. The programme now includes numerous events and initiatives around the world and a vibrant network of female leaders, determined to springboard talent and spotlight role models for the next generation.