The Lean In Network’s local chapter in Penang hosted a Dare to Dream Big event featuring a fruitful talk involving top women led by former MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, sharing the challenges and triumphs of women pursuing their dreams.

More than 100 women entrepreneurs, professionals, teachers, and students gathered to hear inspirational stories and went home with valuable insights from the speakers at the Mercure Beach Penang, Tanjung Bungah.

The panel discussion, moderated by Redbox Studio director Krista Goon, brought to light the universal struggles that women face, including not being seen enough, feelings of shame or inadequacy, fears that seem impossible to overcome, and the pressure to always say ‘yes’ and be agreeable.

Nurul Izzah: Subdue your ego, eyes on the prize

Nurul Izzah, presently who co-heads the Finance Ministry advisory committee secretariat, said it was important for women to learn to say no and align their actions with their conscience. She shared her journey, highlighting the courage needed to pursue dreams, and the necessity of subduing ego to achieve significant goals.

Vimi Ramasamy: Accept yourself, get dreaming strategically

Dr Vimi Ramasamy, CEO and founder of Stravik Sdn Bhd and an adjunct professor at UNITAR International, shared her thoughts on ‘strategic dreaming’ with a plan. She said it was crucial to have a supportive life partner, self-acceptance, and to be action-orientated instead of blaming oneself. Vimi said the significance of having mentors on the journey was important in realising dreams.

Rose Kuan: “It’s who you are as a person”

Rose Kuan, the executive director of Shan Poornam Group of Companies, recalled a transformative experience with the late ENT doctor, Dr. Santokh Singh, during her 20s. Dr. Santokh’s wise advice shifted her perspective on material possessions, focusing on the importance of personal character over everything. Rose’s laser focus on her goals, inspired by this encounter, propelled her to become a top pharmaceutical saleswoman.

She relayed Santokh’s advice: Kuan was in her 20s and feeling embarrassed about the 10-year-old car she drove back then. The wise doctor asked her if the car brought her to her destination. She said yes and promptly told her “that it’s not the car that matters, it’s who you are as a person and there is nothing to be ashamed of”.

As the women left the “Dare to Dream Big” event, they carried with them not only the inspiration gained from the speakers but also a renewed sense of purpose and the motivation to dream bigger than ever before.

Lean In Network, Penang, continues its mission to build a community that connects, inspires, and supports women, reinforcing their commitment to creating a world where everyone can pursue their dreams without bias or barriers.

Lean In Network, Penang, is a powerhouse for women’s empowerment, affiliated with LeanIn.Org and ignited by Sheryl Sandberg’s vision. She is the former COO of Facebook. Committed to fostering equality and supporting women in realizing their potential, it builds a vibrant community through circles, mentoring, and workshops, echoing Sandberg’s call for a world where ambitions thrive without gender boundaries.

For more information about Lean In Network, Penang, please visit their Facebook Page or the Lean In Global Website.

Editor’s Note: We extend our thanks to Joyce Wong, the leader of Lean In Penang’s network for information related to this article