This is Part 2 of breaking the glass ceiling with Eva Lee Kwok. If you haven’t heard Part 1 yet, go back and listen to it. That is the episode right before this because you’d need that for context.
Glass ceiling is a metaphor for the evident but intangible hierarchical impediment that prevents minorities and women from achieving elevated professional success.
The term was first popularized in the 80s to describe the challenges women face when their careers stagnate at middle-management roles, preventing them from achieving higher leadership or executive roles.
This week’s episode is all about how immigrant women can break the glass ceiling and achieve senior leadership roles. I discussed extensively with Eva Lee Kwok how she overcame the barriers she faced on her path to senior executive and board director roles.
One of Canada’s most prominent businesswomen, Eva Lee Kwok is a successful academic, corporate director, and international trade specialist. She is a powerful advocate for the role of women in business and a noted authority on Canadian and Asia-Pacific trade.
Born in Penang, Malaysia, Eva went to school in Melbourne, Australia, as a child and continued on to do her undergraduate studies there. She earned her master of science in nutrition from the University of London in England. When she immigrated to Canada from London in 1967 – and landed in Trail, B.C. – her main objective was to buy a Mustang, but she found much more.
In 1968, Eva launched a career in academia, teaching nutrition at the University of Saskatchewan. She progressed from assistant professor to dean of the College of Home Economics in her 20 years at the institution, before becoming president and CEO of Saskatchewan Institution of Applied Science and Technology. Throughout her academic career, she published more than 25 works in Canadian and international journals and led public discourse on nutrition, food sciences, and gerontology.
In 1990, Eva left academia to apply her leadership skills to a different career in the private sector. Since 1992, she has been chair and CEO of Amara International, a private company with diversified interests, and is involved in real estate investment, land development consulting, and strategic partnership, with a focus on Canada and the Asia-Pacific region.
Eva has served on more than 30 corporate and non-profit boards, including the Bank of Montreal, Shoppers Drug Mart, Air Canada, the Vancouver Board of Trade, Coca-Cola Company, AT&T, and the Vancouver General Hospital Foundation. She currently serves as a director of the Li Ka-Shing Foundation of Canada, Husky Energy Inc., CK Life Sciences, and Cheung Kong Infrastructure, one of the world’s largest infrastructure organizations.
Eva has undertaken consulting work internationally and has traveled extensively. She has lectured nationally and internationally on investment, trade, and Canada/Asia-Pacific relations, and is a frequent commentator on global business trends.
Eva has been recognized six times as one of the country’s most influential women in business.
This is one episode you should not miss and share with everyone you love.
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Special thanks to Eva Lee Kwok for joining us this week. Until next time!