Farzana Chowdhury: Bangladeshi champion for innovation and entrepreneurship

Australia Awards alumna Farzana Chowdhury is a woman with many career achievements. She is Bangladesh’s first-ever woman CEO in the insurance and financial sector. Early this year, she received an award for contributions towards the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 at the ‘She Rockers MyEO Women Summit and SDG Awards 2019’ (SDG 5 relates to gender equality and women’s empowerment). In 2017, she also won the ‘Most Dynamic Woman of the Year’ award for succeeding in a leadership position and establishing herself as a role model.

Continuing to add to these achievements and her ongoing contribution to Bangladesh, Farzana attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions (AMNC) in China in July. The AMNC is the foremost global summit on innovation and entrepreneurship. Under the theme ‘Leadership 4.0 – Succeeding in a New Era of Globalization’, this year the event involved 1500 participants, 100 working sessions and community activities, and opportunities to engage in several new Forum initiatives.  Among the guest speakers were Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China; Liming Chen, Chairman of IBM Great China Group; and Isabel Wijsen, a youth activist from Indonesia, who recently organised a campaign to get her island of Bali to ban plastic bags. In attending the AMNC, Farzana actively demonstrated key attributes of leadership, innovation and her continued clear focus on women’s empowerment.

Farzana used the opportunity to meet many of the AMNC speakers and participants and share key developments in Bangladesh relating to innovation and entrepreneurship. These included the recent initiative of her company, Green Delta Insurance Company Limited, in introducing Bangladesh’s first ever livestock insurance coverage for BRAC Bank’s Small-to-Medium Enterprise customers. Farzana also met with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheik Hasina, who was visiting China and attended the AMNC to sit on a panel discussing ‘Cooperation in the Pacific Rim’.

Her attendance at AMNC follows her recent visit to Singapore to participate in the Asia Women Leadership Summit, which aims to advance and empower women across all industries.

Farzana’s innovative approaches to women’s empowerment have also led to her role as an Advisor for ‘HerNet TV’, Asia’s first internet-based television channel solely focused on women’s wellbeing. Additionally, her leadership in the insurance sector in Bangladesh saw her recently attend the ‘Launch of Bangladesh Insurance Sector thought paper by PWC’, also attended by Mr Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Coordinator (SDGs) at the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office.

This is just a sample of the high level achievements demonstrated by Farzana, who undertook an MBA from Monash University in 2002 through the support of an Australia Awards Scholarship. Her drive and determination will no doubt see her continue to attain outstanding achievements in her journey to make a difference in Bangladesh.