The Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2014: The full shortlist revealed


Gunjan Chauhan, EMEA head of STM credit and treasury market sales, RBS

Gunjan joined RBS Group’s London-based graduate programme back in October 2003. Starting in payment operations, she has moved up the corporate ladder to become EMEA head of STM credit and treasury market sales: she was the only female in consideration for the role and now manages a team of six. She supports the Windsor Fellowship, an ethic minority charity scheme, and has been instrumental in setting up RBS Group’s women’s network Compass, organising events such as “Bring your daughter to work”.

Indu Deglurkar, consultant cardiac surgeon, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff

Indu decided to become a cardiac surgeon at the age of seven; now she is one of just five consultant cardiac surgeons in the UK. She specialises in high-risk aortic surgery and is the lead surgeon for the innovative TAVI service. She has also performed cutting-edge, award-winning research in gene therapy and myocardial revascularisation in the US. Her main aspiration is to make the University Hospital of Wales a National Referral Centre for aortic surgery.

Yee Yee Low, senior concept engineer, Shell

Yee Yee is an accomplished engineer at Shell. She has worked on several key projects in the North Sea, including projects on the Brent Delta platform and Pierce field. Described as “an inspirational role model”, her work with aspiring engineers means that her impact goes far beyond the energy industry.

Professor Geeta Nargund, consultant, medical director and CEO, St George’s Hospital and Create Health Clinics and Create Health Foundation London 

Geeta is an internationally renowned doctor, innovator and campaigner with an unwavering commitment to making fertility treatment safer, more affordable and accessible both in the UK and in developing countries. She has published pioneering scientific studies on a more natural approach to IVF and has set up several charities to educate women in reproductive health and promote research. She is an NHS consultant and has used her entrepreneurial skills to set up Create Health Clinics, demonstrating that success and ethical care are not incompatible.

Dr Geetha Srinivasan, senior research fellow, QUILL/ QUB

Geetha is an award-winning female chemist (L’Oreal-UNESCO fellow) and an outstanding research scientist with six patents to her name. Few postdoctoral fellows can claim to have taken a green sustainable process from bench to industrial plant winning an unprecedented three IChemE awards for mercury abatement for her team, while at the same time developing a novel medical device for combating urinary tract infections.

Mary Verghese-Dipple, head of legal UK, Aberdeen Asset Management

Mary joined Aberdeen Asset Management in 2011 with responsibility for global derivatives legal matters. She is a qualified barrister and has an MA in Business Law from London Metropolitan University. She has a broad range of derivatives and capital markets legal experience gained from various financial institutions, including JP Morgan, NatWest Capital Markets, Tokai Capital Markets (UFJ), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Calyon Financial (Newedge Group).


Sharmila Collins, co-founder of the Sohana Research Fund

Sharmila is a mother driven by a simple ambition: to see her daughter Sohana suffer less pain. Sohana has a little known but catastrophic skin disorder called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa that means her skin blisters and tears at the slightest friction. Since 2010, Sharmilla has relentlessly sought to increase the profile of the skin condition and to raise money to fund medical research into treatments and ultimately a cure for the condition. Every penny of the £2m raised has been invested in medical research, much of which is providing hope to the thousands of children who suffer from the condition and who live with pain every moment of their lives.

Rona Kotecha, director, Mara Foundation and Mara Women

Rona is the director of the Mara Foundation, a social enterprise that designs and implements programmes that promote entrepreneurship in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya. One of the Foundation’s new initiatives is Mara Women, designed specifically to develop the next generation of female African business leaders through mentoring, training and access to funding.

Sajda Mughal, director, JAN Trust

Since 2008, Sajda has been leading women’s NGO JAN Trust, which educates, engages and empowers women from ethnic minorities, developing and delivering programmes on issues such as women’s rights, education and forced marriage. Having had first-hand experience as a victim of terrorism (she is the only known Muslim survivor of the atrocious London terror attack on July 7, 2005), she also works extensively on the sensitive issue of counter terrorism. 

Cauvery Pal, consultant paediatrician and medical director, Dreamflight, Homerton University Hospital

Cauvery is a consultant paediatrician at the Homerton University Hospital in London where she is recognised for the outstanding clinical care of her patients, looking after children in a way that gives them the best shot at being able to lead a normal life and fulfill their dreams. Cauvery is also a medical director of the charity Dreamflight, supported by British Airways, which takes 192 seriously ill and disabled children on holiday to Florida each year.

Rewati Prabhu, Co-founder and Board Member of Jagriti Yatra

Alongside working as a principal consultant at Pell Frischmann, a London-based engineering consultancy, Rewati is one of the driving forces behind Jagriti Yatra, a 15-day national train journey across the length and breadth of India. By inspiring young girls from small towns and villages in India to take part in this national journey – and by crafting a full curriculum of experience, securing sponsorship and setting up a women’s leadership network to support them – she has awakened their spirit of enterprise. As a direct result of Rewati’s efforts, the Yatra has produced more than 290 startups, creating jobs in the smaller towns of India.

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