Founder of Save Elephant Foundation
Sangduen “Lek” Chailert was born in 1962 in the small hill tribe village of Baan Lao, two hours north of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Her love for elephants began when her grandfather, a traditional healer, received a baby elephant as payment for saving a mans life. Lek would spend many hours with her newfound friend, named Tongkum (Golden One), resulting in a passion that would shape the rest of her life, as well as the lives of others.
With a love and respect for her country’s national symbol, and the knowledge that they were becoming endangered, Lek began advocating for the rights and welfare of the Asian elephants in Thailand. In an industry steeped in tradition, advocating for positive change in the ways domestic and wild Asian elephants are treated has not been an easy battle. However, with hard work and determination her voice is now internationally recognized. In addition to several documentaries produced by National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet and the BBC, Lek has also won many honorary awards.
Lek’s mission continues to affect others as her voice is heard throughout the world. Her story and voice have made an impact in the minds of all who give their lives to animal welfare and conservation. Lek’s mission to save the Asian elephants continues to expand. She has formed the Save Elephant Foundation and a dedicated team works tirelessly by her side to protect the Asian elephant.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton invited Lek to Washington, DC in 2010 to honor her as one of six Women Heroes of Global Conservation. But, the accolades do not end there. Lek was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of Asia for her work in conservation in 2005 and the Ford Foundation’s “Hero of the Planet” in 2001.
Lek has earned two honorary degrees from Rajabaht Chiang Mai University – a PhD in Sustainability and Conservation and a PhD in Veterinary Science. Finally, the National Geographic documentary Vanishing Giants, highlighting Lek’s work with the Asian elephant, was recognized by the Humane Society of the United States with the Genesis Award in 2003.
Today, Lek continues to be at the forefront of elephant (and other animal rights causes), raising international awareness and encouraging other countries in the region to follow her lead, as well as helping provide sustainable alternatives to local villages. At the same time, she maintains special relationships with the animals she rescues. Most days, she can be found at Elephant Nature Park spending time with the rescued herd.
CEO & co founder of QM Financial
Ligwina is the CEO & co founder of QM Financial – a leading financial planning firm in Indonesia. She started her business in 2003, when she was as full time stay home mom with a little baby. Now the company employs 42 staff including 16 independent financial planners, with branches in Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung. This new company is providing a new prestigious career path for many young women to promote financial literacy in the region.
Ligwina has always believed that finance should be taught in a practical manner. She started a popular radio show Financial Clinic with 87.6 Hard Rock FM, the show has been and still running strong after 7 years in the air. With this radio show, Ligwina continues to build more popular programs to introduce financial literacy especially to the urban rising middle class of Indonesia’s 237 million people. This includes a regular Your Money program at Indonesia’s leading news channel MetroTV & regular column with Indonesia’s leading female magazine Femina.
Her recent works include setting up workshops for factory workers, ensuring they can lead a happier & better life. This work has taken her as far as Papua island on the eastern side of Indonesia where she met many indigenous people needing more financial education than her usual urban audience. She found this her most challenging work so far.
She has been awarded as one of 50 emerging leaders of the region by Advance Women Summit 2010 in Sydney, received Australian alumni award in Entrepreneurship 2011, and became one of Femina’s Women Entrepreneurs award recipients in 2012.
Other than local media, Ligwina has also been featured in international media such as : BBC International Radio ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/
Ligwina is married & has 3 young children. She is currently working on her new mini book for girls. A guide for young independent women to start off with good financial habits.
Anis Ibrahim was a lawyer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, until she decided after four and a half years that legal practice wasn’t her cup of tea. The long hours spent stuck in the office made her realise that that was not how she planned to live her life; after all, an entire world was out there to explore. After a month-long solo trip in New Zealand, she switched to journalism, where she was regularly sent on overseas assignments, further igniting her love for travel.
After a productive eight years as a print and online journalist, Anis quit full-time employment in June 2012. Later in September that year, she embarked on a solo overland trip from St. Petersburg, Russia to Kuala Lumpur via the Trans-Siberian Railway. Her route, which covered 16,142 kilometres, took two months to complete.
Now, Anis spends her time as a freelance travel writer and blogger. Her articles have appeared in the New Sunday Times, Travel Times and Quill Magazine as well as in her blog Five Foot Traveller.
Jeannie once had a thriving corporate career that was going places, but deep down she longed for more. After swearing to change her life on a file folder, she sold all her possessions and began traveling the world in 2010.
Through her website Nomadic Chick, she tries to inspire women to take the leap of traveling solo by writing with honesty, humor and soul. Her aim is to show that travel isn’t as difficult as we assume and that women can participate in adventure with joy and curiosity.
In September 2011, she completed the longest continuous train journey with the Ultimate Train Challenge. Some of her partnerships have been with Eurail, Real Russia, HostelBookers, Tep Wireless, Roomorama, Vayama and a variety of Philippine based tourism companies like Native Village Inn, House of Rose and Flip Flop Tours. Her writing has appeared in Matador and Tripbase.
Founder of Taman Bacaan Pelangi
Founder of Taman Bacaan Pelangi: Rainbow Present Reading Gardens – a non-profit organization focuses on establishing small libraries for children in remote areas of Eastern Indonesia. She also blogs at nilatanzil.blogspot.com.
Nila was awarded several times for her outstanding work, including “Kartini Next Generation Award 2013: Inspiring Woman in ICT” for Community Development, from the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology and Ministry of Woman Empowerment & Child Protection Republic of Indonesia.
Nila Tanzil’s profile has been featured in numerous media, such as Kompas, The Jakarta Post, The Jakarta Globe, Media Indonesia, Koran SINDO, Jawa Pos, Weekender, Bangkok Post, Marie Claire, Her World, Femina, Kartini, Grazia, Tempo magazine, Trans7, TransTV, Kompas TV, Berita Satu TV, MNC News TV, kompas.com, vivanews.com, and many more.
The journey of Malaysian girl who loves her country, Malaysia and those that are beyond it. These travel stories in her blog site, Travel Chameleon uncover familiar places with a different view and different exotic experiences dedicated to all travel lovers alike. Her adventures takes you around the globe, adapting to the local cultures while discovering her love & passion from Malaysia to the world.
Yafieda Jamil or Fie as she is fondly known, has been in love with travelling ever since she and her family packed up the old stationwagon for a road trip across USA when she was 7 years old. Travelling to her meant going on merry-go-rounds, taking short naps in the car, holding her parents hand while saying ‘Hello’ to people in different cities. When she was 18 years old she had a plan to see one country a year and was so determined to make it happen that she took on jobs as a bakery girl, waitress, supermarket promoter, data entry clerk to save up for her exploration. She started by exploring her own country, Malaysia before venturing out to South East Asia, the greater Asia and Europe.
15 years and 21 countries later, she continued to pursue both passion in advertising as well as travelling, pushing her goals through the various social media platforms. Her experiences involved active participation with Tourism Selangor, appointed as administrator of the Malaysia Travel Bloggers Facebook Group, selected as the World AIDS Day 2012 blogger, contributor to AsiaRooms.com online community, and currently working on collaborations with local companies alike.
Strategy Manager, Travel Blogger
Even though she was born and raised in Malaysia, Liyana doesn’t limit herself to calling Malaysia home, having lived in Chicago, Paris, Mumbai, Amsterdam and now Singapore before the age of 30. She started travelling in her late teens and continued traveling extensively in her six years as a Strategy Consultant. She then gave it up to pursue her love of travel, and now works as a Strategy Manager for an airline.
Manager by day, travel blogger by night (and weekends), she writes on her two great loves in life – travel and fashion at GlamourousTraveller.com Liyana strongly believes that you can always look stylish whilst travelling regardless of budget, location, culture or climate… and to do it without packing more than one suitcase.
Inspirational Speaker, Travel Blogger
Lois Yasay had been a financial services trainer for over 5 years until she made up her mind to follow her number one passion: travel. Most recently, she went on a 6 month backpacking trip around Asia with a former colleague and documented her experience on her website called wearesolesisters.com. Her blog won the 2011 Philippine Blog Awards for Best Travel Blog- National Level. The story of her journey has been featured in various magazines and TV shows in the Philippines and internationally. She hopes to grow the sisterhood and inspire more women to empower themselves through travel and new experiences.
Now, Lois continues to escape the corporate world by earning an online income and running workshops and retreats that help others find what they love and make a living from it. She’s often running around the globe, exploring surf spots and making new friends along the way.
Independent Travel Consultant and Freelance Travel Writer
Vesta is an Independent Travel Consultant and Freelance Travel Writer. She was graduated as an Industrial Engineer from Trisakti University in Jakarta, and had worked for several big companies (Satelindo – before merged with Indosat, Nielsen Indonesia, and Plasa.com).
She started her career as a Travel Consultant back in 2006. It was still a side job for her while she’s doing full time job in Nielsen Indonesia.
In September 2010, she decided to quit the corporate life, and started to focus on what has been her passion, being a full-time Travel Consultant.
Her passion for travel had been nurtured from the childhood, when her parents often took her and her brother to some destinations in Indonesia. When needed, she loves to advise people about the destination she’s been to, so people will get a great experience from their trip to those destinations.
Creating a holiday concept, arranging trip itinerary, and advising on what’s best for people are things she love doing as a travel consultant.
She believes everyone has different interest, and creating a good holiday concept that meets client’s interest is what she try to deliver.
In 2011, she joined Valadoo Indonesia as a part-time Travel Consultant, (an online travel agent focusing on trip and experience in Indonesia) to help them building the Travel Consultant community with several well-known travel enthusiast such as Riyanni Djangkaru (Chief Editor of DiveMag Indonesia), Marischka Prudence (an ex TV presenter, a travel blogger), Barry Kusuma (travel photographer, an author of a travel book).
Up until now, she had been a personal travel consultant for people who knew her from their circle. She had also arranged corporate outings for some companies, such as Unilever, Nielsen Singapore, Think Web, QM Financial, and many more.
In 2012, she was hired as a travel consultant for Tourism Ministry of Indonesia, to arranged an International Travel Blogger trip in Indonesia.
To share her love in traveling and fashion, she has 2 twitter accounts: @LiburanLokal (180K followers by July 2013) which is focusing on traveling in Indonesia, and @SwankyTraveler (7900 followers by July 2013) which she shares her trips abroad and her love for style/fashion.
She has been awarded by TBLA as a Business Leader in Promoting the Domestic Tourism through Social Media.
Vesta is married and has 2 young kids. She currently tries to work on her new website: www.theswankytraveler.com.
Born and raised in a small town in East Malaysia (on the Borneo Island), Noel Lau grew up in quite a traditionally Asian family. Eschewing family expectation he left a thriving corporate career behind and started his wandering life.
Noel enjoys talking to people and tries to pick up local languages wherever he goes. With a degree in Communication and fluent in 3 of the most spoken languages in the world, he has no problem communicating with the world. Noel travels slowly, prefer to take time to know a country through its culture and people rather than just a temporary visitor.
A modern nomad that doesn’t have a fixed home address Noel has lived in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, England, Spain, Argentina and Colombia. 10 years and more than 50 countries later, he continues to carry his backpack, treading through beaten and unbeaten path in the name of experiencing the amazing feeling that only travel could bring: being alive.
Noel blogs about his travel at wander2nowhere.com.
Freelance Writer / Business Owner
Melissa started writing stories at the age of 8 and hasn’t stopped since. After graduating from Monash University Malaysia with a degree in Communications, she went on to intern as a broadcast journalist with NTV7 (Sabah & Sarawak) before joining a local English daily in her hometown of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia as a reporter. Her next stint as a writer and editor with a local tourism board became her full-time job for the next six years before she finally fulfilled her dream of going freelance –and she hasn’t looked back since.
In 2011, she and her husband – a 3D artist and graphic designer – started their own creative media solutions company, Muse & Huse (www.musenhuse.com). She is currently the part-time Editor for Sabah Tourism’s official publication (Sabah Malaysian Borneo) and is the Festival Director for the 2013 Borneo Eco Film Festival (www.beff.org.my ). Between running a business, organizing a festival and working on writing projects, Melissa puts her public speaking skills to use to host/emcee various events, from corporate functions to outdoor music festivals. She and her husband are currently working on their first illustrated children’s book. Melissa has a simple philosophy: work hard but play harder. She makes the time to travel at least twice a year and has her sights set on Greece, Turkey and Ireland in the near future. And she loves horror movies.
Her work has appeared in several publications and websites including Jetsetter.com, Jetstar’s in-flight magazine, The Hilt (Hilton KL’s official publication), Cuti Cuti Malaysia, New Sabah Times and more. Melissa lives in Kota Kinabalu with her husband, three dogs and a cat.
Dina Zaman writes about socio-religious issues and fiction when she has the time. She has written for a number of Malaysian media. She is currently finishing her research on holy men and women. Her work has won awards. Dina is married and mother to a couple of demented cats. She would like to work in the capacity of empowering women one day, as she sees and has herself experienced that many women lack mentors, life and work skills to balance their personal and professional lives.
Marketing & Community Manager
Hannah originally hails from the UK and is more international than your average Brit, having also lived in France, China and now Malaysia in the past decade.
Now working as a marketing and community manager for a travel agency based out of Kuala Lumpur, she’s taken up the challenge of revolutionizing the Malaysian travel market by encouraging travelers to go for a more independent style of travel.
A self-confessed train nerd, she pretty much knows how to get from any point A to B in Europe by train like the back of her hand. Not only that, in 2008 Hannah backpacked home from a year in Guangzhou returning to the UK overland, without a single flight (and by the time she reached home, without a single penny too!). Needless to say, she loves traveling and giving advice on maximizing your budget without minimizing your fun.
Jenny caught the travel bug from growing up hearing about her parents’ round-the-world trip, but she suppressed it until she graduated from university and discovered she didn’t know what to do next. The solution? Travel. The end of a 15 month solo trip to New Zealand and Australia found her back at home, in debt and working at a boring job. Her desire to see the world had only grown stronger, so she did a one month TEFL course and moved to South Korea to teach English, and hasn’t looked back since. Nearly 9 years later, she’s still at it, having lived in Australia, South Korea, and Scotland. In between, she’s visited over 30 countries, including many in Asia as well as a 5-month Trans-Siberian journey overland from China to Prague. Jenny is a strong advocate of traveling solo and slowly, absorbing the culture and the atmosphere of a place as much as possible. For the past three years she has been living in Hanoi, Vietnam, teaching English to university students.
A growing passion for food made Jenny start the blog Culinary Wanderlust, where she writes about food she encounters on her travels as well as delicious things she creates in her own kitchen.