One sees the face of QNET women in Associate V Partner Kalaiarasi Manikam, affectionately called AVP Kalai by her peers and friends in the business. She swears that she used to be “boring”, which is hard to believe when she launches into a passionate retelling of how QNET has changed her.
“I come from a background where my parents instilled in me the need to grow up as a professional,” AVP Kalai says.
She looks right at you when she speaks, and her hands gesture as she continues excitedly, “It was all about getting into university, going to the university, getting the degree. I did a master’s in Engineering, then I got a good job in the city of Kuala Lumpur. I got an apartment, a car, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next because…that was it!”
While she achieved success, AVP Kalai felt that she had peaked. “I became this dull person. People didn’t know what was happening to me, I was in and out, and I was becoming this real dull and boring person.”
A friend introduced her to QNET, where she soon found the change she needed. She even went as far as East Africa to get a friend into the company.
“I wanted to go and support my friend. I got my ticket and landed in the continent for the very first time. There were so many things I was not used to! The culture, the environment, everything was new! But I wanted to be there and make a difference in the continent, to give opportunities for people who want to rise.”
But the challenges came quickly, “Especially if you’re a woman who wants to lead in this male-dominated place,” AVP Kalai remembered, “People were like, ‘You are just a girl from Malaysia.’ But I realised at that point in time that I had made a decision to get that far. I had to move forward and that really made the difference. I could not turn back, and I had to finish.”
And what a finish. With her generosity, persistence, and spirit, AVP Kalai persevered by sustaining the market in the last decade. The boring girl from Kuala Lumpur is all but banished. She hopes more people, especially women, can reach their full potential in QNET like she did.
Here are some fighting words for QNET women, “In QNET, it has always been ‘beginning’. Our potential is endless, what we are able to do is limitless.”