‘Lifelong learning and developing self-confidence vital to leadership’

FRIDAY, APRIL 05, 2024

Interview with Rungphech Chitanuwat

One of the successful women in the top management of the MICE and business events industry, with 19 years of experience to her credit, Rungphech “Rose” Chitanuwat, director of the ASEAN Regional Group for Informa Markets Thailand, shares her thoughts on advancing women's leadership in business.

What essential knowledge and skills do women need to prepare if they are to reach the top managerial level today?

To succeed in a leadership role, individuals must continuously learn and develop their skills, including practising leadership skills. Even if they are not currently in a leadership position, it's important to cultivate these skills for future roles. Key leadership skills include reliability, trustworthiness, communication, commitment, self-awareness and adaptability. Regardless of gender, building these skills is crucial for earning respect.

Additionally, women should focus on developing knowledge and self-confidence. By constantly practising and learning new things, confidence can be built over time.

What are your principles for working and self-development that lead to success and acceptance of women's potential?

I prioritise passion, determination, and clear goals in my work. I thrive in team environments and use empathy to lead and encourage others to seize opportunities for personal growth. I always strive to capitalise on opportunities that arise. I replicate what I have learnt and received in my career to ensure that I am building the next generation or even producing another me in my team.


For me, having great mentors is important. I am who I am today because of their support and the opportunity they gave me. Since I started my career in 1995, I have been mentored by both male and female supervisors at Informa, though there are differences in the way they mentored and coached me. But I’ve learned it all and therefore, I’d like to give this back to the generations to come.

Transparent communication is crucial for effective leadership. Despite being based in Thailand, I successfully manage local and international teams, ensuring clarity in communication. Clear expectations, transparent communication, and trust are key to managing remote teams.

From your perspective, what are the opportunities and challenges for women in business organisations?

I firmly believe that as individuals, we are at our best and make our most valuable contributions when we are true to ourselves. Women, in general, excel at multitasking, attention to detail, empathy, flexibility, organisation, and stress management.

Nowadays, we see more and more women working in many industries. However, despite the opportunities, women are still openly discriminated against and compared to men, forced to face stereotypes that they are too emotional, risk-averse, indecisive, or aggressive, hindering their advancement in leadership. There is a need for more female role models in leadership to inspire the next generation.

‘Lifelong learning and developing self-confidence vital to leadership’

Being a woman with ambitions for a leadership position, we must often seek sponsorship, mentorship, and demonstrate our own self-drive to succeed, supporting and building the next generation of women leaders.

One of the challenges many women face is balancing their roles at home as caregivers and their roles at work. Achieving work-life balance is a significant challenge for many women.

How do you propose to garner more support in pushing for gender equality and increasing the roles and rights of women in Thai society?

It is not about judging which gender you are, but rather recognising how individuals can contribute without gender bias. This is what we need in the workplace and in society. We should promote a more inclusive culture.

I am trying to create an environment for women and men to raise awareness about the opportunities and challenges women face in the industry, and the need to elevate women to leadership roles. In the event industry, we promote diversity and inclusion by organising activities within events that highlight broader diversity, including race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Examples include women's networking events, women's dinner talks, and women's sharing sessions. We believe that by understanding the intersectionality of diversity, we create opportunities to empower our members in the community to effect systematic change.

‘Lifelong learning and developing self-confidence vital to leadership’

What are your thoughts on the attitudes towards performance and work of the new generation of women?

I think the most important attitudes the new generation should have are respect, integrity, and the ability to build trust. They have grown up with readily available technology and are often described as self-confident and ambitious, which can sometimes be perceived by the older generation as arrogance.

The new generation has different expectations in the workplace, such as their views on work-life balance, while the baby boomers, who mostly hold higher positions in today’s workplace, focus on other aspects. These generational differences present challenges for leaders in managing intergenerational dynamics in the workplace.

I would also like to encourage the younger generation to believe in themselves and have the confidence to seize any opportunities that arise, as well as to speak up and ask questions when they are unsure. Additionally, the new generation can learn from and emulate the positive examples set by their colleagues from previous generations.