The results are in: companies with the highest percentage of women executives and board members tend to enjoy higher returns on assets and equity — 74% to be exact. And while the number of female CEOs among major US corporations remain at just 5%, the representation of women in C-suite roles have increased from 17% to 21% since 2015. A similar phenomenon can be seen in Asia Pacific as well, where the number of women in management positions has climbed to 19% — second only to the US and ahead of Europe. 

As part of our Leading Women series, we want to highlight the professional challenges and career aspirations of the women we work with here in Asia. In this story, we speak to Irene Buhrfeindt, Vice President of Tronox, a US-based producer of titanium dioxide and inorganic chemicals. From being the only woman working on a lumberyard to mentoring others in work and life, this is Irene’s journey as a leading woman. 

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Q: Throughout your career, who were your biggest inspirations? 

There are two sides to the coin when I think about inspirational figures: those that inspire me and those that do not. People who inspire me are the ones who are authentic. They are genuine in who they are, who they want to be and they help you along the process. On the other hand, it’s disappointing to see people who behave in certain ways or adopt certain tendencies just to ‘fit in’ and ‘act like a man’, just because they feel that that is how they break into a man’s world. 

This is an abridged version of the full interview with Irene Buhrfeindt. For the full version of the interview, click here


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