‘Why kindness is key’ – with Pinky Lilani CBE DL

“Kindness can change everything. It can transform your life because you feel the best version of yourself. I encourage everyone to be kind, to be courageous and to be curious because that is what has helped me more than anything else.”

Pinky Lilani, CBE DL is an international champion for women. She is an entrepreneur, author and currently Associate Fellow of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.

For the first time, Pinky has written a book about her life which has been dedicated to fostering positive change. In Some Kind of Wonderful, she shares the powerful stories of those who have helped her along a unique journey of resilience, purpose and kindness.

“I came to England as a young woman knowing absolutely no one. Now my life is now full of incredible people who inspire me. I always think if I have been able to see further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. And you can choose the giants you want in your life. Everything you have to ask for, so other people can help you on that journey. Just ask them.”

Pinky’s first initiative was in 1999 when she founded the Asian Women of Achievement Awards, which at the time was a landmark ceremony which finally recognised the contribution of Asian women to Britain’s economy and society. When a friend suggested she invite the prime minister’s wife, Cherie Blair QC to attend, Pinky thought ‘well, I have nothing to lose’ and so she did. Along with an invitation to the most famous woman in Westminster to attend her event, Pinky also offered to lend an Indian-style outfit to wear that night and hand-delivered some of her own clothes to Downing Street.

Not only did Cherie attend that evening, pictures of the prime minister’s wife in traditional Indian dress did so much to foster cultural understanding back then in 1999. Cherie has since been an enthusiastic supporter of the event every year which has made a tremendous impact on inclusion initiatives for Asian women in the UK and beyond, and she is now Patron of the Women of the Future Awards – the initiative for which Pinky is now perhaps most well-known. The Vice Chairman is Vicki Treadwell CMG, MVO, British High Commissioner to Australia and the global ambassador is HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh.

The Women of the Future Programme was set up in 2006 to allow female leaders across the world to connect and collaborate through kindness and encouragement. It recognises women who are making a difference in the world of work through international awards, ambassador programmes and a summit as well as networking events.

Pinky was made a CBE in 2015 for her services to women in business, and three years later formulated the first Kindness and Leadership 50 Leading Lights which were listed in the Financial Times, based on the Kindness Index, an idea formulated by Pinky.

She is also Chairman of the Inspirational Women’s Network. Pinky’s unique leadership style has put kindness at the heart of everything she stands for; instead of weapons to break down barriers in the corporate world, Pinky uses a wok – often cooking her famous Bombay potato recipe at keynote events.

Currently, Pinky is working as Associate Fellow of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, which released groundbreaking research which proves that kindness is the key to workplace success in our post-Covid world.

In her book, Some Kind of Wonderful, Pinky shares her story as a testament to the transformative potential of embracing your own path. “I am endlessly grateful for the inspiring people who have supported me on this adventure and shared their wisdom and insights so that I could cultivate a platform and network for talented women to be celebrated, recognised and heard.”

She has dedicated her book to her beloved parents and wonderful grandchildren as well as, she says, “and everyone who reads it and thinks, ‘If she can do it, I can too!’.” 

Diversity Network is fortunate to announce that Pinky is our keynote speaker for our INCLUSION digital conference, broadcasting from 1 to 5 July, where she will share her insights into Leading with Compassion and Kindness.

We can’t wait to hear Pinky’s extraordinary and inspiring story – join us, by registering for your ticket here: https://diversity-network.com/inclusion-festival/

To order your copy of Some Kind of Wonderful: https://somekindofwonderful.co.uk/

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