Celebrating power women in real estate: A tribute to pioneers making herstory

As Women’s History Month unfolds, PropertyGuru lauds the courageous and innovative female leaders who are making significant strides in the real estate sector

(L-R) Tina Ryan, Andrea Savage, Disha Goenka (PropertyGuru’s CMO), Shyn Yee Ho (PropertyGuru’s MD for DSS), Coco Ke Lui, Chelsea Perino, and Hang Dang; Esther An and Joanne Kua accepted their honours virtually.

In an industry that has long been defined by its rigid structures, the ARES VIP Cocktail Party, hosted last December 2023, highlighted the pivotal role of women in reshaping the real estate landscape. Sponsored by PropertyGuru For Business, this exclusive event was not just a gathering but a powerful statement: “Celebrating Power Women in Real Estate”. It served as a testament to the indomitable spirit of women who are breaking the glass ceiling, setting new benchmarks in a sector herstorically dominated by men. 

On the second year of the ARES Power Women Initiative, this gathering recognised six extraordinary women, each a beacon of innovation and leadership from different corners of the world, from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam to Australia and the UK. Their accolades were celebrated under the inspiring themes of “Live, Work, and Thrive”, mirroring PropertyGuru’s vision for future communities. 

Each of their stories, hailing from diverse global backgrounds, is a testimony to the transformative power of female leadership. 

The honourees and their pathbreaking contributions 


Andrea Savage: Crafting spaces, crafting lives 

Andrea Savage, the Celebrity Interior Designer at HGTV and co-CEO and Creative Director at A Life By Design, exemplifies the art of living by design. Her portfolio, a testament to her sustainable maximalist approach, showcases spaces that resonate with individual personalities. Recognised with prestigious awards like the Tatler Design Awards, Andrea’s work in creating technology-driven tools for personal growth highlights her commitment to holistic well-being. 

“I think the most powerful thing that we can do for one woman to another is to be ourselves. 

I think so many times we are afraid to step into our own light.
We are afraid of what society will think of us.
We are afraid of how we will be judged for doing that.
But I think that every single person has their own inner strength.  

And for me, the way that we can raise the roof is to really encourage women to look inwardly, and to step into their own light.” 

Esther An: Champion of sustainability 

As the Chief Sustainability Officer at City Developments Limited and Chair of the Corporate Advisory Board at the World Green Building Council, Esther An has transcended her corporate role to become a global advocate for sustainability. She founded the Women4Green network and the Youth4Climate initiative, earning accolades like the SDG Pioneer for Green Infrastructure by the UN Global Compact. 


Chelsea Perino: Redefining the workplace 

Chelsea Perino, the Global Director at The Executive Centre, is steering us towards a new future of work. Her emphasis on dynamic, collaborative work environments aims to revolutionise corporate culture. Through global marketing strategies and rebranding, Chelsea is positioning The Executive Centre as a leader in workspace experience. 

“I think that we (women) have a real issue with confidence both in Hong Kong, which is where I am based, but also collectively in Asia, and even in the global context.

So, I think one of the things that I would really like to focus on is, first of all, empowering women to be confident in themselves. Take responsibility and be proud of the accomplishments that you have put forth.  

And then through that sort of movement, we can really encourage people to embrace their accomplishments. That will then already pave the way for people to feel like the conversations are open, that the things they are doing are making a difference and that people care and they want to hear about it.” 

Joanne Kua: Shaping sustainable business landscapes 

As the Group CEO of KSK Group, Joanne Kua has redefined the family business with a focus on sustainability and future readiness. Her vision of creating value beyond profits, fostering community spaces, and building relationships has earned her a spot among Forbes’ 25 emerging star businesswomen in Asia.


Coco Liu: Visionary leader in emerging markets 

Coco Liu, the Chief Regional Officer at HLB International, the Official Supervisor of PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards, has been instrumental in shaping the company’s competitive edge across the Asia Pacific. Her expertise in strategic planning and international business development, coupled with her insights into foreign investment trends, makes her a respected voice in global forums. 

“I would like to share a message for all women and men to reflect on one question: What is the strategic intent of your life? Meaning, do you want to become a successful business leader, to be caring parents, to achieve work-life balance, or do you want to give back more to the community?

And there’s no standard answer. You can be all, all women and men can be all.

And I am very proud to be a woman, to lead the regional growth of a global organisation. But I feel more blessed when I am able to influence people, and inspire them to thrive with my stories.  

So how do we do it? We can do it by sharing our stories, sharing our learnings, and continuing to collaborate with like-minded leaders so we have more room to grow.” 

Hang Dang: Real estate maverick 

With over two decades in the real estate industry, Hang Dang’s journey from research and consultancy to leadership roles, including her tenure at Vincom Office and Vincom Retails, as well as her current position as CBRE’s Managing Director, showcases her prowess in driving business growth. Her role as a judge at the PropertyGuru Vietnam Property Awards underlines her influence in the sector. 

“In my company, 70 percent of the leadership team comprises women, and we have many women holding significant roles throughout the organisation. 

As a woman leader, I have always endeavoured to create opportunities for my female staff and colleagues, enabling them to maximise their potential. We strive to provide and work on every chance available, ensuring that opportunities are created for everyone, regardless of gender. 

Particularly for women, we offer extensive support in various aspects of their lives and work, especially in facilitating their advancement along their career paths. 

In my organisation, and in other organisations I collaborate with, I actively seek to create more opportunities for women. This is especially true for young women, helping them grow and become leaders in their respective fields.” 

PropertyGuru’s steadfast commitment to gender diversity and leadership 

Hari V. Krishnan, CEO and Managing Director of PropertyGuru Group

At the heart of the ARES VIP Cocktail Party, the influence of Hari V. Krishnan, CEO and Managing Director of PropertyGuru Group, was palpable. He communicated the Group’s unwavering commitment to gender diversity and equality since its inception in 2007, which has been a cornerstone of PropertyGuru’s ethos. Krishnan’s leadership exemplifies the importance of inclusive perspectives in shaping a dynamic real estate industry. 

Complementing this vision, Shyn Yee Ho, Managing Director for Data and Software Solutions at PropertyGuru Group, played a pivotal role in establishing the ARES Power Women honours. Her advocacy for diversity and inclusive decision-making in real estate, bolstered by her own experiences in male-dominated industries, underscores the significance of celebrating women who raise the roof. Together with Disha Goenka, PropertyGuru’s Chief Marketing Officer, Shyn’s efforts not only celebrate women leaders but also inspire a fairer, more equitable future in the industry. 

This collective commitment at PropertyGuru to champion diversity and female leadership is a reflection of our understanding that the future of real estate is inherently linked to our ability to foster inclusive environments. It is through these efforts that the industry can truly evolve and adapt, ensuring a more equitable and dynamic future for all. 

ARES VIP Cocktail Party was also supported by Dao Ethical Gifts (Women Empowerment Project) and Fah Mai Holdings.

Gynen Kyra Toriano, Digital Content Manager at PropertyGuru, wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].