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Women on Top in Tech – Ai Ching Goh, Co-Founder of Piktochart

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Ai Ching Goh is the Co-Founder and CEO at Piktochart, a web app offering users without intensive graphic design experience to easily create professional-grade infographics using themed templates. She is one of the members of Forbes Technology Council. In 2014, she was a finalist for MIT Technology Review magazine’s 35 Innovators under 35 (TR35).

What makes you do what you do?

I am driven by my faith in God first and foremost – I believe everyone has a unique set of skills and personality to equip them in their calling in life. I am also encouraged to be working with an amazing team at Piktochart and our desire to serve our customers in the best way we possibly can.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?

I cannot give credit to myself for the blessings that we have garnered – I am grateful to have a very good team that has stuck with us through thick and thin and to be building this company alongside some very intelligent and passionate people. We have made a lot of mistakes as a team and grow through them.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?

I do not have an MBA, did not work for a famous startup and I’m an ordinary person with a normal education. I felt I had no choice as I worked in a corporation some time ago and felt it wasn’t a fit for me. Culture, the unspoken code of what makes an organization behave the way it does, was most important to me and I had not found a company I would have liked to work at. Had I joined the workforce 6 years later, I think there are plenty of startups and I might not have gone for Entrepreneurism the first round.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?

I have a few mentors that I’ve kept in touch with – April and Craig Chapman for their dedication to God, excellence in the work they do and being loving spouses and parents to their children.

How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him?

We met in an organization called Praxis.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?

I have constant conversations with my leaders, and keep a close eye on conversations throughout the organization. I make myself accessible and try to ensure that the people have room to continue growing. We have instilled many things in the organization like a People Success Officer who looks purely at talent development. She has built various frameworks to help the leaders spot, develop and grow talent through performance reviews, regular 1:1s as well as career aspirations.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?

I support diversity, but not in the conventional sense. I see it as an important mission to have people who are from diverse backgrounds and have different sets of skills, see things differently. But I do not obsess about the lack of diversity, e.g. there’s no conscious need to hire female developers etc.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?

It depends on how success is measured. For many, a leader is great if he/she manages to turn around the performance of the company or drive the company to greater heights. There’s no one size fits all for great leaders and it depends on the state of the company, and the leader’s natural disposition.

Advice for others?

My advice for other leaders, know what is it you are going for and consciously think about your legacy.

If you’d like to get in touch with Ai Ching Goh, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gohaiching/

Entrepreneurship

Will Financial Liberalisation Trigger a Crisis in China?

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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been liberalizing its financial system for nearly 4 decades. While it now has a comprehensive financial system with a large number of financial institutions and large financial assets, its financial policies are still highly repressive. These repressive financial policies are now a major hindrance to the PRC’s economic growth.

The PRC is at the beginning of a new wave of financial liberalization that is necessary for supporting the country’s strong economic growth. The country’s leaders have already unveiled a comprehensive program of financial reform, which includes 11 specific reform measures in three broad areas: creating a level-playing field (such as allowing private banks and developing inclusive finance), freeing the market mechanism (such as reforming interest rate and exchange rate regimes and achieving capital account convertibility), and improving regulation.

But could financial liberalization lead to a major financial crisis in the PRC? What would be the consequences for financial stability as the PRC moves to further liberalize its financial system? If the PRC repeats the painful experiences of Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand, then it might not be able to achieve its original goal of overcoming the middle-income trap.

International experiences of financial liberalization, especially those of middle-income economies, should offer important lessons for the PRC. In our new research, based on cross-country data analysis, we find that financial liberalization, in general, reduces, not increases, financial instability. This powerful conclusion is valid whether financial instability is measured by crisis occurrence or by fragility indicators, such as impaired loans and net charge-offs. The only exception is that financial liberalization does not appear to significantly lower the probability of systemic banking crises, although it does lower the risk indicators for banks. These results have higher statistical significance and are greater in magnitude for the middle-income group than for the entire sample.

The insignificant impact on banking crises, however, should be interpreted with caution. One of the possible explanations is that under the repressed financial regime, the government supports banks with an implicit or explicit blanket guarantee. This reduces the probability of an explicit banking crisis, although the banking risks may be even greater because of the moral hazard problem. In fact, government protection of banks could also increase the probability of a sovereign debt crisis or even a currency crisis before financial liberalization.

If financial liberalization significantly reduces the likelihood of financial crises, especially in middle-income economies, then why did some middle-income economies experience financial crises following liberalization? We further investigate whether the pace of liberalization, the supervisory structure, and the institutional environment matter for outcomes of financial liberalization.

We obtain three main findings. First, an excessively rapid pace of financial liberalization may increase financial risks. The net impact on financial instability depends on the relative importance of the “liberalization effect” and the “pace effect.” In essence, what the “pace effect” captures could simply be the prerequisite conditions and reform sequencing that are well discussed in the literature. Second, the quality of institutions, such as investor protection and law and order, also matter. International experiences indicate that investor protection can significantly reduce the probability of financial crises. Third, the central bank’s participation in financial regulation is helpful for reducing financial risks during financial liberalization. This is probably because central banks always play central roles in financial liberalization, especially in the liberalization of interest rates, exchange rates, and the capital account. If a central bank is responsible for financial regulation, its liberalization policies might be more cautious and prudent.

Our research findings offer important policy implications for the PRC. (1) Further financial liberalization is necessary not only for sustaining strong economic growth but also for containing or reducing financial risks. (2) Gradual reform may still work better than the “big bang” approach, and sequencing is very important for avoiding the painful financial volatilities that many other middle-income countries have seen. (3) The government should also focus more on improving the quality of other institutions, especially market discipline, to contain financial risks. (4) It is better for the central bank to participate in financial regulation. The new regulatory system should focus exclusively on financial stability and shift from regulating institutions toward regulating functions. It should also become relatively independent to increase accountability.

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About the Author 

This submitted article was written by  and  of Asia Pathways, the blog of The Asian Development Bank Institute was established in 1997 in Tokyo, Japan, to help build capacity, skills, and knowledge related to poverty reduction and other areas that support long-term growth and competitiveness in developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Chrissa McFarlane, Founder and CEO of Patientory

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Chrissa McFarlane is the Founder and CEO of Patientory, a patient-centered enterprise solution on the blockchain to store, secure and access healthcare information in real-time. She is a leader and an entrepreneur with a passion for creating cutting-edge healthcare products that transform the face of healthcare delivery in the United States of America and abroad.

What makes you do what you do?
I am passionate about helping people, especially when it comes to their healthcare. This is my daily motivation for pushing forward in one of the most challenging industries to innovate.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Through my networks and maintaining a strong advisory board, I am able to make an impact.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I took on the role and decided to start this startup primary to follow my passion and be an inspiration for other women who are seeking to start their own business.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I have multiple mentors. I met them through my networks.

How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
Through introductions and after speaking with them I saw a character alignment that prompted me to ask them to by my mentor.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
Through one on one meetings, and team building.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
I consciously support diversity because a diversity of thought breeds success in the workplace. It is important to have different lenses of thought to be represented. Our company is a representation of the people we serve.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
A great leader in healthcare is equipped to serve the people. Unlike many other industries, healthcare is centered around sustaining the health of the human being. You certainly need to encompass a passion for seeing individuals live and lead healthy lifestyles.

Advice for others?
In building emerging technology, education is always key to success.

Our first Inaugural Blockchain Healthcare Summit will take place on May 31st in Atlanta, GA where we will discuss the current state of blockchain projects and opportunities for the future.


If you’d like to get in touch with Chrissa McFarlane, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrissamcfarlane/

To learn more about Patientory, please click here.

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