A little about me…
I’m a free- spirited individual who has always been looking to do things differently and questioned the status quo all her life. At age 18, after delivering my promise to my parents to graduate with honors, I left for Australia to “learn English” and mostly figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Back then I already felt the constraints of society and expectations on me. After 2 years of wandering the globe doing all kinds of jobs, I decided to continue my education. I graduated as a valedictorian from Manchester Business School in the UK, with a Bsc (Hons) Management, and joined the corporate world. Since then, I have always campaigned for more human-centered leadership and believed in the power of differences to create value. My definition of success was linked to my job position and I wanted to manage and lead teams across countries, which I accomplished.
But I kept feeling a disconnect between who I felt I was deep inside, and the corporate constraints I was living in. Most importantly, I realised that what I loved about my job was unlocking the talents of people and leverage on their differences to create sustainable value. This a long process and one that many companies don’t have the time for. Despite organisations claiming the importance of their employees, the actual evaluation criteria of success did not match. I moved from big to smaller and smaller companies with the aim to make a more tangible impact on the people around me and working towards a more human centered leadership. But I realised that it was the same everywhere, and I learnt that there is always a gap between what a company’s mission is and how they actually empower their employees to deliver it.
My journey to freedom…
I always felt I had an entrepreneurial mind but never had the courage to take the big step. I had many ideas and even a few attempts at trying to be an entrepreneur: pitched a dating app to suit women’s psychology better, wanted to open a women-only bar, devised a business case to open a coffee-shop/motorcycle rental, and created an organisation called the TryBe to support foreign women in Malaysia in developing professional skills and find jobs while having fun with two of my friends. The one thing that all this had in common? Womanhood, psychological/emotional freedom, economic independence, and fun! These entrepreneurship attempts were always running on the side of my corporate job, because I was afraid to commit everything I had. I kept lying to myself, imposing self-limiting beliefs on my own capabilities, and fearing financial uncertainty. I was taking risks and being myself in my personal life, but not fully in my professional one.
While I was busy head on with my work, trying to change things I didn’t have control over, destiny made the decision for me: My company was not doing well financially and had to cut costs and so, I was asked to leave.
My stable and secured life got turned upside down with 2 major professional and personal emotional shocks early 2020. After losing my job, the brutal death of my young 24 years old cousin was the toughest to handle. I had to look deep into myself and apply what I always hold valuable in my heart. I moved from action-reaction and always keeping up with what was happening outside, taking each and every opportunity to grow no matter how, to pressing the pause button. For the first time in my life, I didn’t know what I was going to do next, and it was so liberating. I looked into my soul and asked myself instead why I did what I did. I took time to connect on a deeper level with my loved ones, read a lot, and started asking myself what drove me deep inside. I started listing what I did in the past that felt true to myself and what life I wanted to live.
My biggest source of joy is to encourage and see women find their true-selves and use their womanhood superpowers. While motorcycling has always been both my safe space from a spiritual perspective, and an incredible vehicle to kick my butt out of my comfort zone and closer to who I am.
I decided I wanted to make the most of my business skills and passion for a cause that is closer to my heart and has a positive impact on people. The idea was out and I wanted to start something tangible fast, so why not share my Nepal ride experience with other women riders while helping my friends grow their business, but this time focus more on the encounters with the rural women, and route our spending to local NGOs and homestays. Contacting Sushant came as a no-brainer and the very process of working together has been a blast in itself. Seeing those guys go out of their way to finally find a lot of Nepali lady riders willing to be part of the experience has been tremendously exciting. Urmila, whose dream is to make a living out of her motorcycling passion, was selected to be our first ever Nepali lady motorcycle guide with the support and guidance of Sushant and his team. It’s very unfortunate that the Covid pandemic put a halt on the trip that was planned at the end of April 2020 but I’m confident we will soon make it happen, and that is what keeps me going every morning.
I think my mentor Won Kim encapsulates me perfectly when he wrote:
“From the early age of 20, Alison has always outdistanced everyone in the class by far. Always curious and attentive, she learns quickly and acts efficiently. She always went beyond the homework assignments and most of the time, she would be the only one to have done the reading before class. For her, sacrifice and hard work are not trade-offs for her success throughout her excellent academic career because she is firmly driven and focused by her passion and values that are founded by her own experiences of family, traveling, and friendships. A lioness among cats, a long-term member of the hard-nosed boy’s club, a true-blooded Harley biker with brains and female sophistication, she sets new standards to old paradigms. But most important of all, she is a true friend that will be there when you need her most. You would be only so lucky to have such a person on your side.”