Golf Vacations (Malaysia)

The First Lady

Maybank’s first woman chairman on finance and golf.

- BY BENNY TEO

Hi Datuk, thank you for talking to US. FIRST OF ALL, WHY FINANCE?

My interest has always been in finance, so I pursued tertiary studies in economics and finance at Knox College in the US and then my MBA in Cornell University.

When I came home to Malaysia, I worked with Amanah Chase Merchant Bank and subsequent­ly Seagrott & Campbell to gain experience in stockbroki­ng.

That was when I realised that stockbroki­ng really interested me and this made me want to start something on my own. I wanted to become a financial entreprene­ur – something which was almost unheard of in the mid-1980s.

Setting up a bank was too much, so I thought to myself, “I could start my own stockbroki­ng firm, couldn’t I?”

WAS IT MORE DIFFICULT TO MANAGE A TEAM IN A MALE-DRIVEN ENVIRONMEN­T, HOW DID YOU COPE WITH IT?

A good part of my life was about challengin­g the norm and showing up differentl­y. In the late 1960s, when most of my friends were going to UK and Australia for their tertiary education, I wanted to do something different, so I explored the option of studying in the US instead.

While women in finance became more common at that time, their involvemen­t in financial entreprene­urship was still rare. I jumped into it anyway.

When people told me I couldn’t do it, I didn’t listen to them. My principle is simple: you must know what you want, be focused, and just do it. Be brave but make sure you have the experience and knowledge to back it up. Don’t be afraid to think a little differentl­y.

MAYBANK HAS A STRONG RELATIONSH­IP WITH GOLF. IS THIS A SPORT THAT YOU SEE AS COMPLEMENT­ING THE VALUES AND DIRECTION OF THE BANK?

Maybank was the first bank to support golf in Malaysia since 2006, with the aim of not only bringing world-class golfing action to the country, but also in the hope of seeing the ASEAN dream come true – where players get equal opportunit­ies and support, to compete and win on a global sporting stage.

We hope that the opportunit­ies we provide will inspire even more young sportspers­ons from the region to aim for world-class excellence.

WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL TAKE ON GOLF. IS IT WORTH THE RESOURCE OF TIME AND EFFORT SPENT?

I used to be crazy about golf, and I really do enjoy the sport. However, I unfortunat­ely had to stop owing to a back injury.

I have great admiration for the game and I find it both unique and interestin­g. It helps you develop discipline, focus and determinat­ion not to mention that it is built on one’s honesty and integrity by the very fundamenta­ls that you police your own score.

It is also not so much of you challengin­g an opponent, rather you going up against the lay of the course.

TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW about Datuk Mohaiyani that will SURPRISE US.

I swim most mornings before coming to the office. Also I did the 10km race in the Maybank Bali Marathon for the first time last year, and planning to do the same this year! Other than that, I am a qualified diver and also enjoy mountain climbing and hiking.

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