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Spotlight On: Dato’ Shahira Bazari, Yayasan Hasanah’s Trustee And Managing Director 

This year’s International Women’s Day, we celebrate six women leaders in the impact space. Women who take on pioneering roles and are driven by a sense of purpose of ensuring no one is left behind coupled with their strong sense of defying injustice.

Dato’ Shahira Bazari grew up listening to the stories and the words of wisdom from her father at night. The lessons imparted by her father were the values she held dearly to this day. Her father was a charitable person with a firm belief that education is a pivotal turning point for an individual[1].

She began her corporate journey at a private think tank leading socio-political research and advocacy work for three years before leading the public affairs at Procter & Gamble. In 2015,  Yayasan Hasanah, a foundation under the patronage of Khazanah Nasional came into being. Dato’ Shahira was crucial in the foundation’s formative years, a role that she took on following her nine-year tenure at Khazanah Nasional where she last held position was Director in the Managing Director’s office. 

As the Trustee and Managing Director of Yayasan Hasanah, Dato’ Shahira collaborates with a network of civil society organisations (CSO) in the pursuit of creating long-term and sustainable impact within Malaysia’s social and environmental landscape. 

Source: Dato’ Shahira’s personal archive

Throughout her involvement in the impact space, she has witnessed a positive shift amongst different stakeholders working together to solve complex and multi-dimensional social and environmental issues. The pandemic had only fortified the standing of CSOs and social enterprises in driving development and nation-building. 

More and more, we are pulling together our collective resources towards a common purpose, with no regard for “egos” and “logos”.-Dato’ Shahira Bazari, Yayasan Hasanah’s Trustee And Managing Director 

Since its inception in 2015, Yayasan Hasanah has assisted more than 1 million lives in Malaysia.The Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) & Government-Linked Investment Companies (GLICs) Disaster Response Network (“GDRN”) that streamline urgent assistance to disasters is one of the foundation’s successful initiatives. Through partnerships with the public and private sector, Yayasan Hasanah’s grants quadrupled to RM 400 million leading to more civil society partners and projects awarded in 2020 and 2021[2]

Source: Dato’ Shahira’s personal archive

She believes strongly in keeping our ears to ground and listening closely to the grassroots’ voice when it comes to social transformation. Leaders within the impact industry need to carry an astute ability to balance the “head and the heart.” 

Social work, at its core, is rooted in humanity, empathy, rights, and justice. It requires resourceful leaders with a strong spirit of resilience and strength in the face of adversity. Collaboration, multi-stakeholder engagements and communications are also more dominant traits of women. Dato’ Shahira Bazari, Yayasan Hasanah’s Trustee And Managing Director 

As one who is seen as a pioneer in shaping the impact industry, Dato’ Shahira is very encouraged that more women are filling up the space to use their talent, expertise and skills for the greater good. Even so, she is optimistic that there is room for more women to rise up.  

The incredible women I’ve met in this space like our partners, Earth Heir, Women of Will, Tanoti Crafts, Yayasan Chow Kit, and Wiki Impact have never failed to inspire, and it’s exciting to see more women thriving in various roles within this ecosystem. Not forgetting the women in government agencies, corporate sectors and academia who help demonstrate best practices and shape policies towards long-lasting positive change. – Dato’ Shahira Bazari, Yayasan Hasanah’s Trustee And Managing Director 

Even at Yayasan Hasanah, the workforce by chance consisted mostly of women – a promising indicator that more women are coming into this space. But, there is always a need for more role models to inspire the next generation for a better and brighter Malaysia. 

Source: Dato’ Shahira’s personal archive

In addition to her role as the Managing Director at Yayasan Hasanah, she is a wife and a mother of teenage children. The act of balancing her dynamic career with her role at home can be challenging. What has helped her in the balancing act is a supportive family and intentionally committing her time for her loved ones outside of work. 

Despite the emotionally and mentally draining nature of her work, the team at Yayasan Hasanah is united by a passion to serve others. It is this passion that she believes is the “elixir” that powers her team on. 

What burns my passion is the extraordinary privilege and Amanah (trust) of working at a foundation where we are able to make a difference in the lives of Malaysians  every day. It is also the conviction that what we do today will hopefully contribute to a better future for our children tomorrow. – Dato’ Shahira Bazari, Yayasan Hasanah’s Trustee And Managing Director 

Explore our sources:

  1. T.Jayatilaka.(2021) Yayasan Hasanah’s Managing Director Lives By These Tenets. Tatler Asia. Link 
  2. CIMB. (2021). Dato’ Shahira Ahmed Bazari. Link

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