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Shahjadi’s goal is simple: to help businesses in developing nations like her birth country Bangladesh become more sustainable.
The Master of Advanced Finance student says her passion for positive change began two and a half years ago while helping her father attract more global clients to his garment export business.
“I was doing my postgraduate studies and learning about the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria, and I thought it was the right time to look at doing things differently,” she says.
Working collaboratively with her father’s Bangladesh team, Shahjadi helped them introduce a range of sustainable practices such as RCS (Recycled Claim Standard) licensing and recycled poly packaging.
These simple steps helped expand the international client base from 40 to 60 per cent, leading to increased sales and profitability.
Shahjadi says the company’s growth is inspiring other local small businesses to adopt greener methods.
“We are now focusing on creating a global movement towards these green steps, not just influencing local garment companies, but also companies from other developing countries where these practices are not that common,” she says.
Winning this year’s Monash Business School Future Global Leader postgraduate award has inspired her to work even harder to encourage small business owners to adopt greener practices.
“I have met so many inspiring people through my study at Monash Business School - that includes my teachers, alumni (groups) and fellow classmates - who have helped me grow in confidence and introduced me to opportunities that I never thought I could be a part of,” she says.
Shahjadi is also exerting her influence locally, working closely with Australian social support platform LinkMate to improve the mental wellbeing of students, corporate employees and minorities.
And as vice-president of the Monash Residential Service Hall Society, she won a Best Community Service Leader award for her work to improve fellow students’ mental health, diversity, equality, and inclusion during the pandemic.
“My future goal is to work with sustainable businesses that support mental wellbeing, and help fight the social stigmas related to gender inequality and the exclusion of minorities in the workplace,” she says.
Shahjadi says, as a leader, it’s important to have the courage to take the first step to bring about positive change.
“After that, every other step gets easier as the passion leads the rest of the way,” she says.