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Relentlessly curious

The secret to Singh’s success

“I’m going to share a lie, a secret and a wish with you.” That was the opening gambit of Priya Singh, who at 29 is the youngest General Manager (Data, Process & Advanced Analytics) at Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products. Singh is a daughter of Fiji who is making it big on the world stage – literally. She recently spoke to an audience of 3000 people at the World Congress of Accountants in Sydney, in what she describes now as a surreal experience. This month she spoke at more intimate, Fiji Institute of Accountants Women in Leadership events about her career.

The lie
Singh says the idea that there is a ‘male brain’ and a ‘female brain,’ or to put it in pop-culture terms, ‘men are from Mars and women are from Venus’ is a lie. Having spent most of her academic and working life in male
dominated fields, Singh believes that everyone can access both their left and right brains, that is, their creative, artistic and their logical, detail-orientated, mathematical thinking, but that sometimes society pushes you to one rather than the other. “It’s in your control” she told the audience.

The secret
Singh says the secret to her success is her relentless curiosity. “I think I got a lot of it from my grandma,” she told Islands Business. “Just this boldness of ‘it doesn’t matter what other people think’ or what will happen to you, because if you don’t ask, it’s the same as everything being the way it is right now.” Singh says her relentless curiosity led her to set up her New Zealand charity, “Karma Collective,” which is a digital platform connecting Masters and PhD students and young professionals in Auckland, with entrepreneurs in the developing world who are trying to get their start-ups off the ground.

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