How did you come to create ila's ALLY? Have you always had a strong commitment to gender equity and social justice issues?
Gender equality has always been a core part of my beliefs, something that was ingrained from a young age within my family dynamics. My mother, for as long as I can remember, has always climbed the corporate ladder while still being as present as ever in my everyday childhood. The concept of gender equality was therefore so normalized for me that when I left my home in Bangkok and went to New York for the first time I was culturally shocked at the stark difference between Western and Eastern cultures. Walking down Union Square in the broad daylight, I distinctly recall being followed down multiple blocks and catcalled as if it was normal to harass women. From there I started to become more involved in gender equity, joining the NYU Feminist club and then, at my first job (Ogilvy Singapore), where I would go on to start the company’s first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative with a focus on gender violence as our pro bono client.
After a few years in advertising I realized that my love for storytelling had to have more social impact and so I went on to pursue a degree in Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics where I met my co-founder. We knew the topic of gender violence wasn’t a sexy one, but because it was still so taboo to discuss, that’s exactly why we felt compelled to create a platform where anti-harassment training can easily be implemented in everyday life. Thus, ALLY was born: a UN Women award-winning mobile application that turns local venues into safe spaces by training bystanders to spot and stop abuse.
When faced with the rising problems of domestic abuse during Covid and the never-ending problem of street harassment, my co-founder and I decided it was time to create a solution."
I will forever cherish the creative and safe environment within the classrooms of NYU that encouraged us to speak our minds, challenge social norms, and be daring in our convictions."