Hall Of Fame: Pinky Lilani

Pinky Lilani OBE is a formidable woman with so much energy and zeal. Founder of the Asian Women of Asian Awards, which is in its 12th year, Pinky has been surrounded by inspirational, innovative and enterprising Asian women.

Her own career has been quite special. She went from being a adult cookery teacher to an author, specialist Indian food advisor to major supermarkets and subsequently setting up her own food enterprise, Spice Magic. Her clients include NatWest, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, IBM, Coutts who enjoy exquisite Spice Magic food.

Pinky has been decorated with awards including being honouored as one the 50 most influential and powerful Muslim women in Britain in the 2009 Muslim Women Power List.

As the Asian Women of Achievement Awards draws near on May 19th, let’s find out a little behind the woman who is supporting the achievements of Asian women.

What made you set up the Asian Women Of Achievement Award? Everyone thought that Asian women just fried onion bhajias and there was a very stereotyped view of us. I came across some amazing women and I wanted to bring them into the public. Everyone knew people like Meera Syal and Nina Wadia but we needed to showcase others. Asian women were achieving such as Patricia Rosario (opera singer) DJ Neev (Kiss FM DJ) Isa Guha (Cricketer), Ruby McGregor Smith (only asian women to run a FTSE250 company). AWAA was a platform for Asian female achievement. Women like to be acknowledged. “The biggest human craving is the craving to be appreciated” William James, pscychologist.

What’s your favourite food? I love Lebanese Food, especially kofte and chilli sauce with vermecilli rice.

How do you like to spend your weekends? I love to go for walks, have meals with my children and husband. I like watching movies. I love going to the Southbank for walks.

Who are your role models? I find this tough. I don’t have any role models. I am inspired by all the women I have encountered especially the younger ones who have huge dreams, wonderful energy and so many of them are so keen to be kind. Growing up, consciously I wasn’t looking for role models. My mother was excellent at socialising and hosting as Asian women were expected to do. She was my role model. She was extremely elegant and still is one of the most elegant women I know.

What colour do you wear the most and why? I love wearing red and turquoise blue and black. Turqoise because of the jewellery I have that sets off my outfits; makes me look energised. Black to hide the multitude of sins.

What challenges did you face as a female in business? I didn’t face external challenges. The only challenges I had were the ones I set up for my self at the beginning of my career.

What has been your favourite place you have travelled to and why? This may sound cheesy but I love going to Las Vegas because it reinvents itself everytime I go.

What mantra do you live by? You have not lived a perfect day unless you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

What was the last book you read? Water for Elephant by Sara Gruen

Is there anything you would like to do that you haven’t done already? I want to do the walk to Santiago De Compostela a medieval pilgrimage walk.

Who would be present at your fantasy dinner party? (5 guests plus you) Bill Clinton, Anand Mahindra, Susan Greenfield, Michelle Hussein, Inza Nooyi.

What has been your greatest achievement? Really having two wonderful sons.

Quote of the day… The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.

One Comment to “Hall Of Fame: Pinky Lilani”

  1. Really interesting interview. Two of my friends completed part of the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I read about the pilgrimage in a Paulo Coelho book and would love to do it one day too.

    Sounds like a great dinner party guest list too, Inza Nooyi is a beautiful name, does anyone know who this person is?

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