In this special feature, we highlight certain exceptional female legal professionals and their triumphs in defying cultural and professional biases to make their mark within Asia’s legal sector.

These women, who lead some of Asia’s most prominent corporate legal teams and law firms, share their perspectives on empowering female legal talents and fostering a united front for gender equality in the legal profession.


Chief Legal, Ethics, and Compliance Officer, Jollibee Group



Amante graduated as salutatorian from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 2000 and placed seventh in the Philippine bar examinations of the same year. Fresh out of law school, she started at a top-tier law firm, and later, a listed real estate company; in 2007 she joined the Jollibee Group as Senior Legal Counsel and Officer in Charge of Legal, and within a year was confirmed as the Head of Legal.

Over the years, she took on greater responsibilities, and in 2023, she was appointed as Jollibee Group’s first Chief Legal, Ethics, and Compliance Officer. She was instrumental in establishing the legal function’s international presence, and current leads a team of 31 lawyers and paralegals across the USA, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Ireland, and the Philippines. When Amante joined the company, only five  of the current 18 brands were part of its portfolio; Amante led the legal work for acquiring all the rest. She also set new company standards through various initiatives, including the Jollibee Group’s Integrated Ethics and Compliance Program and its 24-7 multilingual international ethics hotline.

Amante was recognized as ALB’s Southeast Asia’s In-House Lawyer of the Year in 2023 and Philippines In-House Lawyer of the Year in 2016. Under her helm, the Jollibee Group’s legal team was named among the Top 15 Legal Teams in Asia by ALB.

Through it all, she remains committed to merit-based hiring and celebrating diversity and has fostered a team with significant female representation and inclusivity, including two persons with disabilities, one of whom is herself. Outside work, Amante is in the process of completing her scuba diving certification with one son and taking singing lessons with the other. Her husband and children are all avid Jollibee fans and proud of her nearly two decades of dedicated service to “bringing the joy of eating to everyone.”


Managing Director, Legal & Compliance, Blackstone



After graduating from law school and practicing law in the United States, Takizawa returned to Tokyo and joined Blackstone, and it has been quite a journey.

Early in her career, Takizawa focused on corporate law, specifically in areas such as M&A, cross-border transactions, and strategic alliances. Being a woman in a predominantly male-dominated profession at the time came with its challenges. Takizawa often found herself mistaken for a secretary or being interrupted during meetings. But she wanted to be recognised for her abilities as an individual, rather than being focused on her gender. Takizawa kept her focus on “doing the job that was in front of me,” which became her motto since her law school days.

Joining Blackstone provided Takizawa with a supportive and inclusive environment that values the needs of women. She has personally experienced understanding from leadership when she had to attend to her child’s needs. This motivated her to be more involved in promoting this culture at the firm. Today, Takizawa lead Blackstone’s legal team in Japan and co-chair

the firm’s affinity networks including Women’s Initiative and Blackstone Women in Legal & Compliance. Together with her colleagues, the team has driven programs focused on recruiting talented women and supporting their careers through mentorship programs and other benefits.

Corporate Japan is still catching up with gender diversity. The share of Japanese women in management roles was only 15 per cent, below the global average of 25 per cent and the 30 per cent target set by the Japanese government. Traditional values often still hold sway for Japanese women, making it difficult to balance work and family obligations.

Takizawa’s journey has been about challenging old norms and championing new opportunities. It’s not just about the culture; in her opinion, a diverse workplace brings better ideas, smarter decisions, and a whole lot of energy. Through smart hiring, supportive teamwork, and encouraging our portfolio companies to embrace diversity, Blackstone is working towards building a smarter workplace.


Vice-President, Legal, UPS Asia Group



Tell us a bit about your career trajectory and how did you get to where you are today?

The legal profession was not my first career choice; as a child, I’d always wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps and be a teacher. After several years of private practice as a maritime litigation lawyer, I found myself yearning to do more than drafting affidavits and debating further and better particulars. The adrenaline rush of trial work was a real draw but the other stuff that came along with it was quite a downer. I ended up interviewing for an in-house legal position at UPS and when I was offered the position, I decided to give it a go. 18 years later (and counting), I’m still going.

I would not say I have “arrived” yet; but I certainly would not be where I am today without all the amazing mentors and supportive peers. UPS has been a phenomenal place from a professional and personal development perspective. I am not just a business lawyer; I also coach and mentor and I often still get to practice my advocacy skills but in the context of a boardroom.

What have been some of the biggest takeaways you’ve cherished as a female leader?

The biggest takeaway I hold true as a female leader is always remembering your why. If your motivation is money (and that’s totally fine), chase after it with the knowledge that certain things might fall away in the process. My motivation is – and has always been – my two children. If there is something that chips away in my ability to be the mother they deserve and can be proud of, that has no place in my life. Whether it is showing them what hard work looks like, giving back to the community, keeping yourself healthy so that you can be around for them, or just being still and available at home – I give it my all because they are my why.

The other takeaway, which is particularly relevant in the legal profession where standards are exacting, is to be kind to yourself. You will, inevitably, fail. All of us will. But that’s how we learn; and show exactly what we are made of – by gracefully picking ourselves up, dusting the dirt off from our power suit and putting one high-heeled foot in front of the other.


General Counsel, Agoda



Anna Suchopar embarked on her legal journey at University College London (UCL), where she was elected president of the UCL Law Society in her final year. This role provided her with first experience in leading a large team, raising funds, and managing a budget. It was probably no coincidence that she realized early on in her career that I was destined to take on an in-house leadership role.

After five years of training and qualifying as a lawyer at Taylor Wessing in London, Suchopar moved to Virgin Group as an IP Manager based in Geneva. From Virgin, she moved to the global online fashion retailer, most latterly as General Counsel & Company Secretary, lead-ing ASOS’ Governance function and supporting the PLC Chair and Board.

In addition to being a member of ASOS’ Executive Committee, Suchopar also led ASOS’ Business Assurance & Resilience and Corporate Responsibility teams, including ASOS’ charitable foundation. This broad remit of complementary disciplines (including Risk, Audit, Crisis Management, Business Continuity) has significantly honed and enhanced Suchopar’s outlook, performance and approach as GC and she highly recommends lawyers seeking out exposure in these areas.

Currently, Suchopar is part of the C-Suite and General Counsel at Agoda, part of the global travel group Booking Holdings Inc., the world’s leading provider of online travel and related services. Relocating to Asia with her family has exceeded all expectations, both personally and professionally, she says.

As the Executive Sponsor for ESG at ASOS, and now playing a central role in Agoda’s ‘Women In Leadership’ program, Suchopar is passionate about addressing gender equality and inclusion. Agoda invests significant time and resources into nurturing and developing the people, regardless of their background. Within the organization, there are dedicated employee resource groups, mentorship programs, countless learning and development workshops and more.

While the legal profession, amongst others, still has much progress to make, Suchopar is delighted to be part of a leadership team and business that places Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) at its core.


General Counsel & Company Secretary, COSCO SHIPPING Ports Limited



What have been some of the biggest takeaways you’ve cherished as a female leader?

I’ve embraced challenges with determination, understanding that each obstacle presents an opportunity to refine skillset and know-how in order to elevate performance to upper level. Maintaining clear-headed and detail-oriented while striving for excellence has been essential in establishing credibility and fostering trust from the Board members and stakeholders.

Additionally, the development of the capability to anticipate risks and take sufficient proactive measures in advance to achieve a desired outcome has been invaluable. By foreseeing potential issues and irregularities and pre-emptively addressing them, I’ve been able to navigate complex situations with agility and poise.

In addition of expertise, critical thinking, and in-depth knowledge of the legal landscape, I’ve been able to stay ahead of the curve and establish myself as a trusted advisor to the Board.

In what ways can the future generation of female lawyers learn from your experience?

Throughout my career development, I encountered numerous challenges and setbacks, but it was the determination to persist in the face of adversities and pressures that drove me forward to become better in terms of personal character, mindset, and wisdom. Understanding that setbacks are part everyone’s career journey and using them as opportunities for growth is vital.

It’s essential to prioritize staying up to date on relevant legal regulations, their impacts after proposed amendments, and changes not only from legal perspective but also the geopolitical landscape. Keeping abreast of these changes is not just about compliance but also about understanding the rationale behind and leveraging the new developments to enhance the best interests of your company.

What do you think will be the best ways for women in law to support each other?

Fostering a culture of collaboration and mutual support is essential for the advancement of women in the legal profession. Establishing robust mentorship programs is also significant. Experienced women lawyers can offer guidance, share insights, and provide valuable career advice to those navigating the career path of legal profession.


Senior Partner, UMBRA -Strategic Legal Solutions



What have been some of the biggest takeaways you’ve cherished as a female leader?

My journey in the legal industry has been shaped by a combination of hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to embrace new challenges. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, we need to understand and embrace the importance of standing our ground and persevering. Another lesson I’ve learned is the importance of fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment. Being part of a team where diversity is not only acknowledged but celebrated has been truly empowering.

In what ways can the future generation of female lawyers learn from you?

I would emphasize the importance of cultivating a strong professional network, seeking out mentorship opportunities, and never being afraid to voice your opinions and ideas. Further, my ambition is driven by a fervent passion for law, so each step of my journey has humbled me with a desire to further make a meaningful impact in the legal landscape, particularly in the energy-climate sector, such as renewable energy, ESG, climate change, and carbon law.

In Indonesia’s energy transition era, gender equality should play a pivotal role. However, women have been underrepresented in the energy-climate sector. I hope that through UMBRA, we can take part in increasing awareness of the importance of energy transition for shaping a better future for our country, and further increasing women’s representation in the energy-climate sector.

What do you think will be the best ways for women in law support to each other?

We have an incredible opportunity to unite our voices and drive impactful change within our industry. From my own journey, I’ve experienced firsthand the power of mentorship, collaboration, and mutual support among women.

I believe that by fostering a culture of mentorship and support, we can create a more inclusive and equitable environment where every voice is heard and valued. Whether through networking events, mentorship programs, or advocacy campaigns, there are countless ways we can come together to champion gender equality and drive substantive change within the legal profession.




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