Throughout her career, Vital Voice’s 2016 Global Ambassadors Program (GAP) alumna, Asha Bhat, has done just that. Despite witnessing poverty, gender inequality, and disparity throughout her life, Asha has proven to be a successful woman leader committed to the advancement of indigenous communities.
Asha Bhat is the CEO of the award-winning regional Southern Aboriginal Corporation (SAC), a non-profit organization in Western Australia. SAC provides a holistic and cultural approach to Noongar people of the Great Southern and South West region of Western Australia by offering programs and services in housing, family law and child protection, health promotion, and suicide prevention.
Asha has an extensive background in supporting vulnerable people and those in minority groups. Throughout her efforts and achievements, one can easily notice her fiery passion for helping and supporting those who need it. In 2017, Asha received the Albany Citizen of the Year award, and in 2017 and 2020, she was a finalist in the Telstra WA Business Women of the Year Awards. Under Asha’s leadership, SAC has won various awards for demonstrating its impact in the community, including the Community Business Award of the Year 2016 and the 2018 Community Services Excellence Award, which recognizes excellent leadership and services to the Noongar Community. SAC is one of the more positive stories that have emerged from the global pandemic crisis of COVID-19. As a result, SAC was able to reach more clients through videos, online, and care packages. In addition, Asha strengthened staff capability in terms of team success by empowering them with the trust and confidence to work independently.
Success takes both resilience in the face of setbacks and fierce persistence to push ahead.
Asha continues, “I’ve been knocked down more times than I can count, but the confidence to move forward in the face of all odds is essential for success.” Earlier in her career, Asha struggled with self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and fear of public speaking.
In 2016, Asha was selected to attend the Vital Voices’ Global Ambassadors Program as one of the eleven women leaders chosen globally. GAP Trainer Allison Shapira provided Asha with tools to overcome her fears and harness her energy and passion for helping others. Global Ambassador Jennifer Witter served as a mentor for Asha during the 2016 GAP Australia trip and inspired her to take this harnessed energy and confidence to build a personal and professional brand that has contributed to her continuous growth as a successful woman entrepreneur.
Due to resilience, fierce persistence, and the encouragement and support from GAP mentors, Asha has continued to grow as a dedicated woman entrepreneur who strives to improve the lives of those around her. Asha has now taken lead volunteer roles on charities, boards, and committees independent of her role as CEO of SAC. She is regularly invited by well-known media to share her opinions and commentaries. Asha has accomplished her goal of being a leader who has significantly impacted her culture and community. She promises to continue to pay it forward.