Veena Sahajwalla: 2015 Australian Financial Review-Westpac Women of Influence


Creativity is an essential for business to be successful say three of the winners of the 2015 Australian Financial Review-Westpac Women of Influence.

Growing up in Mumbai, Veena Sahajwalla was fascinated by the factories she passed walking to and from school. She sometimes ventured into their grounds, intrigued by what went on inside. "It was traditional, industrial hard-core factories churning out stuff; it gives you a bit of a buzz," she says. "I wondered, what do they do behind those walls?

"It looked exciting, things going in, things coming out. It got into my blood fairly early on, that excitement about what manufacturing industries can really do."

Sahajwalla pursued that early interest, studying in Canada and the United States, and is now a world-class inventor and professor of materials science at the University of New South Wales. There she heads the centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT), which pursues environmentally sustainable solutions to e-waste and creates new materials.

Sahajwalla won the Innovation category in this year's Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence awards. She joined Culture category winner Janet Whiting, head of litigation, Melbourne, at Gilbert + Tobin, deputy chair of Victorian Major Events Company and a board director at Bell Shakespeare Company; Business Enterprise category winner Ros Moriarty, managing director at Balarinji, an Indigenous strategy and design practice; Ainslie van Onselen, Westpac Director of Women's Markets, Inclusion and Diversity; and BOSS editor Joanne Gray, at a lunch to celebrate their awards.

Read the full article by Joanna Gray in the AFR's Boss magazine