Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Bangladesh launched its Women’s Forum, Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT), on August 21, 2020. Bangladesh joined as the 22nd Chapter of WiLAT Global family. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, CILT Bangladesh Council decided to launch WiLAT Bangladesh virtually via zoom platform. The CILT International Secretary General Mr Keith Newton FCILT, International Vice President (IVP), Mr Finbarr Cleary from CILT Ireland, WiLAT Global Chairperson, Ms Gayani De Alwis from CILT Sri Lanka, WiLAT Deputy Global Chairperson, Ms Vicky Koo from CILT Hong Kong and WiLAT India Chairperson, Ms Ragini Yechuri, Global Vice Chairperson South East Asia, Zavia Abdul Majid from WiLAT Malysia also joined the launch event.
Ms. Mimnun Sultana CMILT, Assistant Professor, United International University was elected as the first Chairperson of WiLAT Bangladesh. Ms. Syeda Tahmina Hossain CMILT, Head of Planning & Monitoring, Shabab Fabrics Ltd. and Ms. Halima Begum CMILT, Assistant Professor at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University was elected at Vice Chairperson. Ms. Israt Jahan Rimi, Manager, Admin & Training, Expeditors Bangladesh was elected as Secretary and Ms. Razia Sultana CMILT, Director (Finance), Interport Ship Agents Ltd was elected as Treasurer. Ms. Sangeetha Nagarajah, General Manager, Business Development, Scanwell Logistics Bangladesh, Ms. Shamima Akhter CMILT, Sr. Officer, Procurement at Save the Children, Mrs. Nighat Sultana, Agent-Ocean, Expeditors Bangladesh, Ms. Shoyeba Umme Aiman, Assistant Manager (Claims), Interport Maritime Ltd. also were elected as Executive Committee Members.
Global Vice Chairperson, South Asia Ms Gayathri Karunanayake CMILT moderated the virtual launch and invited CILT Bangladesh Joint Secretary, Mr Tanjil Ahmed Ruhullah CMILT to give the opening address and share the journey of the formation of WiLAT in Bangladesh. Tanjil stated that “the journey of WiLAT in Bangladesh had been quite interesting in the sense that initially in 2018 we only had a handful of women members in CILT Bangladesh, the numbers of which were not enough to form an Executive Committee, let alone form a WiLAT Chapter. However with the support of Razia, WiLAT Bangladesh Official Representative and with my passion for CILT, we addressed this challenge. We started a membership drive for WiLAT. To start with, we were able to bring on-board a few senior professional women in the Supply Chain, Logistics & Transport sector in Bangladesh, but the numbers were hardly sufficient. However we persevered and explored alternate strategies to attract more female members. We collaborated with two leading universities in Bangladesh namely United International University and American International University with a primary focus for marketing the CILT International Diploma, and that is when we gained momentum, in terms of drawing attention and interest from potential WiLAT members. More and more young aspiring female graduates in the supply chain field started contacting us for the CILT International Diploma and also to know more about CILT and WiLAT. Then we started focused promotion of WiLAT by organizing seminars, sharing WiLAT promotional content in events and in social media and we eventually onboarded a sizeable number of young WiLAT members. We also reached out to leading corporate organizations engaged in logistics and transport in Bangladesh for marketing the CILT education offerings and WiLAT in order to reach out to more senior and influential professional women in the industry. These promotions were productive enabling us to bring together many mid to senior level women professionals in the industry to participate and engage in the CILT International qualifications. Finally, with the encouragement from Razia and Gayathri we were able to get these wonderful WiLAT members in important positions to form the first WiLAT Executive committee in Bangladesh. WiLAT in Bangladesh thus became a reality finally”.
Tanjil also expressed his gratitude to Gayani, Global Chairperson of WiLAT for inspiring him, and putting her trust in him for the formation of the WiLAT Bangladesh Chapter.
Global Chairperson in her address commended CILT Bangladesh Council for taking the lead to set up the WiLAT Chapter by recruiting professional women from diverse sectors in the industry and academia with a strong foundation to ensure sustenance. She stressed that WiLAT is committed to ceate awareness on career opportunities in the industry, provide access to information sources on continuing professional development, provide networking opportunities to share best practices, provide training and mentoring opportunities to make a positive contribution, continuously develop and nurture a talent pipeline for the industry and to drive change in industry through diversity. She further highlighted on WiLAT’s emphasis on the four strategic thrusts; Leadership, Empowerment, Entrepreneurship and Mentorship to drive the WiLAT global agenda. Through these initiatives WiLAT aims to grow membership, increase reach and develop global partnerships, she concluded. She then virtually inducted Mrs Mimnun Sultana as the new Chairperson of WiLAT Bangladesh.
Mimnun in her acceptance address pledged to drive the mission of WiLAT in Bangaldesh and will make WiLAT as the platform for Bangladeshi women engaged in supply chain , logistics and transport industry to network and access opportunities for career advancement and become leading professionals in the industry. She thanked CILT Bangladesh Council, WiLAT Global Chairperson Gayani De Alwis CMILT and Global Vice Chairperson for South Asia Gayathri Karunanayake CMILT, CILT Bangladesh Joint Secretary, Tanjil Ahmed Ruhullah CMILT and Treasurer, Razia Sultana CMILT for their unstinted support in the journey of the formation of WiLAT in Bangladesh.
WiLAT is the women’s forum of the CILT and was launched in June 2013 to promote the ever-expanding supply chain, logistics and transport industry with female members and to encourage and support their career development. Currently WiLAT is present in 22 countries with over 3000 members in the global network which is expanding rapidly.