Malini Saba admirably fulfills my definition of a role model. I associate her with the mantra from Mark Twain – “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence,” and she has most certainly followed it throughout her life.
First, as a successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist, she invested in at least 20 technology companies during the 1990s, and was among the earliest of the women who broke through the proverbial glass ceiling, demonstrating that investment and business skills are gender neutral. Ms. Saba is the Chairman of Saban, a company with worldwide investments in such varied sectors as technology, oil, gas, real estate and agricultural products. The company’s business interests range from the US to China, Australia and India.
Malini recognized her lack of specialized knowledge in the field in which she was interested and pursued her educational goals by taking advantage of the tuition-free classes available to the spouses of students at Stanford University. She also took the unusual step of attending functions where she could interact with investment bankers and used her discussions with them and the advice gained from them as learning opportunities. Gaining confidence along the way she attempted to join investment companies, without success. Unfazed, she then started her own company, refusing to abandon her dreams. This attitude served her well. Her various recipes for success are captured by her approaches to business. She is not afraid to take risks, has always “taken the bull by the horns”, never allows herself to be bullied or stopped doing what she believed in. She has fought, and won, against corrupt businesses practices but believes overall that after failures you need to “brush off and carry on”, since this differentiates success from failure. As a woman, Malini also believes that she has had to fight harder to achieve her successes.
This amazing woman’s associated passion is philanthropy, starting a non-profit movement called Stree: Global Investments in Women, backed by then President Bill Clinton and Queen Noor of Jordan. This movement is dedicated to empowering women in India, Africa, Central America and Eastern Europe while assisting in the provision of improved access to healthcare. Donations have also been made to start a Heart Research Center and assistance was provided for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami.
Malini I salute you!