May 31, 2012 - Attending the World Economic Forum's East Asia Summit in Bangkok, Thailand

I truly looked forward to participating at the World Economic Forum's East Asia Summit in Bangkok, convening industry leaders from the East Asian region, as well as joining my fellow Young Global Leaders and leading social entrepreneurs from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.  I was eager to hear from the region's leaders on the challenges and opportunities they faced, and thrilled to participate in helping shape the region's future.

I was particularly interested to hear the thoughts of Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is one of the few women heads of states in the world, and who is leading a country that remains a constitutional monarchy while being on the crossroads of globalization.

The Kingdom of Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia never colonized by a European power, and despite political turmoil, remains a country rich in promise as an engine of growth within East Asia.  The country enjoys the presence of diverse businesses, from microenterprises and tourism, to global retail brands like Starbucks, and global luxury brands like Prada, Gucci, and the like.

One of the questions at WEF East Asia was: “How will Thailand combine its legendary culture with emerging creative industries to build its brand equity?”  I believe in the power of entrepreneurship-led and innovation-led economic development. Thus, I think that the engine for growth in Thailand and in East Asia will come from entrepreneurs who dare to dream about building the great companies of tomorrow, and have the courage and tenacity to pursue their vision.

One of the East Asian region’s most promising (and most accomplished) emerging entrepreneurs is Vorravit Siripark, CEO and Founder of Panpuri, a fast-growing globally focused luxury organic spa products company, founder-built, privately owned, and based in Bangkok. Vor has expanded Panpuri’s presence worldwide, which now retail at places like Barney’s in New York. Panpuri is all over Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, and the UAE. In addition to a beautiful spa in Bangkok, Panpuri has high end spas in Sydney, New Caledonia, Madrid, and the UK. 

Panpuri has a very inspiring mission, and is a shining example of the type of global entrepreneurship that can emerge from Thailand and the East Asian region.  Disclaimer: I have known Vor for half my life since our days at Lester Pearson United World College in British Columbia. But that does not take away from how amazing his company is, and my point that globally-focused entrepreneurs like Vor are the way of the future for Thailand and East Asia. Knowing Vor, I know that he strives hard to keep strong to the authenticity of the spirit and purpose of the brand as he builds a global company.