Malini Alles, "the Silicon Valley venture capitalist and social activist who was here to interact with the ISBians on December 12, 2005, has broken the mould in more ways than one. She has already broken into the top league of real estate funds in the US which is predominantly a male dominated market, founded a non-profit organisation “Stree” that provides the means for poor impoverished women to access healthcare and preventive medicine, and has now launched “Maia” – a $ 100 million real estate fund that will invest in industrial, commercial and residential development, and re-developmental projects in India in the next few years.
"Alles’s is a rags-to-riches story that is both inspiring for its many achievements, and touching for the candour with which it is shared. As a spouse of a Stanford student, she attended lectures and interacted with investment bankers at academic gatherings. She invested the little money that she had in booming sectors like telecommunications, commodities and real estate, taking advantage of Silicon Valley’s hi-tech and stock market boom. Her speculations paid off, and made her into a billionaire. She could then afford to start “Stree” – a non-profit organisation to help battered women and young girls around the world that was launched in 2000 with Bill Clinton as the guest of honour. Alles’s multi-national exposure and multi-faceted interests have only added to her many strengths; she was born to Sri-Lankan parents in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, grew up in Australia, and is a businesswoman in the US. She holds a doctorate in psychology, and has also been a staunch Democratic Party fund-raiser."