Be authentic. Always look at what is true. Don’t cave in even if it means losing your job.

In episode 46, Sham speaks with Animah Kosai about her experiences advocating against all types of wrong-doing in workplaces. Animah has advocated for workplace safety both as a lawyer, a writer, and through her organization Speak Up.

Question yourself – why are you afraid to do the right thing?



Animah and I have known each other for about 13 years now – we first met in a book club in Kuala Lumpur. She is someone I have admired always and more so in her recent adventure. She left the safety of employment as a lawyer to support organisations to address their darker side. She believes that wrongdoing in the form of corruption, fraud, safety violations and harassment cannot survive in an open culture with authentic leaders and strong compliance processes. She is the founder of Speak Up, an organisation which coaches leaders, to put it very simply. Animah was trained as a lawyer and served as council for the oil and gas industry for 14 years. She was the highest ranking female in her organisation and got down on the ground/or sea in her case!

When things had to be said, I said it!

Show recap

  • Animah started writing about the BP explosion a few years back called the Deep Water Horizon and saw it go viral – especially within the industry. She saw it as a validation of her voicing the issue.

  • She took on all sorts of wrongdoing within the workplace.

  • Animah has been looking at corporate scandals for the last seven years and noticed a gap where the C suite people were wanting to act on the various issues but not people on the ground who are worried for their jobs.

  • Speak Up wants to put something in place for organisations to address issues that need to be spoken about.

  • She has been employed for 25 years and decided to do more and see if she could achieve more outside of her organisation.

  • Animah has been developing modules and designing kits – to address CEOs and boards – for example to look at whistleblowers – is there a policy, ethics.

  • She is keen on processes – especially to make sure there is no retaliation, blame.

  • She finds that organisations finds the issue of culture the most difficult to deal with – the culture within companies – if there is retaliation.

  • She has now taken on the issue of sexual harassment as well given the media coverage.

  • She finds that often organisations do not know how to deal with complaints – especially sexual harassment. HRs within companies are ill equipped.

  • Animah is creating Speak Up Circles now – with a guide for people to talk about harassment.

  • She has been approached by people on how to define if something falls into the realm of harassment. Animah advises to check to see if you have been mindful, respectful.

  • Things seldom happen in a vacuum. People know what is going on. She cites the example of Volkswagen.

  • Animah really pushes for a listening culture. Leaders should create environments where people at different levels are ready to listen and act – especially middle management.

  • Follow your authentic self – if people in organisations asked themselves why you do not want to do what is right.

  • She feels she should be more public and considers the fact that she has left behind a culture of speaking up within the organisation she previously served.


Connect with Animah:




Speak Up Survey on Workplace Sexual Harassment

You can also email her for a Speak Up Circle guide.