Prestige’s ‘Empowered Women’ series dive into the world of strong women who are leading by example in their own ways. Here, Dr. Pimkhwan “Pim” Bunjitpimol shares the secret behind her success as the founding committee of the Navamin Ruamjai Foundation, vice president of Navamin 9 Hospital and founder of Vital Glow Skin & Aesthetic Centre.
Sometimes in life there comes an impossible-to-pass-up opportunity. For Dr. Pimkhwan “Pim” Bunjitpimol, it was a chance to push for her recently founded Navamin Ruamjai Foundation to support those struggling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is the crisis of the century,” she says. “Though we didn’t prepare for it beforehand, we need to get past it by fighting and keeping up our spirits. The hospital is just a piece of the puzzle, and I want everyone to work together to survive.”
Although Navamin 9 Hospital, where she is the Vice President, already has a CSR programme, an established foundation can increase the reach and scope of philanthropic efforts. “I suggested we set up a foundation so we could help more people, the majority. Anyone who wants to donate, anyone who wants to do something substantive, can do so. Whether it be donating ventilators, breathing machines, funds, or even buying milk for babies in quarantine.”
In the meantime, she has other philanthropy work keeping her busy, including with the UN. “I’m working with UN Women for gender equality and empowerment, collaborating with the Navamin Foundation. I regularly take part in their women empowerment programs.”
From every angle, Dr. Pimkhwan is an impressive figure. This 32-year-old dynamo holds several degrees, including a PhD in Public Health Sciences, a Master’s in European Studies, and a Bachelors’ in Business Administration from Chulalongkorn University, as well as a Master’s in International Health from Imperial College of London. She also founded and runs Vital Glow Skin & Aesthetic Centre, a business she built from scratch after she completed her PhD at 25.
“With Vital Glow, I started from zero and designed everything from the ground up. My parents said not to do it,” she admits. “They gave me a location in a hideout on the third floor [of the hospital] where there is no traffic at all. They didn’t think it could succeed because it wasn’t in the city, so not enough foot traffic.” Through the years, however, the centre has grown from one operating room to three, expanding its staff and range of expertise along the way.
When it comes to having a vision, she says it’s important to be able to adapt according to changing circumstances. A backup plan is also key.
Over the past few years, she’s overseen the launch of the hospital’s hair transplant clinic and plastic surgery clinic – which handles everything from minor nose surgery to major gender reassignment procedures – as she recognises the need and importance of such procedures. “It’s not just about improving aesthetics, it’s something deeper,” she says, noting that her staff are trained to use identity-affirming pronouns and honourifics.
For now, though, she’s focussed on ensuring everyone can survive Covid-19 – and its fallout effects – together, using whatever resources she can. At the hospital, for instance, she says all medical staff have received a third booster jab. The hospital also set-up hospitels (converted hotels) to provide beds to low-risk patients, so there are enough hospital beds for those with more medical needs.
“Right now, business is all about staying together and joining together. It’s not about investing. It’s friends working and networking together to improve the economy.”
Ever the educator, Dr. Pimkhwan and her husband launched an online series to help new mothers after the birth of their own daughter, A-ri, now two months old.
“We offer information on mother-child topics for new mothers. For instance, what new mothers can do if their baby has a hiccup or chokes on something. I share my experiences, speak directly to ob-gyn doctors and specialists, and share this via YouTube and Facebook,” she points out. Fortunately, Navamin 9 Hospital is renowned for obstetrics, giving Dr. Pimkhwan access to the best specialists.
“I want to tell the new generation to not let opportunities pass by. take advantage of them. ask questions, no matter what you see or experience, so you can learn and discover answers”
Outside of her professional worlds, a dear personal goal is expanding from her usual 42-km marathons to relay, multiple-sport marathons. “It’s a passion,” she says. “I’ve loved it since I was 11 years old.” Another goal is expanding the mission of Navamin Ruamjai Foundation to help marginalised women and the LGBTQ+ community and people in need.
Thinking of her past achievements and future dreams, the multi-talented executive urges youths to act sooner rather than later, which seems to be a theme for her work this year. “I want to tell the new generation to not let opportunities pass by. Take advantage of them. Ask questions, no matter what you see or experience, so you can learn and discover answers. It’ll help you expand your knowledge and find new ways of thinking.”
As for success, she defines it as managing every dimension of one’s work-life balance. “Maybe you don’t have to have the financial success of a billionaire, or know a lot of people, but success can be about simply having a good life, a quality life. Success is a big picture. And success for this country is if we all survive together. Success for my staff, although Vital Glow is a small organisation, is having a good working life. If we’re making money, our staff should also be compensated, so all sides are left feeling happy.”
Dress: Salvatore Ferragamo
Jewellery: Gems Pavilion
Photographer: Vatcharasith Wichyanrat
Photographer’s Assistant: Somboonkiat Wonghom & Kiattisak Janprai
Stylist: Chittawatr Buramyakorn
Stylist’s Assistant: Thitikorn Homnaul
Makeup Artist: Nontalee Wongpeng
Hair Stylist: Kitphisuth Kanchanakawinphong
Editorial Coordinator: Kanyaphat Somwong
Location: Alexander And James
This story was first published in the August 2021 issue of Prestige Thailand.
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