Jahnabi Phookan has been appointed as National President of FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), the oldest women-led and -focused business chamber of Southeast Asia and the womenâs wing of the apex chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
Phookan took over from outgoing National President Harjinder Kaur Talwar at the 36th FLO Annual Session, Rising above Covid Challenges, in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla. FICCI FLO represents over 8000 women entrepreneurs and professionals across 17 chapters nationally and works towards promoting economic empowerment and equal opportunities for women.
Phookan is the 37th National President of FICCI FLO. In her role as the National President, she will focus on empowering women with entrepreneurship capabilities and professional excellence, enabling them to take up new challenges and maximise opportunities in the new normal after Covid.
Speaking about her role, Phookan said, âI am honoured and humbled by the responsibility entrusted on me. We at FICCI FLO are working towards women's economic empowerment at various levels, but â going forward and in accordance with current times â our aim will be to focus on creating sustainable livelihoods for women to empower them further. We wish to move towards our aim by promoting entrepreneurship and professional excellence among women across the country and I am excited to embark on this journey.â
Passionate about womenâs empowerment, Phookan strongly advocates and tirelessly works towards building sustainable livelihoods for womenâs economic uplift.
Phookan is an entrepreneur, a co-founder of two National Tourism Award-winning companies: Jungle Travels India and Assam Bengal Navigation Company under JTI Group. Her companies are encompassed in travel and hospitality â boutique river cruising, small group specialised tours, tea and textiles â all of which empower young peopleâs livelihoods, especially women and their communities.
Jungle Travels India (JTI Group) was established in 1989 to draw tourists and nature enthusiasts to the unexplored North-east Indian jungles, wildlife, dense forests and water bodies. JTI Group was the first IATA agent of the entire Northeast and still continues today as the most experienced, bespoke outbound and inbound tour operator in this region. Assam Bengal Navigation Co. (ABN), established in 2003, is a pioneering long-distance river cruise company in India with a portfolio of boutique river cruise ships, houseboats and safari lodges along the Brahmaputra and Ganges rivers. Worth mentioning that, 5% of every room booked in their portfolio is contributed to the ABN Foundation that supports projects in education, environment and community development.
Phookan has worked for the causes of women empowerment, equality, social justice and skill development in order to make them more confident, employable and independent. She has worked for the cause of women weavers of Assam and runs her own signature line as Tribal Heritage and Lahe Looms since 2014. Phookan started the platform âKonyakâ with her partner from Nagaland in 2008 for the artisans and weavers of Northeast India with a curated collection of handlooms, handicrafts and artefacts from this region. This platform effectively combined textiles and tourism to help artisans and weavers learn, adapt and stay in sync with the latest in designs and techniques in order to garner a regular source of income.
Phookan is a graduate from Calcutta University with a PG Diploma from Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Delhi. She is also an alumnus of Indiana University, USA. As an alumna of the US Govt Exchange Program, she has been the US Citizens Warden for Assam since 2011. She has been conferred with Doctorate of Letters (D.Litt.) Honoris Causa by Assam Downtown University in 2018 for her outstanding work and contribution in eco-tourism and women empowerment. Phookan is also a member of the National Board of Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) now under the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Skill Development, since 2012.
Phookan was the Founder member and Founder Vice-Chairperson of FLO Northeast chapter in 2007. During her tenure, she conceptualised the âIconic Women of Northeastâ Awards that honours five women from across diverse genres in the NE who have overcome difficulties to achieve their dreams. Phookan was a recipient of the FLO Outstanding Women Achievers Award in December 2013.