Four Seasons Resorts Thailand Celebrates Their Women in Leadership to #FSInspireInclusion This International Women’s Day

February 22, 2024,
Chiang Mai, Thailand

The commercial backbone of Four Seasons Resorts Thailand – comprising three stunning resorts in Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Tented Camp Golden Triangle – is a formidable team of women, who have charted an illustrious career and continue to inspire. The leadership, helmed by Senior Director of Marketing Smriti Khandelwal, is a tight network of strong, assertive, charismatic and confident women with diverse backgrounds, cultures and professional experiences across geographies. “That’s what make it exciting,” smiles Khandelwal, who has found a niche for herself in a predominantly Thai team.

Blazing a Trail

Thailand's female population constitutes 47% of the country's workforce – the highest percentage of working women in the Asia-Pacific region. Blazing a trail for Four Seasons Resorts of Thailand are the women who oversee the Sales, Revenue Optimization, Public Relations and Marcomms and Reservations functions.

Born to a father in the Special Forces and married to an ex military naval gunner, discipline, agility, people leadership and radical thinking with shifting priorities come easy to Smriti Khandelwal, Senior Director of Marketing, who leads this team. “It’s how one embraces and appreciates each other with diverse backgrounds and professional experiences that makes the teams so successful,” she adds. Senior Director of Sales Piyanart Potjanathum is a passionate, self-driven, free spirit. “My siblings – all girls – have taught me so many life lessons,” she shares. “Being around strong personalities has not only given me a good understanding of inclusion, but also shaped me into who I am today.”

For Astuti Singh, Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Public Relations, relocating to Bangkok right after her wedding presented its challenges. Known for her easy-going demeanour, disciplined approach, and focused mindset, Singh shares, "The transition was swift, yet my capacity to welcome individuals as they come and honour diverse cultural backgrounds eased my adaptation to this new chapter and city remarkably. Managing teams with various expectations can be demanding, but for Reservations Manager Khwanla Lunput, it is the most interesting aspect of her role. With an age gap of nearly 20 years between her and the team, adapting and being open to new ways of working is key. “I learn a lot from my team every day,” she remarks. “The only way to bridge the gap is to be aware and inclusive, so that everyone feels equally invested in the decision-making.”

When she is not crunching numbers and pouring through data, Revenue Manager Nonthawan Panichjirasakul is prioritizing the 3 Cs – concerts, café hopping and coffee. “Music is an inclusive language,” she smiles. “It resonates with everyone in some form or the other, organically inspiring likeminded people to get together.”

Behind Every Successful Woman

While Khandelwal works her magic with commercial overview for the Resorts, she is quick to acknowledge her husband, who quit his long-standing military career of 29 years to be a supportive stay at home father and partner in her career. “At a certain point, couples may need to evaluate what works best as a familial unit keeping egos aside with an equal opportunity mindset. As long as the understanding of the balance between the pilot and pillion careers is well understood and embraced by partners, it works well. I couldn’t have done this without him walking right beside me,” says Smriti.  Senior Director of Public Relations and Marketing Communications Astuti Singh shares Kandelwal’s pride. Recently married, she is in a long-distance relationship with her husband: “We discussed the arrangement and made a decision based on an understanding that we were both at a crucial stage in our careers – there were no compromises.”


“For me, inspiring inclusion at the workplace is to make each individual feel like a relevant contributor to business outcomes,” says Khandelwal. “One feels that immediately in a country like Thailand, where the people are warm and welcoming,” adds Singh. For Potjanathum, the Four Seasons brand stands tall: “It is a home to me – where everyone shares the same vision.”

Meet the Team

Smriti Khandelwal, Senior Director of Marketing: Her journey from India to Singapore and now Thailand embodies a series of transitions and 19 home moves. A proponent of open debates on business challenges and being bold and brave to try new ideas inspires her inclusive approach to leadership. Working with diverse teams with various strengths and viewpoints has shaped Khandelwal into a leader who values openness, and is willing to challenge conventional norms, creating a space where different perspectives are acknowledged and appreciated. At the heart of her narrative are key male figures, including her father, husband, and professional colleagues. Her father's influence equipped her with resilience while her husband's decision to forgo a secure career highlights the depth of personal support she receives and the value of family. Khandelwal goes beyond traditional views of work-life balance, engaging in the moment – whether as a mother, a marketer, or in her leisure activities. This philosophy of “disconnecting to connect” allows her to focus on each aspect of her life, leading to excellence across her varied roles.

Piyanart Potjanathum, Senior Director of Sales: Natt, as she is fondly nicknamed, believes in the power of expression to inspire inclusion across all levels of her professional environment and the wider community. She emphasizes the ongoing global challenge for women to be heard and encourages the amplification of their voices, noting that while there has been progress, the journey towards full inclusivity is far from complete. For Natt, the right to articulate one's thoughts and feelings is fundamental to fostering an inclusive atmosphere. Her advocacy for expression is marked by courageous decisions that have defined her character. From relocating to the US on her own and balancing multiple jobs to sustain herself, to navigating the complexities of working in India's distinct cultural and professional milieu, Natt's experiences have fortified her resilience and drive. These life challenges have not only shaped her into a tenacious and adaptable individual but have also instilled in her a profound appreciation for the impactful women she has met along the way. Natt attributes her achievements to the strong female mentors and peers who have inspired her, underscoring the vital role women have played in her life.

Astuti Singh – Senior Director of Digital Marketing, Public Relations and Communications: Her professional journey, spanning India, Dubai and Bangkok, has deeply influenced her perspective on inclusion, emphasizing racial diversity and gender equality. She advocates an environment free from discrimination, striving to create a space where everyone has equal opportunities for growth, idea-sharing, and open communication. For Singh, work-life balance is synonymous with maintaining mental, physical, and emotional health. While committed to giving her all professionally, she prioritizes self-care during her personal time. Astuti champions the belief that women should attain strength in mental, physical, and financial aspects, considering these the foundational pillars of empowerment. Living independently in Bangkok and navigating a long-distance marriage, she credits her husband's unwavering support as pivotal to her success. His decision to take a career break to assist her during the initial phase of her new role and life in Bangkok underscores the strength of their partnership, viewing her husband as both her anchor and sanctuary during times of anxiety.

Khwanla Lunput – Reservations Manager: Residing in a distant locale from her family in Khon Kaen, Khwan, as she is fondly known, draws inspiration from her son, who motivates her to be a dedicated mother. This influence led her to relocate to Bangkok, where she actively engages in both personal and professional spheres. Known for her strong work ethic, Khwan’s calm and positive demeanour is well-loved, even as she consistently prioritizing the well-being of each team member as a dedicated listener. Maintaining a work-life balance is crucial, as she starts her day with a 10-15 minute morning exercise routine. Khwan emphasizes the need for a balance between hard work during office hours and relaxation afterward. She believes that striking this balance contributes to more efficient work results, as it rejuvenates and prevents fatigue. Khwan champions the idea that women can surpass limitations, emerge as leaders in organisations, and contribute to diversity in the workplace – referring to gender inclusion as a catalyst for achieving a harmonious life balance for everyone.

Nonthawan Panichjirasakul – Revenue Manager: Belle, as she is fondly nicknamed, is a specialist in numbers and tables. Having discovered her passion in university, she has accumulated valuable experience in the airline and banking industries. Leading revenue management with traits such as mutuality, determination, and a positive attitude, Belle exhibits the qualities of her favourite colour – purple. Currently pursuing further education in Chiang Mai, Belle acknowledges her father as a source of encouragement and someone who made sacrifices for her upbringing. When it comes to managing work-life balance, Belle believes in setting the rhythm of one's life according to personal goals, allocating 40-60% to herself and 40-60% to work depending on the situation, which sometimes may exceed more than 100% capability. Emphasizing well-being, she believes it originates from within, from the heart, before manifesting outwardly. In terms of inclusion, Belle envisions a world where girls have more equal opportunities, and modern women can embrace and actualize equality.

Follow the #FSInspireInclusion campaign on social media and share stories and experiences @fschiangmai, @fstentedcamp, and @fskohsamui. Let's celebrate diversity and build a more inclusive world together.

Astuti Singh
Senior Director of Digital Marketing, Public Relations and Communications
3/F, 159 Rajadamri Road
Bangkok, 10330
Marissara Kummool
Assistant Public Relations Manager
502 Moo 1, Mae Rim-Samoeng Old Road
Chiang Mai, 50180