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Young Lions team from Fonterra proud to represent Sri Lanka at Cannes Lions Festival 2019

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Ashane and Tharusha keep Sri Lankan flag flying high at Cannes Young Lions Marketers Competition 2019


Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Young Marketers Ashane and Tharusha meet with global marketing industry leaders such as Marcelo Pascoa – Head of Global Marketing Burger King as part of their unique learning experience

  • Once-in-a-lifetime learning and growth opportunity for young talent 


Last week, more than 50 young professionals from around the world came together to pitch ideas and showcase their leadership at the prestigious Young Lions Marketers Competition 2019 held at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. 

Taking place annually, the five-day festival and awards is one of the world’s biggest gatherings for the global creative marketing community and explores and celebrates the value of creativity in branded communications.  

Ashane Ranabahu, Category Manager – Advanced Nutrition and Tharusha Hettiarachchi, Assistant Brand Manager – Adult Milk Powders from Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka proudly represented their nation in Cannes Young Lions Marketers competition this year, one of the most intense and fierce contests at the festival. The duo competed against top Sri Lankan corporates to win the local title, going on to compete head-to-head with teams from more than 25 other countries during an inspiring and rigorous week.

Commenting on the experience and achievement, Ashane Ranabanu said: “Our experience at Fonterra, particularly in innovating and renovating products as well as catering to evolving consumer needs, is what gave us the edge and confidence to participate in this competition. It’s an example of yet another opportunity to grow as young marketers and representing the country was a great privilege for us. 

“The underlying theme presented by some of the most influential brands across the world was about leveraging simplicity. It was a reminder to focus on keeping ideas and concepts simple, creative, honest and meaningful as we are influencing a generation of customers that don’t just buy a brand but believe in it.”

Tharusha Hettiarachchi said, “We feel honoured and delighted to have been a part of this prestigious competition and to have been immersed in an unparalleled learning experience at Cannes. It was inspiring to work for 30 hours straight at the Young Lions Marketing competition on a project related to giving back. 

“Many leading companies may have adopted this approach – ‘doing well by doing good’ – but case studies taught us how creativity, an entrepreneurial spirit and a shared, authentic purpose can empower you to lead the way in creating goodness with top calibre brands.”

Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Human Resources Director Dinusha Jayamanne said today’s businesses must enable tomorrow’s leaders to identify and fulfil this purpose.

“Our own purpose to make Sri Lanka a healthier, happier nation and our corporate values that bind us together, are at the heart of everything our people do. We empower them to achieve their extraordinary through a range of diverse learning and growth experiences, whether it be global exposure, short term assignments across functions or markets, capability building or through the creation of bigger, enhanced roles. 

“I am extremely proud of our bright, passionate talent, Ashane and Tharusha, who have leveraged the experiences they have had to make their way to the prestigious Young Lions Competition 2019. Their commitment and their determination to challenge boundaries steered them in their winning bid to represent our country and our company. “At Fonterra, we’re committed to building an environment that fosters diversity, rewards good performance and empowers our people to pursue their passions. Through such measures as flexible work and human resource support systems, we will continue to support them with the right tools, resources and space to thrive in a challenging and competitive market,” commented Jayamanne.

The pre-eminent Young Lions Competitions offer a global platform for professionals under 30 to celebrate their creativity and skills, featuring the best talent from all parts the world. 

It is designed to inspire and uncover talent for the future of the industry.

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