Women in Management (WIM) recently recognised trailblazing Sri Lankan-origin Canadian women.
The event was partnered by Platinum Sponsor Cinnamon Life, a member of the John Keells Group, Gold Sponsor International Trade Center (IORA) and silver sponsors Jetwing Travel and Hotels and Singer Sri Lanka.
The Woman of the Year Award went to Dr. Priyanwada Charukeshi Chandrasekera - Executive Director, Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods; the Career Role Model of the Year was presented to Damindra Dias - Career Coach and Mentor, Progress Career Planning Institute (former Corporate Leader at Kellogg Company and the Coca-Cola Company in Canada, USA, Germany and South Asia); the Inspirational Woman of the Year accolade was given to Nalayinie Maheswaran - CEO/President of Hope Cottage Ltd. and the Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur award was given to Devika Anthony - owner and Operation Barrister and Solicitor, Anthony & Associates Professional Corporation. Shannen Jainudeen was awarded the Young Woman Achiever of the Year after she made it on to the Under-17 Canada national football team.
For the Career Gold Awards, the Finance Category award was won by Primali Demel - Senior Strategist, Financial Performance Management at a leading financial group. Prosh Marketing CEO and Lead Consultant Roshni Wijayasinha won the Marketing and Advertising Award; the Information Technology Award was won by Ranjika Manamperi - Director Corporate Risk and Information Security Officer, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada; MVD Law Professional Corporation Principal Lawyer-Sole Proprietor Meleni David won the award in the Legal category; and the State and Government Sector Award went to Dr. Uppala Chandrasekera – Director, Public Policy and Vice Chair of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
News presenter and former news anchor of Global, CBC News Anne Marie Mediwake won the Media and Communication Award while the Hospitality and Services Award was won by Dorothy Constance - owner of Falcon & Ferkins Restaurant. Dr. Dushanthi Pinnaduwage, the founder of Stat Sense Consulting, won the Medical Category Award; while the Education category was won by Prof. Dileeni Weerasinghe of the School of Business of the University of Guelph-Humber ON and Humber College ON. The Immigration category was claimed by Sharmila Perera – President, Ann Arbour Consultants Inc.
Upcoming Woman Entrepreneur of the Year gold awards went to Divya Lakshmi Jegasundaram - owner and founder of Coach Life Play Life Symbiosis Coaching and Roshanthie Peiris – owner of CR Hoppers while Chandrani Perera from M&M Twins Ltd. won the Best Woman Importer from Sri Lanka Award.
The Merit Awardees of the night were Shanikah Fernnado - founder and Operator of Custom Cakes by Shanikah; Praveeni Perera - Business Analyst Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; Genevieve Brown – Persona, Assistant to Vice President, Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive Scarborough Grace Hospital; Sumana Wijeratna - Chief Executive Officer, Vanlanka Community Foundation; Upuli Irosha Balasuriya - Manager, Finance and Operations Howard Noble Insurance Ltd; Ericka Kodituwakku - Mortgage Agent, Mortgage Alliance; Laura Lathika Abeysekera - founder and owner Lauras Creative Cakes; Dilrukshi Seneviratne - Tea Commodities and Product Development Manager Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee Inc; Shamila De Almeida - Director/Pastry Chef La Sem Patisserie, Maryam Nizar - Senior Vice President, CITCO Canada Inc; Nirmalie De Mel - Financial Analyst, Northland Power Inc; Surupee Perera - Realtor, Royal Lepage United Realty Inc; Sharon Anne Gabriel - Project Manager, Strategic Portfolio Office, Scotia Bank; Dr. Carmini Ramya Fernando - owner, Fernando Dentistry Professional Corporation; Shavone Lazarus - HR Business Partner, Worker Safety and Insurance Board; Indica Jainudeen - Citizen Service Specialist, Government of Canada and Druscilla Kodituwakku - Director, Serendib Income Tax Services.
The Chief Guest at the event, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Ahmed A. Jawad, said: “The last 50 years have seen in increasing measure the gradual and steady emergence of women in every major sphere of human endeavour in a manner not witnessed before in human history. In Sri Lanka the emergence of women to the forefront has been extraordinary. Sri Lanka has been best known for producing the world’s first woman Prime Minister followed many years later by the election of the first woman Executive President of the country in 1994. It is laudable that the Women in Management Award 2018 seeks to recognise the services of Canadian women of Sri Lankan origin who have excelled in business and other professions. It is also significant that WIM has decided on Canada for today’s event since this country reputedly has the largest Sri Lankan expatriate population.”
“I must acknowledge that the Canadian edition was a challenging task to judge, the logic being that the panel had to understand the context of the Canadian market in the final selection of winners. Fortunately the judging panel possessed diverse backgrounds, with a strong ground understanding through WIM representative in Canada, Rienzie Martinesz,” said Panel of Judges Chairman Dr. Rohantha Athukorala.
“This award is not just a personal achievement, it’s for the nation. It’s for our future generations. These awardees have achieved so much of success where they must have faced more obstacles than us who are living in Sri Lanka. Reading through their applications I felt they have really worked hard to be who they are and to make themselves and our motherland proud. WIM’s objective is to connect them back with Sri Lanka and share their journey and lessons with us,” said WIM founder Dr. Sulochana Segera.
“Today, 20 January 2018, will go down in history books because we Sri Lankan Canadians are taking a giant step forward by formerly recognising and awarding 37 Sri Lankan-origin women who have excelled in their professions and businesses in Canada. I see this as a humble beginning of a solid journey and it is very satisfying for me to be a part of this. This award program is a springboard in building relationships and creating networking possibilities between Sri Lankan-origin women in Canada and members of WIM Sri Lanka with the intention of supporting one another and building successful business. I would like to see the WIM award-winners take a lead in this direction. I am glad to be a part of WIM as its representative in Canada to see this become a reality,” stated Martinesz.