Nine Lankans among 50 global leaders reshaping the status quo

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Kindness in Leadership initiative with Said Business School, the University of Oxford recognises leaders UK and Asia Pacific who are driving positive change

Nine Sri Lankans have been included among 50 global leaders reshaping the status quo with the kindness in leadership.

The UK and Asia Pacific Kindness & Leadership 50 Leading Lights were announced recently for demonstrating the incredible value that kindness can add to their leadership toolkit and the resulting positive contribution to business, economy and broader society.

By shining a light on kindness, the initiative, which began in the UK in 2018, has shifted the leadership conversation demonstrating a genuine and powerful connection between kind leadership and good business.

The list was announced on 13 November to coincide with World Kindness Day. The Sri Lankans in the Asia Pacific senior leaders list were BNS Holdings Co-Founder and Co-Director Bathiya Jayakody, The Theva Residency Boutique Hotel Managing Director Dheeshana Ameresekere, Falco International Trading Director Farida Lukmanjee, Elite Security Lanka Ltd. Chairman Francis Richard de Zoysa, Mithuruwela Cancer Support Network Volunteer May Christobel Benjamin, Sri Lanka Unites & Global Unites Founder/President Prashan De Visser, EQUAL GROUND Executive Director Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, and BNS Holdings Co-Founder/Co-Director Santush Weeraman. 

Under Asia Pacific rising stars were Law Chambers of Marini de Livera Founder/Chairperson Marini de Livera.

Organisers said COVID-19 has changed the leadership landscape with compassion and empathy, which is now no longer the management style of ‘nice’ people. As the world inches closer to business as usual, this initiative further embeds the importance of kindness within organisations across different regions demonstrating the power of kindness to transcend culture and national boundaries.Nine Lankans...

Women of the Future (WOF) Program Founder Pinky Lilani CBE DL said: “It is tremendously exciting to announce 50 Leading Lights, across both the UK and Asia Pacific regions. By placing a spotlight on phenomenal leaders who are harnessing the power of kindness to make a significant impact and to effect positive change, we collectively place kindness at the centre of the leadership debate. 

“Together, we encourage the leaders of today and tomorrow – no matter what their role or background – to #leadwithkindness, because when kindness is the currency, we can all be millionaires.”

Together with the Said Business School, the University of Oxford, The Kindness & Leadership Leading Lights campaign has explored the characteristics associated with kind leaders. Those who are deeply thoughtful of others and showing humanity, generosity, and compassion, and are dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of others and fostering a spirit of collaboration are the specific traits that were taken into consideration in selecting the 100 leading lights.

These leading lights were chosen after careful review by a distinguished panel comprising representatives from different industries across both UK and Asia Pacific regions.

Asia Pacific Judging Panel included British High Commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell (Chair of Judging Panel), Piramal Enterprises Vice Chairman Dr. Swati Piramal, Blackrock Real Assets Managing Director Hugh Andrew, New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore Jo Tyndall, Dole Packaged Foods Global Chief Marketing Officer Rupen Desai, IHS Markits Partner and Senior Vice President Bo Zhou. 

The UK judging panel included HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan (Chair of Judging Panel), Das Omnicom President for Europe Emma Sergeant, BRE Group CEO Gillian Charlesworth, Said Business School Open Executive Education Director Caroline Williams, Ministry of Defence Chief of Defence Logistics and Support Strategic, Command, Defence Support Lt. Gen. Richard Wardlaw OBE and Coca Cola Europacific Partners Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nik Jhangiani.

Liverpool Football club Team Manager and UK Listee in 2019 Jurgen Klopp, when asked, in his experience, how does kindness make business sense, said: “From a sporting perspective, I believe leaders need to take responsibility for failure while sharing success with others, something that was made very real for me when Liverpool lost and won the Champions League finals in successive seasons. 

“I praise players and try to take any criticism on my own shoulders. Developing authentic relationships with my players, through the good times and bad, always pays off in the long-term.”

Executive Chairman Asia and FPI Global Chairman Aviva Digital, and Southeast Asia Listee 2020 Chris Wei said: “Kindness influences employee behaviour, regardless of whether they are customer facing or not. Practicing intentional kindness amongst employees creates a positive working environment that drives employee engagement and, in turn, productivity and performance.”

Natwest Group CEO and UK Listee 2020 Alison Rose said: “There’s a lot of research showing the positive impact of kindness on business performance but, for me, being kind is about more than the business impact. It’s about creating a culture people want to be part of – where kindness underpins your decisions, your actions and is at the very core of what you do.”

The Asia Pacific Senior Leaders were Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (Philippines) Vice President Ana Margarita ‘Ginggay’ Hontiveros, Bambuddha Group (Australia) CEO Anna Sheppard, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (Australia) General Manager – Strategic Engagement and Development Anthony Matis, Spreading Smiles (Pakistan) Founder – Chief Smiling Officer Ayesha Majid Lari, Bathiya Jayakody (Sri Lanka), Accenture (India) Managing Director Charulata Ravi Kumar, Dheeshana Ameresekere (Sri Lanka), University of Technology Sydney (Australia) Deputy Dean and Professor of Software Engineering Didar Zowghi, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust (India) Secretary and Trustee Diya Kumari, VMware (Singapore) Senior Vice President and General Manager – Asia Pacific and Japan Duncan Hewett, Michael Page (Singapore) Regional Finance Director – APAC Eugene Koh, Farida Lukmanjee (Sri Lanka), Everbright SHK Private (China) Senior Director Fonia Wong Yeung Fong, Elite Security Lanka Ltd. (Sri Lanka) Chairman Francis Richard de Zoysa, Haidermota & Co. (Pakistan) Partner (Head of Litigation) Jahanzeb Awan, Know One Teach One (KOTO) Company Ltd. (Vietnam) CEO/Founder Jimmy Pham, EVOL Vietnam (Vietnam) Founder Jolly Huyen Nguyen, Sungai Buloh Hospital (Malaysia) Hospital Director Dr. Kuldip Kaur a/p Prem Singh, Mithuruwela Cancer Support Network (Sri Lanka) Volunteer May Christobel Benjamin, Project PEARLS (Philippines) Founder and Executive Director Melissa Villa, Longchamp (Singapore) General Manager Mollie Jean de Dieu, Visa Inc. (Cambodia) Country Manager Monika Chum, INOX GROUP (India) Promoter Nayantara Jain, Aditya Birla Education Trust (India) Founder and Chairperson Neerja Birla, FemTech Partners (Singapore) CEO and Founder Neha Mehta, EGN Singapore (Singapore) Co-Founder and Managing Director Nick Jonsson, Sri Lanka Unites & Global Unites (Sri Lanka) Founder and President Prashan De Visser, Nomura Asset Management (Malaysia) Advisor Rejina Rahim, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera (Sri Lanka), Shomman Foundation (Bangladesh) Chairperson Dr. Rubaiul Murshed, Wildlife Conservation Society (Laos) Country Director Santi Saypanya, BNS Holdings (Sri Lanka) Co-Founder and Co-Director Santush Weeraman, Health Minister Dato Seri Setia Dr. Hj Mohammad Isham bin Hj Jaafar (Brunei), TechNova Group (India) TechNova Imaging Systems Ltd. Joint Managing Director Shelina Parikh, Kuching Food Aid, The Playground Borneo and Bowerhaus (Malaysia) Founder Shentel Lee, Oxijen Group Ltd. (Australia) Managing Director Stephen Nola, National Telecom Public Company Ltd. (Thailand) Senior Vice President – Property Management Department Sukanya Lee, STEM Education Organisation for Cambodia (Cambodia) Director Una McCarthy-Frakhry, NRN Infrastructure and Development Ltd. (Nepal) CEO Usha Khatiwada, PhilanthroKids (China) Founder Vincent Law, Bank of China Ltd. (China) Deputy General Manager Yunfei Liu.

The Asia Pacific Rising Stars are Deviani Ary Wulandari Creative Marketing Manager, KAYA.ID (Philippines); Jen Vuhuong, Author, Trainer, Coach and Community Builder, J.E.N International People and Leadership Development (Vietnam); Marini de Livera, Founder/ Chairperson, Law Chambers of Marini de Livera (Sri Lanka); Nicole Tiamzon, Founder and Director, Spike and Serve Philippines Inc. (Philippines); Ning Han, Executive Director of Market Innovation Department, National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investor (China); Patria Puyat, General Manager, Company: Intercontinental Hotel Group (Laos); Leni Mei (Peewee) Dizon, Vice President Global Innovations, New Business Development, Dole Packaged Foods LLC (Singapore); Pranee Onkaew, Sr. Learning & Development Manager, PCS Thailand (Thailand);  Rhonda Wong, CEO, Ohmyhome (Singapore).

The UK senior leaders recognised were: Aisha K Gill, Ph.D. CBE, Professor of Criminology, University of Roehampton; Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever; Anastasia Klein, Partner, Maples Teesdale LLP; Andrew Jenkinson, London Office Managing Partner, Reed Smith LLP; Major General Andrew Roe, Chief Executive and Commandant Defence Academy, Ministry of Defence; Becky Tipper, Head of Command & Control, Avon & Somerset Constabulary; Carol Anderson, Director, Branch Banking, TSB; Dee Murray, CEO and Founder, Menopause Experts Group Ltd; Duncan Robinson, Head of HR and Business Support, Palace for Life Foundation; Eva Omaghomi LVO, Director of Community Engagement to The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, Clarence House; Farrah Qureshi, CEO and Founder, Global Diversity Practice; Helen Mary Elsby, Chief Solutions Officer, Heathrow Airport Ltd; James Burstall, CEO, Argonon; Jennifer Romano, Managing Director, Accenture; Jo Harris, Managing Director, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Community Banks, Lloyds Banking Group; Joanna Carver, General Counsel, Commercial Banking, Lloyds Banking Group; Sir John Peace, Chairman, Midlands Engine; Kate Hamilton-Baily, Partner, Taylor Bennett; Kath Fontana, Managing Director, MITIE; Katie Houldsworth, People & Purpose Partner, Audit and Assurance, Deloitte LLP; Katy Leeson, Managing Director, Social Chain; Lewis Neal, Director, Foreign & Commonwealth and Development Office; Mai Noman, Digital Content Editor, BBC; Mary Brown, Principal Lecturer, Canterbury Christ Church University; Murray Grant, Elizabeth Creak Chair in Food Security, University of Warwick; Dr. Nayya Naqvi OBE, Emeritus Consultant Cardiologist, Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Onjali Rauf, Founder and CEO, Making Herstory/O’s Refugee Aid Team;  Penny Scott-Bayfield, Group Finance Director, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc; Polly Harrar, Founder, CEO, The Sharan Project; Rachel Boyle, Head of Finance, PowerOn Platforms Ltd; Ranajoy Basu, Partner, Head of Structured Finance and India Practice, McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Ruth Rowan, Consulting CMO; Sarah Daniels, Health and Social Care Lead, UK Dementia Research Institute Care Research and Technology Centre; Sayeh Ghanbari, Partner, UK&I Business Consulting Leader, EY; Shernaz Engineer, Managing Director, Verity Appointments; Stacey Mullock, Senior Volunteering & Legacy Manager, The Football Association; Susannah Schofield, Founder, John Schofield Trust and Tony Lanser, Chief Operating Officer, Fidelity International.

UK rising stars are Angela Craca, EMEA Internal Audit Director, Invesco Asset Management Ltd.; Anisa Subedar, Senior Journalist, BBC; Ashton Hewitt, Professional Rugby Player, Dragons Rugby; Darshna Patel, Vaccination Program Director/Deputy Head of Workforce Planning, Harness Primary Care Networks/Health Education England; Elizabeth Chalk, “Police Inspector - Transformation Directorate”, Metropolitan Police Service; Gavin Westmoreland, Head of Multiline Insurance, Barclays; Li Smith, Flight Sergeant Operational Squadron, Tactical Medical Wing, Royal Air Force; Nizam Uddin OBE, Chief Strategy Officer, Algbra; Priyanka Chauhan, Inclusive Dance/Community Arts & Wellbeing, East London Cares; Ramat Tejani, Inclusion & Diversity Programme Lead, Amazon Web Services; Serena Chaudhry, Associate Director, and Dataminr; Spriha Srivastava, Executive Editor, Insider.