Women in Management, IFC and Govt. of Australia recognise inspiring women from Sri Lanka and Maldives

‘Top50’ Professional and Career Women Awards 2021

Thursday, 20 January 2022 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The 'Top50' Professional and Career Women Awards 2021 – hosted by Women in Management (WIM), in collaboration with Women in Work, a partnership between IFC and the government of Australia – on Tuesday honoured inspiring professional and career women in Sri Lanka and Maldives making a mark in their respective fields.  

The 11th edition of the awards ceremony celebrated women representing a wide array of professions from industries including hospitality, banking and finance, logistics and supply chains, entrepreneurship, and media and law, among others, for excellence in either their chosen careers or for inspiring women in their community. The awards also lauded Sri Lankan corporates that have supported the growth and empowerment of women in the workplace. 

Top awards were conferred to Dr. Maheshi Ramasamy (Inspirational Professional Woman of the Year), Prof. Nadira Karunaweera (Inspirational Woman of the Year), Aruni Goonetilleke (Trail Blazer), Randhula De Silva (Game Changer of the Year) and Dr. Vajira Chithrasena (Judges Award). 

“The 2021 awards are a celebration of resilience, optimism, hard work and growth. As we step into a third year of a pandemic, this year’s winners remind us of the possibilities and opportunities that can exist in adversity,” said WIM Founder/Chairperson Dr. Sulochana Segera. “They also remind us of the extraordinary potential women in Sri Lanka and the Maldives are capable of, especially in challenging the status-quo for greater good. Women are often hesitant to take their spot in the limelight, but over the past decade, the Top50 Awards have created a platform helping them showcase their talents and achievements, and importantly to inspire others.” 

With over 470 past award winners, the ‘Top50’ Professional and Career Women Awards aim to showcase the significant role women play as leaders, employees, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders in contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the country.

Marking IFC’s seventh consecutive year in co-hosting the event, IFC Sri Lanka and Maldives Acting Country Manager Victor Antonypillai said: “To ensure a resilient recovery, the path should be gender inclusive – women should be at the heart of the path to recovery. We need to ‘build forward fairer’ for economies and societies to build back better.” Supported through the IFC-DFAT Women in Work program, this year’s Top50 Awards aims to showcase the resilient leadership Sri Lankan women have shown, amid a pandemic.

Also, speaking at the event, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives David Holly remarked: “Over the years, the ‘Top50’ Awards have shown the power of women in business inspiring many others in leadership and in society more generally. The 2022 Awards are a tribute to the resilience of Sri Lankan women, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The 'Top 50' Professional and Career Women Awards 2021 were powered by Dialog, along with Gold Sponsors Salota International and Singer. Silver sponsors for the awards included Lanka IOC, Unilever, Vision Care and Aitken Spence. Maliban and Sampath Bank were also sponsors of the event, and the gifting Partner for the award ceremony was New Vivya.

Speaking of the award winners, John Keells Holdings Head of Legal – Secretarial and Corporate Social Responsibility and Chair of the 2021 Judging Panel Nadija Tambiah, said that the “quality of the women who were nominated or who applied this year was impressive. We were forced not only to look at the accomplishments of these women in their chosen vocations but also what impact they have had in the industry and what they have done for women in their organisations.”

This year’s Judging Panel – chaired by Nadija Tambiah – included Hayleys Agriculture Holdings Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena; Dreamron Group of Companies Group MD/CEO Kishu Gomes; Daily FT Founding Editor and CEO Nisthar Cassim; Clootrack Sri Lanka, Maldives & Pakistan CEO Rohantha Athukorala; Dialog Axiata Group Chief Customer Officer Sandra De Zoysa; Strategic Marketing Professional Sandya Salgado; KL.LK CEO Santosh Menon; Acting Australian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Amanda Jewell; and IFC Program Manager for Women in Work Sarah Twigg.

Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe