By Chenelle Fernando
Photos by Pradeep Dambarage
This time around, Ladies VIP Night commemorated International Women’s Day 2019 at the Shangri-La Hotel Colombo on 6 March.
The guests were served cocktails at the entrance to kick-start the evening, with one part of the venue being set up to include a variety of fun activities such as pop-ups, photo booths, and of course a bar serving up freshly-whipped cocktails and mocktails.
One of the highlights that night, however, was quite rightfully the panel discussion that took place within the dinner setup at Shangri La’s ballroom. The topic of discussion was engrossed along the lines of this year’s global theme – #Balanceforbetter – to encourage women to think equal, build smart and innovate change, and how women could themselves work towards progress.
The panel included some of Colombo’s leading ladies and women on a mission; SLDF, Island Craft, Fashion Market.lk, and AOD Founder and Managing Director Linda Speldewinde, Sumi Moonesinghe, who launched the No Kunu (no garbage) initiative, MAS Holdings Director of Environment Sustainability Sharika Senanayake, Miss Sri Lanka for Miss Universe 2018 Crown Ornella Gunesekera, and HSBC EVP and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management Betty Miao.
The panel which was moderated by Nisthar Cassim spoke of a wide variety of issues and solutions that should ideally be paid attention to.
Betty Miao: “I think this topic is really important to each and every one of us. We at HSBC want to focus on the diversity to make sure we represent the community as well as the customers’ needs. “
Sharika Senanayake: “Today, what I would like to talk about is the ecological balance and my team is a balanced team of girls and boys, equally. Having this balanced team has been so helpful and lucrative for us in so many projects.”
Sumi Moonesinghe: “I’m a supporter of girl power and I believe in girls and women, because I myself was raised by my grandmother and mother.”
Ornella Gunesekera: “When I was struggling with my own health and mental issues, I knew that what was in me was greater than what was outside, and women need to remember this too.”
Linda Speldewinde: “One woman in the board would increase a company’s revenue by 26%. I think #Balanceforbetter also means inclusion at leadership and work-level so it makes business sense.”
Apart from this, the guests were served up a rather delectable and carefully prepared five-course dinner prepared by Chef Patrick from Shangri-La. The fashion show, which showcased the rather vivacious yet comfortable collection by Lois London, we thought, was the perfect ending to the evening. The collection showcased silhouettes tailored to flaunt just any female figure, to bring out the absolute best in them.