- Providing women the opportunity to stand under the limelight
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 – recently honoured inspiring professional and career women in Sri Lanka and the 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.
Brunch had the pleasure to speak to some of these talented women on their thoughts about the award and what we can expect from them next.
Speaking of the award winners, John Keells Holdings Head – Legal, Secretarial, and Corporate Social Responsibility and the 2021 Judging Panel Chair 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.”
We also spoke to Women in Management (WIM) Founder/Chairperson Dr. Sulochana Segera commented: “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.” She added that these awards 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, she noted, 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.
Supported through the IFC-DFAT Women in Work programme, this year’s Top50 Awards aims to showcase the resilient leadership Sri Lankan women have shown, amid a pandemic.
‘It is a blessing to be part of a community that enables and encourages each other’: Adhisha Dahanayaka
Awarded for “Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur”, Adhisha Dahanayaka shared that as an entrepreneur who started with a vision of a brand that has size exclusivity at heart, she’s beyond proud of the achievements Double XL has gained over the past 13 years. “I’m grateful for our team at Double XL, they have enabled the way for this brand to be a change agent in the Sri Lankan fashion industry,” she told us, adding that she is incredibly humbled at the recognition received as an “Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur” and grateful to the judging panel and the WIM forum.
“As a woman, I see it as a blessing to be part of a community that enables and encourages each other,” she said and explained that we, as women, need to be on the lookout for opportunities that enable our growth on the personal, and business fronts.
On a final note, she said: “I’m excited about the growth and expansion of the Double XL brand for the year 2022.”
‘I’m sure the younger generation watching ceremony are inspired to take up the flag and run the next lap’: Tharindi Thalahity
Tharindi Thalahity, awarded under the Digital Media category said she was absolutely humbled and super grateful to Women in Management for organising an event as such. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase the achievements and talents of women from a variety of different fields. It’s not just about those who won, it’s also about those who were nominated because at the end of the day, each and every woman who applied for this has something to give back to society, which is a great opportunity on its own,” she expressed.
She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for the younger generation as well, since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who watched the ceremony are inspired to take up the flag and run the next lap.” She is sure that the generations to come will do much better after watching the current generation.
In terms of her plans for the year with Pulse, she commented that they are a lifestyle platform that also focus on issues which aren’t commonly breached on typical online media platforms. “This year, we are going full force and are not going to stop talking about topics that impact society. There are a lot of exciting things coming up this year with ‘Pulse Today’ – a news platform for the youth.”
She concluded that they will continue to break barriers when it comes to traditional content that is created by the media.
Marking IFC’s seventh consecutive year in co-hosting the event, IFC Sri Lanka and the 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.”
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.”