As the national body for marketing, SLIM’s service to the nation comprehends in valuing the necessity to encourage and empower women to become equal stakeholders in the economic development of Sri Lanka. With this intention, SLIM successfully launched the Second Episode of the ‘Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme’ on 25th August 2022, offering the opportunity for 100 aspiring corporate women leaders to participate in it.
The main objectives of the programme are outlined as accelerating the careers of high-potential women leaders, preparing women leaders and emerging executives to become more effective influencers who can contribute to corporate success on a higher level, and developing confidence and resilience in women leaders.
SLIM’s Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme is an initiative of the sustainability arm of the Institute and it comes under the UN SDG 5: Gender Equality. The initial stage of the programme was a panel discussion, which was the first-of-its-kind panel discussion in the history of SLIM, that was started in the year 2020 and continued for two consecutive years. It will continue in the future as well. This was an eye opener for the second phase of the ‘Leading Liyo’ initiative. The second stage was an extension of the panel discussion to a ‘Leadership Development Programme’ dedicated specifically to aspiring women leaders. The first episode of the programme was started in 2021 with 50 corporate females.
Considering the high demand for the programme, SLIM decided to open Episode 2 of the ‘Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme’ for 100 endeavouring women from both private and public sectors to join the programme and be groomed and mentored by a well-qualified Resource Panel representing different fields and industries. The programme aims at empowering and guiding women leaders to take on corporate leadership roles in their respective fields locally or beyond.
The inauguration ceremony of the ‘Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme Episode 2’ was live-streamed via the official SLIM Facebook page with over 100 attendees joining online. Both physical and online audiences consisted of representatives from various fields of the corporate sector.
SLIM President Mr. Nuwan Gamage stated: “SLIM, as the national body for marketing, strongly believes in the essence of women’s contribution to the economic, political, social, and cultural advancement of our country. With a vision to empower women in Sri Lanka, the leadership development programme initiated by Leading Liyo seeks to help women look beyond obstacles and make their dreams a reality while directly contributing to the fifth goal of SGD, Gender Equality.”
SLIM Vice President – Events and Sustainability Mr. Gayan Perera opined about the Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme Episode 2, saying: “The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing successfully launched the Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme for the second consecutive year, offering many leadership opportunities for aspiring women in different fields.
“As the national body for marketing, this is SLIM’s service to the nation, to encourage and empower women to come forward and become equal stakeholders in leading the economy towards prosperity. The main objectives of this programme are to accelerate the careers of high-potential women leaders and to develop confidence and resilience in women leaders. The Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme will continue to thrive in the future of SLIM as well.”
SLIM Project Chair for Sustainability Projects (2022) Dr. Maduka Udunuwara said: “SLIM’s women leadership programme is designed to suit all corporate females with a passion to break barriers and move forward. Episode two of the programme takes this initiative to newer heights by aiming at areas that need attention and opening up new vistas for progression. Going beyond the norm, this programme is also a key platform for participants to network with like-minded individuals.”
SLIM CEO and Executive Director Mr. Sanath Senanayake, expressing his view about the programme, stated: “SLIM has always been committed to supporting aspiring leaders, facilitating them to gain independence through imparting knowledge and skills development. The passion and enthusiasm of women who have made their mark and are en route to achieving greatness, inspire every generation of this country regardless of gender or race to think the unthinkable and do the impossible. Creating an employee-friendly environment within organisattions would positively impact on the empowerment of women internally and encourage them to take up higher positions. It will thus motivate women to take on the leadership mantle. Creating equal opportunities for career women will also put businesses on a fast track.”
The keynote speech under the theme “Women’s leadership in the digital era: Agility, adaptability and fluency”, made by National Savings Bank (NSB) Independent Non-Executive Director and Audit Committee Chairperson Ms. Manohari Abeysekara, was an eye opener to break the glass ceiling for corporate women. Her speech revolved around the importance of women’s leadership, their role as women leaders, coping with women in the modern digital landscape and balancing work and family. Success stories of top corporate women and examples from her own corporate and family life added much value to her speech.
Colombo University Vice Chancellor (2019-2022) and Senior Professor Chandrika Wijeyaratne graced the ceremony as the Guest of Honour of the SLIM Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme and made an inspiring speech with many insights. She said gender equality should start from home where women do their role as wives and mothers.
Representing the first batch of Leading Liyo – Leadership Development Programme, Wijeya Newspapers Ltd Head of Integrated and Digital Media Marketing Ms. Gayani Punchihewa shared her experience with the programme and highlighted how the programme has helped her to accelerate her career as a woman leader in the corporate world. Her views also encompassed a piece of advice to the new batch.
SLIM as the national body for marketing will continue this endeavour as part of its sustainable development projects which are purely aimed at benefiting the triple bottom line.