Inspirational stories of Shirley Jayawardana
By Zanita Careem
Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world, a statement made by Hilary Clinton that packs quite a punch. It’s obvious that women face many challenges when it comes to establishing them or growing their own business. Shirley Jayawardana has broken the glass ceiling like many others and established herself as a successful business woman.
A die-hard entrepreneur at heart, shirley helps people define what true entrepreneurship is and what it takes to be a leader, and helps people to dispel the myth of business.Shirley Jayawardana is the first women President of Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries, Sri Lanka which is the Apex body of the chamber movement in Sri Lanka established in 1973. ( 2020/2022.)
Also presently the chairperson of Ceylon Chamber of women entrepreneurs, she is also a long-standing and well-known member in chamber activities. She is the immediate past president of Central Province Women’s Chamber of Small Industry and Commerce and also has served as senior VP of Central province Chamber of Commerce and Industry for several years.
She is wellknown in the SAARC region serving as Vice president (VP) of South Asia women’s development forum (Sri Lanka chapter) in Nepal and Executive committee member of SAARC chamber of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan. She has also been appointed as the Vice Chairman at Sri Lanka chapter of SAARC Council of Women Entrepreneurs ( SCWEC) affiliated to SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan.
She started her career as a business woman by establishing Media Vision (Pvt) Ltd that was published Kandy Today she functions as chairperson of Wisewell Lanka private Ltd – global trading companies based in USA .
An active social worker, she has many accolades and awards to her credit. The list is too long to mention.
She is the recipient of international award “Professional Women top 50 Global award” and “Priyadarshini Lifetime achievement award”. Also,she has many outstanding achievement awards from Lion’s district 306C1
She has widely travelled and has addressed many international business forums on behalf of FCCISL .and other portfolios, She is also a member of the Institute of Management of Great Britain.
Q Tell us about your background, lifestyle and family life?
A I was a miss Cabraal, eldest in the family of six children. My late father Cyril Cabraal was an Agricultural Instructor.
I studied at the Matara Convent, and did drama, acting and singing in school.I married Dr. Ananda Jayawardana at the age of 24 and a mother and a housewife for twenty four (24) years. My husband Dr. Ananda Jayawardana was a retired Executive Director of Link Natural Products and Ceylon Tobacco Company. I have three grown up children
Q How would you define true entrepreneurship?
A First,to do the stuff I want to do but you have to deliver value and do it constantly and secondly you should have clarity of thought . A true entrepreneur can explain what they do in any language that the stakeholder needs to understand it. Always one should have clarity and purpose.
Q What motivated you to take up entrepreneurship?
A I never thought I will become a business woman. In school, I had multi-faceted talent, everyone thought I might take up acting or singing but my parents were opposed to this move. I started working after 25 years of marriage, when my husband joined the Lion’s Club of Senkadagala Kandy, At the Lion’ Club I gave wholehearted support to my husband, by taking up many responsibilities and challenging projects, which helped me to built up my confidence to give up my role as a simple housewife. I started
“Kandy Newspaper” and took up the post of the Managing director/and Managing editor, this was stepping stone for her career and turned her into an entrepreneur. I was joined by late Lion Professor Samarasinghe who volunteered to be the Chief Editor. .
What are problems faced by women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka?
A Bureaucracy in Sri Lanka is a major obstacle for entrepreneurs to move forward. But if you have courage and determinatio,then nothing can stop you from becoming successful. There were other factors too, like country’s financial constraints, lack of modern technology, labour issues were some of the major impediments. I needed people with high enthusiasm and innovation. Sometimes at the initial stage people are not aware of the intricacies of business and attribution rate remains high.
Q Women’s entrepreneurship contributes to economic growth and social empowerment. How does the Chamber support and promote women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka?
A Ceylon Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs, work as a service provider for all women entrepreneurs. CCWE is always willin to help to initiate projects in different provinces, through regional chambers, who are members. Lobbying with the Government and other institutions to strengthen the regional women’s Chambers and build up the capacity of women entrepreneurs are some of my goals.
We create new projects and businesses to promote Sri Lankan products abroad, one such project is in Turkiye Already the Honorary Consul in Istanbul is helping Sri Lanka to promote Sri Lankan products in Turkiye. All arrangements are made to help local women, in Turkye to open a special branch to sell thier products.
Q Going back to your early life experiences, what factors influenced your decision to be a female entrepreneur?
A The desire I had within me is to be a woman of substance. The support I received from my family, specially my eldest son, who helped me to set up an international trading company Wisewel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., and as the Chairperson of the company, I had the opportunity to spread my business tentacles far and wide.The support I received from the family was a great encouragement to move forward in my business ventures later on in my career. Building an agile team was the biggest and the best strategy which helped me to be successful.
Q What drives/ motivates you? What is your opinion?
A Success for me is to enjoy every moment of life and look forward to a new tomorrow. I love to take up challenges. any leadership role will have as it needs you to be always inspiring and motivating,Taking responsibility of the “Kandy News” newspaper was a huge challenge. Being the first woman president of FCCISI was aso a benchmark for my career
Q Your achievements and accolades?
A To be a women, from the status of a house wife, to go beyond breaking the glass ceiling was a major achievement . I was the first women president of FCCISL, founder MD/Editor of the first regional newspaper for Sri Lanka, president of central province Women’s Chamber, senior member for several years in the Central province main chamber, chairpersons of Wisewel Lanka private limited, an international trading company, Vice President for Sri Lanka South Asia Women’s Development forum, Executive member of SAARC chambers, Vice President of SAARC women entrepreneur council, Member of the international visitor program organized by the US Embassy and many others.
Q How proud are you with your achievements?
A I am very proud by the fact that I can influence and support other entrepreneurs who needs support and encouragement. Women -owned business are increasing in the economies of all countries. Sri Lanka is no exception, they too have emerged into successful business ventures and sending out messages that cannot be dismissed . However I try to empower more women entrepreneurs to empower them by providing financial and other support by providing the challenges they face. These are my proud moments.
Q The Ceylon Chamber of women entrepreneurs and their goals?
A Ceylon Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs is a national level women’s chamber with members representing different provinces. There are also individual business women and professionals to whom we give new membership
This was concept created by me and Ayanthi Gurusinghe, founder director of Cord 360 e-commerce platform. My main goal is to promote women entrepreneurs for cross boarder trading and support regional women’s chambers to build their leadership capacity.
Q Any support from the government to support women entrepreneurs?
A Yes, we do get much support from government to develop women entrepreneurs. Product technology, financial support, skill development, creating a better bureaucratic environment for women to start thier own business and increase thier participation. I also like to attribute my success to my husband and family who have been a great pillar of strength
Q Your other interests and passion
A My goal has always to help women and give them all the support and encouragement. I am passionate about supporting fellow women to pursue thier dream of entrepreneurship.Any women entrepreneurs who needs my support can contact me on email@example.com or www.cewe.lk
Leaders and international delegates sartorial ode to india
The G20 Gala dinner hosted by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, at the Bharat Mandapam, recently was not just a gathering of world leaders and politicians but also a sartorial spectacle that showcased a rich tapestry of fashion and cultural symbolism.
The evening commenced with President Droupadi Murmu herself setting the tone in a traditional beige saree adorned with a contrasting turquoise border. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not one to be outdone, sported a blue V-neck striped jacket along with his white kurta pyjama set, adding a contemporary touch to his attire.
What truly captured the essence of the evening was the international dignitaries’ enthusiasm for embracing Indian fashion. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s wife, Yuko Kishida, graced the event in a beautiful green saree, perfectly complemented by a pink blouse. IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva stunned in a purple ethnic suit, complete with a golden dupatta. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wore a lilac saree with a pearl necklace.
Going ahead we saw South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s wife, Tshepo Motsepe, opting for an Indo-western ensemble along with gajra, which is a flower garland worn by Indian women during festive occasions. Meanwhile, Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar looked dapper in a black bandhgala suit, and his wife Kobita Jugnauth was a vision in a saree.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, added a traditional touch to her modern outfit, symbolising the fusion of cultures that the evening represented.
Blue emerged as the dominant colour of political fashion at the Gala dinner night, contrasting with the usually sombre tones of power dressing. And, the saree remained a symbol of India’s cultural heritage and elegance, as all Indian female ministers and government representatives wore this traditional attire.
Reacting to the looks, netizens heaped praises on the world leaders and international delegates for going the extra mile to pay a sartorial ode to India. Social media platforms were full of compliments and heartfelt notes for them.
Lyca productions take Sri Lanka globally
by Zanita Careem
It was a star studded night when Lyca productions launched its Sri Lankan operations in the presence of Subaskaran Allirajah, British born Sri Lankan entrepreneur.
Making a significant milestone in our local entertainment industry, Lyca productions launched six movies directed by top local film directors to screen them in selected overseas markets. Lyca Group is a British Multinational Corporation offering high quality, low cost products and services to over 16 million consumers across, telecommunications entertainment, travel, healthcare, media, technology, financial services, marketing and hospitality.
“Lyca Productions, India have a strategic partnership w th EAP Films and Theatres (Pvt) Ltd.,” said Lyca Group Chairman, Mr. Allirajah Subaskaran. “The EAP Group have a long history in the film industry and we are very happy to join them in establishing a modern film production house in Sri Lanka. Lyca Productions Sri Lanka aims to bridge the gap between large resources and art appreciation and make Sri Lankan movies compete effctively with world movies in all aspects of movie production. Very soon there will be more Sri Lankans trained in modern movie-making across the sub-continent, and we will enhance our investments for future devolopment “.
The six movies will be directed by Sri Lankan Directors Priyanthi Colombage, Ashoka Handagama, Jayantha Chandrasiri, Ranjan Ramanayake and Channa Perera.
The movie that is directed by Colombage is about Sri Lankan Cricketer Lasith Malinga. Lyca Production Sri Lanka Deputy Chairman Janaki Wijeratne said Lyca Production distribution platform, they would screen the Six Sri Lankan films in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
Lyca Group Owner Allirajah Subaskaran graced the occasion by his presence and the grand launch was attended by stars from the local screen and top names from the film industry, in South India.
Many top movies in India including Ponniyin Selvan, Don, Mafia and a few others are produced by them. The company is also due to launch movies in Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu with top stars next year.
Allirajah is also the founder and Chairman of Lyca mobiles.
About LYCA Productions Sri Lanka:
Lyca Productions Sri Lanka is an extension of Lyca Productions India which is part of the Lyca Group – a British multinational corporation delivering high-quality products and services to communities across the globe. Lyca Productions is an Indian entertainment company, which was established by Allirajah Subaskaran in 2014. The production studio has been involved in the production and distribution of films made in India. Lyca aims to create, promote and release content across varying genres.
Lyca Productions has produced many top movies in India including Ponniyin Selvan: I & II, Kaththi, Enakku Innoru Peru Irukku Yaman, Ippadai Vellum, Diya, Kolamavu Kokila, Chekkasivantha Vanam, Vada Chennai, Visaranai, Dabar, Mafia, Don, Pannikutty, Naisekar Returns, Raangi, Thiruvin Kural and Theera Kaadhal, Ramsathu and Good Luck Journey. Pix by Nishan. S .Priyantha
Flaunting your tummy- is now a trend
From the red carpet to the high street – as modelled by Gwyneth Paltrow and Marilyn Monroe – styles that reveal the bare stomach are everywhereThis season might have been a washout, but that’s not immediately obvious when walking down a typical UK high street. Along with sandals, sunglasses and shorts, any fashion-conscious observer might notice something else: the ubiquitous midriff. In Sri Lanka the trend is crop tops showing midriffs, and it is a fashion statement.
Making a showcase of this part of the body is not so much a trend as a given for young consumers – so much so, in fact, that this year marks 10 years since the midriff became an established fashion statement.
In 2013, cropped garments began to appear on the catwalk by brands including Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Roksanda Ilin?i?. Celebrities including Miley Cyrus and January Jones started to display their stomachs more. The bare midriff as fashion statement was given a major credibility boost when Beyoncé appeared on the cover of British Vogue for the first time, wearing a high-waisted skirt and cropped T-shirt by designer Jonathan Saunders.
Yet despite its longevity, the look appears to have reached its peak this summer, thanks to various midriff-baring items all being fashionable at the same time.
From crop tops to low-rise jeans, hip-slung skirts to shrunken baby tees, stomachs are on display like never before.
Fashion resale app Depop reports that searches for baby tees, crop tops and low-rise jeans have soared during August. Tagwalk, the search engine that collates trends at fashion shows, say that since 2019 about 15% of all clothing on the catwalk for spring/summer shows has shown midriffs.
This month, Fashion Museum Bath announced that its Dress of the Year for 2022, chosen by Elle UK’s editor-in-chief Kenya Hunt, wasn’t a dress at all – it was a micro-miniskirt and cropped sweater.
Designed by Miuccia Prada for Miu Miu, it swiftly went viral thanks to celebrities including Emma Corrin and Hunter Schafer, and DIY tutorials on TikTok.
The post-pandemic world is part of why we are seeing more midriff, say some trend watchers. “Post Covid, the womenswear wardrobe was very oversized and had a tendency to hide the body,” says Alexandra Van Houtte, founder of Tagwalk. “Since then, there has been a boost in women’s attitude, with powerful bodycon dresses, crop tops and bold colours.”
Gen Z is also crucial. While Nicole Kidman has worn the Miu Miu skirt and Gwyneth Paltrow trialled the so-called “midlife midriff” on the red carpet, most of the people showing this part of the body are young. “The ‘baggy pants-tiny top’ method is something Gen Z does often,” says Aiyana Ishmael, associate editor of Teen Vogue. “It’s the perfect formula when getting dressed for the day.”
Before this decade, the last time that we saw a lot of midriff was the early 00s when stars like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Destiny’s Child regularly showed acres of toned stomach. This era – often known as Y2K – is in focus for twentysomethings.
The baby tee is a wholesale revival from this era. Vanna Youngstein launched her baby tee brand in 2016, inspired by the Y2K era. Her designs have been worn by celebrities including Emily Ratajkowski and in hit TV show Euphoria, and they frequently sell out. Youngstein says the style is successful because it covers several bases: “you can wear them with anything and the silhouette will look fresh and modern as well as nostalgic-looking.”
The corset is another popular item that sees its wearer expose their midriff. Alexia Elkaim’s brand, Miaou, is a favourite.
She says this part of the body is key: “I typically like to design corsets that are shorter on the sides to accentuate midriff.”
Elkaim herself wears this style – baggy trousers and a short corset is her go-to outfit. Fashion curator Shonagh Marshall says the midriff can be seen in western fashion throughout the 20th century. She references Chicago’s World Fair in 1893 as important, with belly dancing from the Middle East performed. “I think people thought it was something a bit daring. It was probably an area that no one apart from you had ever really seen.”
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