After a successful year, the Sri Lankan branch of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association held its first Annual General Meeting recently.
It celebrated a year during which its members worked together, canvassed other women to consider careers in shipping, helped each other network, took part in community service and supported each other in an industry that’s still very male-dominated.
The meeting started off with a ceremonial lighting of the oil lamp and the singing of the National Anthem, after which the President, Shehara Jayawardana, gave a well-received speech about WISTA and its aims as well as its achievements over the past year and its hopes for the years to come.
Her speech was followed by presentations from the subcommittee heads on Member’s Day, the Port Visit, Christmas party, careers fair, the Mother’s Day event and the joint seminar.
The WISTA members have collectively striven to improve both their own professional skills and draw more women into the profession through activities such as arranging for a tour of the Port of Colombo and holding Shipping Career Drives in multiple schools across the island. However, the women of WISTA also have a softer side as evidenced by their charitable celebration of Mother’s Day. Balika Home holds 55 motherless children and the WISTA members donated generously to help buy staple items and clothing for said children, then presented them in person so they might play with the children and show them a little motherly love. As the subcommittee heads recounted the events of the year, members were seen nodding along and basking in the memories of their successes.
The business of electing next year’s Committee and approving of new members was swiftly dealt with after which the members enjoyed being the privilege of being addressed by the guest speaker, Sanjam Sahi Gupta who is the founder of the Indian branch of WISTA. The dance act that followed was an excellent performance and the felicitation of female achievers in the shipping field left more than a few women in the room smiling proudly. CINEC’s entertainment act was highly amusing and resulted in the evening winding down on a high note of relaxation.
The air of camaraderie and warmth that infused the room was wonderful. It was clear to see how pleased the members were at each other’s success, with the felicitation of Female achievers in the shipping field. cooperation was remarked upon in the President’s speech when she warmly thanked her committee and acknowledged all their achievements were only possible because of how well everyone had worked together. If this past year is any indication, WISTA’s influence will continue to spread through the shipping industry in the coming years and their success will only grow from here. Minister of Ports and Shipping, Arjuna Ranatunga was present at the event and gave away the awards for the felicitation. State Minister Rosy Sennayake gave the key note address and commended the team at WISTA for the work done. The event was attended by over 200 key players from the maritime industry.
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