Swadeshi Industrial Works PLC’s Deputy Chairperson/Managing Director Deshamanya Chulodhara Samarasinghe was bestowed with the Best CEO/Leadership Gold award at the ‘Top 50 Professional & Career Women Awards’, seventh edition.
The annual event is organized by Women in Management (WIM) partnering with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of World Bank Group.
The event recognizes and honours women in the national and regional economy taking into account their professional achievements, experience, creativity and value additions by them to respective institutions by overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities.
The award ceremony was held on July 14 at Taj Samudra hotel was graced by the ministers, diplomats and professionals in business and government sectors.
The theme of the 2017 edition was; ‘Beyond parity – Developing tomorrow’s Women Leaders’. The highly prestigious accolade conferred upon Chulodhara thus was a fitting tribute towards her potency in managing both her professional and personal lives with equal tranquility and right spirit.
Chulodhara has an illustrious professional career. Joining Maritime holdings, Hayleys PLC in 1995 as a Management Trainee had been her initial move towards consolidating herself as a professional in the corporate sector. By handling a large base of clients in the imports and exports sectors and logistics elevated herself to the post of an assistant manager within a short spell.
Since 1999 to-date Chulodara has used her managerial prowess to add value to Swadeshi Industrial Works PLC as the Commercial Director, Managing Director and the Deputy Chairperson/Managing Director (present designation). She spearheads a team of over 400 employees.
As of today, Chulodhara has positioned herself as a daughter, wife, mother and a sensible woman who plays a leading managerial role in a reputable local FMCG herbal soaps and personal care company having the largest market share in the herbal soap segment, in Sri Lanka. The company has diversified lately to manufacture and market natural skin care, face care, body care and hair care products. Swadeshi manufactures and markets the top herbal soap brand Khomba Herbal and heritage beauty soap brand Rani Sandalwood, the market leader in herbal baby category Khomba Baby, Perlwite and recently ventured into an exciting new kids range ‘Little Princess’.
Chulodhara believes in manufacturing and marketing the best quality natural skin care product using the best herbal ingredients that are mild and gentle on skin. At Swadeshi all products are made 100 percent vegetarian and not tested on animals. It is a personal objective of mine to have any product made cruelty free and products that are natural, good and mild for skin.
She also allocates her time and energy towards the society’s wellbeing via CSR projects on a constant basis such as the Swadeshi Khomba aloka pooja sathkaraya, Khomba safeguarding our environment, conducting health camps and clinics caring for new born babies and mothers through Khomba Baby brand and supporting towards bringing out the message of animal cruelty free society.
Swadeshi supports the annual Aloka Poojas of Kataragama Kiriwehera, Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya, Sabaragamu Maha Saman Devalaya, Devundara Sri Vishnu Devalaya, Redigama Ridi Viharaya, Dambadeniya Raja Maha Viharaya and Keragala Raja Maha Viharaya. Following her mother’s footsteps Chulodhara believes it is a duty to safeguard our culture and traditional heritage of Sri Lanka and also to educate the younger generations on the importance of safeguarding the country’s heritage.
The support of my family provide me the courage and energy to move forward to full fill my dreams and my mother (Amari Wijewardene) who is the Chairperson of Swadeshi has been my guiding light giving me the confidence and showing me that with hard work and a persevering attitude any woman can achieve whatever she wants in life.
In 2013 the ‘Sri Dalada Maligawa’ of historic Dambadeni Raja Maha Viharaya, where the sacred tooth relic was kept and the ancient murals were renovated by Swadeshi Chairperson Ms. Amari Wijewardene to bring back its past glory. Amari Wijewardene is the great granddaughter of Helena Wijewardene Lamatheni, who initiated renovations of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya in 1927.
Chulodara also renders her services to AdCove International Advertising & Marketing as a Director.
“Today’s managers should be proactive to add value to their companies. Stiff competition prevailing in the corporate sector pose us with both challenges and golden opportunities and we as managers should have the forecasting prowess to keep challenges at bay and seize opportunities to drive our companies towards greater heights”, “These have been challenging times but with a never give up attitude and support received from my team at Swadeshi and other important colleagues gives me greater self satisfaction and courage to move forward taking Swadeshi to greater heights in the future,” said Chulodhara.
She added, “Successes of the companies that I represent bring me great self-satisfaction and motivation to move forward. Being a wife and a mother I manage my time effectively on a day-to-day basis. Top 50 Professional & Career Women Awards – 2017 Gold award is a valued recognition for me and I am grateful to WIM for identifying my protential”.
A product of Ladies College Colombo, Chulodhara obtained her BA (Hons) degree from University of Hull, UK in 1993. In 1995 she obtained her MA again from University of Hull, UK.
“I intend to take Swadeshi brands to new heights with a focus on overseas markets and introduce more natural skin care herbal therapy products from Sri Lanka to the Swadeshi product portfolio. I also have a passion towards educating future generations on the value and importance of life and compassion for all beings including animals. To have my own sanctuary for rescued animals is something that tops my wish list”, said a contented Chulodhara.