‘Leading Liyo’ continues to inspire women to be tomorrow’s leaders


Celebrating the cultural, social, economic, and political achievements and contribution of  women in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) recently conducted a panel discussion themed ‘Gender Equality for a Future-Ready Sri Lanka’ under its women empowerment initiative ‘Leading Liyo’. In line with the institute’s vision, SLIM embarked on the initiative ‘Leading Liyo’ to accelerate economic participation of women in Sri Lanka, and this is the third consecutive year of this initiative, a spokesman said.

The panel consisted of University of Sri Jayewardenepura Head of the Department of Chemistry Prof. Nilwala Kottegoda, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Customer Officer and SLASSCOM Chairperson Sandra De Zoysa, IAS Holdings Group MD, Tania Polonnowita Wettimuny, and MAS Holdings Head of Women’s Empowerment, Advocacy, and Code of Conduct Thanuja Jayawardene. The discussion was moderated by Clootrack Labs Country Head – Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Pakistan Dr. Rohantha Athukorala.

Despite many efforts over the years, from education to employment, a significant gender inequality exists that demands continuous attention. Born out of this, Leading Liyo seeks to fill the existing gender gap by providing a platform to discuss pressing economic and social matters.

“Gender inequality comes at a significant price in any country looking to achieve sustainable economic and social development. The solution to this is women empowerment. Through the Leading Liyo initiative, SLIM aims to help women break barriers and engage in an active leadership role. I believe Sri Lanka is certainly on the right track to empowering women’s participation in building a Future-Ready Sri Lanka. It is our ambition to work together to make sure these efforts are carried to the next generations that will take the future of this country forward,” shared SLIM President Thilanka Abeywardena.

The Leading Liyo initiative aims to bridge the gender gap in the corporate world and promote gender equality at workplaces. This initiative encourages women to move forward and take on the leadership mantle. When it comes to breaking workplace gender barriers, giving equal opportunities for career women is important, as it will put businesses on the fast-track to gender parity. Leading Liyo inspires women to shatter glass ceilings and creates awareness about the significance of workplace gender equality.

Commenting on the initiative, SLIM CEO / ED Sanath Senanayake said, “The role played by women for a country to flourish cannot and should not be overlooked. Offering women more opportunities and avenues to shatter outdated ideologies and take up deserving roles in developing Sri Lanka in all aspects is more important now than ever. Keeping this in mind, the Leading Liyo initiative by SLIM attempts to make them understand the potential impact of women on the domestic and global economy and to encourage more women to contribute to build a resilient economy.”

Furthering the scope of the main initiative, SLIM continued for the second successive year its sub-initiative to mentor batches of females in the corporate sector to upskill their managerial skills and knowledge through a developed blueprint. The “Leadership Development Programme”, covering seven key modules, mentors batches of 100 shortlisted females under the guidance of a highly experienced and well-recognised panel of resource persons.

Speaking on the success of the programme, Leading Liyo Leadership Development Programme Project Chairman, 

Dr. Dilhan Jayatilleke said, “The dialogue on gender equality in Sri Lanka often takes shape intermittently. While the fact that many are advocating the cause is commendable, we also need to look at sustaining and levelling up in the long run. Successfully running for the second year, the Leading Liyo Leadership Development Programme focuses on identifying gaps and promoting gender parity across industries. We need to realise that women are vital to move forward as a country.”

The Leadership Development Programme prioritises educating women and elevating their thinking. The programme also encourages women to develop the skills and qualities required to take up more leadership roles in the corporate world. Participants are assured to gain insights through a holistic approach, from balancing work and life to deciding upon the direction of the future of their careers and lives. 


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