Programs

IFS X AIESEC in Sri Lanka Vodcast season 4 finale – Looking back on our Vodacast Journey

In the final episode of our Vodcast series, we explored different styles of leadership within the leadership spectrum. Hosted by Sithmi Vithanage, the episode featured two exceptional guests, Ms. Chanukah Gunewardena and Ms. Ashinsanie Weerasinghe, who shared their insights on these leadership styles. Ms. Chanukah Gunewardena is the Manager of Talent Acquisition & Employer Branding for IFS. She was joined by our co-host for the 3rd season, Ms. Ashinsanie Weerasinghe, who excels in her career as a TV personality, a public speaker and an event compere.

 

Innovative and Conventional Leadership

Without convention, there’s no innovation“, both our guests emphasized. Ms. Ashinsanie added that we can achieve better outcomes if we think outside the box, with this ‘box’ being the convention. Ms. Chanukah further elaborated on how the presence of these two leadership styles depends on the situation or environment. She highlighted that certain industries require innovation more than others. Ms. Ashinsanie agreed, noting that situations or industries define the type of leadership needed— innovative or conventional leadership.

Transformational Leadership

 Transformational Leaders help others to go through a journey of transformation to arrive at their highest potential. Our guests, Ms. Chanukah and Ms. Ashinsanie also shared the same perspective. Drawing the opposite, transactional leadership, Ms. Chanukah clearly explained how transformational leadership is all about allowing someone to grow with encouragement and empowerment. “People learn from mistakes”, she said and these mistakes guide them to the right path. According to her, leaders should give their followers the right foundation, ensuring that the necessary skills and competencies are met. Then they will be able to do their job right. Ms. Ashinsanie recounted one of her personal experiences during the discussion. She has been guided by a transformational leader for years. This is a mentor in her Toastmasters club who guided her to go beyond societies’ formula of doing things. “Transformational leaders never say what to do, but instead show the options’’, she believes based on her experience. And as a result of being guided by such a leader, she said that her passion met her profession.

Leadership and Technology

There are two ways in which Leadership and Technology come together: The Impact of Technology on Leadership and the Impact of Leadership on Technology. Ms. Ashinsanie shared her insights about the Impact of Technology on Leadership. She believes that everyone has to keep up with technology to move forward in life. As a leader, communication is important, because today technology has transformed ways of communication. Back in the day, decision-making had to wait, due to the physical communication methods. However, today, giving access to information and assigning someone to a project is just one click away. This has also heightened transparency and accuracy, accommodating remote leadership. On the other hand, Ms. Chanukah believes that the impact of leadership on Technology comes into action when the leader uses this technology carefully. Nowadays, everything is done online and because of that leaders should be mindful not to misuse this technology.  Moreover, they should safeguard the confidentiality of the shared information. At IFS also there are employees working from home across the country and even out of Sri Lanka. All this has been through that empowerment the leader has given with the right use of technology.

Collaborative Leadership

Collaboration is one of the core values at IFS. Ms. Chanukah personally adapts collaborative leadership on a daily basis with diverse teams at IFS. Such leadership, according to Ms. Chanuka, should ensure that everyone is being heard and their contributions are considered in decision-making. It’s a process in which everyone should take part, not just one person. Through supporting each other, everyone comes together to achieve common goals. Additionally, Ms. Ashinsanie emphasizes that when a team is not given any space to think, it hampers their ability to work towards a common goal. When individuals feel valued and respected, engagement increases. Moreover, as an individual who works with the new generation on a daily basis, Ms. Ashinsanie recognizes that empowering them to express their creative ideas leads to superior outcomes.

Inclusive Leadership 

Inclusive leadership goes hand in hand with collaborative leadership. According to Ms. Ashinsanie, inclusive leadership makes everyone feel included and valued. A person’s background is irrelevant, she said, and what truly matters are their skills and competencies. Diversity fosters numerous achievements by enhancing employee engagement. Taking the global leader Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple and the first openly gay CEO, as an example, she further delved into what inclusive leadership is. Tim Cook has accommodated minority groups and accepted them for who they are. When a leader accepts themselves, others also accept them. At IFS also, employees are encouraged to be themselves, Ms. Chanukah added to the discussion. Quoting Simon Sinek, she noted that yelling at someone is better than ignoring them, bringing out the importance of getting people involved. She emphasized that yelling is indeed not right, however, ignoring employees would be worse, because it could kill their spirit. At IFS, only the right skills and competencies matter, not anything else.

 Service Leadership

‘Moment of Service’ – follows the tagline at IFS. “That’s where everyone comes together to create that winning moment to give the best to our stakeholders” Ms. Chanukah commented. IFS gives solutions to different industries in different parts of the world. Therefore, service leadership is at the core of IFS. In her HR role at IFS, she further explained how IFS has created their employees a good environment to work in, emphasizing the importance of Service Leadership. Ms. Ashianie added her Toastmasters experience as a fitting example for service leadership. Toastmasters create an environment where everyone could learn and grow, they prioritize the growth of others above anything. “It is a beautiful way service leadership comes on board” she added. Further, she agreed that AIESEC also aligns with the same, serving youth to grow into better leaders.

Self-leadership

As important as leading others is, so is leading yourself. Our guests shared their insights on this. In a corporate context, according to Ms. Chanukah, as a leader, you should never let your emotions affect your employees. You must ensure you are in control of your emotions because a leader is responsible for the whole team. On the other hand, Ms. Ashinsanie emphasized the importance of self-leadership with her personal experience. She is a leader on her own with her multiple roles as a TV personality, public speaker, and event compere. As an individual who works with several teams, being a self-leader requires discipline, and this sets the foundation for becoming a leader of a team.

Personal Branding

Personal branding is important for everyone. It is an investment you make for yourself. From your way of talking to your way of dressing, you present yourself to the world. “Personal branding is your identity card,” added Ms. Ashinsanie, with her own experience throughout her journey of personal branding. According to her, while talents and skills play a huge role, personal branding does as well. As a person who interviews candidates daily, Ms. Chanukah believes that how a candidate presents himself/herself is what distinguishes them, because everyone has the same qualifications anyway. An interview is only for a limited time, and at the end of the day, what is remembered is their personality. Moreover, she added that personal branding is crucial at a leadership level as well, because everyone looks up to the leader. However, according to Ms. Ashinsanie, Personal Branding is often misunderstood today as simply being active on social media. Rather it is something that speaks for itself through your personality, skills and experience.

Written by 

Nethma Hettigedara

Content Writer

National Showcasing Team 23.24

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Partnerships

Spotlight into a Purposeful Partnership : Twinery X AIESEC in Sri Lanka

Twinery Innovations by MAS, the source of innovations for MAS, built along Innovation, Digital and Sustainability is the largest apparel and textile manufacturer in the South Asian region. However, the uniqueness of Twinery does not lie in being a pioneer in the industry but also in being a perfect partner and their attempts to co-create values collaborating with different organisations.

Today, the story of the partnership that is to be unveiled is between Twinery Innovations by MAS and AIESEC in Sri Lanka.

Why did Twinery Innovations by MAS and AIESEC in Sri Lanka come together?

The two parties are driven by values mirrored by one another making Twinery Innovations by MAS and AIESEC in Sri Lanka come together as partners for a purposeful collaboration. When Twinery Innovations by MAS is firm about being in business with honesty and integrity, AIESEC in Sri Lanka considers demonstrating integrity as one of its core values. Moreover, both parties are passionately striving for excellence while ensuring living diversity with respect and mutual understanding.

Based on such likely and mirroring values, the two organisations are seriously involved in making value for the people and the planet.

What makes Twinery Innovations by MAS and AIESEC in Sri Lanka perfect partners?

Twinery Innovations by MAS and AIESEC in Sri Lanka become the best partners owing to what they have to offer for the community making value and a difference in society. Twinery Innovations by MAS is a treasure trove of opportunities to which AIESEC in Sri Lanka is a collection of talent which is diverse locally and globally.

Accordingly, the availability of opportunities and youth talent from the two ends which can be put together carefully makes this collaboration effective and stronger promising a sustainable future.

How to envision the future of this partnership?

There is a lot of hope and positivity around this partnership which promises a strong way into the future continuing the efforts together up to now. Both parties aim to match the right opportunity with the appropriate talent which inspires individuals to take the challenge and try out the opportunities to find the best match for their talent.

Accordingly, both parties are hoping for a sustainable future together polishing up youth talent while co-creating value for people and the planet.

Written by

Pavani Premarathne

Lead Journalist

National Showcasing Team 23. 24

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Partnerships

The story of a Purposeful Partnership : DIMO x AIESEC in Sri Lanka

DIMO is a leading diversified conglomerate in Sri Lanka which is one of Sri Lanka’s leading Public Listed Companies contributing to the economy and enriching the lives of Sri Lankans. Founded in 1939 as an automobile sales and repair concern it has grown into the diversified conglomerate we see today operating in ten sectors with over 1,800 employees, and an annual turnover of Rs. 37 billion (2021/2022). But today the story that is to be unravelled is not only about DIMO, but their purposeful partnership with AIESEC in Sri Lanka which has come a long journey to the present, and which promises a sustainable future together.

Why DIMO and AIESEC in Sri Lanka are together?

DIMO always welcomes the best partners aligning with their brand promise to all the stakeholders to be the perfect partner. Both parties of DIMO and AIESEC iN Sri Lanka have been involved with each other as partners on different occasions. The matching visions and missions, along with good impressions of the involvements have led DIMO to step up to the next level of this partnership becoming a national partner for AIESEC in Sri Lanka.

Talking about the matching visions of the two parties, the firm belief in strong youth leadership as the backbone of the community and as a must in shaping society has laid the foundation for this purposeful partnership. Youth leadership’s benefits are not only communal but individual. Accordingly, both parties share their interest in personal development where DIMO stands as an exceptional place for professional and individual growth exposed to experiences in the industry similar to AIESEC in Sri Lanka inspires personal growth as a youth development platform.

What is to be achieved through this partnership? 

As stated by Dimo, the partnership is aimed at achieving four major objectives. The first objective is to help the community with youth leadership. The main focus is to develop youth leadership in Sri Lanka while supporting the youth community financially and with the necessary resources. The partnership also attempts to develop new and fresh perspectives with collaborative efforts from both the parties of DIMO and AIESEC in Sri Lanka while sharing their experience and ideas. The next aim would be employer branding whereas partnering up with a youth leadership development organisation such as AIESEC in Sri Lanka will be an addition to their positive brand image. The final outcome will be the talent pool that will be acquired by DIMO with support from AIESEC in Sri Lanka and DIMO’s efforts in polishing up the talent pool.

Thus, this purposeful partnership between DIMO and AIESEC in Sri Lanka which has been sustained over the years and has displayed great compatibility up to now shows the way even to a promising future.

Written by

Pavani Premarathne

Lead Journalist

National Showcasing Team 23.24

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Partnerships

Spotlight into a Purposeful Partnership : Unilever X AIESEC in Sri Lanka

For over 75 years, AIESEC has been transforming youth into young leaders worldwide. AIESEC in Sri Lanka also continues its journey by nurturing youth across the country. About a decade ago, Unilever Sri Lanka joined this mission, enhancing and enriching its purpose through collaboration. Together, Unilever and AIESEC in Sri Lanka have empowered thousands of young people to lead the future by providing an inclusive platform to develop themselves.

A collaboration of purpose

Unilever Sri Lanka aims to make sustainable living commonplace through their unique brands. Young People are crucial in achieving this ambition because they are the next generation’s leaders. Likewise, AIESEC in Sri Lanka stands strong with its primary vision to achieve peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential. The youth being the driving force behind this, AIESEC strives to transform youth into value-driven leaders. Therefore, the two organizations joined hands for a common purpose with shared values intertwined: facilitating youth to become purposeful leaders in a more positive and inclusive environment.

The way forward

Unilever Sri Lanka is committed to empowering around one hundred thousand young people by 2025. AIESEC in Sri Lanka, undoubtedly, plays an integral role in this mission. This partnership, spanning over a decade, is a dynamic and mutual collaboration. Unilever Sri Lanka fosters purposeful leadership within their workplace, while AIESEC develops young leaders through challenging cross-cultural experiences. Through National Leadership Development Seminars and Conferences of AIESEC, Unilever shares their expertise with the next generation, as these AIESEC conferences serve as the ideal place for Unilever Sri Lanka to empower youth. Looking forward, Unilever Sri Lanka aims to strengthen this partnership by creating even better and bigger opportunities for Sri Lankan youth, encouraging them to take the lead in the corporate sector.

Thereby, this enduring partnership between Unilever and AIESEC in Sri Lanka resonates with the power of collaboration, driven by shared values and a clear purpose. Together they create a meaningful impact and serve a greater cause.

 

Written by

Nethma Hettigedara

Content Writer

National Showcasing Team 23.24

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Partnerships, Programs, Uncategorized

Embracing Leadership Horizons: Conversations on Growth

AIESEC in Sri Lanka partnered with IFS, a global IT enterprise software leader, to venture beyond traditional boundaries and explore the essence of genuine leadership. Through their collaborative Vodcast Series, the partnership delved into diverse leadership styles – from inspiring influencers who ignite passion through words to silent influencers whose wisdom echoes in their actions. The discussions aimed to reshape perspectives and empower young leaders, encouraging them to pursue their aspirations limitlessly. By uniting the expertise of both organizations, this series sought to bridge the gap between youth and leadership.

Innovativation versus convention

The vodcast series commenced with a focus on innovative leadership versus conventional methods. Guest speaker Rafaela Fernando, a seasoned photographer and entrepreneur, shared insights on leadership, emphasizing innovative approaches. She viewed leadership as vision-driven and stressed the importance of having a plan and vision for effective leadership. Rafaela delved into her photography career, initially leading herself in a male-centric industry and later leading a team.

She explored conventional leadership, highlighting its goal-oriented nature and emphasizing the importance of communication within that structure. Rafaela strongly advocated for innovative leadership, citing empathy, communication, and flexibility as crucial components. Her beliefs centred on valuing individual talents, embracing failure, and nurturing human connections in the workspace. The discussion covered various leadership styles, advocating for an innovative, empathetic, and value-driven approach in today’s dynamic work environments.

Self-leadership

The vodcast series featured an insightful conversation on unlocking one’s inner potential and mastering self-leadership with guest speaker Fahad Farook, an International Trainer, Certified Transformational Coach, and Development Specialist. The conversation delved into the concept of self-leadership, emphasizing its importance in personal and professional growth.

Fahad highlighted that self-leadership is not about waiting for external direction but taking control of one’s actions, making decisions, and assuming responsibility. He stressed the need for self-awareness, a sense of ownership, and authenticity, urging individuals to understand their motivations, strengths, and areas for improvement. Moreover, the discussion extended to the role of self-leadership in the workplace, where the proactive

pursuit of personal development contributes to rapid professional growth. The vodcast also addressed the impact of technology on self-leadership, emphasizing the need for disciplined use of technology rather than blaming it for distractions. The overall message conveyed was that self-leadership starts with an individual’s ability to control and focus their mind, irrespective of external factors. The episode provided valuable insights into fostering self-leadership as a fundamental aspect of personal and professional success.

Digital transformation and leadership

Sajeewa Dissanayake, a musician, Meta-certified Trainer, Meta-certified Community Manager, and banker, explored the topic of digital transformation and leadership. He highlighted the shift to online activities during COVID-19 as an example and emphasized companies moving towards digital methods. Key leadership qualities for digital transformation include being tech-savvy, thinking innovatively, and understanding employees’ emotional needs. Sajeewa stressed the importance of cultivating digital skills from childhood but noted challenges in some areas of Sri Lanka. The impact of digital transformation was discussed, citing benefits like time and cost savings, but also concerns about children’s internet exposure and increased work-related stress. Sajeewa expressed skepticism about Sri Lanka’s readiness for digital transformation, citing limited internet access in rural areas. Overall, the vodcast emphasized the essential role of digital literacy in leadership and the need for practical and empathetic approaches.

Personal branding

In the engaging episode featuring Dushyanth Weeraman, the discussion centred on the intricate relationship between personal branding and leadership.  Dushyanth highlighted how personal branding is critical in the commercial world and essential for creating awareness and identifying oneself in today’s competitive landscape. However, he challenged the notion that personal branding is a prerequisite for effective leadership, underscoring that not all leaders gained their positions based on skills or ethical practices. Reflecting on his unconventional journey shaped by his passion for performance, Dushyanth emphasized the organic nature of personal branding, advocating for authenticity over forced brand creation. He shared pivotal moments where he realized the importance of personal branding in leading his band, Kurumba, without overshadowing its identity. Moreover, Dushyanth addressed the challenges of managing diverse personalities within the band, highlighting the significance of understanding each member’s strengths while fostering collaboration. His key takeaway emphasized the unpredictability of life and the importance of embracing the present, encouraging individuals to pursue happiness and personal fulfilment.

Reflecting on the whole leadership spectrum

In the final episode of our Vodcast series, the different styles of leadership within the leadership spectrum were explored. The guests, Ms. Chanukah Gunewardena and Ms. Ashinsanie Weerasinghe shared their insights on these various leadership styles. The discussion started with innovative versus conventional leadership and expanded to how personal branding plays a huge role in leadership.

‘Without convention, there’s no innovation’ the guests highlighted, emphasizing that different situations require different approaches. Sharing one of her personal experiences at Toastmasters, Ms. Ashinsanie said that transformational leaders show you the options, instead of giving direct orders. In the leadership spectrum, leadership and technology are interdependent. The vodcast discussed how they complement each other. When it comes to collaborative and inclusive leadership, both Ms Ashinsanie and Ms Chanukah shared how they adapt them in their professional life. Either inclusive or collaborative, both should get everyone to feel included. By mentioning the tagline, ‘Moment of Service’ at IFS, as a fitting example of service leadership, the guests added how service leadership creates a good environment for employees to work. Self-leadership, our guest mentioned, is the leader having the discipline and setting the foundation to guide a team. The final episode concluded with a topic most relevant for today, ‘Personal Branding’, which, our guests shared, is an investment that you make for yourself.

The collaboration between AIESEC in Sri Lanka, known for its youth leadership skills, and IFS, recognized for its industry expertise, offers a robust platform to foster leadership development among youth in Sri Lanka. This partnership significantly boosts personal and professional growth, empowering individuals to become impactful leaders in their fields and create positive changes in their communities.

Watch AIESEC in Sri Lanka’s collaborative Vodcast Series with IFS here.

 

Written by Sithmi Vithanage

National Showcasing Team

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