Kavi Rajapaksha, Vice President – Marketing at Softlogic Life is among the pioneering women in terms of purposefully leading her team towards the successful achievement of collective goals. Bringing conventions to their knees and gracefully breaking through glass ceilings, her viewpoints are meant to shed a light on the incoming generations of female leaders, showcasing the absolute essence of purposeful guidance in the challenging corporate world.
- Tell us about a time when you were glad you were a woman in the corporate world?
Irrespective of whatever situation or time we are in, the different perspectives and the way women lead always add multiple positive dimensions to any business. Women are equally logical and have the ability to navigate complex situations similar to any leader out there but I honestly believe that female leaders possess higher grit and we simply square our shoulders and face whatever may come our way to ensure we see it through to the end.
- Times aren’t easy and are made especially hard for women. What kept you going despite the difficulties and helped you come to this position allowing you to be a role model for other women?
I believe in a few manthras that truly has allowed me to mute the negatives that the outer environment brings. Number one is “Don’t trouble the trouble till the trouble troubles you” and “It’s not the destination but the journey”- Both are means of focusing on the here and now. Yes, it’s best to look ahead but we need to focus on the positives in the now and do everything to drive out the negatives. Also, the energy to recharge and refocus comes from your loved ones so it’s important to prioritize time for them as well. The difficulties then become insignificant.
- What are some traits that you had to adapt to thrive as a female leader?
The ability to keep my logical mind and emotional mind separate so that emotions don’t overshadow my decisions but rather add more perspective is something I had to really work on which I believe I still should continue to work on
- Are you content with the level of women that are springing into the role of leadership in their respective sectors? What unique advice would you like to give those who look forward to that?
There are only about 35% females participating in the workforce and that number is very less at the top. So, it’s difficult to say it’s satisfactory. But, having said that, leaders are leaders irrespective of gender and we need to step up our game in terms of our leadership abilities and especially our belief in ourselves that we can do it. Most female leaders tend to shy away after middle management. It can be due to what the external environment leads them to believe or family commitments. If it’s indeed family commitments, then it’s a choice and we cannot question anyone’s priorities. But, If it’s the former, then it’s a waste of years and years of hard work and commitment. When we were children it didn’t matter if we were girls or boys. We did everything each other did. With time female leaders let others convince them otherwise. My advice is to keep the little child in you alive. Dream on and keep believing in yourself.
- Shaming and cultural norms are a few pointers on issues that effectively stagnate a woman’s chance to take risks and shine. If it was up to you to change this, where would you start?
The world cannot live your life. It’s up to you to live your life. As clichéd as this may sound,
You’re only living another’s life in your own time if you continue to heed what others say or feel about you. There’s a difference between listening to constructive feedback vs. believing every bad thing that’s said about you or letting others dictate how you should feel or behave. So it’s up to us, to define our principles, create our own goals and live our lives. Society has not changed in its shaming for centuries. It’s unlikely that it’ll change in our lifetime so we need to make that choice to live and love our lives.