Accommodating a sense of positive energy within her that steadily got her up the corporate ladder, Pavithra Samarasinghe, Director at A. Baur & Co. (Pvt.) Ltd. is an Accountant by profession. Having joined the company in 2001, Pavithra completed a solid 20 years in June 2021, and her current scope covers Finance, Compliance and Legal.
Pavithra possesses a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Colombo. She is an Associate Member of CIMA(UK), Certified Management Accountants, Sri Lanka and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).
Taking up her initial position in operations at Baurs, she moved onto the Finance Department where she covered all business segments of the company as an Accountant. Her thorough understanding of operations and business acumen allowed her to expand the scope. Continuing to reach greater heights and accomplish her succession plan with dedication, Pavithra was appointed as an Alternate Director in 2015 and was later admitted as a Board Director in 2016.
Not limiting herself to knowledge and experience, Pavithra followed a General Management Program at the National University of Singapore and actively participated in training sessions, both locally and overseas. She mentioned being a part of the Steering Committee at Baurs. “which had a mandate of evaluating new business ventures and suggestions for operational improvements.” Pavithra is a member of the Sri Lankan Institute of Directors (SLID).
Aspiring to a great deal in the last two decades, Pavithra never fails to take into account those who provided her support and inspiration through and through. “My idol is my mother, a simple homemaker with a strong personality who supported me to achieve everything in life until the day she passed away in 2019”, she expressed as she continued counting her blessings, “I am truly blessed to have my father, spouse and sisters around me who are encouraging and supporting me immensely. My 12-year-old son is a great inspiration to me and acts as my happy pill even on the toughest days.”
Reflecting upon her time at Good Shepherd Convent, her Alma Mater, Pavithra, talked about the “upbringing and deep-rooted value system” she received that helped her greatly in the corporate world. She possesses wholehearted gratitude towards her mentors’ guidance, colleagues’ support as well as the presence of her great team.
The financial service segment in Sri Lanka is made up of a variety of firms. Viewing the status of women in these financial service industries, Pavithra personally believes the industry is not gender-biased and constitutes great corporate leaders who are indeed women. “In today’s context, there is a significant representation by women in banking, insurance, investment companies and finance companies”, Pavithra explained. Looking back on the era where women’s day-to-day roles predominantly consisted of running house errands, “money managing was part and parcel of their key responsibilities.” Therefore, Pavithra is confident that women up to date own the steady fundamentals that necessitate better financial management despite their domain. “Women are excellent in multi-tasking and have proven to be extremely good in negotiations, and empathy is an inbuilt characteristic.”
A consequential amount of Sri Lanka’s currency remittances that support the national economy is procured by encouraging women to work overseas as domestic aides. Having implored this topic with Pavithra, she firmly stood against it. While it is indeed factual, she talked about the substantial disadvantage of the situation, in the long run, by saying that “the social issue created by the women who work overseas as domestic aides is a bigger issue which will have a ripple effect on society at large.”
When asked about Pavithra’s opinion on the recognition and rewards of female entrepreneurs, especially those at the grass-root level here in Sri Lanka, she talked about the latest and great potential for such businesswomen. “I am of the view that female entrepreneurship is extensive whether it is sewing, baking, running a small restaurant to heading a conglomerate,” she stated. However, Pavithra explained that women entrepreneurs at the grass-root level tend to lack a sense of professional formality and approach, which often prevents them from accessing the financial assistance needed to build their business and let it flourish. “Therefore, I think there’s a lot to be done until they are duly recognized and rewarded”, she concluded.
Pavithra finds the progression of women to senior management positions in the workforce to be a trending topic and mentions that with very few gender-related blockades, women can pursue great achievements by acquiring the needed knowledge and skills to enter the workforce. “I believe that women are capable of achieving anything they set their mind on”, she expresses, “I am of the view that a great career will unfold for those with commitment, passion and the right attitude.”
Pavithra considers “integrity, reliability, accountability and collaboration” to be the cornerstones of her role. Having been inspired by those closest to her, and setting an example and inspiration herself in the workforce to women all around be it in the financial service industry or otherwise, she quotes “Do what you have to do purposefully, joyfully and with all your heart.”