Hailing from a family of significant figures from different industries, Shenali Suraweera, the Assistant Director – Marketing at the National Institute of Business Management began her career at a very young age. 

“Right after leaving school, which to me was Holy Family Convent – Bambalapitiya, I got myself engaged in many small and medium scale businesses in order to gain work experience. Later, while reading for my Bachelor’s Degree, I felt it was mandatory that I join a reputed firm for my Industrial Training. Upon being recruited at Kanrich Finance Limited, I received a better understanding of the Finance industry, which helped me to perform better when I was headhunted to join LB Finance PLC’s Factoring Department. Factoring was all about corporate loans, which gave me the opportunity to meet CEO’s and CFO’s of various organizations. This paved the way for me to gain a good understanding of a CEO’s perspective and learn how to manage obstacles in any given situation. I simply loved it, as every discussion I attended was a massive learning curve. Three years into my Bachelor’s Degree, I chose to specialize in Logistics Management as it was the only appealing option available due to a syllabus change that occurred during that given year. Logistics Management was a completely different subject area for me. It was something I knew nothing about. Hence, I decided to align my work with my studies to ensure that I would be a productive performer with the knowledge I gained. I joined John Keels Logistics (Pvt) Ltd in 2013, which molded me into a person I did not know existed. I had the privilege of working with many educated, hard-working and well-disciplined people. It was certainly tough being in a man’s industry, but I loved every bit of it. The people, the surroundings and all the other extra activities we could be a part of within the boundaries of the JKH Group were definite game changers for me. I came to a better understanding of my own capabilities and I was able to contribute much more than what was expected of me. While reading for my Masters in Business Administration it was mandatory to do a thesis or start your own business. I seized the opportunity to start my own venture. This gave birth to Eleganze Events. While having a 9-5 job, I started hosting small and medium scale events, and was a part of organizing large scale events on a part time basis. Upon registering my business, I was able to get more business opportunities in the field. While contemplating about engaging in Elegaze Events on a full-time basis, I received an opportunity to work at the National Institute of Business Management (NIBM). It was an opportunity I could not turn down. It was one of the most challenging decisions I had to make in my life. With the guidance and support I received from the Director General of NIBM and the other Directors, I have been able to contribute my efforts towards upgrading the institution to become the best in the industry.”

Speaking about her philosophy when it comes to achieving goals, Shenali said, My philosophy in achieving my goals is to simply give my 100% to every opportunity I decide to invest in, while maintaining my integrity. The definition of an individual’s 100% may differ from person to person. But ensuring to dedicate your personal 100%, opens opportunities one can reap much benefits from. Integrity is fundamental in leading a successful and a happy life.” 

When questioned about how she maintained a balance between her roles at NIBM and Eleganze Events, Shenali replied, As mentioned earlier, Eleganze Events was born due to a mandatory requirement of my MBA. I consider my role at NIBM as a fulltime job. Therefore, I give my 100% during work hours to NIBM and additionally whenever required. During my leisure time or upon a service requirement I have a dedicated staff to manage all the events Eleganze receives. The planning process from the beginning to completion of all the events is done by myself, while the execution is delegated to resourceful individuals recruited by Eleganze.” 

Expressing her opinion on the vital principles of Business Management, Shenali began with – “Rather than going according to what the book states I will give you what really works for me. 

Focus – Whatever I am engaged in, I give my full attention to every detail in every project or task. There have been many times when I have lost my focus due to managing multiple projects simultaneously. But getting back on track makes you understand how important it is to give your full attention to every detail at all times.

Discipline – Whether it is a business process or dealing with people, maintaining discipline has been absolutely vital for me.  This is the pure satisfaction you receive at the end of executing a successful project.

People Management – Every person is different. Their skills may differ from person to person. People may be sitting at the wrong job, while being experts at something else. It is imperative to understand what people are truly capable of and allocate them to the right job role that they will enjoy. This was a learning curve for me when Eleganze was getting more business opportunities.

The principles that work for me the most will not be the same for someone else. It all depends on the experience and the learning opportunities a person tends to invest in for their personal growth.”

Concluding Quote – Give your 100% to anything that makes you happy, and try to see the positive side of every situation and witness the change.