A resilient individual mastering her way up the corporate ladder and a current leader in the digital payment sector, Nishamani Rathnayake, PhD Candidate,Lead Manager -Research & Development Department of LankaPay (known as LankaClear (Private) Limited), shares her story with us!

Nishamani started her career path as a graduate with a BSc. Special (Hons) in Information Technology, through SLIIT. Yet, her interest laid in the stream of management studies. She then did her MSC in Information Management once again through. Nishamani studied Marketing Management at the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, and her post-grad at Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka, connecting to her then career in the banking sector. Furthermore, she is well versed and qualified in the card & payment system industry, having been recognised as a certified payment card industry Security Implementer (SISA), a Certified Card payment systems professional & a Certified International Payment Systems Professional by MVL Consulting (Pvt) Ltd., India. In addition, Nishamani also a fellow member of the institute of chartered professional managers of Sri Lanka and a member of its Branding and Corporate Communication Committee (2022-2023).

World Women’s Leadership Conference and CMO Asia honoured Nishamani by acknowledging her as a “Sri Lanka’s Woman Leader” and awarding her for her exemplary growth and leadership. An individual who shifted her career path and later joined LankaPay after her tenure in the banking sector, “I have worked in various sections throughout my career so far. Such as International Trades, Operations, Customer Service, and now I am in Research & Development.” Nishamani is the epitome of a manager being experienced in multiple sectors and bringing a wholesome package of skills and knowledge, which in turn makes up for a smooth process with a great outcome. “Working in different sections has helped me broaden my perspective, and I believe it has always helped me to be more open-minded and to evaluate an event from different directions or make better decisions,” said Nishamani on how her past experience helped her.

Being a female leader is an inspiration for other working women to follow their path towards success in any industry they are thriving in. Nishamani’s confidence is the core value that brought her to where she is today, as it is quite daring to climb up and break glass ceilings in the corporate world. Her resilience and consistency in the face of adversity and challenges assisted her both in her personal and professional life. “I believe the journey to success is not easy for anyone who wants to climb up the corporate ladder, regardless of their gender”. Every success that you see has perseverance and resilience ingrained in the journey that took them there. “There is a lot of effort, hard work, and step-backs there that people do not see in the illusion of an iceberg,” she reiterated the point. Nishamani believes that a willingness to learn and acquire knowledge is a ‘must’ in one’s career path, “If you want to keep improving, you must first be willing to learn and be a good follower. Learn from others and share your knowledge with others.” Nishamani states that as a leader it does bring about a set of challenges regardless of gender. She is a determined woman who is always looking for new opportunities to challenge herself. “If you stay in your shell doing the same thing every day, you won’t find challenges or opportunities. You don’t have to be perfect every time. All you must do is say yes to opportunities and learn by doing.” Enthusiasm to do better and add value to every single challenge is what drove Nishamani to excel in her life, “By doing so, I learn something new in everything I do. There, I trust that even challenges can be turned into opportunities.”

As there are people who will always bound to disagree with one’s perspectives and judgement, Nishamani too experienced it the same as most leaders. “We cannot expect acceptance from everyone all the time. People have different characteristics; they may come from different backgrounds, and their viewpoints and attitudes may also differ. If you are a corporate, you should be mentally prepared to face different opinions that may come your way”, she adds.This understanding of hers and open-mindedness has shaped her into an empathetic leader who listens to constructive criticism and improves her decision, and ignores unnecessary critics, holding steadfast to the right decision. “If the disagreement is for the development of a particular project or decision, obviously you should look at it with an open mind and improve it. But if there are no facts, justification, or purpose for the disagreement; you should not pay attention to it at all or allow it to dim your sparkle.”

As per the Sri Lankan statistic of the female employees in the labour force of the country, only about 33.3% which is still relatively low but understandable as women do have vital reasons behind their unemployment. Nishamani had some words of wisdom and encourage the women in the corporate sector and the budding female entrepreneurs, “Together, women must challenge the reasons that hold them back from shining. Not all women need to be an employee in a company. Some women are skilful in different industries, there are lady entrepreneurs with special abilities. What they need to do, is understand their unique talents and work towards a vision.” On a final note, she further adds to her advice for the women out there, “I believe every woman should know her worth, believe in her capabilities, and strive continuously and sincerely to soar up the ladder.”