As the common saying goes, knowledge is the key to empowerment and success. Shaminda Perera, Head of Marketing at Reckitt Sri Lanka, claims his knowledge by both his extensive academic background and his experience in the marketing discipline exceeding two decades. Channeling his expertise through his current position, Shaminda’s career journey has been nothing short of sheer dedication and diligence.

His experience at Reckitt counts close to a decade. Prior to the position as Head of marketing, Shaminda has held many senior positions in Consumer Marketing, Trade Marketing and had pursued professional marketing in Reckitt as well as many other leading conglomerates in Sri Lanka such as Fonterra Brands Lanka, Hemas Holdings & Sunshine Holdings.

Shaminda was an Executive Committee member of Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) from 2013 to 2018. He held esteemed positions at the SLIM committee and served as the Hon. Secretary and Treasurer during the years of 2019 and 2020. Being a Life Member at the institute since 2011, Shaminda has served as a resource panel member of the institute since 2009. Furthermore, he was the Project Chairman of ‘Effie’s Sri Lanka Awards’ in the years 2015 & 2016.

Shaminda holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM), University of Sri Jayewardenepura and also a Master of Financial Economics (MFE) from University of Colombo. He has also been awarded as a Certified Professional Marketer from the Asia Marketing Federation (AMF) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). Shaminda is also a CIMA qualified professional, demonstrating his ability in both marketing and Management Finance.

Through his nine years in Reckitt, he was empowered to handle many regional level brand projects. And in the perpetuation of his stay, the opportunity to advance from his initial responsibilities presented Shaminda with the possibilities of becoming the Category Manager followed by becoming the Marketing Manager, before subsequently landing in his present role. Shaminda maintains a positive outlook on the continuity of growth and enjoys taking on fresh tasks and duties.

The presence of many optimistic characteristics is essential towards manifesting a healthy incline in the corporate ladder. One of such is the core values supported by actions, amidst being actively engaged at work. When asked of his fundamental principles, Shaminda lays out two key elements: passion and commitment, as well as empowerment and development.

As he delves deeper into ‘passion and commitment’, Shaminda explains that he considers passion, linked with work and commitment, to ensure the organization goals are met. Shaminda values individuals who are ardent on maintaining company goals whilst strongly committing to their leadership role by laying forth ferocious resolutions in the face of adversity. He additionally expresses his point of view, “This mindset is sure to motivate everyone around me. The passion and energy are so infectious that it drives and uplifts the entire team.”

Considering ‘empowerment and development’, Shaminda explains, “As a leader, power is a customary product. Therefore, instead of trying to contain all that power and control within myself, I rather choose to empower others to help amplify their own impact.” Continuing on a pragmatic note, he goes on to say, “Empowering others through mentorship and delegation of complex tasks creates a stronger team at Reckitt. This will help build future leaders who can be relied on with confidence.” Viewing his personal expectations in terms of empowerment and development, Shaminda looks upon individuals who make decisions based on their respective roles and responsibilities.

Businesses can be built greatly through the manifestation of ideas and crisp concepts. Whilst all scopes cannot be explored due to limited resources, teams being encouraged to generate new ideas nevertheless can engender value every so often. Inherently designed special programs at Reckitt encourage the expansion of one’s thinking skills which can in turn play a vital role in creating new business models. Shaminda encourages all to remember that while all can attain a sense of creativity, one can still improve their ability towards producing innovative suggestions. “The key techniques followed here are by stepping out and breaking the chain of old thinking patterns. You can do this by challenging your assumptions, rephrasing the problem, mixing your media, and thinking in reverse”, Shaminda shares.

The climb towards success no doubt comes with its own sets of challenges and setbacks. Faced by a few himself, he pointed out that the Covid-19 outbreak was in fact Shaminda’s inhibitor as of late. Reckitt did indeed own the right portfolio to help support consumers in terms of safety with the presence of brands such as Dettol, Harpic, Lysol etc. some of the most pursued brands in the time, all of which played active roles in maintaining cleanliness and safety against the virus. Nevertheless, persisting challenges such as the shortage of supplies in parallel to the high demand of such brands and reaching out to outlets in the midst of many lockdowns, stood as a challenge.

Attempting to introduce a variety of new products in respect to protecting oneself from the virus while also delivering public messages to help create awareness was one other challenge laid out in Shaminda’s path.
Seeking out new mediums and channels in order to reach consumers had him applying a greater deal of focus towards digital platforms with disproportionate investments, so as to be able to educate the audience
through the right channels. A lesson worth noting through all who overcome the phase of business trials is that paying heed to the challenges faced and making decisions via critical thinking can certainly help one avoid the risks of stepping into a sinking sand.

Sharing a message to contribute towards bringing forth successful leaders amongst the future generation, Shaminda wholeheartedly encourages all to never lose the curiosity of being a lifelong learner. “The key to being a real leader is to stay focused and learn something new every day”.

Aspiring leadership brings clarity in understanding oneself and never letting strengths and weaknesses out of sight from the beginning of time. Reaching the stage of a managerial position sets ablaze selfresponsibility towards unlocking leadership beyond extent. With strong will and continuous efforts, the ability to enhance knowledge and capacity within,
becomes much more straightforward. So “focus on setting a vision”, Shaminda persuades, “show a desire to improve, grow and inspire”. In order to persevere and explore novel undertakings, he encourages all to
look beyond short goals and obstacles. He confirms the notion that leadership qualities achieved through discipline is sure to take a stance in the production of more successful stories.

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