‘May the odds be ever in your favor,’ is a common yet powerful wish of good fortune that we send forth, simply because a chance change of events can turn everything upside down, leaving us defenseless and without a plan. However, in the case of Neluka De Alwis, the Head of Sales and Marketing at Shangri-La Residential, the odds were indeed in her favor, when she turned towards persuasion of a career that she was not intending to. “My journey into sales and marketing is coincidental. During my college days, I always wanted to be an accountant. However due to not achieving the required results, I was pushed to choose marketing as a career. The decision, which was made by such coincidence; is what groomed me to be the individual that I am today.”, Neluka stated. As fate has it, Neluka found her true calling in the unexpected turn of events and is very content with where the circumstances have led her to.
Joining Shangri-La was yet another unexpected turnout for her, and she is now at a senior management position, having joined as the Head of Sales and Marketing for Residential Sales in 2013. She is now responsible for all sales and marketing activities that are related to the promotion and sale of super luxury condominium units to an ultra-niche market segment in Sri Lanka. With the calibre of her role, she constantly engages with local and overseas buyers from different sectors. So far, the team led by her has achieved a revenue of over USD 370 Million worth of residential sales. “My role further involves hands-on expertise and ideas sharing with the project team in order to add value towards the residential development, which is the first branded integrated development to be launched in Sri Lanka. The project spans over 4.5mn Sq.Ft of buildup space, comprising of a hotel, residential complex, mall and an office tower.”, she went on to explain.
In response to the question of whether or not there is a luxury market oversupply, Neluka entirely disagreed with the incorrect assumption. To further reinforce her thesis, Neluka said. “Over 80 percent of all completed apartment projects and 45 percent of those under construction have been sold. Further it is important to understand the segmenting of real estate categories as lower, middle, luxury and super luxury in order to ascertain current market inventory.”, In her expert point of view, the developers have managed to make decent sales even during the pandemic which has encouraged the real estate sector further. “Buyers are now positively considering investing in property as it determines high appreciation values by converting LKR into property investment. Therefore, I would assume the likelihood of undersupply of inventory in the future due to the effects of import restrictions especially construction related materials and the currency devaluation on the real estate market.”, stated Neluka, confidently. Further she states that there may however be an under supply of apartments within the next 5 years and establish more towards a seller’s market.
The massive percentage of women that take up over half the population in the country being around 57% and only 35% of them actively contributing towards the economy, in Nelukas view is a loss of great potential in terms of untapped resources. “Today 29% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Sri Lanka is contributed directly by women, followed by Bangladesh 19%, India 18% and Pakistan 11%, which puts us ahead in the South Asian region. Data indicates that Sri Lanka’s 8% women representation at Board level is higher than average in South Asia. Women take a major role in the business world which contributes towards global and local economy,” she stated, highlighting that even with a significant level of untapped talent, Sri Lankan women are still leading the game of corporate management. Marshalled by their compassionate attitude, with the infamous necessity in multitasking, taking compulsory measurements to successfully handle the complicated game of not letting their personal responsiblities clash with corporate goals, women, in her view, are winning, and are positively on their way to win bigger and better. She highlights the many dozen womens who have taken up their own small businesses during the pandemic which forced everyone to toughen up and use their abilities to get through. She applauds and celebrates the never say never attitude of our courageous women and is a proud representation of the Sri Lankan hard working women. The idol believes that with the increased rate of female entrepreneurs stepping into the game has taken a toll on the Sri Lankan economy, benefitting it positively.
As a last comment, the idol chose to give a peek of the inspiration that has pushed her beyond barriers she never expected to face but successfully navigated. “Dream Big, love yourself, be passionate and impossible is nothing”