Shameena Pallie is a marketing consultant, writer, and life coach with over 18 years of management experience across local and multinational organisations. She is the founder of Reflections Coaching, which facilitates a diverse range of coaching and training requirements for clients, with the expertise of a panel of coaches who are specialists in their respective field. She is also the co-founder of Paragon Inc. a start up venture specialised in building communities for brands and industries. She is passionate about emotional wellbeing and positive thinking, which led to the publication of her first book Reflections of the Heart.
The book authored by Shameena is a collection of reflections inspired by real people and their experiences. It reveals the vulnerability, resilience and strength of those who narrate their stories of trial and triumph, in the hope of inspiring someone—because a ripple of words can become a wave and is strong enough to sustain hope in a troubled heart.
Shameena holds an MBA from PIM, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, is a Certified Management Accountant, Certified Trainer, and is currently reading for a Humanitarian degree at the Roxbourg Institute of Social Entrepreneurship, Switzerland.
Q1 What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
I have a great support system of friends and family who have urged me to fly. I have been blessed to have people around me who have inspired me and elevated me in so many ways, and having someone believe in you is one of the greatest gifts one could have. I strongly believe your circle of influence can help you achieve great things or vice versa. So I would say that is one big factor. The other reason is the fact that I take responsibility for my life and happiness. While having great people around is an amazing thing, the onus is on each individual to write their own story of success. Therefore I attribute it to my own resilience and the fact that I accepted that I must do my part first, without expecting from others and burdening them. The third is the most important reason to me, and that is intention and faith. In everything I do, I try hard to have a good intention and faith that it will work out well. When you have good intentions even if you fail, it’s okay!
Q2 What are some traits that you had to adapt to thrive as a female leader?
I had to develop self-confidence and a lot of tenacity. As humans, we often seek external validation and worry about opinions which sometimes cripple us into forgetting who we are and the greatness within. So I would say, I learned to love myself more, develop a mindset of looking at life with gratitude and believe in the good that is out there. If I were to sum it up in 4 words, strength, gratitude, confidence and hope.
Q3 What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?
As a female leader, I have been in many environments. Some of them have been very encouraging and I have had the privilege of working not just with ladies but also gentlemen who empower and inspire women to grow and take leadership and initiative. Also that you are never judged for your honesty or vulnerability. In these environments, I have learned that irrespective of gender we get opportunities based on merit, skill and knowledge. Therefore I learned that performance, integrity and sincerity is extremely important for growth. There have also been environments where my gender has been a limitation. In this situation, I learned that as a female leader you need to adapt and be firm in whatever stand you take while being diplomatic. When you are your authentic self it almost always works out. As for me, I try not to let ego get in the way and use a collaborative approach while making it clear that a collective goal should be the only focus. I believe in the end our perceptions and perspectives are crucial in shaping everything we do. We are not in a war of genders and I think together like-minded men and women with the right intention can truly do wonders.
Q4 Are you content with the level of women that are springing into the role of leadership in their respective sectors? What unique advice would you like to give those who look forward to that?
I would love to see more women taking up leadership and entrepreneurship. A lot of my coaching revolves around this segment and sometimes I find that our own limitations are from within. We often hold back through fear of failure and fear of change. But my advice is this. Your mind is a very powerful tool. What you think and what you believe is what you achieve. Sometimes when we feel we don’t have the potential or the opportunity to do great things life will thrust us into situations that make us realise how much we are truly capable of. Find your passion, find your purpose and let that lead you. Drawing from a very interesting book called Ikigai, I recommend everyone to find their ikigai because we are all just one step closer to mastery. And when you truly find what fulfils you then the inspiration that we so ardently seek will be easier to find.