A thriving leader, planner, marketer, initiator and a loving mother to her son, Melanie Wijesinghe, the Founder and Creative Director of Melaché is an astounding example of a woman shattering the conventional glass ceilings. While she swiftly manoeuvres her few dozen responsibilities, she is also a student, studying for her Doctoral PhD, yet again proving that the sky is the limit.
“I run two businesses, one based in Colombo and one in London managing a global clientele. These businesses command me to manage a team remotely, to be creative, to be a marketer, and to be an innovative business driver. I am also embarking on a new digital business module and currently working on it with a partner”, stated Melanie, allowing us a fraction of her day to day life. Added to this is the importance of being a present mother in her child’s life. She states that despite the busy day she may be having, daily school runs and dropping him off for extracurriculars to ensure that the house feels like a home at all times are at the top of her priorities list. To say that she has her hands full is an understatement, given especially that each aspect is taken care of to the best of one’s ability.
As an entrepreneur in this ever-challenging field of the corporate world, persisting at the top is difficult for any individual. However, on top of breaking through such challenging corporate barriers, women themselves have added burdens that they need to spend extra effort leaping over. “It is not easy for a female to build a business from scratch and sustain it for over a decade. Especially if you do not have a foundation with a support system laid for you”, Melanie put her opinion into words. “Embarking on a completely new business that is not passed on to you by generation or family is extremely challenging. You are left to figure out everything on your own. And when you take this difficult path there are many times that you may fail. But if you have a sense of responsibility to sustain and nurture the people who have joined you along this way, you will take all the burden to your shoulders and soldier on. It is that sense of responsibility to continue what I started that kept me going. The good thing is you learn so much along the way and all these experiences make you very humble.” According to her, the journey that is full of ups and downs truly pushes you to value the true blessings around you, in all their shapes and forms. Not only does it turn your eyes and mind towards what is more important in life, but also to appreciate individuals that have stuck by your side through the good and bad.
In Melanie’s opinion, the progressive character development is immaculate and is one of the most satisfying aspects of the entire journey towards success. When it comes to recounting which traits about her have been adapted as a female leader, she refers to emotional intelligence as well as self-awareness as one of the main. Not only do these traits help her understand herself as a striding woman, it plays a significant role in adapting to changing times to bring out the best of herself, allowing her to better understand and take control of herself. “We can learn to control and manage our emotions and reactions to the outer world. Social awareness and empathy towards others help us with relationship management. These traits have helped me to sustain my team for over a decade whilst also helping me to build a global clientele. Leadership also draws on knowledge. I have dedicated my time to learning further and to keep up with the changes.”, Melanie stated, breaking down an extensive level of experiences and lessons into a core principle that she abides by. As a responsible leader, Melanie takes her duty of being well versed in empathetic qualities seriously, in order to become the best leader that her employees could be guided by.
As a thriving personality in the corporate sector, Melanie is in awe of the increasing level of women that are springing into leadership. In her opinion, the continuous suppression that the women faced by society have not in fact tuned down, and rather, women have adapted and found ways to face such bigotry with confidence and apt attitude.
“In reality, we play multiple roles, each vastly different to the other. From personal aspects, women are taking care of their parents and are being nurturing mothers, supporting the growth of spouses, and taking the lead in household management. In the corporate world, they are working to their best ability. Despite these multiple stressful roles women are also supposed to take care of themselves and stay healthy. But the beauty of it is that they still do it all,” Melanie added, proud of the soulful women who have welcomed the obstacles as challenges to shine brighter every day. This breakthrough did not take place over a day and is the result of many women before us tirelessly fighting for the equal positioning of women everywhere including the corporate world. Melanie recounts these valuable souls, thankfully. “Females are great natural leaders, and it is really inspiring to see their abilities now being acknowledged and appreciated. We owe it to the brave females who fought for these basic rights over the years”.
Melanie being a strong and daring woman herself pushes everyone to focus on personal well-being giving it enormous importance in order to survive the difficult times. “The business world can be quite challenging and overwhelming. But if we stay humble, we can see with clarity and eventually unveil our purpose in life. The path of leadership should not harness our peace. It should be a path of knowledge and development whilst contributing to our society. It should be a path of contentment and enjoyment. After all, it is part of our lives”, says the humble protagonist, who remains calm and loving in a world that tests her patience every passing day. As the cultural norms stand to be the biggest challenge against willed women, Melanie is teaching the world how to take every obstacle with a smile and use each rock to build the path ahead. “Culture is created by society. Whilst a culture that is good and uplifts women should be embraced, norms that discriminate females should be frowned upon and abolished. With our sense of intuition, if we remain humble, it will guide us in the direction that we believe is right for us.” states Melanie. “Perhaps on that journey, we may make mistakes. So what? We will face the consequences and come out stronger and more experienced. It is time society minds their own baggage and learns to live without jealousy and judgement. To start the change, we must stop expecting validation from others. Everyone is different to each other. Why try to limit yourself based on another’s validation of you which is derived through their experience of the world?”