A well-known figure in the academic world, Arnila Gunaratne, the Founder of Gaia Learning highlights the relevance of Business Communication to compete globally in the corporate sector. Being a leader in education for over 15 years, Arnila channels her passion for teaching and education into her company which partners with organizations that are committed to developing their talent pool and driving growth. “I want to play my part in developing the country’s economy by empowering our companies and their employees to be globally competitive”, she says.
Arnila considers herself to be extremely fortunate to be able to bring her passion for education to Gaia Learning. She strongly believes that the workforce must be equipped with proficient Business Communication and leadership skills to be globally competitive. After a long day’s work, Arnila usually spends time reading and practising yoga. She is also a proficient Jazz singer and pianist. Being a daughter and a wife, she has always had strong support from her family and friends in her journey as an entrepreneur and educator.
Identifying the main advantages of their service delivery approach, Arnila confirms that Gaia Learning embraces new ways of teaching focused on achieving clearly-defined and measurable learning goals for their client organizations. She elaborates, “As an Educator, I have realized that learning a language is very different from learning other skills. One factor that makes us really unique is that we are a data-driven company. Before we create a solution for a client, we collect data from the employees and then conduct a detailed analysis of the existing skill-sets to come up with customized solutions with measurable outcomes.”
Highlighting the values for her company, Arnila explains that customer-centricity is the key focus for her and her team. She further elaborates that “we work with the business leaders to understand specific needs of their particular industry, organization, background and their challenges. We also try to ascertain their specific business needs and requirements, focusing on the learning goals of the organization. This data is then analyzed to create customized programs and workshops that have clear goals, are data-driven and focused on engagement, interactive communication, feedback and continuous assessment.”
Arnila has a strong pedigree in education with a M.A. and M.Phil in English as well as a CELTA certification. She has extensively trained in advanced teaching methodologies which are now being used at Gaia Learning to develop programs for their customers. “We are also developing proprietary technology platforms for learning and engagement for our clients,” she says, emphasizing her strong focus towards data and technology. Arnila believes that by using technology to drive more interaction and engagement, their programs are able to bring more value for the clients.
Gaia Learning focuses on Customer-centricity and Ownership as its core values. “We want to make sure that each and every member of our team will share our beliefs and values”, Arnila says, highlighting that Gaia Learning is an inclusive, women-centric organization that embraces diversity and meritocracy. She strongly believes that nurturing and taking care of their employees will build a strong culture of Ownership and Service Excellence at Gaia Learning.
Gaia Learning is focused on developing powerful programs and workshops that result in building confident business leaders and globally competitive companies. “Our educators undergo an intensive program on the training methodology, tools and processes that we have created for our clients here at Gaia Learning. This methodology focuses on ensuring that all our programs are data-driven and focused on engagement, interactive communication, feedback and continuous assessment”, states Arnila.
As a woman leader, Arnila takes pride in supporting other women in the corporate world to grow and embrace leadership roles. She was always supported and motivated by the strong women within her family, and she believes in paying it forward by hiring more women leaders in her organization. She feels lucky to have had both men and women who embraced gender diversity in the workplace. “I was always motivated by these powerful people who consistently pushed the boundaries of role and gender. Working alongside people who questioned authority and promoted critical thinking was crucial for my evolution as a woman leader – I was fortunate enough to be in an environment where I was always encouraged to colour outside the lines” she adds.
Arnila meets challenges with tenacity and a persistent determination to succeed. “Whenever I come across a hurdle on my path – I become stubbornly single-minded to find ways to overcome it. I believe that women inherently have this power but it takes a while for us to realize this. When you are faced with hurdles in your path to success, it is very crucial to dig in your heels and stay on course until you find your answers.” she states.
She acknowledges with pride that the gender gap is less prominent today as women are continuously breaking the glass ceiling and pushing boundaries. Arnila encourages women to continue pursuing their dreams and achieving success in the corporate world. She believes that “we have women role models in real-estate, IT, finance and politics, however in education, women are typically seen as teachers and administrators. Women in education have a unique advantage of experience and expertise, which they can leverage to drive more innovation in the education sector. The Edtech domain is now thriving with innovation and is changing the corporate education industry. Women who have traditionally been the custodians of education in schools and colleges, can really use their knowledge to augment this innovation revolution in the education industry.”.
Her advice to emerging women leaders can be best allegorized through the words of her favourite poet, Maya Angelou, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”