WiLAT Sri Lanka celebrates 5th anniversary of ‘Ignite’

Wilat Ignite

Women in Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka (WiLAT Sri Lanka) celebrated the fifth anniversary of their flagship mentoring program ‘Ignite 2018’, recently at The Kingsbury, Colombo.

Ignite is a program which provides a platform for both mentors and mentees to commence and continue a mentoring relationship under a well-structured procedure. Mentors extend their time and effort on a voluntary basis towards unearthing talents, developing soft and hard skills and unleashing the potential of the mentees. The mentee selection is carried out through an application process, where undergraduates of the top Sri Lankan and foreign universities offering Transport, Logistics and Supply Chain degrees and young professionals are encouraged to send in their application and paired with a suitable mentor in line with their career aspirations and fit.

Maersk Lanka Ltd. Country Manager Zeeshan Mukhi graced the event as the Chief Guest of Ignite 2018 and in his address congratulated WiLAT SL for striving towards striking a balance in this industry. Maersk Lanka partnered with WiLAT SL on their BacktoWork program for women and is recognised for their commitment and novel initiatives towards women empowerment in the local industry.

Anoma Ranasinghe, Vice Chairperson of WiLAT Sri Lanka and the Project Chairperson of Ignite 2018/2019, welcomed the gathering, explaining the objective of the Ignite mentoring program. She further explained the journey Ignite program has come thus far; emphasising its significance to freshly joined mentees. She acknowledged endeavours of Gayani de Alwis, Chairperson of Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Sri Lanka (CILT SL) for her initiative in launching the “Ignite” mentoring program which is now adopted globally by WiLAT.  Keynote speaker of the event, Gihan Cooray, Group Finance Director of John Keells Holdings; used examples from his own career journey, and shared with the eager audience thoughts on “Igniting a Trailblazing Career”. He articulated the importance of Emotional Intelligence, the need to harness courage and boldness to take up projects and challenges and the need to be patient for the right opportunities.  The speech was followed by a panel discussion and a Q & A session moderated by Dhashma Karunaratne, Chairperson of WiLAT Sri Lanka, who has been recognised by WiLAT Global for her commitment towards Mentorships. Dhashma deliberated stating that there are 1.3 billion youth today and one billion of them live in the developing world, echoing the great Nelson Mandela, she said the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow and WiLAT is committed towards making a positive impact in this demography. She further added that she’s encouraged by the commitment of good corporate citizens such as NTB; FriMi who came on board to support the transformational journey of youth to become impactful leaders through the IGNITE program. Panellists were Dr. Buddhima Subasinghe, Head of the Department of Computer Science at NIBM; Shehara de Silva, Director Partnerships of YouLead; Anushka Weeraratne, CEO at Lanka Marine Services; Dr. Namali Sirisoma, Dean, Faculty of Management of General Sir John Kotalawela Defense University and the keynote speaker Gihan Cooray.

The panel shared their individual stories of how different mentors guided them along their career journeys and it provided the audience with valuable insights of how important mentoring relationships could be for a professional during various stages of their careers and revealed to the audience the mentee relationship to optimise opportunities.  A social media campaign was held among the mentees of “Ignite” 2017, to select the most impactful video; the mentees presented the experience they gained with their mentors over the past year and the winning clips were shared with the audience. The winners were Indeewari Chandrasekera, Thisuri Udara and Harshani Edirisinghe and Kaushani Perera was a nominee.

WiLAT Sri Lanka was formed under CILT to promote and support women in Logistics and Transport, WiLAT SL pioneered the “Ignite” mentoring program initially launching in 2014, this initiative has now gone to global platform and is now adopted several other WiLAT countries.