Business

Leading professionals to judge ‘Top50 Professional and Career Women Awards 2021’ by WIM, IFC

The highly anticipated annual “Top50 Professional and Career Women Awards 2021”, has received an outpouring of applications since it opened for entries in September. The 11th edition of the awards that champions gender equality and recognises leading women professionals, has assigned to its judging panel a line-up of formidable forces in the workplace. 

Initiated in 2010 by Women in Management (WIM), the “Top50 Professional and Career Women Awards” is now supported by Women in Work – a partnership between the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Government of Australia. The awards aim to identify and honour the trailblazing achievements of women and women-led organisations in Sri Lanka. With a new bar being set every year, the task of evaluating the strong line-up of applicants becomes an increasingly difficult feat. 

The event will serve as a forum to recognise women who have distinguished themselves by providing leadership and inspiration for women of diverse backgrounds hoping to make their own impact in their respective fields. Reflective of the calibre of the awards and the challenging responsibility ahead, the judges for this year’s competition make-up an illustrious panel of industry titans and experts – all committed to the role of ensuring that the judging process is free, fair, and truly represents each recipient’s achievements. 

The 2021 judging panel will be chaired by John Keells Holdings Head of Legal, Secretarial and Corporate Social Responsibility Nadija Tambiah, and includes Hayleys Agriculture Holdings Ltd. Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena, Dreamron Group of Companies Group MD/CEO Dr. Kishu Gomes, Daily FT Founding Editor and CEO Nisthar Cassim, Clootrack Labs Country Head – Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Pakistan Dr. Rohantha Athukorala, Dialog Axiata PLC Sandra De Zoysa, Group Chief Customer Officer Sandya Salgado, KL.LK CEO Santosh Menon, Acting Australian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Amanda Jewell, and IFC Programme Manager for Women in Work Sarah Twigg. 

“The WIM Top50 Awards programme has been a unique and critical catalyst for the recognition and motivation of female talent in Sri Lanka, and I am honored to be chairing the distinguished judging panel this year,” commented 2021 Judges’ Panel Chair Nadija Tambiah. 

“With every year, the selection process becomes increasingly challenging,” noted Dr. Athukorala. “We are aware that professional astuteness and leadership can be found in the unlikeliest of places, and so, we encourage applicants from all over the country and from every social sphere to nominate candidates they feel fit the bill.” 

Research has proven that the pandemic has had a disproportionate negative effect on women in the workplace as compared with their male counterparts. This year’s ceremony – aptly themed “Empowered Women for a Resilient Future” – will be a measure of candidates’ endurance in leadership over career success and trajectory.

“This year we will be looking out for a new benchmark in female leadership and business performance,” said Dr. Kishu Gomes on the new standards of the Awards. “The Top50 winners of 2021 will be those who have been able to successfully weather the turbulence of the new normal and truly take the country forward.” 

“As the Top50 Awards Chair for 2021 and as a past awardee myself, I am honored to have been selected to lead the WIM Top50 Awards Committee,” added Top50 Awards Committee Chair Amali Mudunkotuwa Mendis. “I am certain that this year will be unique, as it won’t be just leaders we are selecting, but resilient leaders.” 

While the awards will shine the limelight on high-achieving Sri Lankan women, its long-term goal has always been to encourage greater efforts by companies and businesses to promote practices, programs and actions to create more gender-inclusive business cultures that embrace gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

Nominees across all sectors are encouraged to apply for the career, professional, business, and organisational award categories with a special award given to honor male champions of change and diversity.