Brunch

The WIM Top 50 Conference is back!

  • Dr. Sulochana Segera on this year’s event

Tuesday (9) will mark the fourth annual Women in Management (WIM) Top 50 Conference. Having taken place online last year because of the pandemic, this year, with a physical conference that can also be participated in virtually, sees WIM take an active step towards returning to normalcy.

WIM Chairperson Dr. Sulochana Segera

Brunch spoke with WIM Chairperson Dr. Sulochana Segera for more on how this year’s conference will take shape, and what kind of statement WIM is looking to make through the conference this year.

Taking place under the theme “Empowered Women for a Resilient Future”, Dr. Segera explained that the conference will take place physically with approximately 50 participants, with an additional 78 (and counting) participants joining the conference virtually. Speaking on WIM’s choice to host the conference physically this year, Dr. Segera explained that this decision was reached because: “We see lots of virtual programmes, but we don’t always see enough insight from these programmes, and this is partly because people still want to meet, which is why we’re putting on a mixture of physical and virtual. The WIM Top Conference’s objective, as always, is to discuss things not being discussed yet in the corporate world.”

This year’s WIM Top 50 Conference will take place through a series of solution-oriented panels curated to address burning issues facing the corporate world today.

One panel, “Business and Financial Strategies”, will discuss the financial pressures Covid-19 has caused and focus on solutions and tips to move forward. The panel will be chaired by Daily Financial Times Founder, Editor and CEO Nisthar Cassim and will feature George Steuart and Company Ltd. Chairman Dilith Jayaweera, Sampath Bank PLC Senior DGM Shashi Kandambi Jassim, International Finance Corporation Sri Lanka and the Maldives Country Officer Victor Antonypillai, and Unilever Sri Lanka Marketing Director for Personal Care Nilushi Jayatileke. The panel will consult with bankers, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders on economics and finance globally, and seek their advice and tips on how to come out of Covid-19 from a business and financial standpoint.

“Diversity and Inclusion” is a panel that will discuss diversity and inclusion in the business world from a broader perspective than gender inclusion. Dr. Segera explained that inclusion needs to be accepting of different genders as well as different races, regions, sexual orientations, and disabilities, and this panel will explore true diversity and inclusion within the workplace. This panel will be chaired by KL.lk CEO Santosh Menon and will feature IFC Women in Work Programme Manager Sarah Twigg, Jetwing Sri Lanka Chairman Hiran Cooray, Entrepreneur and IAS Holdings Group Managing Director Tania Polonowita Wettimuny, Unilever Sri Lanka Director HR Ananya Sabharwal, and SLASSCOM Diversity Collective on Inclusion independent consultant Bani Chandrasena.

Another panel, “The Social Shakeup”, will see media personalities from all forms of media, from electronic media to digital media to social media and influencers in these fields talking about how we, as people and brands, need to groom ourselves for social media, a space that is different from other forms of media in that what you put on it is unfiltered, which is why it is important to consider how we position ourselves and what kind of brands we build online. This panel will be chaired by Dialog Axiata PLC User Experience Design and Channel Adoption Senior General Manager Waruni Algama and will feature TV Derana General Manager Indeewari Amuwatte, Author and Media Personality Rasika Jayakody, Wijeya Newspapers Head of Social Media and The Weekend Online, Hi!! Online and WNow Editor Rishini Weeraratne, and Media Centre for National Development Director and Department of Government Information Additional Director Milinda Rajapaksha.

The final panel of the conference, “New Generation Leadership” is a panel of youth professionals discussing how they, as present trailblazers and future leaders of their respective industries, are looking at the future. The panel is chaired by OSM Holdings Executive Director Onella Karunanayake and will feature perspectives from MAS Intimates Management Information and Finance Integration Head Sajindu Perera, Curve Up Founder and Resilience Gender Inclusive Enterprise Systems (Oxfam) Consultant Mohammed Fawaz, Derana Macroentertainment Digital Media Senior Manager Sachitha Kalingamudali, A Quint Ondaatje Foundation and AQO Sports and Entertainment (AQOSE) Goodwill Ambassador Anna-Marie Ondaatjee, and Asian Grammar School Academic Deputy Principal Savini Tennakoon.

The WIM Top 50 Conference will also feature a keynote address from policy adviser, social entrepreneur, development specialist, and academician Dr. Mohan Kaul who will speak about how exporting countries need standardised diversity inclusion, the importance of standardised inclusivity in the workplace, and how companies and brands can work towards this.

The panel will also feature speeches from WIM 50 Top 50 Conference Chair and Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chief Law Officer Aparna Tilakaratne as well as Dr. Segera herself. Dr. Segera will be discussing the importance of perseverance and of giving back to our country. “When you hit rock bottom, everyone wants to leave,” Dr. Segera explained, adding: “They think the country has failed them, but the country doesn’t fail until you fail, it’s showing you so many opportunities, and that’s what I’m going to talk about. Looking at the bright side and seeing opportunities as opposed to obstacles.”

Registrations to attend the 2021 WIM Top 50 Conference close today (8) at 12 p.m., but virtual registrations will remain open. For more information on registering for the conference, please visit www.womeninmanagementawards.org.