My name is M.D. Mangalaa Gunathillake, and I am proudly representing the beautiful paradise island in the Indian Ocean Sri Lanka, a country known for its biodiversity, traditional culture and richness in history.
Currently I’m working as a Regional Associate, Migration Skills and Guidance at International Executive Service Corps (IESC) along with YouLead Sri Lanka. I was honored with an international prestigious award of Women Icon 2022 (A Power of Potential) powered by “Times Women” as an awardee of “Best Social Impact Startup” 2022 and I am a National Sales Congress (NASCO) Silver Award winner in the front liner category of entire telecommunication industry which considered as one of the highest achievements a salesperson could obtain in Sri Lanka. I have been the ‘Best Business Promotional Officer’ at Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd in 2014.
And I received a National Honors of “Manawa Hithawadi Keerthi Shri Deshamanya” title in 2020 for the valuable charity works that I have done. I have obtained my Marketing qualifications at Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) with Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (PgDipM) and Certified Professional Marketer (CPM Asia) and currently hold the memberships of SLIM and Asia Marketing Federation (AMF). I have recently completed my top-up MBA (Marketing-UK) at SLIM Sri Lanka and I am currently reading the MBA (General) at PGIA of University of Peradeniya (UOP) as an undergraduate.
It is truly a privilege and an honour to be recognized as an Awardee in this Asia’s No.1 Brand & Leadership Excellence Awards powered by World Research Congress and for bagging me the praiseworthy award title “Asia’s Outstanding Performer Award in Social Service” 2023 under the category of Asia’s NGO/Social Service Awards. I am very thankful and feeling extremely blessed and accept this award with a deep sense of gratitude and responsibility for recognizing my profile in a global platform.
I am 30 summers now, and I am the only child in my family who was born to two committed government employees who were a teacher and a policewoman. That background provided me the strength to grow along and to stand up as a smart woman and a courageous daughter.
I am a proud product of St/Anthony’s Girls’ College, Kandy the historical city. I have been very active and forward student since my childhood and I always wanted to be very energetic, very supportive and always wanted to face challenges hence participating in all the extra-curricular activities. I did a lot of sports and participated in many tournaments and was the captain of the School Chess Team several times being highlighted for many provincial & national achievements. Being the ‘Minister of Sports’ of my school ‘Children’s Parliament’, the Treasurer of Media Unit & the Commerce Society, the Event coordinator of the CIM Marketing Club, Member of Interact Club, IT Society, Debate, Drama & Theatre Societies made me a well-polished student within the school itself. The inspiration that I received by School Sports Colours Awards as the Schools’ Games Captain and both the other junior & senior prefect ships was a steppingstone in my life.
My ambition was to become an entrepreneur one day although I have been actively involved in various social wellbeing projects from time to time. After my GCE A/Ls, I completed my Marketing qualification which includes the Preliminary Certificate in Marketing (PCM) and the Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing (PGDip) at Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), Kandy while working for Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd as the SME Sales & Retention Officer – Central Province.
By then, this education and the personal performances were very helpful for me to go up on the ladder in my chosen career and as a result I have become the ‘Best Business Promotional Officer’ in 2014 and later got promoted as the Team Leader – Government & Partnership Business at Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Colombo. I was lucky enough to contest on behalf of Etisalat Lanka (Pvt) Ltd at the National Sales Congress (NASCO), the national sales awards that recognizes the best sales personnel in Sri Lanka and I achieved the Silver Award of the Front Liner Category of the telecommunication industry in 2015.
I always have a passion for gaining more knowledge, enhancing qualifications and skills which helped me to apply myself better in practice. After I joined with the Avian Technologies (Pvt) Ltd as the Assistant Sales Manager, I really needed to improve my horizons without wasting my time and hence I completed the Certified Professional Marketer (CPM Asia) also at SLIM, Kandy.
At those times, I was invited by the Lions Club of Kandy Heritage 306 C-1 to be a member of the club and support the community activities along with them. That was like a turning point in my life, and I strived hard helping the needy communities and still I am working as the Service Chairperson of the Lions club of Kandy Heritage.
While serving the needy communities along with the Lions Club, I was invited to join with Child Action Lanka (CAL), a registered NGO working for underprivilege kids island wide as the Marketing & Public Engagement Executive cum PA to CEO. I am so glad that the decision I took to work with CAL has positively changed my whole life in many ways. Working with such a humanitarian organization was a life changing experience for me as I got to know many volunteers and sponsors who have the heart to commit on underprivileged and in addition to the valuable chances, I got to help them personally.
Since then, I have voluntarily been working for the children who were street, war affected and underprivileged and as well as the community who has several needs in collaboration with the Lions Club of Kandy Heritage 306-C 1, Child Action Lanka and also with the special project I am currently employing for, named Skilled and Resilient Migration Workers (SRMW) implemented by International Executive service Corps (IESC) as an Associate, Migration Skills & Guidance, Kandy Region. This project is designed to provide much needed guidance and skills development for Sri Lankan migrant workers, and this is fully integrated with U.S. Agency for International Development supported youth employment and entrepreneurship project, YouLead.
I’m pleased to mention that I inspired many from all walks of life irrespective of cast, creed, or nationality with the help of above-mentioned organizations. It is my delight and honour to be associated with such organizations which seek out communities of children, the young and adults who are most in need in many ways. Having had the opportunity to experience and observe these in action not only inspired me to a career shift into development work but has transformed many a folk like me and our outlook of the poor of the poorest of this country where religious beliefs associate suffering and poverty with karma, rebirth / reincarnation and paying for what you’ve done in your previous life.
And I’m glad to mention here that I won a National Honors of “Manawa Hithawadi Keerthi Shri Deshamanya” title for the valuable services that I have done as a proud lion in 2020.
Along with the passion that I have and driving for transformation of lives has seen kids, youngsters who could have been these nations next being thieves, drug lords and prostitutes become amazing citizens of this nation with the help of our organizations. I’m humbly mentioning that with my own insights about what I was doing, I could easily be coveted for many job roles that would pay a good figure to have such skill, experience, and knowledge within and yet my heart commits for such community-based activities.
With great enthusiasm I joined with the Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA) at University of Peradeniya (UOP) in 2020 and currently reading the master’s in business administration (MBA – General) and recently completed my top-up MBA in Marketing at Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM).
My future plan is to be an entrepreneur in serving kids, the youngsters & the community through my own organization which specially caters to the (1) differently abled, (2) underprivileged and (3) teenage mothers.
Finally, I hope this achievement gives me more support and conviction of my own work that I have passionately carries out.
And I would like to end up with one of my favorite quotes that has always motivated me throughout; “Man’s paramount duty is to serve the people” – S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake. (Former Prime minister of Sri Lanka)