GLASS ICE – Refreeze your Game

GLASS ICE, the ultimate career and personality development workshop hosted by the Rotaract Club of University of Colombo, Faculty of Management and Finance together with the Leo Club of Negombo Host 306 B1 was held on the 9th of October 2015 at Trace – Expert City, Maradana.  This was one of the first ever projects to be undertaken by two outstanding clubs from two different movements with the aim of promoting professionalism and leadership development among the youth.


The evening’s proceedings provided the platform that enabled the audience to actively participate in the workshop through an interactive session with four world renowned speakers, making this event a highlight of the year. Enlightening the audience by sharing their wisdom on Leadership, Career Progression, Work-Life Balance and Personality Enhancement among other factors of life which could be valuable for all those who desire a successful career. The event was graced by Mr. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, World Champion of Public Speaking 2014, Mr. Dulith Herath, Founder and CEO of Kapruka, Mr. Kishu Gomes, CEO/Managing Director of Chevron Lubricants Lanka Plc, and Managing Director of Chevron Ceylon Limited and Ms. Selyna Peiris, Attorney-at-Law & Consultant (Social Business/ Livelihood Development) and entrepreneur of Selyn Exports (Pvt) Ltd.


With the aim of Professional and Leadership Development along with Youth Empowerment, a project of this nature would certainly contribute to the betterment of the youth of our country, by giving them the opportunity to learn and grasp knowledge from the best in today’s corporate world that would ultimately help enrich their lives and to move ahead successfully in their careers.



Mr. Kishu Gomes – ‘Powers’

The day’s proceedings started off with the first speaker of the event, Mr. Kishu Gomes addressing the gathering. 

Mr. Kishu Gomes
(Source: chevron.lk)

Beginning his career at a very young age in the field of marketing, Mr. Kishu Gomes has been a well known individual in the corporate world for his tremendous achievements and unique personality. His dedication and commitment has contributed immensely to what he has achieved today. Mr. Gomes who is a MBA holder of the University of Leicester, UK and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK currently serves as the CEO/Managing Director of Chevron Lubricants Lanka Plc, Sri Lanka’s No.1 lubricant marketer and Managing Director of Chevron Ceylon Limited, a fully owned Chevron company. He is also a Leadership Team member of the Asia Pacific Lubricants Team and an Extended Leadership Team member of the Global Lubricant operation, playing an active role in making strategic business decisions. Mr. Kishu Gomes created history by being Asia’s’ first and the youngest Sri Lankan to head two US multinational companies operating in Sri Lanka, Caltex Lubricants Lanka Limited and Caltex Ceylon Limited, as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in the year of 2001.


“The biggest asset we have as a country to be able to achieve economic prosperity, economic development and economic renaissance is YOU!” 
– Mr. Kishu Gomes-


We live in a world, where we are constantly faced with numerous challenges in every area of our lives, but at the end of the day all of us have one broad objective in mind, and that is to be able to achieve ‘better quality of life in time to come’. Most people have a hard time accepting and dealing with these challenges that arise. The reality is that you will have to deal with difficult problems throughout your life, whether it is in your personal life or career.  The main focus of Mr. Kishu Gomes’s speech was therefore, how we can overcome these challenges effectively and successfully in the modern world.


Mr. Kishu Gomes highlighted four types of ‘powers’ that he believes would help every individual to successfully overcome the challenges in the modern world. The first of which is the ‘knowledge power’. According to Mr. Gomes, the knowledge we need in the modern world to achieve our aspirations is not conventional knowledge, but knowledge which is of commercial value. We need to expand our knowledge and not just limit it to our core disciplines. This is because at present, it is the ‘teams’  rather than individuals that can perform in organizations and for a team to be able to perform, its members will have to synchronize and synergize their actions for which they need to have their knowledge expanded. The only way to be effective in a team environment is to understand what each and every member in the team does. Further he went on to say how important it is to keep evolving your knowledge as yesterday’s knowledge will not be enough for today and today’s knowledge will not be enough for tomorrow, so you got to let go of your old knowledge and keep on acquiring new knowledge which is current and valuable. He also emphasized on acquiring ‘random knowledge’ because if knowledge is not random, the worst thing that could happen to an individual is having knowledge the world would not understand. 

70% of decisions taken by people across the world are made based on their emotions, although a rational person might not let his emotions influence his decisions. So in that world you got to be a very powerful communicator for which you need to have the second type of power, the ‘skill’. It is your skill or the ability to influence someone’s’ mind, that will enable you to make favourable decisions.  Moreover, you must have the skill power to process information you receive day in day out, analyze them and come up with alternative solutions and select one through which you can achieve the ultimate results.


Once knowledge and skill powers are matched, your ‘will power’ comes into play and differentiates you from others. It is the biggest tool one could have in order to gain a competitive edge over others in situations where an individual’s knowledge and skills are equal to those of others. 

 

Personal presentation plays a key role in business and also in life in general. Given the current level of competition in the environment, you must build up your ‘image power’ to be emerged as a winner. As Mr. Gomes points out, winning is not what we think it is but it is what others think of us. Therefore winning in the modern world is all about winning in the eyes of others! You have the choice to define who you are, to shape other’s perceptions of you by defining your strengths, values, goals and personality and present yourself in a manner that will make others believe that you are a winner.
 
Drawing our attention to the current HR strategy of Sri Lanka, an important point he made during his speech was that, the exportation of our people for labour intensive jobs like housemaids, carpenters, plumbers etc and importation of CEOs for senior positions in various MNC’s and local organizations is suicidal from an economic stand point. We only count what is brought in, but not what is taken out by the foreign workers. We have to export quite a number of people to bring back the value taken away by one foreign worker. This needs the attention of all shareholders!
 
When setting your expectations, you need to carry out a self audit to determine where you are in relation to the types of powers Mr. Gomes mentioned above. Make conscious decisions to achieve your career objectives and then come up with a vision and realize it through action in terms of using the four powers.

 

Mr. Kishu Gomes at Glass Ice
Adding more valuable points towards the end of his speech, Mr. Gomes stated that in terms of developing yourself, there are things that we can compete with, things we can learn from others but in that journey, never follow a role model, because you cannot be another individual. So you need to come up with your own formula with all the inherent styles to become one unique successful individual. Learn from every person you interact with, from every situation you encounter and absorb what you need to expand your horizons, capacities and competencies! If you develop that habit in you rather than following someone else, you will be able to differentiate yourself from others and that differentiation will definitely drive your competitors away from you. First compete against you, recognize your weaknesses, and strengthen them up to become a better person!
 
Ms. Selyna Peiris – “THINK DIFFERENT, THINK BIG”
Inspiring the young minds to “THINK DIFFERENT, THINK BIG”, our second speaker for the day, Ms. Selyna Peiris shared her experiences and knowledge on how we can exploit our potentials to succeed and grow in life. 
 
Ms. Selyna Peiris
Ms.Selyna Peiris who is an Attorney-at-Law and a Consultant in Social Business/ Livelihood Development is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. She is currently the Director of Business development at Selyn Exports (Pvt) Ltd which is one of Sri Lanka’s largest social enterprises and also it’s only guaranteed Fair Trade Handloom Company. As a consultant, Ms. Selyna has had a lot of experience working for various government, non-governmental and international organizations in the area of social business development.
 
Am I exploiting my potential? A question I always ask myself whenever I venture into anything’ says Ms. Selyna Peiris, who began her speech by sharing the story behind this question with the audience. Growing up with a very ambitious family, where the foundation was set for her to really move forward in life, Ms. Selyna always knew what she wanted in life. Since school days she was extremely focused on achieving her aspirations of becoming a lawyer. Her secret to success was being strategic, every time she made decisions in life.  She planned, researched and thought ahead in life and by the age of 23 she had two masters completed, 1 year’s work experience in the UN which truly helped her stand ahead of everyone else. So the lesson here is, BE DIFFERENT, THINK DIFFERENT! This is definitely not easy, especially in today’s competitive world. Nevertheless look inside you, release yourself out of the boundaries and barriers our society and the education system has set for us. As humans we are born with unlimited potential and then at every step of our lives we are just put into boxes. So we need to get out of them, break them and ‘think outside the box’ and according to Ms. Selyna this really is the key to everything. 
 
Before she moved onto her next topic, Ms. Selyna shared a few tips that really helped her stand out. 

 

  • Keep your name short and stick to it! People will remember you then and being remembered is one of the integral parts in getting ahead.
  • Always sit in front! Sitting at the right place at the right time is also a component of being remembered and then you will be standing ahead of others.
  • Always do your best! Everything that is beneath you is what’s going to help you rise up and never be afraid to admit that you’re wrong.
Ms. Selyna Peiris at Glass Ice (Source: Xtream Youth)
Running one of the largest social enterprises in Sri Lanka with the aim of empowering women across the country, Ms. Selyna truly believes that ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ is the model for the future development of our country and that the youth is an integral part of it. A ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ is basically an attempt to draw upon business techniques to find solutions to social problems and social businesses in this sense would be businesses within that model capable of solving social or environmental problems. By breaking the traditional boundaries of development and business, a social entrepreneurship provides a ‘hybrid model’ that allows us to do business and solves society’s problems at the same time. 
 
Raising a question to the audience as to how we could start a business to address the problem of unsafe Tuk Tuks in Sri Lanka, Ms. Selyna highlighted a few examples of businesses that provide solutions to such social problems. 
 
For instance, ‘SafeBoda’ is a market based solution to enhance road safety in Uganda by providing a safe and a secure means of transport to people. It provides drivers who have been trained well and helps users find SafeBoda drivers using a mobile application which conveniently locates the nearest SafeBoda drivers offering a unique customer and driver experience. 
 
Eco-Maximus on the other hand is a social enterprise established in Sri Lanka which provides a solution to the conflict between men and wild elephants over scarce land resources. With the aim of enhancing conservation, primarily that of Sri Lankan elephants, they manufacture handmade paper and value added products out of elephant dung and other waste matter and even export to over 20 countries.

 

Ms. Selyna Peiris at Glass Ice
(Source: Xtream Youth)

 

 
Also her own company Selyn Exports (Pvt) Ltd established with the aim of empowering women across the country not only to build their financial strength but also to give them the opportunity to work in their own village setting.  Women who become foreign domestic workers are some of Sri Lanka’s most disempowered and Selyn provides these women the alternative to work with them with the ultimate aim of providing sustainable livelihoods to them. Unlike other similar organizations which choose to empower women, Selyn has a ‘sustainable business model’ which does the same by offering high quality and innovative products.  In essence, what is good for their business is what is good for society! “Social enterprises can be set up in so many different fields such as IT, health, teaching etc, the potential is really unlimited!” says Ms. Selyna.

Although most of us believe that our opportunities in Sri Lanka are very limited and the opportunity for us to grow is actually beyond domestic boundaries, Ms. Selyna believes it is not so. Pointing out how she would choose to address this problem, Ms. Selyna is of the opinion that it is not the fault of the government. As the younger generation, we are duty bound to have that social consciousness so that our children can live in our island and grow and that social enterprises and businesses are the kinds of things we need to get into so that we can build up our country as well as provide for ourselves.

 
Concluding her speech, she said that there is an opportunity to succeed and grow anywhere you are! Wherever you go in the world, you cannot expect to succeed without THINKING BIG, BEING DIFFERENT! So use your passions, drives and energies to make a difference in the country. Exploit your potentials but do it here, Sri Lanka needs you!

Mr. Dulith Herath – ‘Sustainability’

Sharing his secrets to sustainable business growth with the audience, our next speaker, Mr. Dulith Herath, enlightened the audience on the topic of ‘Sustainability’. 
Mr. Dulith Herath
(Source: kapruka.com)

 

 
Known as the man behind the ‘wishing tree’, Mr. Dulith Herath is the award winning founder and CEO of the much celebrated Kapruka.com. He is one phenomenal entrepreneur who introduced Sri Lanka to the online shopping concept when he launched kapruka.com in 2003, which is to date Sri Lanka’s largest e-commerce organization. 
 
“From day one I saw how big it’s going to grow” says the visionary entrepreneur who started off his speech by giving a brief introduction to this online giant, Kapruka.com. What is unique about operating an e-commerce company as Mr. Dulith points out is that, it gives them a lot of freedom to do so many things under one brand.
 
Being the largest e-commerce company in Sri Lanka, Kapruka currently has about 85% market share in all online transactions and over 10,000 different products that they store and deliver. “We carry the inventory with us”, emphasized Mr. Dulith. Kapruka is not aggregated to sell or deliver another entity’s inventory, they sell their own inventory and that’s what makes the experience of the whole corporation.
 
As a successful entrepreneur Mr. Dulith always knew how to differentiate his company from his competitors. Building a brand that would stand as the cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s e-commerce would definitely not have been easy for him. So what is the hardest part in operating an e-commerce company? Setting up a company online is pretty much easy at present although it would have been much difficult long time back. However the problems arise after you establish it.  Once you get an order, you need to do the delivery, warehousing, return and most importantly ‘customer care’ and that is the hardest part in e-commerce! By venturing into Kapruka’s fulfillment services Mr. Dulith helps other businesses to go online and use the Kapruka platform to get the deliveries and fulfillment part done. As a company driven by such innovations, Mr. Dulith has already found the way to keep away his competitors. 
 
“As an e-commerce company, ‘Innovation’ has always been in our blood” says Mr. Dulith Herath and this is one of the key reasons for Kapruka to have evolved into a successful profit making company in the Sri Lankan marketplace. The greatest innovation the company has achieved so far is the ‘Kapruka Global Shop’. This in fact was a world recognized innovation that propelled Kapruka into the limelight in Sri Lanka.

People who are accustomed to online purchasing are often faced with the problems of high shipping rates, custom duty, regulations etc. This is where the Kapruka Global Shop will come in and allow Sri Lankans to order items from popular websites such as Amazon.com, Ebay and get them ordered for a very reasonable price. The core solution created for the above problems by Kapruka is what Mr. Dulith called the ‘Import simulator’, a program that accurately calculates the costs, duties, and taxes of importing any item into any country based on data given on the government regulations and the item. This was one solution that none of the e-commerce giants have been able to figure out but has been figured out invented in Sri Lanka at Kapruka! “All, the customer has to do is, purchase the product online via the Kapruka Global Shop and we will do all the hard work including transport to Sri Lanka, paying taxes and duties, and getting it cleared from customs and so on” Mr. Dulith stated.

 
‘Digital marketing’ is what Kapruka solely relies on as a company that operates in the field of e-commerce and it has indeed produced tremendous results for the company. Mr. Dulith spoke of a technique named “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” (a boxing term) which he always uses at Kapruka. He believes that it is an effective technique that works in the Sri Lankan mindset. The rationale behind this technique is, you do 3 Jabs and get empathy of your customers and then do the right hook to get a sale done. 
 
The key to sustainability as Mr. Dulith highlights is his very talented and dedicated pool of employees within the company. “We need people, ‘our staff’ to get work done. I could be the most intelligent person in Sri Lanka, but what would be the use of it if I don’t have a passionate staff to get work done? My staff is my best asset!” says Mr. Dulith. As a person who believes in giving freely and generously, he stresses that when he rewards an employee he does it with ‘no strings attached’. He enjoys the giving with no expectations in return. He believes that it is the only true way to make it a gift. This attitude shared by all the people he works with is the reason for his company’s success. So you got to love your employees for real, take care of them but do it without expecting anything in return! The culture that Mr. Dulith has built within his company is such that each and every employee is so dedicated and committed to their work. When something goes wrong, they get to it even before he does. This is the success of Kapruka. Adding more points to achieving sustainability, he went onto say that always have the courage if you want to give up and change directions and never worry about things too much. Be relaxed! That way it could help you sustain what you have built.

Mr. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi – Bring out the Champ in You!

Bringing out an inspiring story of self development to the audience, our final and key speaker for the day was Mr. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, World Champion of Public Speaking 2014.
Mr. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi
(Source: Xtream Youth)


From a law breaking and lost kid to becoming a world renowned motivational speaker, Mr. Dananjaya’s life has indeed been a tough one. In the journey of discovering his true potential, it took him over ten years to transform his life from being a lost teenager to a role model. Being a competitive public speaker for the past ten years, in 2014 he became the World Champion of Public Speaking. He was the first ever Asian to have won this title in the 90 years of history of Toastmasters International surpassing over 30,000 competitors from over 120 countries across the world. Mr. Dananjaya’s winning speech, “I See something in you” was rated amongst the “Most talked-about speeches of 2014 by Toastmasters International and Fortune magazine. Today he’s one of the most preferred motivational speakers for global conferences and corporate events and his presence was an absolute glamour to Glass Ice!
 
“Out of 7 billion people in the world, 95% would dedicate their entire life to make other people rich” said Mr. Dananjaya who highlighted at the beginning of his speech, how most of us fail to take steps to achieve our dreams of becoming someone because we have dedicated ourselves to make others rich! 
 
Life is abundant!

 

If you look at anything in nature, for instance a tree, it produces fruits in abundance. Similarly SUCCESS; you can be abundantly successful but as Mr. Dananjaya points out, life will only give you this abundance only if you want it! 
 
A question he always asks people is that, whether ‘Do you want success?’ or ‘Do you wish you were successful?’ Most people ‘want’ success but the reality is that many of them ‘wish’ they were successful!’ This is because we want other people to make us successful. We are afraid to take the responsibility of achieving our own success. We only crave for ‘results’! And if you take the responsibility to be successful, according to Mr. Dananjaya, the number one barrier for you will be your current job. We expect our bosses, our company to make us successful but we don’t want to take the effort to do so. So the point here is you got to have the desire to be successful and to get that desire you need to associate the result. Only then you can take measures to become successful.

Inspiring everyone in the audience to learn the practical and actionable steps to achieving their ultimate goals in life, Mr. Dananjaya shared five valuable self leadership lessons learnt in his ten year journey to win the World Championship of Public Speaking in 2014.

  • Believe in yourself! Always believe that your vision would be successful for which you need to develop the attitude.
  • Be ready to take risks in life! A secret behind most successful people is their ability to take risk. Sometimes in life we analyze things until we lose opportunities. People who are educated try to analyze everything and apply their education but those who don’t just grab the opportunities. So if you see something, just take it! It is a key part of being successful.
  • Little things matter! A small change can make a huge difference. The more you grow up, the older you get, what matters is these small things in life that will add incremental value to your life.
  • Learn to have a mentor! If you really don’t know what you want in life, think about who you want to be like and there is no point asking for advice if you don’t use it. Being mentored is not about obtaining advice. It’s about doing something with it. Also ‘learn to unlearn’; you got to unlearn the personality qualities that are stopping you from becoming successful. When you have the right qualities, you would have the right behaviour which would lead to high performance.
  • Sustain your success! Be a student throughout your life. Keep going ahead. Be humble and willing enough to become a student.
Mr. Dananjaya concluded his speech with the message that anyone has the potential to grow to become a better person, even if they have long abandoned their greatest aspirations – “I SEE SOMETHING IN YOU, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS!”
Leos of Negombo Host with Mr. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi (Source: Xtream Youth)
FMFers with Mr. Dananjaya Hettiarachchi (Source: Xtream Youth)
Glass Ice, focusing upon the potential future leaders of both the Rotaract and Leo movements, this joint initiative was one large successful gathering of young leaders to have ever taken place with over 500 participants attracting a diverse audience of Rotaractors, LEOs, undergraduates and young corporates.  Project “Glass Ice” was indeed a life defining opportunity which gave each and every participant an unforgettable experience to be inspired and enrich themselves to be successful in life. 
Rtr. Dinath Federico, Rtr. Ruvindi de Silva & Leo Sajith Fernando- The chairpersons of Glass Ice
(Source: Xtream Youth)

 

Written by-
photo Rtr. Ranithri Samarawickrama
Club Member 

 
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