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Tuesday May 28th, 2024

How NDB Bank is Empowering Women Within the Bank and Beyond

Ishani Palliyaguru, Vice President, Project Finance and Corporate Credit Control, and Melody Wickramanayake, Vice President, Legal, discuss how the bank supports women within the organization and beyond. 

Could you outline some of the specific initiatives or programmes implemented by NDB Bank to empower women in their professional development, and thereby the economy?

Ishani: NDB Bank is deeply committed to empowering women in their professional development, recognizing their pivotal role in contributing to the economy and our nation’s growth. Our initiatives and programmes reflect this commitment, with the Sri Lanka Vanithabhimana standing out as a notable collaboration with Sirasa News 1st. This initiative not only aims to recognize exceptional women on a national level but also serves to empower them, providing a platform for showcasing talents and achievements. By doing so, we nurture an environment that celebrates the substantial contributions of women, acknowledging their vital role in shaping our society and economy.

Moreover, our support extends to female entrepreneurs through grants, fostering economic empowerment and reinforcing our belief in women as key drivers of our nation’s prosperity. To ensure financial inclusivity, we conduct webinars, financial literacy programmes, and capacity-building initiatives. These efforts transcend our workforce, reaching our female customers and empowering them to make informed financial decisions, ultimately contributing to a more robust financial future.

At NDB Bank, we firmly believe in the profound impact of empowering women, and our initiatives and programmes are strategically designed to strengthen them within our organization and beyond. By investing in the empowerment of women, we contribute not only to their individual growth but also to the broader community and the nation’s collective progress.

In what ways does NDB Bank create better opportunities for women to advance in their careers and attain leadership positions within the organization?

Melody: NDB Bank actively nurtures a diverse and inclusive work environment that catalyses professional growth. We believe in providing equal opportunities for women to advance in their careers and attain leadership positions. This commitment is deeply ingrained in our culture, as seen by our notable strides in establishing the bank as the “Bank of Choice” and “Employer of Choice.” Currently, 31% of our top management positions are held by women, and women make up 43% of our overall workforce, highlighting our dedication to gender diversity.

As a trailblazer, NDB Bank is the first organization in Sri Lanka to receive EDGE Certification, a prestigious global standard for gender equality. This certification underscores our unwavering commitment to creating equal opportunities for women within the organization.

Furthermore, we conduct targeted female empowerment-related training programmes such as “Shine from Within,” “Women Leadership,” and “Empowering Women in Leadership Roles.” These programmes provide resources and tools for the advancement of women in their careers. By fostering an atmosphere that encourages diversity and inclusion, we provide a supportive framework for women to excel and ascend to leadership positions.

How do women leaders at NDB Bank inspire and mentor young women who aspire to succeed in their banking careers, and what impact does this mentorship have on fostering future leaders?

Ishani: Women leaders at NDB Bank play a pivotal role in inspiring and mentoring the next generation of female talent aspiring to excel in the banking industry. Through formal mentorship programmes and informal guidance and coaching these leaders leverage their experiences to nurture a supportive community. This mentorship extends beyond conventional career advice, fostering a culture where knowledge-sharing and empowerment go hand in hand.

In a dual-fold impact, these women leaders serve as role models for the broader female workforce within NDB. With 31% of senior management being female, female employees can look up to and aspire to become like them, driven by the success stories and leadership qualities demonstrated by these women. Similarly, NDB’s board, comprised of 40% female members, provides a powerful example for senior management to look up to and aspire to emulate in their leadership journeys.

The impact of this mentorship is further amplified by initiatives like the “Fearlessly Female” programme launched last year. This new initiative is specifically designed to provide support to NDB’s budding female talent within the bank. By combining mentorship programmes with targeted initiatives like “Fearlessly Female,” NDB Bank ensures a comprehensive approach to nurturing and empowering women at various stages of their careers. This holistic support system not only encourages professional growth but also helps build confidence and resilience in young women, enabling them to overcome challenges and succeed fearlessly in their banking careers. The exemplary leadership within NDB, coupled with these tailored initiatives, reinforces the belief that aspiring women at all levels can achieve leadership positions and make meaningful contributions to the organization.

What does NDB Bank’s focus on diversity mean for the organization, and how does it contribute to a more inclusive workplace culture and better business outcomes?

Melody: NDB Bank’s focus on diversity is a fundamental aspect of our organizational culture. We believe that diversity is not just a goal to strive for; it is a strategic advantage that drives innovation, creativity, and better business outcomes.

By embracing individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, we create a more inclusive workplace culture. In this culture, all employees feel valued, respected, and included, enabling them to bring their best selves to work. We recognize that diversity is not limited to gender, it encompasses a rich tapestry of differences. By championing diversity, we ensure a robust decision-making environment and improved customer service.

Our commitment to diversity also helps us attract and retain top talent. We promote an environment where individuals can thrive, fostering a workplace where collaboration, mutual respect, trust, and open-mindedness flourish. This dedication to being an equal opportunity provider enhances our workplace culture and contributes to better outcomes for our clients and stakeholders.

At NDB Bank, we firmly believe that diversity is a key driver of success and the foundation for a brighter future.