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Saturday October 1st, 2022

Women in leadership at Janashakthi Group: building resilient businesses and enabling growth

(L-R) Harshanee Deshapriya Group Chief Legal Officer Manindri Bandaranayake Group Chief Brand Marketing Officer Wasanthi Stephen Group Chief Human Resources Officer

Janashakthi Group is committed to developing the nation with its market-leading, trendsetting businesses in the finance, insurance, investment and real estate sectors and a group-wide strategy that also includes empowering people and communities.

As an equal opportunity employer, Janashakthi Group is committed to empowerment and equality and embraces diversity across the Group. The Group believes giving employees equal opportunities to flourish in leadership roles is an integral part of this diversity. With their strong corporate culture of non-discrimination, Janashakthi Group continues to disrupt, reimagine and renew their businesses by investing in people, innovation, and technology to empower customers, communities and the nation.

The women occupying key leadership positions in the Janashakthi Group – Manindri Bandaranayake, Group Chief Brand Marketing Officer; Harshanee Deshapriya, Group Chief Legal Officer; and Wasanthi Stephen, Group Chief Human Resources Officer – share their perspectives on building resilience and business strategies during these trying times, and aligning people across a large group to a higher purpose.

Building resilience for growth and giving back
Manindri Bandaranayake – Group Chief Brand Marketing Officer 

Over the years, we have manifested our commitment to empowering the nation with our businesses, innovative solutions and several impressive initiatives to overcome the challenges of the day.

Although diverse companies make up the Janashakthi Group, we are primarily in the financial and investment sector, where services are intangible. Each company has introduced innovative and differentiated products and service offerings to cater to our customers during challenging times ever since Janashakthi’s founding three decades ago.

More recently, during the height of the pandemic, all our group companies adopted a differentiating strategy and introduced several innovative financial solutions to cater to the rapidly evolving customer needs. Since then, our core strategy has kept pace with the rapid evolution of market dynamics and customer expectations.

We have also taken several initiatives to reflect our values of serving others before ourselves, which is inherent in our culture.

The very meaning of Janashakthi embodies our ethos: Jana means people, and Shakthi is strength. So, we are all about empowering people from our employees, business partners, customers, and stakeholders to the broader community of Sri Lankans. And as Sri Lanka confronts its worst economic crisis, Janashakthi stands together as a group to deliver its brand promise with renewed vigour with enhanced customer experiences, service excellence and innovative solutions that create value for all our stakeholders.

While providing innovative products and solutions, we have taken it one step beyond and set up the Janashakthi Foundation to consolidate the philanthropic activities of all the group companies to amplify the impact with greater focus.

Enabling purpose-driven strategy
Harshanee Deshapriya – Group Chief Legal Officer

As a group, we are on a quest to make a difference in the community and the nation while unlocking growth opportunities with M&As to position Janashakthi Group among the leading conglomerates in the country. In a decade, we aspire to be among the top ten listed companies in the country. To support this grand vision, we created a central unit to handle all the core service functions of Janashakthi Group, including shared legal services, which is a pivotal function intertwined and indispensable to executing the core group strategy.

Apart from the considerable gains from cost advantages and process improvements, the shared legal services unit has reinforced our capacity to minimise legal risk exposure and ensure the smooth business continuance of our interests. Resultantly, each Janashakthi Group company – some of which are listed firms operating in highly-regulated and competitive industries – can focus on innovation, customer experiences, community services and sustainability-led growth.

We have built skills and competencies to oversee every aspect of corporate law. The unit covers the whole range from commercial contracts to capital market regulatory matters, conveyancing and property management, trademarks, litigation and arbitration management, legal document management system, legal compliance and legal recoveries. We have invested in technology to streamline our services, elevate productivity, and enhance security.

We keep the group companies updated on evolving legal and regulatory standards governing every aspect of their businesses. But there is more to it. We are fulfilling a higher purpose by contributing towards making the Janashakthi brand promise of empowering the people and the nation a reality.

We are doing this by anticipating and mitigating legal risks and providing the legal advice and guidance to conduct business operations and execute transactions securely to enforce the Janashakthi Group growth strategy. In recognition of our efforts, the shared service legal team was awarded the Best Team (Shared Services Category) at the Janashakthi Values Awards ceremony held recently.

Our successes boil down to the group-wide emphasis on diversity and inclusion and a flexible work culture that empowers and retains female employees within the corporate sector.

A value-driven culture that empowers
Wasanthi Stephen – Group Chief Human Resources Officer

The interconnection between the core values, culture and service excellence are closely related. We believe that shared values are at the heart of Janashakthi Group, fuelling its drive to build a value-centric culture of excellence and service critical to enhancing customer experiences across the group. Therefore, empowering our people is core. We have a top-down approach to aligning our teams to a common purpose and increasing the competitive advantages and sustainability of all the businesses in the group.

Our customers have a voice, and we endeavour to make them feel heard, respected and special with services and solutions that go above and beyond their expectations. To do that, we begin by integrating our values into the DNA of a performance-driven culture.

The core values of the Janashakthi Group are ethical and honest, transparent, performance-driven, respectful and collaborative. Our performance appraisal and review process extends beyond a results-based approach to identify and reward employees who manifest the Janashakthi Values in their lives beyond the call of duty.

We have created an inclusive, equal opportunities environment with coaching/ mentoring, learning and development, career planning and leadership development opportunities at every stage.

Employee well-being is a priority for us. We are constantly reassuring people, helping them build resilience and helping them discover opportunities for personal growth and career advancement by focusing on our shared values and passion for making a difference.

Across the group, our companies are disrupting industries with innovative products and solutions to deliver superior value to customers and security during these challenging times. Our people find inspiration from sharing in all that just by excelling in their jobs. We also give them opportunities to engage in community outreach and social development programmes so that they can become part of something more.