Satyn magazine power women.
Manohari Abeyesekera – Director – Strategy & Business Development at Hayleys is much accomplished – she brings a wealth of experienced expertise in her chosen area of work.
She shone very early – having secured exam results worthy of going to Medical College, she instead was advised by her father to choose Accountancy, at a time when Sri Lankan universities were closed.
She did – and excelled in her studies, passing both CIMA and Chartered, going on to finish her university degree as well.
” There were many lucrative jobs I could have taken on at the time,” she says, looking back, but I chose to do my articles at a very nominal salary and pursue my career in accounting.”
” My advice to Gen Y – don’t look for short term monetary gains but build your career with the long term vision in view.”
She joined the Long Range Planning Unit of Hayleys and was reporting directly to the Board. A key assignment was the Annual Report.
” When the Hayleys Annual Report won the Best South Asian Annual Report Award, the then Chairman Mr. Sunil Mendis called me and asked me to go to Lahore and collect the Award on behalf of the Company.”
” I was just 25 years old and it would be my first travel overseas.”
Manohari went on to excel in her career with stellar results – she was handpicked to head the Strategic Business Unit, the heart of Hayleys.
Today, she heads Fentons, a well-known engineering firm Hayleys acquired recently.
“It is mostly a male-dominated culture in engineering at Fenton’s but I believe that women have so much to bring to every industry and we can make a difference.”
Her advice to young women – ” Never undervalue yourself and don’t be shy to negotiate your worth when it comes to remuneration.”
“We know that many women top their batches at universities but only a few actually go to the top of their chosen careers. Women have the potential to succeed at whatever they do – we can, if we choose to,”
She believes that networking and building your brand are qualities women aspiring to climb the ladder of success, could master.
” Never compromise on your values and never give up.”