For businesses that genuinely care about gender diversity and women empowerment, it is inculcated in their DNA.
For one of Sri Lanka’s leading banks, Commercial Bank, encouraging the women on their team to achieve success and flourish in their chosen career paths has always been a strategic area of concern.
With a rich legacy that goes back over a century, the Bank has succeeded in achieving an optimum balance of growth, skill development and leadership for women across various banking disciplines.
Counting a staff of over 5000 serving at 268 branches in Sri Lanka and at branches overseas, The Commercial Bank has been empowering the women on its team in many ways than one.
This is affirmed by the clear representation of women holding key positions in the bank; with 36% in Senior Management, and 25% in Middle Management positions. In addition, 15% of the branch network is headed by females.
The Bank firmly believes in enabling women to reach their full potential – which extends to the community as well. The “Gender Advisory Project” undertaken by The Commercial Bank with IFC, offers scope in empowering women in entrepreneurship and growth, giving them access to opportunities and markets.
The Bank also provides dedicated financial literacy and skill development workshops and personal advisory services; women led SMEs are experiencing growth and represent a significant 24% of the country’s SME sector. The bank believes in nurturing them to achieve greater success and play a bigger role in the economy.
For Commercial Bank empowering women starts from its leadership that believes in the power of diversity, and its well-crafted HR strategy, a result of an in-depth understanding of the needs of women in employment. While often women tend to leave employment at childbirth, Commercial bank, however, maintains a return to work rate of 100% post-maternity, which is a testament to the bank’s efforts in building a women-friendly working environment.
Showcasing some of the most well-known ladies on the team is testimony of the Bank’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding women across sectors and disciplines. They are role models to other upcoming women in the Bank as well.
SANDRA WALGAMA- Senior Deputy General Manager, Personal Banking
Sandra truly rose above the glass ceiling when she was appointed as the Senior Deputy General Manager – Personal Banking, the highest position ever held by a female in the bank. She joined the bank 41 years ago at the entry level and is today among the most senior ranks in management. She has had a stellar career, rising through the ranks as an Officer, an Assistant Manager, a Branch Manager, a Regional Manager, and an Assistant General Manager, leading the largest Strategic Business Unit of the Bank, heading the 268 branch network and managing over 3000 employees.
MITHILA SHAMINI– Assistant General Manager – Personal Banking
Mithila stands tall among the bank’s female ranks as a career woman who spent 34 years at the bank as her career progressed through the ranks.
Having entered the bank an entry level, she has climbed the career ladder with success and today plays a strategic role in the bank.
DARSHANIE PERERA – Assistant General Manager- Personal Banking
Darshanie counts 36 years with the bank – having joined the Bank at entry level like many of her colleagues, she has gained tremendous experience in the areas of Finance, Operations and Human Resources in addition to banking at a branch level.
Armed with a wider variety of exposure and experience, she has excelled in her career in Personal Banking.
TAMARA BERNARD Assistant General Manager – Corporate Banking
Tamara has built a career spanning 32 years at the Bank ; she carries experience in Human Resource Management, Branch Banking, Trade Finance, Centre based Retail Lending, Investment Banking, Corporate Banking including Infrastructure Financing,
Corporate Lending in Bangladesh and Offshore Lending to the Maldives . She showcases the extent of exposure and expertise available to women at the Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc.
KELUM AMARASINGHE Assistant General Manager Compliance
Pushing boundaries in career development and progression, Kelum Amarasinghe is Assistant General Manager – Compliance ; she has broken down the “women-centric barriers and myths” to grow her career that spans over 32 years.
Having started at the entry level at Human Resource Management, she has gained exceptional insights in her career with the bank, having worked in both international and local operations.
NAMAL GAMAGE Assistant General Manager- Legal
Namal joined the bank as a Management Trainee 28 years ago. An unwavering commitment to hard work, legal expertise that she possess and her ability to find solutions within the legal framework faced by many stakeholders of the bank, empowered her rise through the ranks to become the Assistant General Manager Legal of the Bank.