UNLOCKING 2023: The American Chamber of Commerce launches CxO Forum

AmCham Sri Lanka launches an event designed to provide insights on macro and micro
economic development and trade & investment climate to inspire & encourage transformational and empathetic leadership.

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham)
launched its inaugural CxO Forum titled Unlocking 2023, on the 31st of January 2023 at the
Cinnamon Grand Colombo.
AmCham SL President Lakshan Madurasinghe noted “Influence, intelligence and resources to
challenge the norms, to innovate, to adapt and to thrive through unprecedented turbulence and
volatility has been the cornerstone of our membership services these past years, especially the
last few, and we are proud of our direction but more so pleased that we have been impactful to
you – this annual CxO Forum, is our latest offering as we continue to do just that”
Chief Guest for the event, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United States of
America in Sri Lanka, Mr Dough Sonnek in his keynote speech highlighted that the chamber is
dedicated to providing leadership to help Sri Lanka in its economic recovery and reform agenda.
“The type of business leaders representing AmCham provide many examples of the kind of
purpose-driven leadership Sri Lanka needs to get back on the path of economic recovery.” He
Introducing the CxO Forum, AmCham Sri Lanka Head of Chamber, Vrai Raymond said
“It’s an annual event designed to provide macro and micro insights on the current and imminent
economic and trade & investment climate and inspire & encourage transformational and
empathetic leadership. The past few years have been what you would call a VUCA or TUNA
world, and this year, we are set to see the Sri Lankan corporate landscape change forever with
the socio-economic challenges facing our country. That is why, we decided on the theme of
Purpose-driven leadership, so we can provoke and inspire the right kind of leadership.
The inaugural forum consisted of five cohesive sessions with two business intelligence panel
discussions during the morning to provide back-to-basic business environment insights and
three leadership sessions to inspire creative, transformational and purpose-driven leadership
during the afternoon.

The first panel for the morning, “SWOT-ing the Buzzers” charted a macro view of the economy,
trade and investment climate which was presented and discussed as a SWOT (Strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats). The panel comprised Dr PKG Harischandra, Director of
Economic Research of the Central Bank, Murtaza Jafferjee, CEO of JB Securities and
Chairman of the Advocata Institute, Economist & Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance,
Deshal de Mel and Sujeewa Mudalige, Managing Partner of PwC. This eminent panel was
facilitated by veteran businessman Dinesh Weerakkody, the Immediate Past Chairman of the
International Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman, BOI and Port City Economic Commission.
Having set the stage with the SWOT, the next panel focussed “SNAP-ing Opportunities” by
discussing how threats can be converted into opportunities and weaknesses into strengths by
way of a TOWS matrix. This session brought to light how Sri Lanka can use its resources such
as strategic location, rich human capital and ability to cater to high-end knowledge services and
high-tech manufacturing to attract and retain top-notch trade and investment by leveraging the
opportunities resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and geo-political events on
the global supply chain. The panel comprised, Renuka Weerakone, Director General of the
Board of Investment (BOI), Ravin Basnayake, Country head of Citibank NA, Niro Cooke,
Member of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council and Thulci Aluwihare, Deputy
MD of the Port City CHEC. The session was facilitated by Ambassador Ravinatha P. Aryasinha,
former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the USA.
The first leadership session of the event was held under the title ‘A for All Leader’ and was
facilitated by Kshanika Ratnayaka, the Founding Director/CEO and Co-Owner of Great Place to
Work. Kshanika shared insights on leadership style, and how to bring out the best in teams
through effective leadership. The second session was facilitated by Harsha Fernando, senior
Attorney-at-Law, who provided insight on unlocking value, maximizing profits, dealing with
disputes and avoiding losses through “Facilitated Contracting”. The line-up for the day was
concluded with a session titled “Being a purpose-driven leader” by Mimi Nicklin, internationally
best-selling author and founder of Empathy Everywhere.
Principal partner of the inaugural CxO forum, NCINGA, represented by AVP Enterprise
Business, Isuru Ponnamperuma in his closing remarks commended AmCham’s efforts to further
purpose-driven thought leadership in Sri Lanka. “It’s only because of innovative leadership that
NCINGA has grown to be a multi-geo IT systems integrator. The “Humanity first” approach sets
the tone for NCINGA’s agile culture and seeing what is practised at NCINGA, being discussed
at large at the AmCham’s CxO forum under the innovative thought leadership theme made it
more relevant for NCINGA to be part of the event”.
The inaugural forum was partnered by NCINGA and LOLC Finance, together with collaborative
partners Great Place To Work, LMD and Newsfirst.
With the successful completion of the inaugural CxO forum, AmCham is motivated to influence
Sri Lanka’s business intelligence positively, challenging norms to innovate, adapt and thrive
through the island’s unprecedented and volatile hours.

Invitees and participants at the inaugural UNLOCKING 2023: CxO Forum organised
by AmCham
Chief Guest for the event, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the United
States of America in Sri Lanka, Mr Dough Sonnek lighting the oil lamp

About the AmCham Sri Lanka
The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AmCham SL), is one of the most influential
and prestigious business chambers in the island, recognized as the leading forum for the
facilitation and development of trade, investment and business relations between Sri Lanka and
the United States. AmCham SL is an Association whose stakeholders are its over 400
members, made up of top blue-chip organizations in the island and provides its members a
multi-dimensional resource network that delivers information, tools and knowledge they need to
succeed in bilateral business relations between the two Nations through information share,
LQAs, Seminars, Workshops, B2G and B2B networking and exclusive connect & advisory

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