The Lankan Angel Network (LAN) recently partnered with Ladies’ College, Colombo for the
school’s innovative “Building Future Leaders” program. This is Sri Lanka’s first structured
initiative to bring in corporate leaders, business professionals, and partners from various industry
and corporate bodies, to share their experience and impart important skills which will enable the
future success of these secondary school students who are at a pivotal point in their lives.
Initiated and driven by Ladies’ College Colombo, with LAN providing access to its network and
expertise; “Building Future Leaders” highlights the importance of a holistic education and life
skills, along with business networking, to better educate students about the new horizons available
to them in terms of career opportunities within both traditional and non-traditional fields.
LAN, in collaboration with its distinguished partners Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC),
American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM), Great Places to Work (GPTW),
AICPA & CIMA, additionally delivered mentoring and professional support, including offering up
some highly sought after speakers, for this program.
“Shaping our future is best achieved by giving our young students every opportunity to redefine
their lives by equipping them to make passionate and unique contributions that rely on creativity,
courage, confidence and integrity,” opined Ms. Deepika Dassanaike, Principal of Ladies’ College
Colombo. She also noted; “The ‘Building Future Leaders’ program at Ladies’ College is proving to
be invaluable since it not only encourages our students to ruminate on their true potential, but it also
enlightens them to a number of futuristic career paths. Beyond that, our students have also been
emboldened as a result of the program bringing in a variety of inspiring and highly successful Sri
Lankan leaders from multiple fields. We are not just helping them prepare for a bright and
constructive future ahead, but also equipping them with both professional and entrepreneurial skills;
making their overall education prior to leaving school a truly holistic, all-encompassing
Professor Malik Ranasinghe, Chairperson of People Development Committee of Ceylon Chamber
of Commerce commenting on the program said, “We are passionate about building an employable
pool of future talent in Sri Lanka and we are positive that this change must start in an early stage
and hence this program was initiated”.
Positive feedback about the program piloted at Ladies’ College Colombo has given LAN and its
partners the confidence to explore deploying this holistic career development program at other
secondary schools. Attempts to further integrate programs like these into the national school
curriculums, at earlier levels, will help build the foundations of leadership into Sri Lankan society.
It is also hoped that such programs will prove critical for children to experience first-hand the many
different varieties of career opportunities available to them, paving the way for a brighter future.
And by pushing for its adoption within the national educational system in the near future, these
initiatives will help ensure that no child is left behind due to a lack of opportunity.
Commenting on the “Building Future Leaders” program, LAN Chairperson & Axiata Digital Labs
Chief Peoples Officer Ms. Chandi Dharmaratne emphasized the program’s focus on holistic
education, as well as its offered invaluable exposure to industry experts and leaders. “We celebrate
the success of the Building Future Leaders program at Ladies College Colombo, spearheaded by
Professor Malik Ranasinghe – Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Lankan Angel Network. This
initiative has provided students with the unique opportunity to explore various industries,
professions, competencies, and skills, allowing them to make informed decisions about their future
pursuits. Through interactive sessions and expert-led discussions, the program has equipped
students with valuable insights and networking opportunities, empowering them to confidently
embark on their chosen paths.”
Ms. Dharmaratne further highlighted the program’s focus on networking and fostering connections,
empowering students to become well-informed about industry requirements. And she also added
that by developing essential skills and competencies necessary to overcome entry barriers in their
chosen fields, the program has laid a strong foundation for students’ professional journeys with a
bright promise for their future.
A platform for angel and private investors who invest in high-growth early-stage Sri Lankan
ventures with the goal of creating an impact by reducing inequality, LAN, in addition to being led
by a woman, features four other female board members and patrons, which is significantly more
than in other Sri Lankan corporates. Supporting trailblazing programs such as the “Building Future
Leaders” series, at Ladies’ College Colombo, strongly aligns with LAN’s own ongoing
commitment to empowering Sri Lanka’s Women Entrepreneurs.
“It was truly a privilege and honour to work with Ms. Chandi Dharmaratne who, upon our
invitation, has brought to this program a vision, as well as the involvement of a high calibre of
professionals, that have inspired our girls,” said Ms. Taanya Tranchell, Career Guidance Counsellor
at Ladies’ College Colombo.
Additionally, she commented; “I am also deeply grateful to Ms. Thinushka Gunasekara who came
onboard to support this project and worked hard to give our students this opportunity. At a time
when young people have to really work hard to find their way in the world, the knowledge and
exposure the ‘Building Future Leaders’ program gave them is definitely a huge boost to their
future! I hope many more schools will introduce this program as a catalyst to enriching their
students with key life skills and knowledge before releasing them into the world!”