Institute of Marketing appoints first – ever woman President since inception 51 years ago

Thilanka Abeywardena last week became the first ever woman President of the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) the 51-year old apex body for marketing professionals in the country. 

At its 51st Annual General Meeting, Thilanka was inducted to spearhead SLIM as its 43rd President. 

“This appointment is a milestone in the history of the Institute as Ms. Abeywardena became the first ever female to hold the position of President,” SLIM said in a statement. 

Both a new Council of Management as well as an Executive Committee were appointed during the AGM.

Thilanka Abeywardena, who was appointed to the helm, currently holds the position of the CMO Lead, South East Asia Emerging Markets at Microsoft 

Sri Lanka Ltd.and leads marketing and communications across nine Asian countries; Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

 She was the former Head of Marketing at Etisalat Sri Lanka and Corporate Brand Manager at EWIS. 

Commenting on her appointment, Thilanka said: “SLIM is built on the solid foundation laid by the past Presidents, Council Members, Executive Committee Members as well as SLIM employees. With the new Council of Management and the Executive Committee, SLIM will continue its efforts in enhancing the marketing fraternity in the country, providing quality education, recognition, and inspiration to the marketers of Sri Lanka.” 

“As we embark on the ‘Future-ready Sri Lanka’ national vision to drive Sri Lanka towards a knowledge economy, we look forward to elevating the national body for marketing through a three-pronged strategy; internal upliftment, stakeholder transformation and national advocacy. I firmly believe that the diverse and dynamic Executive Committee with multi-disciplinary exposure will further raise the bar of SLIM,” Thilanka added.

She also thanked everyone who contributed to the progress achieved by SLIM and expressed her appreciation to the outgoing President and the Executive Committee as well as the Council of Management for the confidence placed in her to lead the Institute. She pledged to continue the good work initiated by the immediate past President and other subcommittees and to uplift the marketing fraternity of the country. 

An eminent Marketing Professional, Abeywardena holds multiple awards and accolades under her belt – Effie, PR Awards Asia, Brand Excellence and Manthan Awards, which have been received in recognition of her work in both local and global contexts. She has been recognised by the Women in Management and the International Finance Corporation (World Bank group) at the sixth Professional and Career Women Awards for Leadership Excellence in Marketing in 2016. 

She has been with SLIM for over a decade and has undertaken various honorary roles and chaired some of the key projects of the Institute.

Thilanka holds an MBA from the University of Wales – UK as well as a BSc. (Special) Honours Degree from the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology. She has completed the post-graduate Diploma in Marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). 

She studied at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya. She has also completed an Executive Education Program conducted by the Kellogg School of Management – US with a distinction in the course based on Modern Marketing which incorporated Content, Automation and Analytics to Drive Growth.

Arinma Holdings Ltd. Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications Nuwan Gamage was elected as the Vice President – Education, Hemas Pharmaceuticals and Hemas Surgical and Diagnostics Ltd. Sales Director Chinthaka Perera was elected as the Vice President – Projects, Singer (Sri Lanka) Senior Brand Manager Gayan Perera and University of Sabaragamuwa Senior Lecturer Dr. Jayantha D.N. were appointed as the Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Fonterra Brands Lanka Category Manager Sathika Wickremasinghe was elected as the Honorary Assistant Secretary for the year 2021/2022.

The newly appointed Executive Committee comprises 10 experienced marketing professionals:

Union Bank of Colombo PLC Marketing Manager Nuwan Thilakawardhana, Northwood Consulting Ltd. Director and Arogya Life Systems Lanka Ltd. Head – Business Development and Marketing Dr. Dilhan S. Jayatilleke, FUCHSIA Retail South Asia Executive Director Charaka Perera, Arugambay Beachwear Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Asanka Perera, WeddinGo Destinationz Director and MarketingGo Consultancy Managing Partner Manthika Ranasinghe, Kelani Cables PLC Senior Brand Development Manager Channa Jayasinghe, Metecno Lanka Ltd. Brand Development Manager Asela C. Gunasekara, FENTONS Ltd. Assistant General Manager Sales and Marketing Niyas Mohamed Shiraz, University of Moratuwa Head/Senior Lecturer Department of Industrial Management and Director Business Research Unit Dr. Thesara Jayawardane and Softlogic Life Insurance PLC Vice President/Head of Marketing Kavindra Rajapaksha.


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