The national chamber for the IT/BPM industry, Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) appointed Sandra De Zoysa as Chairperson for 2021/’22, at the 9th Annual General Meeting held on 29 June.
She succeeds PwC Sri Lanka CEO/Advisory Leader Channa Manoharan, who stated: “I have been very fortunate to lead SLASSCOM during one of its most exciting years, with many new developments taking shape and a range of new initiatives underway, supporting the vision 2025. Sandra’s appointment as the first female Chairperson to lead SLASSCOM is indeed a historic moment for the industry. I am confident that under Sandra’s leadership, the chamber will reach greater heights in its journey towards realising the ambitious goals set for the industry.”
Sandra is the Group Chief Customer Officer at Dialog Axiata PLC whose career in the ICT industry spans over 30 years as the longest tenured employee in the mobile telecommunications sector. She was the first female to join Celltell in 1989 which saw the birth of customer service/customer experience management in Sri Lanka. She has held many leadership positions within SLASSCOM including Vice-Chairperson, Finance Director and Operations Director, and gave leadership to quality, branding and communications, tech kids, and women technoprenuer initiatives.
Commenting on her appointment Sandra said: “I’m humbled and honoured to have been the first female appointed to the Board and now to be elected as Chairperson. SLASSCOM’s secret to success is founded on the strength of our wide network of 350 members and its dedicated volunteers who are industry experts, with a passion to develop Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM sector and make a positive impact to the nation. It is the unwavering passion and steadfast dedication of these volunteering professionals and member organisations that have empowered SLASSCOM to achieve its objectives within a short span of time, elevating the IT/BPM industry to one of the top 5 export revenue earners for the country.”
The IT/BPM industry apex body also announced the appointment of its Office Bearers Ashique M. Ali – Director Talliance Ltd. as its Vice-Chairman, Jehan Perinpanayagam – CEO Infomate as 2nd Vice-Chairman, Nishan Mendis – Executive Director, Technology Consulting Leader at PwC Sri Lanka as Finance Director and Nuwan Perera – Vice President Commerce at IFS to the position of Operations Director for the year 2021/2022.
“The year ahead translates into an accelerated drive towards creating future ready workforce, upskilling industry practitioners, scale-up startups – with a fair proportion consisting of women-led organisations, and inclusive growth through regional expansion. SLASSCOM will act as a catalyst in promoting the Island of Ingenuity branding creating a differentiated position for the Sri Lankan IT-BPM industry – its unique attributes of its talent, its centres of excellence in products and platforms, artificial intelligence, cyber security, and intelligent automation,” commented Ali.
Elaborating on priorities during her tenure Sandra stressed: “We will be prioritising member connects, to better understand their challenges and endeavour to act as a catalyst for their growth.
“SLASSCOM’s marketing forum, rebranded as Global Trade and Investment Forum, has made great headway in promoting the IT-BPM industry in the recently-concluded Sri Lanka Investment Forum, forging partnerships with key government bodies such as BOI, EDB and foreign missions, together with many chambers and associations, both locally and overseas. This will be a key focus during my tenure, and we will aim to accelerate our efforts to promote the ‘Island of Ingenuity’ Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM brand in our four key markets. Fine tuning and ramping up our recently launched Global Referral Programme which aims to connect our members with suitable leads internationally will serve a vital member need for growth. My Board also aims to ensure Sri Lanka’s many strengths and unique features are positioned and recognised in international country reports uplifting the visibility and attractiveness of Sri Lanka for clients and FDI’s in the IT/BPM space.
“Capacity is the other key pillar on which the Board will continue to focus. We aim to work with our wide network of educational partners to make available the numbers and the specific technology skill sets, together with the soft skills required by the industry. We will be partnering with many different institutions, both public and private, to ensure we have the framework to double capacity by 2025. We are grateful for a supportive Government policy and during my tenure we will continue to work closely with government bodies and authorities to ensure we continue to have the right policy framework to support the development of the industry.
“I thank my predecessor Channa Manoharan for nudging me to initiate the Women Technopreneurs Forum during his tenure. This is something I am very passionate about. The industry has very good female representation including senior leadership and we plan to work with my colleagues in the Board and across our membership and likeminded institutions with similar interests to further support and facilitate the entry and growth of women in the industry.
“A brand new initiative that SLASSCOM will be championing is in the area of ESG, Environment, Social and Governance. We are deeply aware of the crisis facing the planet, together with the need for diversity, inclusive growth and responsible business practices. We will be launching an advisory and executive committee to lead the ESG initiative and I am delighted that we have assembled a wonderful and passionate group of experts in ESG, who will guide us in industry best practices. “I look forward to building a strong and vibrant IT/BPM industry to achieve our vision of $ 5 billion in exports, increase workforce to 200,000, and help foster 1,000 startups by 2025.”