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How did you start your career?

I picked a sales job, which was not that fancy. I wanted to be occupied with something and the job I was selected for required me to go from house to house and scheme to scheme to market a detergent brand.

How did you accept the challenges of medical and pharmaceutical sector when going up in the corporate ladder?

After dealing with detergents, I got an opportunity to join Hemas Healthcare which really gave me a lot of insights to become who I am today. After that, I worked for CIC & Nawaloka, developing various brands in different therapeutic areas online and offline. Some are 100% pharmaceuticals and some products are hybrid of pharmaceuticals and FMCG which can be categorized as Nutraceuticals (Nutritional supplements) which you need a hybrid strategy to market. It was challenging to deal with top hospitals, purchasing officers/managers, high-end consultants, health authorities and the ministry. This gave me courage to market any product to any market.

How has Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) shaped your career as a lecturer?

I believe that many can learn but only a few can really teach. Certain people think, teaching is just reading what is in the slideshow with a same set of examples differently every day to different student groups, which is not the case. Teaching is a blessed profession, which is very difficult to sustain yourself in.I met many professionals from different industries for the last 10 years and I always told my students that one lecturer can share may be 15-20 years of someone’s experience whereas 30-40 students can share 300-400 years of experiences if you allow them to. The motivated and loyal students added a lot value to each other while adding value to my lecturing career by sharing their experiences and expertise.

Please share your experience of 7 years in brief as the Vice President of SLIM.

Very challenging. Met different types of professionals locally and internationally. I was privileged to change, update and suggest curriculum for 9 educational products with modern marketing theories such as digital/social media marketing, exploring consumer behavior and brand management.  It was great to appoint different task forces for different products considering their expertise while appointing team leaders to revamp the syllabuses as and when needed which was a remarkable accomplishment during my tenure. I managed to practice ethical marketing and showed the long-term benefits of the same to many key stakeholders.

Tell us more about your position and duty as COO of Xiteb.

Xiteb Pvt Ltd is a Multinational web & mobile software solutions provider having its offices in USA, UK, OMAN, New Zealand & Sri Lanka and I was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer from February 2016 by the BOD and  I now have the overall responsibility of the General Management of the Company in a broader perspective.

Some of my key duties at Xiteb are to strategize the overall marketing management plan along with budgets; Digital MARCOM plan and recruitment plan while conceptualizing the overall digital mix strategies for Xiteb. Even though conceptualizing is not very rosy with the lack of intellectual property acts to protect innovative ideas and with the state of deterioration of ethics across industries, it is prerequisite part of my duties to help key clients to develop their own concepts to accomplish their digital plans to satisfy their end customers while emphasizing the importance of customer’s customer.

Did you achieve your success without any barrier? Or were there any barriers?

Failures are the pillars of success. I sometimes failed to understand people. But I am happy I was honest with them. My main barrier was I always tried to be honest and straightforward to everybody. I learned, sometimes, “ it’s not what is right or wrong, it is what is most appropriate.”

We would like to know about your family background in brief. How are they influencing you?

I am half Dutch and half Sinhalese. I practiced Christianity for sometime and I thereafter became a somewhat a good Buddhist. My belief is understanding the four noble truths in Buddhism – starting from ‘Truth of Dukkha.’  I grew in a mixed family background of Dutch Burghers and Southern Sinhalese, both being very strong cultures and that taught me how to tolerate others and how to live in a multi-cultural society.

Has social media become a true competitor to print and electronic media?

I have written many articles on this subject and let me quote some of my views as follows.“Social Media is ‘now friends with’ Print Media & Electronic Media.” DJ

“Social media is the newest friend of print & electronic media.” DJ. But, People in the print media and electronic media tend to perceive that ‘Social Media’ is a competitor and vise versa. However, can we agree with this argument?

Not at all. Whatever the articles or/and videos on print and electronic media publishes/telecasts can be uploaded onto social media and where allow viewers would talk about them throughout. As a result of this, print and electronic media life cycles will be stretched. It can be presumed that, print and electronic media would decline due to the emerging nature of web & social media and also due to world trends, which are reinforced and defined by modern customer behavior.
                                            Print will be gone in 10 years, says Microsoft CEO
Then again social media will allow print/electronic media to survive. The argument and fact is that the content which appears on other media may perish then and there nevertheless the content uploaded in social media will be there forever. In other words, published data on print and electronic media can be viewed again and again, whenever customers want. Moreover, the money, invested on social media by organizations, would not be wasted and instead would be considered a lifetime investment.

We recognized you as a versatile person with a desire to quench the thirst of knowledge. What is your next milestone?

I am Doctoral student of Business Administration and my next step is to start my spiritual journey in another 5 years.

What is the message that you can give to younger generation as a modern marketer?

Always be honest to yourself. “More than the skills, values will bring you up.’ So try your best to inculcate good values in your life. Even thought the result will be a little late, it will be definitely a good one.“ Any ‘anti-digital media’ Marketer can expect an early retirement in his/her career.” So believe in Digital.

More importantly, ‘do whatever you do with a greater passion’.

Finally you should remember one thing, “It is NOT what you know. It is always HOW you put what you know into PRACTICE. “.

God Bless you! May triple Gem bless you! Best regards!