Sri Lankan flag flies at lofty heights –
By Aubrey Joachim
A migrant becomes the first woman CEO of a top 20 Australian Corporate. That’s not all – she enters the exclusive domain of white males. Of some 238 giant global financial institutions she becomes one of perhaps half a dozen female CEO’s ever and one of only 2 women of colour. She deals in billions of dollars – a sharp contrast to her petite physique. She is Sri Lankan.
Shemara Wickramanayake deserves all the accolades she is receiving across the globe and from the highest levels. Bankers, financial analysts and commentators at the highest levels are demonstrating extreme confidence in her appointment. She drove Macquarie Bank’s share price eight fold since 2009, playing in a field that few would dare to – infrastructure investments.
This is not the first time nor will it be the last when Sri Lankans punch above their weight on the global stage. Yet, while individual performances reach great heights, as a nation we are found sadly wanting. Even within the many expat enclaves across the globe that Sri Lankan diaspora has settled in they are unable to collectively leverage their rich heritage and intellect. Is it not time that we sit down and settle differences such as cast, creed and ethnicity? We are a one people from one country even though we are dispersed across the globe. Surely if Ms Wickramanayake can break glass ceilings and barriers of colour in a multi-cultural Australia, all Sri Lankans could do the same.
Sri Lankans across the globe should come together in congratulating Shemara Wickramanayake and wish her all the best at the helm of Macquarie Bank. May her tenure be long and propel Macquarie to even greater market capitalization. It certainly is a proud moment for Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans in Australia. I am sure Shemara will not mind us all basking in the reflected glory.