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AHRP New Executive Team: Expanding Vistas Beyond Profession & the Nation

The new Executive Committee of the Association of HR Professionals (AHRP) was appointed at the Annual General Meeting of 2020. Led by the newly re-elected President Ishan Dantanarayana, the Executive Committee comprises highly experienced practicing HR Professionals representing leading corporates in Sri Lanka.

As the sole professional network of HR professionals in Sri Lanka, the Association of Human Resource Professionals has endeavored to elevate and add tangible value to the field of Human Resources in the country for two decades. With significant contributions made to the HR fraternity through initiatives that promote global best practices within the country, AHRP has continuously strived to bring HR to the forefront and championed a culture of innovative thinking.

Over the years, AHRP’s efforts have included the successful launch of several programmes to discuss topics that support the enhancement of employees’ skills, elevates the standards of the industry and endeavours for sustainable change through the avenue of policy making initiatives. With signature projects like the Sri Lanka HR Forum and HR Think Tank, AHRP has been able to provide a platform to discuss industry relevant topics in collaboration with global leaders in HR and Strategic Management such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) & Deloitte. The HR Think Tank, launched in 2019, has successfully conducted a series of HR Thought Leaders Connects with the aim of continuing its momentum going forward as well.

Adding to its rapidly growing portfolio, AHRP also holds the distinction of introducing the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – the world’s largest body of HR professionals – to Sri Lanka, and together provides access to a globally recognized professional certification for HR practitioners in the country.

AHRP also continue to organize the ‘HR Big Bus Tour’ which facilitates a knowledge-sharing platform for HR professionals on HR initiatives and best practices of leading Corporates in Sri Lanka. As such, the revamped ‘HR BBT 2.0’ and the ‘HR BBT – Virtual Ride’ (hosted online) addresses the increasing demand for such programmes by the HR fraternity and business leaders.

With the aim of progressing the conversation on the future of HR, AHRP unveiled the ‘Virtual Bite-Size Learning’ sessions in March 2020 to engage in stimulating virtual discussions on the topics of HR Leadership, Training & Development, Working from Home, Mental Wellbeing, etc., with other HR professionals and industry specific experts from around the world. The line-up of sessions garnered countless positive comments from both local and international participants, reinforcing AHRP’s efforts towards effectively challenging and transforming conventional learning mechanisms of today’s workforce.

As the only professional network for HR professionals, AHRP has witnessed an increasing representation from diverse industries since its inception. Continuing to expand its reach, AHRP invites HR professionals to join its growing network through a range of memberships, while welcoming Sri Lankan Corporates onboard through its Corporate Membership to support the progression of HR throughout the nation.


Association of HR Professionals EXCO members

Seated from left to right: Dinusha Jayamanne – Vice President, Chinthaka Premaratne – Vice President, Oshana Dias – Vice President, Thushara Jayawardana – Vice President, Roshan Kulasuriya – Executive Vice President, Ishan Dantanarayana – President, Pradeepa Kekulawala – Immediate Past President, Chandana Wijayanama – Senior Vice President, Dilani Jayalath – Secretary and Sampath Alwis – Treasurer

Standing from left to right: Chethana Liyanage – Committee Member, Ransi Dharmasiriwardhana – Committee Member, Kaushal Mendis – Committee Member, Nuwan Jayaweera – Committee Member, Dilrukshi Kurukulasuriya – Committee Member, Ravi Jayasekera – Assistant Treasurer, Isuru Gunasekera – Committee Member, Indrani Hissalle – Assistant Secretary, Suresh Muttiah – Committee Member and Darshi Talpahewa – Committee Member


Ishan Dantanarayana (President)

Chief People Officer Brandix Group & Member of Brandix Leadership Team. Director of Hotel Developers Lanka PLC (Hilton Hotels), Board Member of the Skills Development Fund, National Board Advisor to AIESEC Sri Lanka. Formerly held positions of Senior Director Human Resources – Virtusa Inc. for Sri Lanka, Asia & Europe, Global Head for Training & Development and the Global HR Processing Centre – Virtusa, Country HR Manager & Senior Regional Trainer – DHL Keells (Pvt) Ltd., Manager HR & Admin – MTV & MBC (Yes FM & Sirasa) and Personnel/Admin Manager, Caves Group & Ferntea. Also served as Board Member for Council of Youth Corps affiliated to the Government and was a member of the National Committee on Vocational & Technical Education.


Pradeepa Kekulawala (Immediate Past President)

Former Head of Human Resources, present Head of Logistics and Prosperities, Sri Lankan Airlines Ltd. with diverse cross industry HRD experience having served formerly, Group Director HR BAM Holdings Group (apparel), Director Group HR and Admin – BMI Group (Engineering), AGM Group HR – Metropolitan Group (Office Automation/IT) and Director Operations Kent Academy of Career Training whilst being a Corporate Trainer and HR Consultant over two decades.


Roshan Kulasuriya (Executive Vice President)

Director Business Integration and Human Resources Singer Group. Formerly, Human Resources Director- Coats Thread Exports (Pvt) Ltd. and Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Director – Fonterra


Chandana Wijayanama (Senior Vice President)

Organization and HR Director, Siam City Cement Lanka Ltd. Formerly held positions of, General Manager HR – South Asia Gateway (Pvt) Ltd., Executive Vice President HR – Franke Asia, Hong Kong; Head of University relations and employment practices – Holcim Group Support, Switzerland and Vice President HR – Holcim Lanka Ltd. Project Manager – Holcim Group Support, Thailand.


Thushara Jayawardana (Vice President)

General Manager HR – South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), He is an Attorney-at-Law by Profession. Formerly held positions of General Manager HR – CIC Holdings PLC., Head of HR – CIC Holdings PLC., Business Partner – Group HR Dialog Axiata PLC, Manager – HR Group Field Support Services (GFSS)-Dialog Axiata PLC.,


Dinusha Jayamanne (Vice President)

HR Director – Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka and Indian Sub-Continent. She is an attorney-at-law. Formerly held multiple positions in HR within the Brandix Group.


Oshana Dias (Vice President)

Senior Vice President – Human Resources – Fortude. Formerly held position of Head of HR at Brandix i3 and other senior positions at Brandix.


Chinthaka Premaratne (Vice President)

Group Director HR – Fairway Holdings. Formerly held positions of, Head of HRD – Goodhope Asia Holdings Ltd, Head of HRD Services – Dialog Telekom PLC, Regional Manager HR – Lanka Bell and AVP – HR – HSBC Data Processing Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.


Dilani Jayalath (Secretary)

General Manager – Human Resources, Aitken Spence Group. Formerly, held other positions at Aitken Spence Group HR including the position as HR Partner of Aitken Spence Corporate Finance (Pvt) Ltd.


Sampath Alwis (Treasurer)

Head of Human Resources – Pan Asia Bank. Formerly held positions of, Senior General Manager – Group HR Operations – Brandix Group, Head of HR/Asst. Vice President – Aegis Services Lanka Ltd., Manager HR – Virtusa (Pvt) Ltd., Manager HR – WNS Customer Solutions/AVIVA Global Services Lanka Ltd. and Head of HR (Retail Sector) – Richard Pieris Distributors Ltd.


Indrani Hissalle (Assistant Secretary)

Chief Innovation and Culture Officer – Sri Lanka Telecom Pvt Ltd. Formerly held the position of Chief Human Resources Officer – Sri Lanka Telecom Pvt Ltd.


Ravi Jayasekera (Assistant Treasurer)

Vice President of Human Resources at Union Bank of Colombo PLC. Formerly held positions of Head of HR for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives, interim Head of HR for HSBC Australia, Senior Manager Group HR Hong Kong, Head of HR HSBC Mauritius and has held multiple HR positions at Standard Chartered Bank and Standard Chartered Grindlays Bank.


Ransi Dharmasiriwardhana (Committee Member)

Head of Human Resources, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka (SC SL). Formerly held positions of Senior HR Business Partner (SC SL), Country Talent Acquisition Manager (SC SL), Program Director, Global Learning and Talent Development (SC Singapore), Project Director, Unlimited Potential Partnership, Infoshare, Sri Lanka (USAID/Microsoft funded project), Project Manager, American Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka, and Manager – Hard Lines at KOHLS in Maryland, USA.


Chethana Liyanage (Committee Member)

CEO – Maharaja Institute of Management and the Director – Talent Management of The Capital Maharaja Organisation Ltd. Formerly held positions of , Manager – Training & Development of The Capital Maharaja Organisation Ltd, Manager – Training of MTV/MBC and Executive News Anchor of MTV Channel (Pvt) Ltd.


Isuru Gunasekera (Committee Member)

Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Head of Sustainability, and Enterprise Risk Management of the John Keells Group. He was formerly the CEO of John Keells Logistics and prior to that with JP Morgan Chase in investment banking in Sri Lanka and the USA.


Darshi Talpahewa (Committee Member)

Member of the Hayleys PLC Group Management Committee and Head of Group Human Resources, Legal, & Corporate Communications for the Hayleys Group. She is also a Board Directress (non-executive) of Singer Finance PLC and of UN Global Compact. She is a member of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Legislative Steering Committee and an Attorney-at-Law.


Dilrukshi Kurukulasuriya (Committee Member)

General Manager Human Resource, Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC, Attorney-at-Law. Formerly held the positions of, HR Development Manager Avery Dennison Lanka and Head of Human Resources & Legal Ceylon Pencil Company.


Nuwan Jayaweera (Committee Member)

General Manager – Human Resource at Coats Thread Exports. Formerly held positions of, Manager Employee Relations & People Projects Fonterra Brands Lanka and held HR positions at Growth Lanka and JDC Printing Technologies Pvt Ltd.


Suresh Muttiah (Committee Member)

General Manager HR – Union Assurance PLC. Formerly held positions of, Vice President HR – John Keells Holding (Retail Sector), HR Manager – Dialog Television Pvt Ltd, Manager HR Strategy Operations & Performance Management – Dialog Axiata PLC, Head of HR – Carsons Management Service Pvt Ltd (Leisure Sector) and Manager HR – Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC.


Kaushal Mendis (Committee Member)

Director – Human Resources & Administration at Gamma Pizzakraft Lanka Pvt Ltd and also, he serves as a Governing Council Member of the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA). Formerly held positions of Head of Corporate HR at Laugfs Holdings, National Human Resources Manager at DHL Keells Pvt Ltd, Human Resources Business Partner at Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC and Human Resources Manager at American & Efird Lanka Pvt Ltd (was a joint venture of Brandix Lanka).