On Buzz with Danu today, I have a go-getter who is always on the move achieving new things. Ashanthi has an addictive personality, full of life and always ready to have a good laugh
She is a part of the MAS family for the past 14 years which has helped her grow personally and professionally- her top HR quality also come with her cool personality which balances the Ashanthi I love and admire
Today she speaks about what makes her life and inspires her to achieve more
Full Name – Ashanthi Sitara Weerasinghe
Passions- Are cyclical and seasonal and too many to name
How does your typical day at work look like?
Press snooze three times, have a big cup of coffee, get a one-hour workout at high octane, rush to work (fashionably late) general corporate life lots of meetings, networking, strategy and planning. When you work for a big corporate things are very structured and organised. Plus there is awesome talent at MAS so it is easy to get the needle moving. The real work starts at 5pm when I am back at my own business high octane – when its yours the day could mean anything one day the drain is blocked and I am the plumber, next day I am giving an awesome interview like this as the co-founder of the business
You have been at MAS 10 years and counting - how has the journey been?
Actually its 14 years this year and I’ve had a great time working alongside the best and brightest people who have pushed me to learn and grow. Honestly, I would not have stayed for so long if not. It is probably the only company in Sri Lanka that allows you to work full time and pursue another life as an entrepreneur. Most of the skills I've used to attract, develop and retain amazing people is because of my experience and training at MAS
How do you balance work and pleasure?
I don’t. Life is completely unbalanced. Sometimes its all work and when I am on vacation it’s all play. Ive learnt to accept that there is never going be a balance so I have learnt to integrate vacations and pleasure pursuits into the work cycle. With technology, I can still take calls and run even high octane remotely. Having responsible and passionate people around you is the key to making this happen
What made you choose HR as your line of work?
HR chose me. I am a qualified tax lawyer. I applied to MAS who didn’t have a fully fledged legal department and offered me a position in HR, thank God I took it, the law is easy it doesn’t change much, but people are another story, every person is different and it’s a field that is dynamic and present irrespective of industry or size of business.
Tell me your style of work? When you work in a multi-national company like MAS?
When you work in a big company you are a small part of a big machine. The sum of all parts need to come together for the machine to work, you have to do your part and trust that the rest of the people will do theirs, wherever help is needed you offer it or have the courage to ask for it. At the end of the day executing anything at a multinational is a team sport. You have to ensure the baton is passed seamlessly like in a relay. If you are selfish and value the spotlight it would be difficult to work at a multinational.
How involved in fitness are you?
Fitness is all about health for me. I integrate a daily workout into my routine as I know the benefits, but I am not looking to break any records or be a size zero. It’s all about having the strength and energy to execute tasks to reach the big personal/professional goals I have set for myself.
What would you say is the biggest issue women face in workplaces?
It’s actually not at the workplace that women face issues. I think workplaces are extremely sensitive to women's needs and are changing. Women face issues from society more than any workplace. If you are not married they ask why, if you don’t have a child they ask why, if you do have a child they ask if its wise to work? To me its society that causes issues, not workplaces. Workplaces generally give you the designation and the tools to get on with it. Especially at MAS, I have had no issues with my gender.
Would you say having a legal background helped you in HR?
Yes for sure. Dealing with people can be very emotional. A legal training teaches you to break down problems logically, look for facts and keep your emotions in check. The legal training also enables you to communicate and negotiate in a manner that is a win-win for all involved. Lawyers always look for the best possible outcome in even the most confusing situations I find I am always able to find a way because of the solid training embodied in legal training.
Tell me about your family?
I recently got married, so my husband is currently the gem in the family (just kidding) but we are a tight-knit family and seeing him adapt to us all is a lot of laughs. I have parents, younger brother and my sister in law along with twin nephews who are the apple of everyone’s eyes. Family is everything. We run all our businesses as a family and sometimes the differences in opinion is like a volcano – but its family so we work it out and move on. I really would not have it any other way.
How is married life tearing you? (treating)
Well its different. My husband is an amazing singer and winner of the Yes FM megastar. I thought he would sing to me every night but it turns out that was only during dating and now I am the one singing and usually when I do he turns the tv or radio up! But honestly its great. Life is hard and I am glad I have someone to get through all the struggles with. We are on the brink of opening our first business together so its all very exciting at the moment
Would you rather…
Eat broccoli or carrots? Carrots
Watch TV or listen to music? Music as I can do it on the go- tv is too stationary for me
Own a lizard or a snake? Yuck neither – too slimy
Have a beach holiday or a mountain holiday? beach
Be an apple or a banana? Banana - more filling
Be invisible or be able to read minds? Be invisible (won't have to pay at hotels or airlines lol)
Be hairy all over or completely bald? Bald is beautiful (less hassle)
In the Spot?
What are your thoughts on Yahapalanaya? A mixed bag of nuts
If you have to face another fuel shortage, what would you do? Electric car (charge and go)
Your thoughts on the death penalty? For rapists and child molesters I am ok with it
Choose your age forever, what age would you choose and why? 5 so I can attend kids parties jump on the bouncer and eat egg boats
Have 3 wishes granted, what would they be? All my pets can talk, travel anywhere in the blink of an eye, grow 3 inches taller so I would not need heels twenty-four seven or the assistance of other people to reach a top shelf!
Have an endless supply of any food, what would you get? Cheese!!!
Ask GOD to change one problem in the world today, what would you like him to change? Eradicate blindness/cure cancer – two things I mean its GOD after all he can do all things so whats two
Be an Olympic athlete, what sport would you compete in? Tennis of course – me and Serena would be best buds and I would be big and strong just like her
Be in the movie of your choice, what movie would you choose and what character would you play? Wonder woman of course – I want that sword and that ability to SLAY
Be someone else, who would you be? Trump – I would like a shot at being an entrepreneur at that level and leader of the free world at the same time