Dilhan C. Fernando

Chairman

Dilhan C. Fernando, the CEO of Dilmah Tea, is the Director of the Dilmah School of Tea, the first international school of tea, with sessions in Colombo, and in partnership with the Institute Paul Bocuse, in France. His desire to share the pleasure in tea with a new generation of tea drinkers saw the birth of the t-Series, designer gourmet teas and an entirely contemporary approach to a traditional beverage.

In addition to his responsibilities in tea, Dilhan also manages the humanitarian and environmental outcomes of Dilmah. These are the fulfilment of his family's commitment to making business a matter of human service. The MJF Charitable Foundation and Dilmah Conservation utilise revenue from the global sales of Dilmah in implementing humanitarian and conservation projects in Sri Lanka. The MJF Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in Sri Lanka and has changed the lives of thousands of underprivileged people, working in the tea sector and in the wider community.

Dilmah Conservation operates on a similar principle, using revenue from Dilmah to implement conservation, environmental education, habitat restoration projects and promote sustainability. Dilhan currently chairs the Biodiversity Sri Lanka Platform which was pioneered by Dilmah Conservation together with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Rathika de Silva

Network Representative

Rathika completed his University education in the USA. He is an Alumni of the Prince of Wales Sustainability Leadership, University of Cambridge, UK. Previously, a senior in marketing, with leading multinational companies/brands, handling some of the most unusual and complex situations in the local arena, he counts for over twenty years of experience in senior management.

He also served on EXCO of Holcim Lanka for several years as Vice President for Sustainable Development. He has also led several regional projects (for Asia Pacific Region) during his tenure of over 12 years at Holcim. He has been a distinguished panelist on several leading business forums locally and internation. He has been the Country Head of DNV GL (Det Norske Veritas) Sri Lanka. He has also served on Boards of other international organizations.

Darshi Talpahewa

Joined Hayleys Group in January 2010. Appointed to the Hayleys Group Management Committee in November 2015. A lawyer by profession with an L.L.B from the University of Colombo and attorney-at-law with first class honours from Sri Lanka Law College.

Holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Northampton. Also holds a Master’s Degrees in International Relations and in Law, from the University of Colombo. Has had the unique opportunity of working in the government, non-governmental, corporate sector including the banking sector and academia.

Overseas work experience includes working in Australia in customer sales solutions in the telecommunication field. Has responsibility for Human Resources, Legal Services, Security and Corporate Communications & Sustainability for the Hayleys Group. Director, Singer Finance PLC.

Denver De Zylva

Vice President of Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ: VRTU) and heads Strategic Sustainability Initiatives, Environment, Health & Safety, Administration Facilities Management, and Physical Security for Virtusa Corp.

He is an ICT professional with full membership in the Sri Lankan and Australian computer societies and has over 20 years of work experience. A major portion of his career was focused on counterterrorism in Sri Lanka where he served as a Commissioned Officer in the Regular Force of the Sri Lankan Army for 10 years and a further 7 ½ years in the Ministry of Defense in Sri Lanka.

Denver has spearheaded Virtusa’s environmental initiatives under the “Code Green” program and works to promote the UNGC Principles and SDGs within Virtusa’s sustainability program. Denver has presented on Virtusa’s sustainability and CSR initiatives to many of its top clients and at several forums including the Google Ideas Summit 2011 in Dublin and the Foreign Trade Association’s Asia Regional Sustainability Symposium 2017 in Colombo.

Joern Soerensen

Ex Officio Board Member

Joern joined UNDP Sri Lanka as the Country Director in August 2014. Prior to this, he served as the Country Director in India from 2013-2014 , and as the Deputy Country Director in Nepal from 2009-2013. Joern was also attached to the UNDP Iraq programme from 2001-2009, concluding as Head of Strategy Planning and Partnering at UNDP Iraq. He began his career at UNDP in 1994 when he joined UNDP Mongolia as a Programme Officer (JPO).

In 1995, he was appointed Head of the Mongolian Environment Programme. From 1997-1998, he served as Regional Programme Manager for the Asia-Pacific Region at UNDP Headquarters in New York. Joern also served as the Assistant Resident Representative in North Korea from 1998-1999 and has held advisor positions in China for both UNDP and WFP from 1999-2000. Joern Soerensen holds Degrees in Management and Social Studies and a Master’s degree in International Development Studies from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Dr. Ravi Fernando

Founder

He was the United Nations Global Compact Focal point for Sri Lanka 2003-2010 and was the founder of the UN Global Compact Sri Lanka network in 2010. He is an Executive in Residence at the INSEAD Social Innovation center since September 2010 to date. In November 2015 he published ‘Strategic Corporate Sustainability – 7 Imperatives for Sustainable business’ (Partridge 2015).

He is Chairman/CEO of Global Strategic Corporate Sustainability Pvt. Ltd which operates in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China. He serves on the Boards of LOLC Holdings Ltd, Habitat for Humanity, Ceylon Asset Management & Aitken Spence Plantations Ltd.

In Academia, a visiting faculty member of the INSEAD International Directors program & the INSEAD Advanced Management Program from 2005 to date teaching the subject ‘Strategic Corporate Sustainability’.

He was the Operations Director of the Malaysia Blue Ocean Strategy Institute (2011-2015), working with the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy and advising the Malaysian Government. He served as the CEO Corporate Branding & Sustainability of MAS Holdings from 2003 to 2008 where he created the Global award winning ’Go beyond’ & ‘Eco-Go beyond’ programs to differentiate the organization globally. His career with multinationals & local business spanned from 1981 to 2008, having acquired global exposure with MNC’s across Africa, Middle East and Asia.

He is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge, having completed the Climate Leadership Programme in 2007, a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business at Cambridge University in 2008 and a Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership in 2014. He holds a Doctorate of Business Administration from the European University, Switzerland 2016. He also holds a MBA from the University of Colombo and is a FCIM (Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK) and holds a Diploma in International Management and has completed the Advanced Management Program at the INSEAD Business school in France.

In September 2007 he won a “Global Strategy Leadership award” at the World Strategy Summit for his work on Sustainability-led Ethical branding in the Apparel and Tea sectors receiving the award from Prof. Renee Mauborgne of INSEAD business school.

Dinali Peiris

An accomplished Human Resource professional, Dinali draws from almost 2 decades of a rapidly evolving role across multiple HR functions at MAS Holdings. Having joined MAS in 1999 as a Management Trainee, Dinali fast adapted and explored her proficiency in human behavior and psychology at plant level. She soon moved on to a Senior Executive position at Leisureline in 2001, from which point she joined Group HR as a member of the highly transformational Hay Project team, introducing many new facets to the MAS Talent Management and Development function.

In 2005 Dinali was appointed Head of HR at MAS Active MAS Active, the newly established strategic sportswear design to delivery partner for global brands, and soon after was promoted to Director – HR & Sustainable Business of the division. The next 10 years saw focused and progressive standardization of MAS Active’s HR processes and practices under Dinali’s direction, supporting the division’s overall business growth. In 2015, Dinali rejoined Group HR as Director – Organizational Development to further strengthen HR capabilities at the core, and was responsible in setting up the Centers of HR Excellence.

In January 2019, Dinali was appointed Group Human Resource Director at MAS Holdings. In her current leadership position, she spearheads strategic group-wide HR initiatives including the establishment, modification and implementation of talent management and competency frameworks, guidance in talent attraction & selection, and also provides tactical direction in learning & development, performance management, and career & succession management across the organization.

Dinali holds a Degree in Psychology from Oklahoma State University (University of Asia) and has attended numerous executive and leadership programs conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), INSEAD, Doug Adams and Dave Ulrich. Extremely passionate about team development and team dynamics, she was the first individual to attend a CCL coaching program at MAS.

Sumeet Verma

Sumeet moved to Sri Lanka in 2016 as the HR Director for Unilever Sri Lanka. He joined Unilever in India working on HR transformation in 2007. Over the years, Sumeet has held several leadership positions across geographies.

Sumeet is a well-rounded HR professional with experience across business partnering, HR services and HR expertise. He has worked in large businesses in India as HR partner for Foods & Refreshments and has also done global roles. His last role, prior to moving to Sri Lanka, was in the UK where he was part of the HR expertise team as Global head of Performance Management and Employee Insights. He also counts extensive experience in Organization Design and Efficiency. Prior to joining Unilever, Sumeet worked at Hewitt Associates (now Aon Hewitt) as a Reward Consultant. He is passionate about purpose driven leadership and creating high performance cultures.

Sumeet holds an MBA from the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon (India) and is a graduate in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He is happily married to Rachna and has a young son. He is currently based in Sri Lanka along with his family.

Supun Weerasinghe

He was appointed as the Group Chief Executive and a Member of the Board of Dialog Axiata in 2017. He commenced his career in telecommunications at Dialog Axiata in 1999 and held multiple roles, such as Head of Strategy and CEO of the Mobile Business before being appointed as Group Chief Operating Officer of Dialog Axiata in 2010.

In 2013, he was seconded to Axiata Group Berhad in Malaysia as its Group Chief Strategy Officer. At Axiata, he also served as the Head of Network Transformation Strategic Business Unit under which he led Group Technology, Carrier Collaboration and the Axiata Intelligence Unit. From January 2014 to October 2016, he functioned as the CEO and Managing Director of Robi Axiata Limited in Bangladesh, the second largest mobile network provider in Bangladesh with 33 million subscribers.

He is a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Financial Management from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka. He also holds an MBA from the University of Western Sydney, Australia and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School.

Fadhil Bakeer Markar

Alternate Director to Joern Soerensen

He is currently serving as the Lab Lead, a.i of the Citra Social Innovation Lab and the Partnerships Analyst at UNDP Sri Lanka. He is a Development Practitioner, with a special interest in Public Sector Innovation, Social Policy and Development, and experience in Youth Engagement & Policy, International Relations, Development Communications and Third Sector.

Fadhil obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK, and was the first Sri Lankan to lead the LSE Students’ Union (2007-2008), which has a membership of over 10,000 individuals.

Fadhil, a former UN Volunteer, has led many initiatives, including the V-Awards and the initiating of the V-Force, of which thousands from all parts of the country are now part of. Fadhil has also been working with youth to encourage positive and active youth participation for over a decade, and is an ardent supporter of volunteerism for development.

Thamindri De Silva

Alternate Director to Dilhan Fernando

Thamindri De Silva currently works as the General Manager for Dilmah’s Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation and joined the Foundation in January 2017. Prior to that, she spent the previous decade and a half as a development and humanitarian worker in over 15 countries with International Non-Governmental Organizations and the private sector.

The MJF Charitable Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the MJF Group which includes Dilmah. It works in 9 urban and rural locations across Sri Lanka as well as in 16 Plantations with women, men, girls and boys and especially children with disabilities including Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome. The Foundation seeks to change lives and help people control their own while also giving back to their communities. The concept of sustainability is a cross cutting theme across all programmes of the Foundation.