Asia - Pacific Executives Forum

Speakers of the First "Asia-Pacific Executives Forum" on November 26, 2017 at Hilton-Colombo

Ms. Iman Mutlaq is a Jordanian entrepreneur and financier and the Founder/CEO of the Sigma Investments. Forbes magazine's Middle East edition, published in 2016 and 2017, listed her as one of "The 100 Most Powerful Arab Businesswomen."

She established her export-import business at the age of 18 and then entered in the financial industry at the age of 27 covering the regions of Middle East and North Africa.

She is involved in angel investment encouraging projects which enhance women's creativity and ideas. She is also targeting applications for mobile devices through her startup, Dreamtech.

The Obama Administration invited her as a participant from the Middle East at the inaugural US Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in 2010.

She is the first female director of the Global Alliance Partners, a network of financial entities.

She is a recipient of the award, "Best Woman in the Corporate Sector" at the AmCham MENA Council Women in Business Awards in 2016.

Mutlaq completed her MBA in Finance at the New York Institute of Technology.
Professor Daniel Khan is an industry leader; he was awarded an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) Award by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Prof Khan also held roles at the University of London, the School of African and Oriental Studies, the Institute of Neurology, York College and other.
He is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and holds Masters in Financial Management.
Mr. Chandran Rutnam is a film maker and entrepreneur.
He was the Line Producer/Production Supervisor on several international productions including Paramount Pictures' Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

Steven Spielberg once referred to Rutnam as "Our most valued friend in the Far East". Rutnam has had the distinction of working with Sir David Lean, Sir Carol Reed, John Boorman, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Regis Wargnier.

Rutnam wrote the screenplay, produced, directed and edited the film The Road from Elephant Pass, which was a Finalist Award Winner at the New York International Television and Film Awards in 2011.

He wrote the adapted screenplay and produced and directed, A Common Man, starring Academy Award Winner Sir Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross.

He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Film Location Services which mostly hosts foreign films to be shot in South and South East Asia.

He is the founder of Lionair, the once-popular Sri Lankan airline and owns the Asian Aviation Centre, an aeronautical engineering and flying academy in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Dietmar Doering is a German academic who pioneered sports tourism in Sri Lanka through the Asian-German Sports Exchange Program (AGSEP) he founded about three decades ago, being a tour operator and a hotelier as well, had always taken a keen interest in the country’s tourism industry.

Doering was an amateur national coach for the table tennis team of Sri Lanka and utilised the sports events as a medium for encouraging peace in Sri Lanka for a long time.

Doering and his students performed a memorable service for Sri Lanka to help with the devastation caused by the 2005 tsunami by importing goods and medicines directly from Germany, goods that were worth more than US$ 5 Million.

The vast knowledge he acquired from his studies of the tourism industry from a global perspective over the years had convinced him that a very important segment of the country’s tourism industry, namely marine or nautical tourism, which could be a veritable money spinner for the country, has long been neglected.

He is currently involved in establishing marinas in Sri Lanka

Dr. Doering says, “The marinas-based tourism is a totally new maritime concept for Sri Lanka though it is well established even in neighboring Asian countries. In Europe, marinas are cornerstones for high-end nauticaltourism generating significant revenues. According to the European Commission this segment of the tourism industry generates around 15 billion Euros a year and has provided over 300, 000 job opportunities.”
Dr. Tissa Jayaweera was educated at Royal College Colombo, represented College in Athletics, Swimming and Gymnastics. National Diploma in Technology NDT, Bachelor Science BS, Master Science MS, Doctorate in Business PhD.

In 1983 Dr. Tissa proceeded to USA for higher education. Joined Pepsi Cola and trained in Customer Care and Hospitality, worked for them for 2 years. Joined General Motors and was trained in Sales & Marketing and worked for them for 4 years.

In 1989 Dr. Tissa returned to sri Lanka and held positions as Chairman / Managing Director Lanka Ceramic Ltd, Noritake Lanka Porcelain (Pvt) Ltd, Lanka Walltile Ltd, Lanka Walltile Meepe (Pvt) Ltd, Lanka Tiles Ltd, Ceradec (Pvt) Ltd, Lanka Refractories Ltd, ITMIN Ltd, Director / Alternate Chairman JAIC Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Advisor Japan Asia Investment Company Ltd, President American Chamber of Commerce, Royal Commonwealth Society Sri Lanka. President Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Member Business Advisory Group UNESCAP, Advisor / Director – Lionvert Holdings PLC USA, Director – Banaras House Group India, IGMR Dubai, Chairman International Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka Accreditations Board, Member - Labour Advisory Council, Ministry of Labour.

In 1998 Dr. Tissa relinquished all positions in Sri Lanka and migrated to USA.

In 2004 Dr. Tissa returned and now holds position as Chairman / MD - TradeIT (Pvt) Ltd, Global Oceana (Pvt) Ltd, Chairman - Chelsea Enamels Pvt) Ltd, Premier Ceylon Hotels & Hospitality (Pvt) Ltd. Managing Partner - TJ Associates. Managing Director - Lanka Startex Mystery Shopping (Pvt) Ltd. Partner - Vision 8 Academy. Member- Executive Council SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Vice President - Sri Lanka Japan Business Corporation Council. ExCo Member – International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka, Royal Commonwealth Society, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka. Member Labour Advisory Council – Ministry of Labour, Member Business Advisory.
Mr. Sinnathamby Vijayapala is currently the Project Manager of International Water Management Institute (IWMI). He obtained BBA Management Degree from Eastern University of Sri Lanka (EUSL), a Master of Business Administration Degree from Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada/Open University of Sri Lanka, Post Graduate in Development Studies and Public Policy from Marga Institute/Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and completing his Doctorate (PhD) on Development of sustainable composting model from University of Moratuwa (UoM), Sri Lanka.

Vijayapala is holding several Professional qualifications; Doctoral Member of Institute of Professional Financial Managers-United Kingdom; Master Project Manager and Fellow of the American Academy of Project Management; Member of Academy for Administrative Professionals; Higher National Diploma holder in Accountancy; Member of Project Management Institute-USA; Member of Association of Business Executive-United Kingdom; Fellow member of Certified Professional Manager; Licentiate level holder of Institute of Chartered Accountants-Sri Lanka; Fellow member of International Association of Book keepers-United Kingdom and Life Member of Association of Accounting Technicians-Sri Lanka.

Vijay has more than 24 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector and worked with Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), CARE International, and FORUT International and rendered his services in USA, India, Nepal, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia.

VJ is a Management Consultant, Corporate Trainer, Social Scientist and senior visiting University Lecturer. He is the CEO/Managing Director of VIJAY Management Consultants, Sri Lanka. He is serving several voluntary positions, such as a Concurrent Session Chairman of Certified Professional Manager’s Regional Management Conference (CRMC) 2017, in collaboration with Association of Management Development Institutions in South Asia (AMDISA), Chairman of Certified Manager Journal of Institute of Certified Professional Managers (CPM), Chairman of In Search Journal of Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), Vice President of Sri Lanka Eco Tourism Foundation (SLETF), and Collaborator of Sri Lanka Chapter-American Academy of Project Management (AAPM) and Facilitator of Asia Pacific Executives Forum. He served more than 18 years’ experience with Leo Clubs and Lions Clubs International, and hold many higher positions, and won the prestigious awards, Leo of the Year (LEO-LOY) Gold medal winner.
Mr. Dai Liyanage MBE was educated at Royal College, Colombo and at Brunel University UK. He is Managing Director of Urpol Ltd – Policy Consultants.

With a mechanical and production engineering background Dai started a career in management consultancy in local government. He worked for several local authorities in London and moved to the shoe retailing and warehousing industry.

He went to Zambia to work in the copper mining industry and returned to local government working for City of Westminster and London Borough of Tower Hamlets where he was Head of Corporate Policy and retired at Chief Officer level.

He joined the National Criminal Intelligence Service in London and worked in the Corporate Development and Human Resources Branches.

Since retiring he works at Assessment Centres recruiting Police Officers for various forces throughout the UK.

In 1985, Dai was elected to Kent County Council as its first Asian Councillor in 100 years since its inception. Later he served on Gillingham Borough Council and Medway Unitary Authority where he was elected Mayor of Medway in 1999/2000.

Dai was a senior Liberal Democrat, serving on the Federal Policy Committee, European Council and was short listed to be the Federal Chief Executive of the Party.

He was awarded the MBE in The Queen's New Years Honours in 2001. He was a Round Tabler and now an active Rotarian and is a Paul Harris Fellow.
Ms. Amila Dahanayake is an Economist working in the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice representing Sri Lanka and Maldives at the World Bank Group.

Amila is a highly-recognized practitioner with experience in investment climate and familiarity with the WBG’s Doing Business Reform. Prior to joining the World Bank Group, she has over ten years’ experience as a Central Banker.

Amila was involved in research and analysis on various aspects of Sri Lanka’s investment climate and she has also worked on issues related to the competitiveness of the economy.

Amila holds a Masters in Economics Degree from the University of Colombo, a BSc in Management Degree from the Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom and a Diploma in Compliance from the International Compliance Association.
Dr. Tatiana Nenova is a Program Leader for Sri Lanka and Maldives at the World Bank, responsible for Financial Markets, Trade and Competitiveness, Macro and Fiscal, Governance, and Poverty.

Her operational work has focused on several financial sector areas of work (capital markets, access to finance for the poor, housing finance, and infrastructure finance and PPPs) as well as Investment climate and institutions, Trade policy and facilitation, and public sector institutions strengthening, and macro / fiscal policy.

Before Sri Lanka, she has worked as Program Leader in Indonesia, with the World Bank CFO, as operational staff in South Asia, in the International Finance Corporation and in academia.

Dr. Nenova has also published in leading US and international journals and co-created several innovative World Bank publications such as the Doing Business Report. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.
Ms. Gowri Rajan is the Group Executive Director/CMO of Sun and Asoka Group of Companies - Sri Lanka's market leader in the industry. Today a diversified conglomerate in Kandy in the manufacture of bottled drinking water, printing, hauliers, and education. She was recognized for her outstanding business leadership by World Bank (IFC)/WIM where she was selected as a Top 50 Business Women in Sri Lanka winning the "Best International Woman Leadership 2017”.

Academically a graduate from the University of Bangalore, with a Bachelor of Arts degree and went on to read for the Masters in Business Administration from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Currently she is a doctorate candidate in Business Administration.

Gowri serves the Council of Institute of Management Sri Lanka and represented the country at the Conference of Asian Association of Management Organisation in Macau. She also actively serves on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Central Region.

Ms. Rajan was the first female Rotary Governor to be elected to serve Rotary Sri Lanka and Maldives. She has been responsible for raising over US$ 400 million on a public-private-people partnership that led to several humanitarian projects including the setting up of the first ever Human Heart Valve Tissue Bank in Sri Lanka in partnership with the Ministry of Health. She also initiated the 1 million tree planting project that was launched by Miss World in 2015 in Sri Lanka. Her visionary leadership resulted in Sri Lanka being placed 2 globally for highest per capita giving to the Rotary Foundation. Gowri was recently awarded the Rotary’s highest accolade of Service above Self Award by Rotary International.

Her motto in life 'Nothing is impossible'.

Moderator of the Forum Session

Rajkumar is a Partner/Chief Solutions Officer of Selvasingam Consultants and the Representative of the American Academy of Project Management in Sri Lanka and Maldieves.

He is the facilitator of "Asia - Pacific Executives Forum", a forum focusing the issues of the Asia - Pacific region.

He started his professional career as a business analyst in 1993 and worked as an officer at an American Relief Organization monitoring projects implemented in the rebel-held war-torn rural and jungle areas of Sri Lanka.

He then worked as an accountant in a group of companies supervising the holding company and its investment arm.

He was a visiting lecturer since 1992 at various business schools in Sri Lanka and lectured on the subjects - Economics, Management, Quantitative Methods and e-Commerce.

He worked as business reporter and contributor at a couple of leading newspapers in Sri Lanka.

He authored the book, German Memories in Asia which narrates the European and Asian historical events since the Roman Empire era to First & Second World Wars.

He involved(special thanks) in the making of A Common Man, a 2013 thriller film starring Oscar Award winner Ben Kingsley and Ben Cross; and directed by Chandran Rutnam.