"Reflection is one of the most important practices."

For Indira Jayawardena, her career began in Columbo Sri Lanka as a Biomedical Engineer where she was one of two women in a division with 80 technical staff. Courage, confidence and integrity have been the guiding values responsible for the leader Indira is today, holding the executive role of General Manager Education & Training at the Department of Finance.

“From as long as I can recall community has always been close to me, I wanted to make it a better place. This not only guided my volunteer work as a tutor for under-privileged children but shaped my entire career and leadership trajectory.”

A career both diverse and global, Indira committed her expertise to the development of health care in Sri Lanka, securing advanced biomedical technology and support services for hospitals. Whilst at the IAEA in Vienna she was responsible for the efficient and effective management of equipment dispersed in all the nuclear facilities throughout the world, during an extremely challenging time.

“My early career holds some of my greatest achievements, however reflection is one of the most important practices we have. I look back and realise that my passion for change was at times my biggest weakness. I was lacking self-awareness, impatient, and had not yet learnt the importance of bringing others along.”

Now as the General Manager of a 1.5-billion-dollar education and training infrastructure project portfolio and 55 employees, Indira considers her success in leadership.

“As a leader, I bring my authentic self to work, build trust, always exhibit fairness and wholeheartedly listen. Driven by continuous improvement, my high performing team have achieved incredible results through collaboration and work-life balance, family is important.”

“Carefully choose who you hire, make these choices based on values and ethics, as success comes from a team working with purpose to achieve a vision.”

Looking back on pivotal mentors, challenges, and experiences, Indira cherishes the impact of the 2020 Signature Leadership Program had on her leadership.

“The Program gave me the opportunity to learn from other senior leaders, in a safe space where we could share challenges and triumphs. Leadership isn’t textbook and the experiential learning was unlike anything else I’ve experienced.”

The candid speakers throughout the Program have supported Indira in guiding her way through leadership challenges, growth and opportunities.

“The regional field trips saw respected Elders share their time with our cohort, I found immense value in experiences, some of which inspired change in the learning needs and environments of our remote and regional schools.”

Indira encourages leaders to never miss an opportunity.