The multi tasking ability is a natural gift that comes along with womanhood.
However, maximum use of this ability is seldom seen until you meet a woman who play a dual role of a professional and a business woman not compromising the service quality of either. Sunethra Jayaratne MIPA (UK) LLCC (UK) who was instrumental in setting up the Academy for Administrative Professionals could be considered as a shining example for the enormous working capacity that a woman possesses.
Her charming smile and professionalism is a winning combination where she has been successful in both her career and the venture.
From a strong foundation backed by high caliber of professionals the Academy for Administrative Professionals has achieved many a mile stones under her capable stewardship. Sacrificing her free time for the development of the Academy was never a regret for Sunethra who considers been of help to elevate the standard and quality of administrative professionals is a step in the right direction.
She was interviewed by Daily News Business.
Excerpts of the interview.
Q. How do you describe your line of business?
A. The Academy for Administrative Professionals (AAP) was my brain child. The academy came to being as a team effort backed by Professors Carlo Fonseka, Lakshman R. Watawala and M. Jayaratne. They wanted me to head the organization in the capacity of the Executive Director.The AAP’ operated on a twofold approach of both business and service delivery. It provides training for secretaries who are now referred to as ‘Administrative Professionals’. The vocational training is provided at a nominal fee.Since the inauguration in 2005 the number of students for each course tops 1,000 and there is an encouraging demand for the courses offer including mainstream secretariat training, English language and Tamil and personality development. Marketing will be introduced as a subject shortly along with series of new products and packages. We are presently carrying out negotiations for an affiliation with a prestigious foreign university.
The academy also provides in- house training for the corporate clients, arranges seminars and workshops for which there is a great demand. The residential seminars are the most popular.As we follow international standards training has become a pathway to finding foreign employment.Our team of professionally qualified trainers and lectures at the AAP are our main asset.
In addition to the business aspect of the academy, we also provide students with many benefits in terms of free membership and are in the process of introducing both insurance and scholarship schemes. We produce employable candidates and many obtain employment even before completing the respective courses.
Q. How do you manage time to handle your personal life?
A. I hope to enter a blissful wedded life this year and this is through a marriage proposal. He is very supportive towards the AAP. My strongest support system is the family and all the credit goes to them where I am fortunate to be a member.
Q. What motivated you to venture in to business?
A. I have a passion for my profession as a secretary and I never kept away from developing myself. I updated myself with knowledge and technology to keep abreast in the field. AAP gave me the opportunity to mould students to reach international standards as capable administrative professionals.
Q. What are your goals?
A. My goal for the AAP would be to be the best known place for administrative professionals. We have a branch in Chennai and have appointed coordinators in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore.
The AAP also have coordinators from Bangladesh, Brunai, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and UK to name a few. We hope to expand the network further.
Q. How do you face the challenges of competition?
A. This is a unique academy as combination of training and secretariat services are highly appreciated. We are specialized in documentation handling, convening meetings and even arranging foreign travel. This diversity has given AAP the edge and our courses which has limited intake are in much demand. The 100 percent employment guarantee for the successful completion is an added advantage for the Academy.
Q. What example do you provide others?
A. My leisure time is productively used running the academy which grooms individuals to fulfill their dreams. We never found it difficult to attract students and recommendations by parents and students played a major role in this regard. The work is in the hands of a very dedicated team of management and office staff.
Q. What is your specialty?
A. We are a recognized academy from the London Chamber of Commerce. This Academy is backed by the corporate sector where the training complements the requirement of the business community. As AAP is two faceted we do also engage in charity work by way of helping destitute families. We have also provided funding to a remote school to set up its’ library. Service is our first priority.
Q. What are your achievements in business?
A. Apart of being the Executive Director-Academy for Administrative Professionals, I work as the Executive Secretary for the SANASA Development Bank. I play a role as a trainer and Visiting Lecturer. I am a Certified Lecturer of Institute of Qualified Professional Secretaries and hold a Certificate of Proficiency in English from the Cambridge University. I am a member of Institute of Qualified Professional Secretaries (UK), Institute of Professional Administrators (UK), London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (UK), International Association of Administrative Professionals (USA), Certified Professional Managers. I rendered service as the Past President/Hony Life Member of Association of Secretaries & Administrative Professionals in Asia Pacific, Sri Lanka Association of Administrative & Personal Secretaries and currently work as Advisor to many national and international professional organizations.
Q. What is your message to society?
A. My motto has been to face challenges and never be discouraged by failure. This comes handy in today’s complex environment. Look at life positively.I believe in simplicity and kindness to all people. Whatever one does to society with love and care and for no reward or a hidden agenda will give returns. Be sincere and take pride of any productive thing by doing it in a perfect manner. When you have done well it will always return in a different form no matter how small it is.