Varuni Amunugama Fernando is a Sri Lankan business women and a prominent figure in the country’s advertising industry. She C0-founded Triad Advertising (Pvt) Limited and the national TV channel Derana.
Educated at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, C.M.S. Ladies’ College, Colombo, British School of Paris and was gained entrance to the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo.
1.Who is Varuni?
I would best like to be known and seen as a very grounded, uncomplicated and open person. Happiness is my life’s overarching goal and I believe in living a simple yet fulfilling life.
2.What are you truly passionate about?
People. I love to engage and interact with people. This could be for professional, personal or no real reason. Either way, to me people hold the key. People inspire me and give me a reason to create ‘happy moments’, which can transform lives in a positive and productive manner.
3.What was the original source of inspiration for you to become a successful entrepreneur?
Success to me can only be measured by the response others have for you and any positive contribution you may make to their lives, to the community and most importantly to the country. I am humbled if I’ve truly succeeded in that context. My original source of inspiration to become an entrepreneur stemmed from a desire to contribute positively towards building value for Sri Lanka. So I guess, every initiative undertaken by our companies have been to realise this vision.
4.What work are you most proud of?
I think the Api Venuwen Api campaign was by far the most meaningful and important to us personally and professionally. Transcending a mere communication campaign, this effort literally transformed the mindset of the Sri Lankan people and became a clarion call to support our precious fighting forces, giving them popular support in their quest for victory and lasting peace in the country.
5.Whats your philosophy about entrepreneurship?
Mine is a very simple philosophy. Think positively about yourself and the contribution you can make for the betterment of a larger community. It is good to focus on profit maximization, but then again what is more important than that is the people quotient and the value you can bring to the country as a whole.
6.What is the positioning of Sri Lankan advertising industry in global scenario and your contribution?
In a global context, Sri Lanka is still a fledgling industry. But we have created great inroads in the arena where some of our leading communication companies have been recognized as being creative hotbeds in the world of advertising. Our company has succeeded in being recognized at international award shows like AdFest, Singapore Outdoor Awards, Spikes, Cannes etc. We as a truly Sri Lankan company, take pride in being positioned as a “Global Local”. While we retain our proud local identity rich with our own insights, as a member of the world’s largest network of independent agencies, we offer a complete communication solution with global networking.
7.What charity is closest to your heart?
I truly believe that charity begins at home. Therefore our company’s first focus is to ensure the welfare of our API family and their extended stakeholders. The other key area we focus on is Ranaviru related charities, where we contribute our professional and financial resources to support this precious segment of the community who laid their lives to preserve the sovereignity of Sri Lanka. As a local entrepreneurial establishment, we are very keen to develop young entrepreneurs across the country to reach greater heights. Our ‘Sri Lanka Can Trust’ has been created to facilitate and fulfill this dream.
8.What is one thing you cannot live without?
People. Especially my family, my colleagues and my friends.
9.Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur or just advice in general about careers?
When you enjoy what you do, it becomes a passion. Choose a career that gives you happiness. Then automatically you will attain greater heights. Continue to be a learner, so that you keep abreast of new ideas. This is your path to grow and grow exponentially. Be happy with the littlest things you achieve and gain. This will undoubtedly make you satisfied and complete.
10.What are your future aspirations and goals?
I believe in trying out new challenges so that I can continue to feel the thrills of achievement. I enjoy a work-life balance where my goals are varied and achieving the smallest of them gives me a sense of happiness. I’m not a planner but prefer to take life as it comes with all its interesting surprises. Life is as exciting as you would make it. I sure am going to try my best to stay happy. Always.