How I Did It: Fiona Juriansz Munasinghe - Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka
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How I Did It: Fiona Juriansz Munasinghe

The vivacious Marketing Manager of Hemas Manufacturing (Pvt) Ltd, spills the beans on what she loves most about branding, the importance of carving out time for oneself, and how she stays perpetually motivated.

Pamod Nilru

Q/ Tell us about your role at Hemas. What do you enjoy the most?

A/ I overlook the brand categories of oral care (Clogard), laundry (Diva), adult personal wash and the new market entrant into adult skin care—a range of body lotions (Velvet). I work with a stellar team to manage the marketing of these brands. 

As Hemas is a Sri Lankan company, we have total ownership over our line of goods. This includes working with R&D (research and development) to create new products. 

What I love is seeing products, that I’ve been a part of conceptualizing and creating on shelves and being used by millions of consumers. 

Q/ What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned throughout your career?

A/ You need to consciously stay on your toes, because what worked previously may not work now or in the future. 

Q/ What does your day look like when you aren’t working?

A/ Well, I’m a mom of a three-year-old, so whenever possible, I try to devote every free moment to him.

I also love to read and watch movies (I haven’t been able to watch as many as I’d like over the past 3 years!), and I try to read, because it helps me to unwind. 

On weekends, my husband and I visit our parents and head to the cinema. We also enjoy going for rugby matches and spending time with friends, either entertaining at home or meeting up with them at a restaurant.

Q/ Let’s talk fashion. Are there any trends you absolutely love?

A/ I don’t have a specific preference as such, and I like different looks depending on my mood and the occasion. One of my favourite outfit combinations is a pair of skinny jeans, teamed with killer heels and a blazer—it blends comfort and elegance, and looks incredibly chic. Dresses are also especially great for our weather. I love neutral colours like white, black, grey and brown, but I also appreciate the recent popularity of super bright colours, because I think they make the world much more lively and happy.  

Q/ What does it take to be successful in the workplace?

A/ It definitely helps if you love what you do; you spend countless hours at the office, so enjoying the work keeps the passion and energy alive. The ability to work hard and persevere are also important traits. Moreover, in today’s business environment, being flexible and having the aptitude to work with different people is important. It’s also essential to understand job expectations and be results-oriented. 

Q/ What are your top tips to balancing your family, work and friends?

A/ I believe that, firstly, you need to get help by relying on supportive members of your family or turning to a good day care you can trust, so that your mind is at ease while you’re at work. 

Give your 100% when at the office to ensure you are productive, and avoid working late whenever possible. When you’re home, give your complete attention to your kids and family. It’s about interaction and quality time spent, not just the number of hours together. Also, keep aside some time to focus on yourself. Doing so will make you happier and more relaxed and will, in turn, benefit those around you. 

Incorporating any type of exercise into your routine is very important; you can do whatever you enjoy! The time you spend working out will yield more results than you thought possible, give you boundless energy and will continue to keep you productive. 

It’s also imperative that your family, colleagues and boss are accommodating. Look for companies that believe women in the workplace are assets and are supportive to working women. Most importantly, try to manage self-expectations. You don’t always have to be perfect at everything—it’s okay to ask for help and to sometimes let go of a few things.

Q/ You always looks fantastic! What’s your secret to staying fit and keeping off the weight after having a child?

A/ I’m quite a foodie, and I like to eat frequently! As a result, I don’t eat large quantities and wind up having less starch in any one meal. Since the age of 14, I’ve also avoided meats, with the exception of seafood. I try to get in at least two sessions of exercise each week. I dislike that many people think that when you become a mom, you tend to become overweight and sloppy—the misconception motivates me to not fall into such a stereotype and to be fit and energized!

Q/ Do you have any daily routines?

A/ When I wake up, I try to flip through the newspapers. Then, I get myself and my son ready and out of the house. I drop him off at his playgroup and head to the office. After work, I head back home to spend time with my family. Later on that evening, I browse through missed emails on my phone and catch up with close friends on Whatsapp before hitting the sack!

 Q/ If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be and what would you do? 

A/ The President of the USA—I’d ban weapons and increase funding to help people in the rest of the world who desperately need it.

IN A FEW WORDS 

Most worn accessory: My cat’s eye ring

Something that’s always in my bag: A comb. With these humidity levels, my hair usually needs fixing!

Favourite holiday destination: Italy 

A fashion staple: Matching handbag 

Favourite dessert: Gooey chocolate brownie (without nuts) 

Morning or afternoon person: Definitely morning 

The quality I admire the most in others: Determination

My biggest shopping weakness: Shoes and clutches 

 

This article was originally published as ‘How I Did It’ in the February 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more career advice, grab a copy of our latest magazine.

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