How I Did It: Neluka De Alwis - Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka
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How I Did It: Neluka De Alwis

The Head of Sales and Marketing (Residential) at Shangri-La, Sri Lanka reveals the importance of being honest and why all young women should, first and foremost, love themselves.

Pamod Nilru

Ranked as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders in Asia, Neluka De Alwis oozes star power. Read on as she dishes on her tips for a balanced life and what she does to achieve flawless skin.

The first thing I think of every morning when I wake up is…: What my day at work is going to be like. Then, I check my phone for messages.

Q/ How did you get into marketing?

A/ It was really a complete coincidence! In school, I always wanted to be an accountant but didn’t obtain the necessary grades required to complete a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification, which was a little disappointing. At that point, I was advised to work toward a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) qualification, which is how I ultimately ended up with a career in marketing. This switch in focus, although quite by chance, helped mould me into who I am today—a dynamic and vibrant individual with strong people skills, who is making a name for herself in marketing and sales in the real estate industry in Sri Lanka. In retrospect, I have no regrets and have enjoyed every moment of my journey.

A fashion staple: Matching shoes and handbag.

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

A/ It is my privilege and honour to be a part of the pre-opening team of the world-renowned brand, Shangri-La in Sri Lanka. The project, currently in development, is the first of its kind on the island. It comprises of a hotel, residence, mall and a Grade A office tower. I overlook the sales and marketing activities for the residential development, and my role gives me the opportunity to connect with local and overseas buyers from all sectors. Thus far, it has been an amazing journey. There’s never a dull moment at work—I am constantly on my toes, and I love it!

Favourite hair product: L’Oréal.

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

A/ Be honest and truthful no matter what you set out to do. Always be positive, give the best you’ve got, and remember to learn from your mistakes.

Something that’s always in my bag:  Hand sanitizer, hair clip and perfume.

Q/ Last year you were named one of the Top 50 Women Leaders in Asia. Tell us about the experience.

A/ I was extremely honoured to be recognised in a group of such accomplished and outstanding women. The awards ceremony was held in Singapore last year and recognised the significant achievements of women in marketing. It was a wonderful feeling and I am very inspired to reach even higher. I also hope to motivate young women to stay focused on their goals and believe in their abilities to achieve success. The sky is the limit.

Three things on my desk at work:  Notebook, hand cream, and my stationery (plus coloured pens and pencils).

Q/ What advice do you have for young women going through a rough patch?

A/ Love yourself and be passionate. Remember that nothing is impossible. Life is too short to look back!

Right now, the book I’m reading is…: The Alliance by Reid Hoffman.

Q/ What are your top tips for balancing your work and personal lives?

A/ This is very important to women of all ages, as work keeps getting more hectic and challenging! Time management is essential: Plan out your day, complete tasks, and avoid postponing anything. Ensure productivity by giving a 100% whether you’re at the office or with your family. And never take your work home with you! It’s important to draw a line between your personal and professional worlds. ‘Me time’ is so important to help rejuvenate the mind and body, so keep fit and plan out weekly workout sessions. Frequent visits to the gym will keep you energised and motivated. I generally workout thrice a week, which allows me to stay active and healthy.

Coffee or tea: Tea.

Q/ What do your weekends look like?

A/ I usually meet up with friends on Friday evenings to unwind after a hectic week at work. I spend Saturday spoiling my 8-year-old niece and 5-year-old nephew (which I thoroughly enjoy!). On Sunday, I take it easy. I go to church, relax and spend time with my bestie for a good laugh.

The last thing I do before going to bed is…: Pray and swipe through my iPhone until I fall asleep.

Q/ What are your daily beauty and hair routines?

A/ Skin: Every morning, I use Clarins face wash and moisturiser to ensure consistency. At night, I use the same face wash, but switch up my moisturiser.

Hair: I always use L’Oréal Expert Vitamino shampoo and colour conditioner, every other day.

Body: I make sure I drink plenty of water throughout the day (this helps with my skin, as well).

Pet peeve: Chewing with your mouth open.


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

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