The least relatable thing about Bimanee Meepagala is how good she is at time management. “I start the day off early, so around 5 AM, I drop my son off by 7 AM, then I go directly to the gym and then to work, which goes on until around 6 PM, sometimes later,” she tells me while I scramble to write it all down. “And then I go home to my kid’s homework, so that’s essentially the everyday routine.” Her everyday routine, I tell her, is very impressive. “It’s definitely tough, you have to balance a lot of things as a woman,” she admits. “There’s a lot expected from you — on the home front, as a mother, at work. Multitasking becomes really important.”
Bimanee, currently the Vice President at NDB Wealth Management, walks that fine line between having it all together while also somehow being genuinely approachable. For one thing, she’s full of surprises. “I was really big into sports. People don’t even believe the amount of sports I did,” she laughs. She had National Colours back then, she says, “But my upbringing was such that you still had to get through your exams and make the grades, so balance and focus were very important.”
Her career so far is characteristic of that focus — first completing CIMA and then a degree and masters in Financial Economics, Bimanee worked as a research analyst at Lanka Securities during the latter, eventually joining NDB Wealth Management in 2007. “I really love investments, I love markets and I think I really need that adrenaline rush,” she laughs. “I think that’s like an addiction right now.” Passion, too, is important to Bimanee, in fact, it practically radiates off of her. Here is a woman who truly loves what she does. The most challenging phase of her career, she tells me, was immediately after she had her son. “After my kid, that period was tough, because you have sleepless nights, and you get up in the morning and you still have to come to office and do your work,” she explains. “But I was committed not to give up work, because I really love what I do. But it was tough.”.
Working in an industry that remains heavily male-dominated, Bimanee is committed to inclusivity, and points out the overall benefits to companies of having gender-balanced teams: “I think women, no matter what, bring in a different dimension to teams, especially at the board level.” A 2017 research study showed that only 13 percent of participants in managerial positions in Sri Lankan banks are female, with director boards being only 9 percent female. It’s a statistic Bimanee works to change, explaining that equal gender ratios are key to improving and expanding “corporate strategies, views, and how things will get better executed.”
When I ask what she’d like to do in the future—a question that usually elicits answers ranging from a little vague to entirely obscure—Bimanee knows exactly what she wants. “More corporate strategy, to formulate strategy for companies,” she says. “And definitely more lecturing, because I do it part-time now, and I love it.” Currently, she lectures in economics and finance, so if you’re in that field—and if you’re really lucky— you’ll be seeing her soon.
Photography by Amitha Thennakoon. Art & Direction by Ricky De Silva. Videography by StoryWorks.