In conversation with Amanda Ferreira
This global citizen once had a career in the skies, proudly serving as an ambassador of Sri Lanka with the national carrier.
The Assistant General Manager – Marketing of Alaris Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Amanda Ferreira describes herself as a fun-loving person who is sporty by nature and extremely competitive. This global citizen once had a career in the skies, proudly serving as an ambassador of Sri Lanka with the national carrier. Now grounded and in the corporate world, her pride and joy is her three year old son who happens to be a mama’s boy – something she can deliver on quite easily thanks to the understanding and flexible nature of her firm.
Tell us about Alaris in a nutshell
When considering our rate of growth for the past five years, I can confidently say that Alaris is among the fastest growing companies in the field of pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals. Our products are of the highest quality and we implement out of the box strategies to market them to our consumers. One such example of this is Facia, the most popular brand in the food supplements category.
How would you identify your organization’s structure and culture?
Alaris exhibits a flat organizational structure. What this means is that our chairman and top-level management are very easily approachable to all team members. Everyone is just one call away, which has embedded an almost family-like culture. The same is present in our sister company, Hi-Care Pharma which markets Lia and Offmarks products. Both of which are number two and three in the market respectively which are overlooked by me.
In terms of marketing, how does Alaris differ from the competition?
Unlike the modern-day attitude to marketing where firms create the need for a product in the market, Alaris uses hands on expertise to go out into the field to gather information. We conduct numerous surveys and market research initiatives in order to develop the exacting products which the market requires. As a result, we are an ethical business in which the customers stay loyal to our brands.
What is your competitive advantage?
As all our products are Australian, we are the only firm in the country which has products manufactured under WHO – GMP (World Health Organization, Good Manufacturing Practices) & the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) seal of approval; TGA is the regulatory body for therapeutic goods in Australia. Additionally, we are also approved by the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and The Department of Ayurveda, Sri Lanka. We ensure that our regulatory procedures are strictly followed before any product enters the market.
How did you enter the corporate world?
During my A levels, I had an idea of getting into the marketing discipline. As a result, most of my academic choices were aligned with this goal. I also served as a member of cabin crew for the national carrier of Sri Lanka during my higher studies. Soon after, I entered the corporate world as a business development executive at a hospitality firm. Later, I joined Alaris in 2012 as a brand manager and I currently stand as an assistant general manager – marketing. It is quite a rewarding feeling to know that I have grown alongside the company.
Did you have trouble adapting to a desk job after your role as cabin crew?
My job consists of a lot of work away from my desk. As we host many customer interaction programs and workshops, it is a very hands on career. There is always something new challenging coming my way, so it isn’t just a desk job.
How do you manage your family life?
Alaris is very flexible when it comes to timings. Because of this, it is very easy for me to be with my son as well. My husband is the Deputy Chief pilot Training & Standards of Sri Lankan Airlines, so he too is very busy with his career at the moment. Alaris is quite employee oriented and enables staff to maintain a healthy work and personal life balance, which I think is critical in this day and age.
What lessons did you learn during your career with Sri Lankan?
During my time in the skies, I was exposed to many world cultures and customs. I am who I am today because of this global exposure. Making it on my own in foreign lands also developed my independence. So yes, it was quite a rewarding period in my life. Having said that, my role at Alaris requires me to travel several times a year too, so I still get to visit the rest of the world.
Any thoughts on gender discrimination within the corporate world?
Discrimination among employees based on gender is quite rampant in the corporate world. Having said that, Alaris stands out. No matter what your gender is, all opinions are taken seriously and accounted for. Our top management is personally involved in the development of staff, right from the initial interview. Additionally, as Alaris is in the pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical industry, it is advantageous for us to have higher numbers of female staff.
If you could advise the next generation of females who are working towards breaking the stereotype, what would you tell them?
My message to them would be that theory knowledge is important but practical knowledge is more important. I have seen instances where employees who do not have a formal higher education, exhibit innovative ideas and skill sets which enable them to become star employees. Also, many females think that the government sector is a better option when it comes to maintaining a better work life balance which is not the case, if you are smart enough and choose the right organization to work for, this will never be an issue. Always know what you want in life and ensure that you give it your all to achieve it.