Preserving a 60-year-old legacy of wellness | Kumudika Fernando
Started as a mere worker in the factory, studying the culture, values, and the traditions of Maliban Biscuits to mold into her role of the Managing Director, Kumudika Fernando enlightened us with her joyful journey.
Starting from Ground Zero to learn, adapt and overcome!
Daughter to the chairman of the Maliban Group of Comapanies; A.G.R. Samaraweera and granddaughter to the founder A.G. Hinni Appuhamu, Kumudika Fernando was quite born into her family business. However, her career life sure did not start in a giant cubicle and comfortable chair. To learn the traditions, the process and the values of the company, Kumudika joined as a worker at the Little Lion factory located in Kotahena, a subsidiary of Maliban Group.
Getting to know workers who’ve been working in the factory for their entire lifetime, where they’ve met generations of her family was a major turning point for her. Listening to the stories of how Maliban first started, what it was like back then, learning the delightful process of manufacturing biscuits was an adventure she loved. The knowledge and principles she gathered as a mere worker helped her fit into the role of the Managing Director at Maliban Group of Companies, where she achieved and established many things.
There was no surprise when Kumudika Fernando introduced Maliban Agri and Maliban Kiri, respectively the agricultural and dairy/milk products to the company, as she was always a passionate and hardworking personality who had a keen eye on the needs and necessities of the market and wanted to improvise with the knowledge she had. Launching Maliban Agri and Maliban Kiri was a lifechanging moment for the farmers in Sri Lanka as their living status started becoming better with the increased income. Today, more than 300 farmers work together with Maliban. Uplifting local economy has always been a main objective of Maliban, and Kumudika Fernando has significantly contributed towards this praiseworthy cause.
“I always wanted to do something new, bring change while preserving the wellness and the quality maintained by Maliban. My grandfather used to say to me that we should give to the society what we could consume as a family, and I’ve always cherished those words in my heart.”
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Challenging the challenges with a fearless attitude!
The biggest challenge faced by Kumudika was how to keep the standards and the traditions of the business intact while raising the bar when she came into position. However, her enthusiasm for learning and the fearless attitude to take risks and never look back paved the way for her success.
She believes that physical and mental wellbeing is of utmost importance to kick start your day and to feel energetic throughout the hectic lifestyle of hers. Waking up early morning has become a habit for her, and she indulges in various fitness activities, Yoga, Meditation and always maintain a balanced, healthy diet. No matter how busy she is, she never forgets to visit the factory she started in, and have a friendly chat with the fellow workers. Spending time with her family is her greatest happiness. She does not give in to stress, as she has always been a strong personality with a positive mindset. As she thoroughly enjoys her work, her career has become more of a hobby than a profession to her.
“Coping up with stress was never a problem to me because I did not see any of the challenges, problems and bad situations as a stress. I always faced my problems with a positive mindset that I can overcome it all. If you enjoy what you do, then it is never a stress for you!”
Win, or Learn!
Kumudika Fernando advices the young businessmen and entrepreneurs in the country with a few life experiences she had. “Do not chase after money. Chase after success, your dreams, and your goals, and money and fame will follow you. You will receive recognition for your work. Do not ever look back, give in to your fears. Be a risk taker and face your problems head on!”
Kumudika’s goal is to expand the business to multiple entities to uplift the local economy and help the ones in need. “Maliban is one big family,” she says, “We do not have a hierarchy where we treat workers and managers differently. Everyone’s opinion matters and everyone’s voice will be heard. We help the employees in need, with their health, wealth, and families. ‘Inspiring goodness’ are the words we live up to, and we want to ensure that each and every person in the country gets to live a comfortable life.”
Maliban has been helping the society in various ways, by funding to improve the country’s infrastructure, renovating hospitals, schools and religious places, and by providing medical and healthcare services to those in need. In addition, for over 15 years, Maliban has released over 2500 cows that were sent to slaughter, a program called ‘Abhayadhaanaya’. By actively participating in social services, Maliban has shown the true meaning of an organization.
“Maliban, as a family has always been customer-centric. What we give to the society, we give with a good heart. Our employees’ DNA is the quality of the products, and we will always commit to fulfill their needs. I hope my knowledge and principles can be carried forward to more generations to come, and that Maliban will continue to ‘Inspire Goodness’ in Sri Lanka and across the globe.”