Ianthe Yatawatte Raj

In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan


Born in
Muscat – in Oman

Alma maters
University of West London (UWL) and Colombo International School (Kandy) 

 Family members
Father (Charles Raj) and mother (Chintha Yatawatte)

Wanted to be
I vacillated a lot between wanting to be a vet, a lawyer or an author when I was younger

A PR and brand specialist

Netball… but on a lazy evening, I prefer a card game like Monopoly Deal or even Omi – and I  also do a lot of quizzes and logic puzzles onlin

Impressed by
Knowledge – particularly people who are knowledgeable and willing to share what they know with others


One new thing you tried this year
One pot pasta but in a rice cooker – #LockdownDiaries

Workout preferences
I am really not self-motivated enough to go to the gym as it seems quite rigid to me. So I prefer to do my workouts through competitive sports such as badminton

Saddened when…
Religion and culture are used as a reason to alienate or treat others unfairly

Issues of particular concern to you
I am particularly saddened by the ongoing violation of women and children’s rights in Sri Lanka and abroad

Success to you is…
Success is being able to live life by my own standards and have just enough of everything so that I can share with others

Purpose in life
My purpose in life is to be better than who I was and those who preceded me – and inspire and support others

Items on your bucket list following retirement
Move to a secluded hillside, have nothing to do and get to do anything I’d ever want to

Pet peeves
Talking loudly for no reason, micromanagers and inefficiency

Languages you’d like to learn
Spanish, Chinese and Latin


Most hated chore
Picking up after other people

Quizzes, shooting and movie marathons

Three must-haves
My hairband, phone and a portable charger

Unlikely food combination
Curd and roti

Likely retirement destination
Ella in Sri Lanka or Scotland

Challenged by
People – human beings are such an interesting bunch

Desired qualities in a friend
Loyalty, kindness, trustworthiness and most importantly, the willingness to go and collect food delivered at the gate

One thing you would change about yourself
Nothing really – because I believe that we’re who we are meant to be and if we weren’t who we are today, we wouldn’t be in a position to help others

Yourself in a few words…
Compassionate, easygoing, too diplomatic for my own good, non-confrontational for the most part and living for the funny moments while being inspired by those around me


Grey, white and emerald green

White wine, a Triple Berry smoothie from FUEL Bar or plain tea with no sugar

Places to eat
Rare at Residence, California Grill and The Gallery Café

Chill out spots
Home or a friend’s house, The Fortress Resort & Spa, Balumgala and Hideout Ella

Any pasta dish, godamba roti, curd and chicken curry or a halloumi wrap from SUPERFOOD

Happy places
Home, The Fortress Resort & Spa, Balumgala and The Social in Unawatuna

Apple, ShareTheMeal and Ena-Home

TV shows
Friends, Modern Family and Black-ish

Alex Cross (series) – by James Patterson; The Yellow Wallpaper – by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; and The Haunting of Hill House – by Shirley Jackson

Christian Bale, Ryan Reynolds and Julia Roberts

Yiruma, Chris Brown and Nat King Cole

Savage Garden’s The Animal Song, Andrea Bocelli’s and Celine Dion’s The Prayer and Shanice’s I Love Your Smile

Favourite civil servant
Former Deputy Inspector General of Police Bimshani Jasin Arachchi

Her notable credentials
She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics, Statistics and Sinhala from the University of Ruhuna and Master’s Degree in Human Rights from the University of Sri Lanka, and was a Director of the Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women


The first thing you need after waking up is…
My phone

The first thing you notice when meeting someone is…
His or her facial expressions – particularly the smile and way his or her eyes move

The best thing about working in your industry is…
Constantly learning about global industry changes – I continue to gain knowledge about specific industries from both existing and new clients

Sri Lanka in a few words…
A country that’s home to very capable and innovative thinkers – Sri Lankans are unfortunately unable to achieve their fullest potential due to the lapses in industry and regulation

Children are…
One of the many reasons we need to keep working hard to make the world a better place


Most productive in the morning, noon or night
Night – because most of my daylight hours are spent managing calls with clients

A leader or follower by nature
Leader. I believe a good leader knows when to take a step back and wait for the best outcome – and when to step in when leadership is needed

Cook or foodie

The glass is half full or half empty
I’m a glass half full person – nothing is beyond repair or redemption in my eyes

The most delightful word you can think of

Your most used word or phrase

Role models
My parents – because they’ve shown me how important family is and how to create positive relationships with those around me

Other notable role models throughout your life
Cinnamon Red General Manager Terrence Fernando – because he still teaches me how to navigate my professional career and personal life; and UWL lecturers Clare Gorham and Gloria Walker who embodied the best of academic know-how and industry practice

Ianthe Yatawatte Raj is the Director – Strategic Marketing of Quire Sri Lanka