Pubudu de Zoysa

In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan


Born in

Alma mater
Dharmasoka College (Ambalangoda)

Husband (Krish Fernando), mother (the late Pushpa de Zoysa Gunatilleke), father (the late Capt. Senison de Zoysa), brothers (Nalaka de Zoysa and Ravindra de Zoysa) and sister (Moksha de Zoysa)

Wanted to be
A humble and happy professional with the drive to serve society and create a legacy

A human being living with a purpose and smile

Driven by
The passion to perform, infectious energy and being at the centre of
all the action

Likes to
Play an active role in life

Likes to watch
Others grow to their full potential

Most unforgettable event
The catastrophic 2004 tsunami

Best advice received
My father advised me to lead a life of integrity and help others grow

Mantra to unwind
Taking three deep breaths and listening to inspiring music


One new thing you tried this year
To not attempt to perfect everything in life

What do you hope to achieve as a Rotary District Governor for Sri Lanka and Maldives?
I hope to make a difference to our nation by connecting the global and local networks of Rotary while building human capacity and economic development

Workout preferences

Saddened when…
People let me down and stab me in the back

Success to you is…
When my plans or dreams become a reality – and when I see people around me grow to their full potential as a result of my interventions

Three items on your bucket list for the next six months
Upskilling our youth with demand driven vocational training, motivating members of Rotary International to promote Sri Lanka tourism, and building a sense of fulfilment among the Rotarians – i.e. by creating opportunities for social engagement and camaraderie

Purpose in life
Live simply and happily while helping others to excel, by using my skills, professionalism and network

Describe your day off
Waking up late, dining out and spending time at the salon

Items on your bucket list following retirement
Travelling and exploring new destinations; and observing simple things in nature, mingling with friends and family and reminiscing the good times, and practising meditation and mindfulness to achieve spiritual enlightenment

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


Most hated chore

Obsessed with
Cleaning and neatness

Pet peeves
Lying, excuses and lethargy

A moment in time you’d like to go back to
My first day at school

The places and people you enjoy spending time with the most
Holidaying and exploring countries with my husband

What are some of the humanitarian issues you hope to help campaign for?
Empowering our young adult workforce with value adding life skills that will make them financially independent

Chatting with friends, travelling and shopping

Three must-haves
Time, health and happiness

A type of food you avoid
Spicy food

Likely retirement destination

Challenged by
The new norms of the pandemic that have transformed into opportunities

Desired qualities in a friend
Dependability, honesty and empathy

One thing you would change about yourself
To remain calm and become a better listener

Yourself in a few words…
I’m a catalyst for change with the drive to work with people and get the best out of them


Day of the week


Fresh orange juice

Place to eat
Long Feng, Olive Garden and Chick-fil-A

Chill out spot
80 Club of Colombo


Happy place
Yala National Park

Calvin Klein, COACH and MAC Cosmetics

TV shows
New Amsterdam, Friends, Selling Sunset

John Grisham, Danielle Steel and Robin Sharma

Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson

Bathiya & Santhush (BNS), the late Sunil Perera and Celine Dion

My Way (by Frank Sinatra), That’s What Friends Are For (Dionne Warwick) and Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)


The first thing you do after waking up is…
Tidy my bed and then drink a glass of water to refresh my system

The first thing you notice when you meet someone is…
Their beautiful smile, facial expressions and body language

Recently laughed out loud when…
My old work colleagues were cherishing the good times in an online get together

Last gift to someone…
I invested time, knowledge and energy in a deserving Rotarian friend

I find myself challenged by…
The extraordinary – and doing something complex and innovative that involves people

You know it’s going to be a bad day when…
I have a late start to my day

The best thing about working in your sector is…
Utilising global donor expertise drives happiness and adds value to human life through the healthcare programmes conducted in Sri Lanka

A new technology that will transform the future…
Sustainable renewable energy that can coexist with Mother Nature

Sri Lanka in a few words…
A splendid island that’s rich in warm and hospitable people

Children are…
Beautiful flowers that are waiting to blossom and must be guided with love


Most productive in the morning, noon or night

A leader or follower by nature

Cook or foodie

Quality or quantity

The glass is half full or half empty
Half full

The most delightful word you can think of

Work or play after retirement

Your most used word or phrase
Thank you

Role model
My late father (for his advice that guides me)

Pubudu is a chartered civil engineer – she is a Project Director at the Global Fund (Geneva) for the Ministry of Health and the Governor for the Rotary District of Sri Lanka and Maldives