Ransi Dharmasiriwardhana

In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan


Born in
I was born in Kuwait, lived in the US for almost 20 years and moved back home to Sri Lanka in 2006

Initially to explore my roots and then fell in love with the country

Qualifications and alma mater
BSc in International Business Management from the University of Maryland and MSc in Organisational Psychology from Heriot-Watt University

My husband (Niluke), Ammi and Thaththi (the wind beneath my wings), brother (Charith), three nephews (Dilan, and the twins Dinul and Disath) and of course, the two fur balls (Teddy and Bruno)

Wanted to be
I had various dreams before realising my true passion for human resources

These dreams included…
As a child, I wanted to be a street racer because I was fascinated by high-speed cars and their drifts… and then I debated between being a physical therapist and humanitarian officer in a nonprofit

Your journey before discovering this passion
I read for my degree in international business management and then completed all the prerequisites to enter physical therapy school

You are
After trying various professions from the retail sector to the non-profit space, I accidentally stumbled upon my passion – a career in human resources

Would like to drive
A Wrangler

Likes to play
I’m not the sporty type but love jet skiing – although in high school, I was in the track and field team, and competed in the 4×100 relay and triple jump

Most unforgettable event
When I fell into a river in Langkawi last year – and saw my life flash before my eyes… because I could not swim

Any other unforgettable events
Seeing the northern lights while sitting in a glass igloo in Finland

Best advice received
Value equals investment: the time and energy you dedicate to anyone determines the valueand if it isn’t mutual, it’s not worth the investment 

Like to watch
I love action and horror movies but hate ones filled with blood! I recently watched Those Who Wish Me Dead

Mantra to unwind
A book and the beach


Two new things you tried last year
I started swimming classes and also received my Professional Certified Coach certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF)

Workout preferences
Outdoor morning walks

Success to you is…
Peace of mind

Impressed by
Authenticity and values

Purpose(s) in life
Charith, Disath, Dinul and Dilan

Desired qualities in a friend
Authenticity, trust and care

Items on your bucket list following retirement
Since my life mantra is carpe diem, which loosely translates into ‘seize the day,’ I’m hoping I won’t have to wait until retirement to complete my present bucket list

Which item do you hope to complete before retirement
I’d like to spend more time understanding the deeper teachings of Buddhism and hopefully won’t have to wait for retirement

Languages you’d like to learn
Although I speak Sinhala fluently, I can’t read or write Sinhala so I’d like to learn the language properly


Most hated chore

Obsessed with
A must-have is white bed linen

Pet peeves
White lies, when folks are tardy and when someone stands very close to me in a line

A moment in time you’d like to go back to
Since I don’t believe in looking back, I work in the present to have a better future 


Likely retirement destination
Sri Lanka

Three items on your bucket list for the next six months
Skydiving, a road trip and giving back

Unlikely food combination
Bananas and Krisco 

Yourself in a few words…
I believe I’m a catalyst – I’m upfront, direct, value-centric, live by example and place family above all


Day of the week


Depends on the time, day and mood


Chill out spot

Happy place
My bed

TV show
I rarely watch TV except for Grey’s Anatomy – it is the only TV series I binge watch

I love books and am currently reading A Still Forest Pool

Banana Republic, Mango and any fruit that fits well

Angelina Jolie

Anything from the 1990s

Memory skills
Selective when it’s important and zero when it’s not


The first thing you notice when meeting someone is…
His or her smile

The first thing you need when you wake up is…
My morning walk – I don’t drink tea or coffee

Recently laughed out loud when…
We choreographed the dance moves to a slow-paced Naga Salan track

Last gift to someone…
A blue sapphire necklace 

The best thing about working in your sector is…
The ability to have an impact, drive change and make a difference to people’s lives

New technology will transform the future in…
The healthcare space 

Sri Lanka in a few words…

Children are…
The purest gift to mankind


Most productive in the morning, noon or night
Early morning 

A leader or follower by nature

Cook or foodie

Quality or quantity

The glass is half full or half empty
Always half full

The most delightful word you can think of

Work or play after retirement
Why not both?

Your most used word or phrase

Role mode
My father

Ransi is the Head of Human Resources at Standard Chartered Bank