Rugby, Career and Events: My most treasured moments at Keells

They say once you find your true passion there’s no going back. I was lucky to have found my passion at a very young age which in fact helped me in starting my career with Keells as an Employee Engagement Coordinator in 2017. My passion is rugby, and I currently represent Havelock Sports Club and I have been playing rugby for the past 15 years -starting with schools’ rugby at St. Peter’s College

My life was mostly about attending practices, playing matches until I started working at Keells; thanks to Rizwan Meedin who is a recruitment executive at Keells and the captain of the Keells rugby team that year. Even though I was initially clueless of the many aspects within the corporate world as a fresher, over the past three years the team at Keells has helped me grow as a person professionally. In the first few weeks of joining Keells, getting out of bed early to make it on time to office, after a strenuous rugby practice session the evening before, was hard. However, I quickly learnt the art and importance of effective time management and Keells provided me with the flexibility to start work earlier or work after practices so that I could balance both work and rugby.

I was so grateful when my efforts were recognised and rewarded by the management at Keells when I was promoted as an HR executive in July this year.

Firstly, being a member of the Employee engagement team for over 3 years, I received numerous opportunities to learn and grow as a professional, and it also helped in finding a new passion in life, other than Rugby, which is event management. I really enjoyed organizing events for both outlets and Head office staff ensuring that Keells is, in line with the John Keells Groups, employer vision, is truly ‘more than just a workplace’. As a team player the support I get from my fellow colleagues has helped me in the planning and executing various events that were highly praised by staff. Keells Singing Star 2020 was the most recent event I was able to organise together with my colleagues and we were able to take it to another level by doing the first live stream event at Keells which had over 1.5k views through YouTube. It wouldn’t have been successful if not for the guidance of my supervisor and the rest of the event team.

However, the most unforgettable moment at Keells so far for me was winning the JKH inter-company rugby 7’s in the year 2019. After being placed in the bottom for the first two years we were able to win the cup championship in 2019. As it was a 3-horse race for the championship we unfortunately lost our group game to Cinnamon Red. However as a team we were able to overcome the challenge as we defeated the team from Walkers and Whittalls at the eliminator and reached the finals against cinnamon red. In that game I was able to score the first try of the match and convert it into a goal after a brilliant team effort that gave us the much-needed head start to the game. We were able to hold onto the lead by scoring two more goals and the score was 21- 12 at the final whistle. The victory would not have been possible if not for the immense support extended by the management team. I still remember the words of Ashan, who is the Head of HR for retail said to the team following our first match. He said that “We will never be losers, but we will learn from our mistakes.” I am glad that Keells never gave up on the team despite the continuous defeats in the first two years. That is what kept us motivated and resulted in our victory last year.

For a balanced life of both work and sport, an encouraging support system is a must that includes having an understanding family, which I have been blessed with. I am also humbled by the immense support from Keells and JKH that allows all sportsmen to achieve their passion. I believe it’s the patience and the consistency; one puts in that reaps the benefits. To all my rugby friends and other sportsmen, if there’s a will there’s a way.