Sri Lankan woman creates history | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankan woman creates history

Sri Lankan management accounting professional Melanie Janine Kanaka was elected as the first Sri Lankan woman Global Vice President of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) by over 88 percent of its global members voting at the 101st Annual General Meeting recently, acknowledging her 30 year service to the CIMA fraternity worldwide.

In CIMA’s 100 year history, Melanie is the first woman outside of the UK, elected to this global position, to be part of the leadership team in a fraternity of over 650,000 members and students in 179 countries and territories. Being the first resident Sri Lankan to hold this office, she brings glory to this island nation.

“Every profession is trying to adapt and integrate into the new normal post-Covid-19 realities, with Sri Lanka and the world economy slowly reopening, relaxing lockdown measures. In such a backdrop, management accounting professionals should spearhead the growth of businesses and organisations with their talents and skills,” Melanie said.

“Since challenges such as the Covid-19 global pandemic are a temporary phenomenon, Management Accountants unlike traditional finance professionals are the best equipped specialists to lead businesses and organisations to navigate through the extraordinary challenges and ensure that our economic resurgence is on the right track,” said Kanaka who is the first Sri Lankan and non-UK assessor invited to the CIMA Global

Membership Board in 2009, and has been a Membership Assessor since 2008.

In 2013, she was elected to the CIMA Council from South Asia for a three year term and was subsequently co-opted in 2017. She has served on Policy Committees of CIMA: Membership, Lifelong learning, Technical and Member Services. In 2015, she was elected to CIMA’s Appointment’s Committee. She chaired the Membership Committee and under her leadership, the committee introduced an appeals’ process for membership. Melanie chaired the Professional Standards and Conduct Committee of CIMA in 2019/2020, which made significant contributions to the revised CIMA Code of Ethics. She is a Director of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, which is the most influential body of professional accountants, combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide.

Admitted to Fellowship in 2000, Melanie has 30-year experience in Corporate Finance, SAP and Development Banking, across USA, Germany and South Asia, working for Bellsouth (USA), DFCC Bank and Sri Lankan Conglomerates Hayleys Group and MAS Holdings. She also served on the Audit Committee of the International Planned Parenthood Federation headquartered in London.

She is the Head of Finance and Administration at the World Bank in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

She is a Fulbright Scholar, with an MBA specialising in International Finance and Corporate Strategy from the Goizuetta Business School of Emory University USA. She has a B.Com (Hons) degree with a first class from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and is an alumna of Bishop’s College. She is a former national swimmer for Sri Lanka, with the rare distinction of officiating at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, USA.

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