Belief-defying ability | Sunday Observer

Belief-defying ability

23 January, 2022
Dian Gomes 
Dian Gomes 

The Sunday Observer Business begins a series of interviews with top corporate personalities.

His level of flair and knack simply defies belief. Unconventional thinker and radical reformer changed the destiny of the three-letter entity ‘MAS’ from an obscure past to that of a current and yet-to-come apparel legend.

Management Accountant, globally and locally benchmarked administrator, fabled boxer›s corner man, apparel genius, art connoisseur – Dian Gomes, the Honorary Consul of Georgia in Sri Lanka, Member of the Board of Nestle PLC is a proud son of Mother Lanka, honoured and commemorated ‘Sri Lanka Sikhamani’ by the Government.

Your background should be as fascinating as you, am I right?

A: Yes. My name is Dian Gomes. I was born to a middle class family in Colombo and we lived down Gomes Path (named after my grandfather) in De Fonseka Road.

Daniel, my father an old Royalist, was a banker whose whole life revolved around work, temple and sport.

The impact of his life’s ethics may have played a part in my life for I know what hard work is and I am a devout Buddhist and a boxer.

I was only thirteen when my father passed away and then my mother steered my destiny.

I too followed in my father’s footsteps and joined Royal College Colombo and in school I was keener on sports such as boxing over academic matters. Yet, I won the Advanced Level Grade 12 form prize.

At the end of my secondary education I joined Ford Rhodes & Thornton, Sri Lanka’s oldest and a venerated firm of Chartered Accountants. It was here, I qualified in CIMA - Chartered Institute of Management Accountants through the good cheer and back-up of the firm’s managing partner.

My journey had just begun and I moved on from Thornton to Saracen Interiors a British design and construction company as its financial controller at 22. I then joined May Department Store in Colombo, a US company as its youngest General Manager, leaving Saracen’s finance director slot.

I had a yearning for close human relationships and to work for a company that valued professionals within its ranks and allowed people to thrive while moving towards excellence. This yearning thirsted me to change course once again. Then, Mahesh Amalean changed my life and career perhaps forever.

Mahesh fascinated me with his clear vision for an organisation, his passion to excel and quest to develop a company run by professionals – all rare virtues in the apparel industry at the time. He, I felt, was keen to have go-getters like me hold forte as General Manager of Shadowline, a nightwear manufacturing company and a joint venture between MAS Holdings and MAST Industries of USA – a global sourcing partner for leading US Apparel brands. I joined him and contributed my might in no uncertain measure and the rest of the story is history and needs no repetition.

How do you generate new ideas?

I always stand by my team and if they falter or are struggling I support and guide them.

This results in the team supporting me and I am able to bring out the best in them.

I love to meet and mingle with people and that’s my strength. When I meet a person I make sure I get to know them well. I cherish these meetings, big or small. My keyword is networking and I thrive on lifelong relationships.

What are the plans for the twilight years of your life?

I love to lead a life of service to people for as long as I breathe. An inspiring and stirring passage by an unknown author I love to read and keep in my mind goes on like this “above all may you have the foolishness to think you can make a difference in the world. So that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done”

What is your message for budding entrepreneurs?

In essence, planning is a must before you embark on any business. Finding a good mentor is equally important as they could help you out and guide you at different stages of your journey.