Create your own ladder to success – Vindya Vithana | Sunday Observer

Create your own ladder to success – Vindya Vithana

25 October, 2020

indya Vithana is an aspiring entrepreneur and a leading editor in the corporate world. She is the Lifestyle Editor for Newsweek’s Performance Marketing Unit, Chief Editor for the XtreamYouth magazine and a young achiever who has placed herself within the ‘50 Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders’ at the World Marketing Congress and earned the award for the ‘Young Business Leadership of the Year’ at the 2017 Women in Management Awards. This is her story as revealed to the Youth Observer.

Q:? How did you become the person you are today?

A: I was a curious little girl who always had a book in her hands. When I was about eight years old, my parents took me to the local public library because they just couldn’t keep up with the rate I was reading at . My school, Visakha Vidyalaya, helped further to enhance my love of reading. After A/Ls,I entered the University of Colombo to study English Literature.

That was also around the time I was invited by Ignatious Jayatilake and Kasun Malith to join XtreamYouth as their Chief Editor. What started as a part-time job during my sophomore year led me to make very rapid progress in the fields of PR and Digital Marketing. By the time I was 25, I was one of the “50 Most Influential Global Marketing Leaders” at the World Marketing Congress, and my work at XtreamYouth led me to get the accolade of “Young Business Leadership of the Year” at the “2017 Women in Management Awards”.

After two very exciting years in Singapore as a digital strategist, I realised that what my heart truly desired was writing. I joined Newsweek as a writer early this year and very recently got promoted as the Lifestyle Editor for Newsweek’s Performance Marketing Unit. This position is the perfect sweet spot for writing and digital marketing, two of my biggest passions. Right now, I am everything I ever wanted to be.

Q:? In your opinion how important is digital marketing i for the corporate world? And why should youth pursue it?

A: In this day and age, every single company, no matter which industry, must include digital platforms in their marketing sooner or later. It’s like what Bill Gates once said , “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business”. You have to meet your consumers where they spend most of their time, which is Google, Facebook, Instagram or probably even watching TikTok videos depending on your target audience.

Digital Marketing is a vast field, there’s something for everyone there, as long as you are creative and skilled in what you do. There are so many avenues that you can follow, let it be the tech aspects, creative process, or the business aspect of it. It also doesn’t hurt that digital marketing is very in-demand right now, therefore, higher compensations and many opportunities to grow.

Q:? As an editor tell us your perception of how digitalisation has transformed journalism?

A: One of the most surreal things, when I started my job as the Lifestyle Editor for a prominent news organisation with a solid digital arm, was the sheer breadth of my audience. The world is my audience. This is a pressure that traditional journalism did not have. However, I am only one of the numerous platforms out there competing for the attention of those who have millions of options available to them at their fingertips. Mere quality and facts no longer keep a person interested in an article, even if it is a news item. You have to make it entertaining for it to work.

With social media, a writer has a fraction of a second to capture the attention of a reader. This has unfortunately led to click-baits. They promise the reader so much and do not fulfill the writer’s end of the deal. As a Lifestyle Editor, I am very strict with my writers about toning down the “click-bait” headlines. With the right words, you can arouse the curiosity of the reader without outright telling “OMG you would not believe how insanely cool this thing is”.

Q:? The pandemic altered the lifestyles of people. What are the adjustments you made while working remotely?

A: I’m not new to remote work. I like to joke that I was working from home before it was cool! My two-year stint in Singapore involved lots of traveling all over South East Asia, mainly Bali. I have done some of my best work in airport lounges and the window seat of a plane while sipping in-flight coffee. Not restricting yourself to an office cubicle can feel incredibly liberating, but you need a strong work ethic and self-discipline to make that work.

My husband, who is a Software Engineer, is also working from home these days. At first, we thought it would be difficult to adapt to this new normal, but it worked out perfectly since our working styles perfectly complement each other. I am an early bird, and he’s a night owl. One of the silver linings of these Covid lockdowns has been how we get to spend more time with our loved ones.

Q: How do you maintain a sustainable lifestyle?

A: Of the many passions that I have in life, living a minimalistic and sustainable lifestyle has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things I have done. Maintaining a sustainable lifestyle is about living with purpose and being mindful about consumption.It’s about being careful about our energy consumption, reusing and recyclingthe products that we buy, skipping single-use items, and many little changes in our everyday life that help reduce our environmental impact.

I have recently started being more sustainable and minimalistic with my fashion. I stick to solid colors and a few statement pieces that I mix and match, without buying more clothes excessively. I also go for natural fabrics such as linen and cotton, avoiding synthetic fabrics as much as possible. Apart from helping the environment, these changes also help you become a more selfless, self-aware, and happier human being knowing that you are part of a greater thing.

Q:? What are the tips you have to evolve and grow as a young entrepreneur?

A: I will give you three tips. The first is to have a vision that is bigger than you. When challenges arise, which they will, you need something bigger than money or fame to motivate you. The second is to take risks. I think it was Jeff Bezos who said, “You would not regret failure, but you would regret not trying”. The final tip is to always believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you ask others to do so?

Q:? How does being an avid reader help regardless of career?

A: This is very close to my heart. My beloved parents, who are avid readers themselves, gave me the gift of reading at a very young age. My dad still jokes about how he once found me sitting on the floor intently reading the very heavy Ummagga Jathakaya at the age of six. Reading helps you understand human nature, and to empathise with people. It sparks creativity and enhances your imagination. If you want a more scientific reason, reading drastically improves your cognitive functions. And if none of that motivates you, reading gives you a very good vocabulary and the ability to speak with eloquence which is useful no matter which career path you choose.

Q:? How does mindfulness lead to healthy living?

A: When my work took me to Bali for a year, I did a full-time Yoga and Mindfulness retreat for six weeks. This was after years of trying to achieve a bunch of academic and career goals without taking a rest. I felt burnt out. I wanted peace. I wanted my mind to feel calm again. Mindfulness helped increase my focus and self-awareness. It helped me to stop and enjoy the moment. For years I had been running so fast without pausing to enjoy the beautiful things around me.

Since then, I have adopted yoga and meditation into my everyday life. I wake up at 5am and spend an hour practicing Yoga and Tai Chi, followed by mindfulness mediation. I have never been healthier and happier. It has also drastically improved my personal and social relationships.

Q:? How do you balance work and personal life?

A: Priorities. It is all about priorities. I consider time as a currency, and I am very careful about what and who I am spending it on. Many people approach work-life balance in different ways, but what works for me is keeping them fully separate. I have a cozy little home office where I work. I don’t bring my phone to my office, and I don’t take my work to my living room.

Being an early riser helps me do a good amount of work by the time others wakeup. For the rest of the day, I have set work hours and I stick to them. My husband is also really good at sticking to his working hours. This means we have plenty of time to sit together, relax, and catch up on our Netflix shows — mostly Friends re-runs — in the evening.

Q:? What makes you so energetic, courageous, motivated, and a go-getter?

A: What makes me energetic is the immense love and respect I have for this beautiful thing called life. I am endlessly fascinated by the capabilities of the human mind and the body. I eat clean and maintain good fitness to stay healthy and energetic. And I meditate to ensure that my mind stays sharp and as just as energetic as my body. My courage comes from a desire to bring more positivity to this chaotic world, even if some days it only means keeping my close circle of loved ones happy.

I am motivated by possibilities. The world is filled with possibilities right now. Many restrictions have crumbled apart during the past few decades due to the rapid development of communications and information technology. There are no longer limits for our dreams and aspirations, and it is keeping me motivated to do bigger and better things every single day.

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