Group Joint Managing Director
Shehara Jayawardana serves as the Joint Managing Director of the McLarens Group of Companies, where she directs the Group on business strategy, operations administration, new business acquisitions and mergers. She serves on the Board of 45 Companies and Joint Ventures and oversees the Group’s Shared Services, Digital Transformation and Sustainability Initiatives. With a rich history of over 70 years, the McLarens Group is a Diversified Conglomerate with Shipping, Marine & Logistics at the heart of its business, while having expanded into Petroleum & Energy, Manufacturing & Distribution, Property & Strategic Investment and Leisure. The Group is home to over 50 subsidiaries and is one of the largest shipping agency service Group’s in the country.
Shehara holds a MSc. in Shipping, Trade and Finance with Honors from City University, CASS Business School, London, UK and a BSc. in Economics with Honors from London School of Economics.
With her continued interest in Shipping and her support for women empowerment, Shehara became the Founding President of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association in Sri Lanka (WISTA) where she was instrumental in setting up the association in Sri Lanka in 2014 and gathering industry support. She was appointed as the Vice Chairman of the Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) in 2019 & 2020 and in 2017 she was the first female to be appointed as an Office Bearer in its 50 year History. She has been influential in representing several issues faced by shipping industry and liaising with Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Government of Sri Lanka to come to workable solutions for the trade.
She serves as a member of the National Agenda Committee on Transport and Logistics of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and also Heads the Development of Maritime Related Services working committee of National Maritime Policy Steering Committee.
Shehara also serves as a Member of the Advisory Committee of Caritas Sri Lanka – Social and Economic Development Center (SEDEC) and is appointed as a member of the Audit Committee of Caritas – SEDEC. Caritas Sri Lanka - SEDEC is the social arm of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka and is affiliated to Caritas International.
She was invited by the The International Chamber of Shipping Board to serve as a Panel Member at its ICS 6 strong Advisory panel on Diversity in Shipping to advice on future policy direction for the industry. She is also a Chartered Member (CMILT) of The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport and was appointed as the Advisor to the Hon Minister of Women’s & Child Affairs in March 2016. She served as a Director of the National Savings Bank in 2018 and held the position of the Chairperson of the Audit Committee. National Savings Bank (NSB).
WISTA Sri Lanka presented her with the “Personality of the Year Award” in 2018 for her tireless efforts in being the driving force for many projects and for her dedication in empowering women in the industry. Shehara also won the Silver Award – under the Supply Chain category at the Professional & Career Women Awards 2016 by Women in Management (WIM). This award was presented to Shehara in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the industry and for being an inspiring and vibrant personality.
Her passion and commitment in developing communities and helping those in need pushed her to serve as a Volunteer Committee Member of Friends of Prisoners’ Children since 2005, a program to give scholarships to the children of inmates at the Welikada and Magazine prisons.
Shehara is a Brand Ambassador of Room to Read (R2R) Sri Lanka. Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries like Sri Lanka, by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
She is the First Female Formula Racing Driver in Sri Lanka and actively participates in Motor Racing Events. She has won many accolades in several events, ranging from Hill climbs to circuit racing, gravel track, racing rallies and Go Karting. She is also a committee member of the Asian Motor Racing Club and is involved in organizing motor racing events. Shehara has given back to the racing community through the development of Speedrome in 2010 which was a training ground for new talent to enter the world of motor sports. She is a proud mother of two children Yaanik and Jayden who are also embarking on their motor racing career.