“Trendsetter. Forward-thinker. Innovator.” Those are the traits that Githanji Kaluperuma strives to exemplify as an Executive Director at Stafford Motor Co., one of the oldest Honda distributors in the world. Established by Githanji’s grandfather Felix de Zoysa, founder of the Stafford group of companies, Stafford Motor Co. is known for bringing affordable transportation to Sri Lankans.
“I try to identify what’s happening around the world, recognize global trends and adapt them to the local business environment I’m working in,” Githanji says. “Our corporate culture is slow-paced and not as innovative as it should be, so personally, I look for ways we can adopt new ways of thinking.”
As Githanji looks for new approaches, she often turns to the people she considers mold-breakers — people who have overcome adversity to make a positive impact. “They find opportunities in the problems that people face,” she says. “They embrace challenges.”
This drive to make a difference is essential to all companies, including family enterprises. Businesses are in a critical time, and innovation is key. But to truly be ready for tomorrow’s world, Githanji says that companies need to balance their values with innovation.
Githanji says the EY NextGen Academy’s “week-long, intense experience” is an ideal way to be exposed to new and different ways of doing business and become a better leader. Attendees get to learn from their family business peers in a wide range of industries and come away inspired.
“When we share stories, we find that we all go through similar experiences,” she says. “It’s comforting to know, and you walk away with so much.”