Meet the Red Dot Team
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
David Hopps
David, now UK editor of ESPNcricinfo, was a founding director of Red Dot with Charlie Austin and still spends his spare time monitoring the UK office. He visits Sri Lanka regularly, whereupon he invariably attempts to escape Charlie’s demanding meetings diary and re-explore a country that he first fell in love with 20 years ago on an England A cricket tour. Formerly a senior cricket writer on The Guardian, he has covered numerous overseas tours. He no longer has time to write cricket books, not that anyone seems to have noticed.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Charlie Austin
Charlie moved to Sri Lanka in pursuit of work experience with an environmental NGO after completing a Masters degree at Sussex University. However, upon arriving in Sri Lanka in September 1999, his career soon took a different direction as he was appointed the Country Manager of Cricinfo.com. Having fallen for Sri Lanka’s charms, he set-up Red Dot with David Hopps in the same year. He also owns a sports management business with his wife, Suthami, called Austin Management Limited (AML) that manages several Sri Lanka cricketers, including Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. He co-owns The Wallawwa, a 14-bedroom boutique hotel near the airport, with Mike Davies, a close school friend and like-minded cricket lover from Bryanston School in Dorset. Charlie is passionate about his food, cricket and loves escaping to Sri Lanka’s hill-country, especially Victoria golf club or a tea estate bungalow, with Suthami, their daughter Zara and Chillie, their cocker spaniel.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Ayanthi Samarajewa
Ayanthi is Red Dot’s director of sales and her ability is highly respected across the island. She joined the Red Dot sales team in October 2006 after two years’ experience in the travel industry. She gained an honours degree in commerce in 2005 from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura. Her interest include reading, travelling and primarily bird watching. She plans to get the ‘birdwatching bug’ in to Red Dot and have the privilege of having her hobby as part of her job.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Charmaine Stephen
Charmaine joined Red Dot in October 2010 as a sales consultant, having spent four years in the UK, studying for a degree in journalism and video production. She has worked previously in the humanitarian and media fields. She says she enjoys spending quality time with her family and relaxing (“such chances are rare,” she says, a smile never far away, perhaps hinting that Red Dot expects lengthy hours!) She has an interest in photography, influenced by her husband and yearns to resume her old lessons in ballet and karate.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Jonah Rison
Jonah Rison, who joined us in November 2009 as a sales consultant, is bilingual in French and English (French being her native language) and enables us to offer an upgraded service to our French clients. She is known by some of her friends as “the woman of colourful islands.” It must be wonderful to have a romantic nickname. She was born in Madagascar, honeymooned in Mauritius and Reunion Island was her favourite childhood destination. She then washed up in Sri Lanka in 2007. Some people have all the luck.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Lahiru Kularatne
Lahiru was drawn in to tourism when she answered an advertisement about a premier boutique hotel in Sri Lanka, namely the Sun House in Galle. It was 2000 and like most people at that time she had no idea what a boutique hotel was all about. She soon fell in love with the hotel and the Sri Lanka travel industry. Years later, armed with a newly-gained qualification as an Attorney she embarked on my professional career. " Give me credit," she said, "I stuck with it for two years!" Then she realized that life is all about doing something you really enjoy. So she joined Red Dot and says it feels amazing again to be helping people fall in love with this beautiful country. Her interests are reading, watching movies with her son and "trying to learn to swim..."
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Dirk de Silva
Dirk has risen rapidly through the ranks at Red Dot since joining us in early 2006 as a sales consultant. He is Red Dot’s director / general manager, which basically means we expect him to supervise pretty much everything going in his inimitable placid style. Educated at St Thomas College, in Colombo, he has a keen interest in driving and is particularly drawn to driving on rough outdoor terrain. Jeremy Clarkson, though, he is not. He says of his role at Red Dot: "My profession grants me the opportunity to reveal the invigorating beauty of the earth to those who seek to find that inner peace through nature’s humbling, picturesque beauty. This by far is the most fulfilling part of my life." How can you turn down an offer like that?
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Dilhari Herath
Dilhari only joined Red Dot as a senior sales consultant in 2012, but her organizational talents had long been known to us when she worked at George Steuarts Travels, with whom we had a very happy working relationship in our infancy. Dilhari often put us right on many things – now she is with us full time. She is a past pupil of Methodist College, Colombo and was a committed athlete. She entered the travel industry immediately after ending her studies and had eight years’ experience by the time she joined us. Dilhari loves travelling and is committed to improving her knowledge about new products.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Laroshi Ganegoda
Laroshi, who was born in Sri Lanka, brought up in Italy and educated in the UK, has now finally sunk her feet into the lovely sandy beaches of this tropical island she calls home. She is armed with a BA in International Travel Management as well as a Masters in International Event Management from the University of Brighton and has also previously worked in the tourism industry. Laroshi is fluent in Italian and French, likes all things “fashion”, and is also an avid gamer - DOTA being her favourite. She enjoys reading and spending time by the beach…well, what better place to be than Sri Lanka!
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Donovan Abeyewardene
Donovan is one of the newest additions to the Operations team at Red Dot. He joined in June 2011, after some exposure to Advertising, and balancing his A-Levels while working part time in Telecommunication before that. His interests range from music, movies and books, to cricket, badminton and golf. His biggest passion, however, lies with mind sports/games, with his highlight the chance to represent Sri Lanka at Bridge at the "1st Mind Sport Games" held in Beijing, China in 2008. He played under 28 level at only 18. Trump that!
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Dulith Divigalpitiya
The baby of the Red Dot team, having joined as a travel assistant in February 2011, Dulith has quickly and easily fitted into a vibrant team. He enjoys listening to rock and roll and is also into body art -- his tattoo count currently stands at four and is likely to keep increasing. In his free time, he focuses on a little bit of art and handiwork and also enjoys watching a good game of cricket. He is also a passionate fan of Manchester United. Dulith dreams of one day being able to backpack across South America and maybe attend the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Of his future aspirations...well he says he’s ready to go wherever the road leads.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Lakmal Perera
Lakmal Perera is Red Dot’s transport manager. “I like to drive fast and take risks,” he wrote when asked to provide a brief CV; fortunately, he only books our cars and does not drive them! He still lives with his parents in Moratuwa and describes himself as a very straightforward and social person. "As I believe in God I like to be honest for us to love each other. I am a simple person who likes to serve and to make other people’s lives happy and peaceful and that is the simple reason behind being a member of the Red Dot team."
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Mahesh Jayasinghe
Another of our 2011 influx, Mahesh joined us as a pricing executive to assist with our progress towards online booking and brings a calm and respectful mood to the office. His first employment was in the credit department at in Tangerine Beach Hotel in Kalutara before he worked for Oganro, a UK company specializing in Internet Hotel Marketing, as a rates analyst. Mahesh is studying computer and accountancy courses in his spare time and attends Tissa central College in Kalutara where he also plays in the college's Western Band. At other times, he might be found listening to music (rock and classics), playing PC games, softball or riding bikes.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Neranjan Jayaweera
Neranjan is Red Dot's flight consultant, a job he carries out with great expertise and even an occasional sentence or two. He has worked as a travel executive in Colombo and Doha, before returning to Sri lanka and joining Red Dot in 2010. His passion is bike racing and he is a winner of several circuit meets, twice winning at the Rotherham Katukuranda meeting, which is easily found on Youtube. He is a keen all-round sportsman and is particularly proud of his entry on CricInfo as a Sri Lankan cricketer, and just to prove it here is the link. http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/49303.html
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Sanishka Abeygunasekera
A proud Kandyan, Sanishka joined Red Dot in October 2010, fresh out of school. She has quickly fallen in love with her work at Red Dot and deems it a privilege to be working in a job she enjoys so much. She is a cheerful member of the team, who has mastered both traditional Kandyan and Latin American dancing and was active in many sports during her school years at Mahamaya Girls College in Kandy. Sanishka is also engaged in higher studies in the field of tourism and wants to delve more into photography.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Sohan Fernando
Sohan has quickly come to terms with his role since joining Red Dot in June 2011 and is already known as a fun-loving and very reliable team member -- much like most of the other Red Dot staff! He has certificates in computer and network technology and Information Security and Ethical Hacking. Guess it would be fair to say Sohan is a bit of a geek. In the midst of all this, Sohan also finds ample time to enjoy bike racing, partying, hanging out with his buddies and fast cars. He says his dream is to earn enough money soon enough to go into early retirement.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Kishani Gunewardene
Kishani joined Red Dot’s Colombo office in May 2006 as a travel writer and tour development consultant. She is an ardent traveller frequently exploring interesting destinations overseas as well as within Sri Lanka and has a passion for history, architecture, interior design, photography, and the creative arts. The Red Dot experience enables her to combine all her interests for the purpose of promoting Sri Lanka. She is also a qualified special education director and family counsellor and runs a charity in Colombo for children and young adults with intellectual impairment.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Naradha Rajakaruna
Naradha spearheads Red Dot's finance operations and counts nearly a decade of professional experience in export, telecommunications, software development, courierr/transportations and offshore operations. Prior to joining Red Dot Tours in 2011, he worked as senior group finance executive for a US-based software development company. Naradha holds an MBA from ICFAI University, India major in Finance and CIMA-UK management accounting qualifications. He describes himself as a natural workaholic, although he does find time for the Sri Lanka Round Table. Other interests include travelling, playing and watching cricket and rugby. He also enjoys lecturing – and could be lecturing us if we don’t keep ourselves on the right financial track!
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Michael Dias
Michael joined Red Dot in 2013. Having previously worked in a managerial capacity in the garment industry for many years, one might question the move. His answer: Life is short, so why not love what you do? From infancy Michael has been travelling, both abroad and within Sri Lanka. If not in the office, you would probably find him in one of the many jungles across the island, 'being one with nature', sea fishing or even diving. One of his more notable trips in 2012 entailed an extensive 10-day road trip along Sri Lanka's entire coastline. His degree may be in science, but travel and adventure is in his blood.”
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Amila De Silva
Amila De Silva joined Red Dot as an accounts assistant in early 2010. She graduated from the University of Colombo in 2006 and is currently studying in her spare time for a post-graduate diploma in business management at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura. She began as an audit assistant at Ceylon Biscuits and, having digested that, she is now getting her teeth into the travel industry. With all that studying, she has not had much time for relaxation recently, but she does admit to a sneaking pride in becoming a past runner-up in Ceylon Biscuits' mixed-doubles carrom tournament!
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Chamari Dushyanthi
Chamari fell in love with the tourism trade while working for JourneyScapes (Pvt) Ltd for three years as an Accounts Assistant, where she also gained experience in sales and operations. She joined Red Dot in June 2011 and is studying Sri Lankan accountancy exams. Like most of the Red Dot staff, she is a committed traveller, particularly valuing opportunities to visit the Sri Lanka national parks like Yala, Minneriya, Sinharaja. That part she is fond of reading, listening to music and "kidding my friends." As for cricket, it’s 50-over matches only for Chamari. "Test matches are boring and T20s are dreadful," she says. Her favorite cricketers are Angelo Mathews, Chris Gayle & Yuvraj Singh. Apparently, she also has a soft spot for the Australian rugby union team.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Nadeesha Priyadharshani
Nadeesha makes up the trio in Red Dot’s accounts department. She studied at St Paul’s Girls School in Milagiriya before passing the Chartered Accountancy Course (Intermediate Level). She has worked for two Sri Lanka travel companies as an accounts assistant and, since joining us as another of our 2010 influx, now has accounts and travel assistant responsibilities at Red Dot. She likes cricket – no other sport, but cricket loving is obligatory in Sri Lanka – movies, music and is particularly likes dancing.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Kantha Senenayake
Another St Peter’s College old boy, Kantha had a number of computer based jobs before being snapped up by Red Dot. Kantha came to the company in 2003 and has the important job of keeping our website online and up to date. As well as a skilled web designer, Kantha is a talented sportsman. He is a keen rugby player and, at his most rotund, has often been mistaken for the former Sri Lanka captain, Arjuna Ranatunga, while on the cricket field. Christina’s jogging programme should reduce the chances of that. He also enjoys playing Sri Lankan folk music on the guitar.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Pradeep Balaji
Pradeep is Red Dot’s systems administrator, a wide-ranging job that covers everything from high-powered computer repairs to refilling the water dispenser. He joined us in 2010 after a successful stint with ESPN Cricinfo, the world’s leading cricket website, where his roles included that of electronic cricket scorer. Born in Chennai, India, he has lived in Sri Lanka for the past 21 years. An old boy of Lyceum International School, he gained a BSC in Network Eng from the University of Wolverhampton and plans to read for a Masters soon. Interests include watching movies, and anything to do with cricket and two wheels so he can "roam the wonders of the Pearl of the Indian Ocean" together with Red Dot.
Meet the Red Dot Team - India
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Rajiv Chopra
After graduating in science from Delhi University, Rajiv worked with a chemical manufacturing firm before realizing that it wasn’t for him. He took a post-graduate diploma in tourism and has never looked back. He has been in the travel industry since 1982 and has handled all types of travel-related events such as group and individual tours, charters, conventions, educational trips, wildlife tours and so on. His in-depth knowledge and tourism contacts make him an expert in planning and operating tours in India. Whenever he finds time, likes to swim, play volleyball and chess.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Satpal Minotra
Another graduate of Delhi University, Minotra spent about three years in the hotel industry before moving into travel and he is another member of our India team with vast experience. He is a keen lover of wildlife and nature.
Red Dot Team Sri Lanka
Yashwant Kumar
Yashwant also graduated from Delhi University, in arts and Indian history. He joined the travel industry in 1981 and has specialized in operations for more than a decade. His hobbies include playing cricket, watching movies and travelling, talking his way into attending as many trade fairs as he can.
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