UpSkill 2023

As mentioned, “UpSkill 2023” is a three-day workshop series that was organized and successfully concluded by the LETs Talk – IEEE Young Professionals Sri Lanka. Our team’s

ultimate goal was to improve and share some knowledge in several fields for all the young professionals out there. We have focused on 06 different topics which covered two topics within a day such as Leadership, Entrepreneurship as well as Communication, and Networking. We’ve tried our best to choose the best living examples as our guest speakers for each and every session to talk about specific topics. Because we wanted to give something valuable to the audience. 

After filtering through some recommendations our team was able to select and approach some amazing personalities to deliver the talk sessions in advance. Sessions were named as follows. 

First Day 

– Talk Session 01: Navigating the Real World 

– Talk Session 02: Leading with Empathy 

Second Day 

– Talk Session: The Entrepreneurial Mindset 

– Panel Discussion: Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Success 


– Networking Session: Power of Presence 

– Workshop: Communicraft 

“If everyone is moving forward together, success will take care of itself”. Because of the team spirit of IEEE LETs talk – IEEE Young Professionals, we’ve concluded all these talk sessions on a high note and got some amazing feedback from the audience as well.


Day 01

The inaugural session of UpSkill 2023 took place on August 1st at 5 p.m. over Zoom. The event encompassed a pair of informative discussions: “Navigating the Real World” led by Mr. Thilina Bandara, and “Leading with Empathy” presented by Mr. Mohammed Rushdi Hadhi. These speakers employed captivating approaches throughout their talks, ensuring an engaging and captivating experience for the attendees. On the initial day of UpSkill 2023, there was active participation with over 75 individuals. The event ended as the clock neared 8:30 p.m. and marked completion. 

  • Talk Session 01: Navigating the Real World

This inaugural session, subjected to the theme “Navigating the Real World”, held on August 1st at 5 p.m. via Zoom, marked the beginning of this captivating journey. 

The spotlight of the event was on Mr. Thilina Bandara, a distinguished tech solutions expert and associate principal consultant at Nagarro. With an impressive decade-long track record, Mr. Bandara has excelled as both a team player and a leader in the information technology realm. His portfolio boasts successful collaborations with numerous clients, underscoring his proficiency and expertise. 

Mr. Thilina Bandara, renowned for his innovative mindset, emphasized the importance of accountability and agility in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of technology. His talk session was an insightful exploration of these crucial traits that pave the way for success in the vast tech arena. 

The inaugural session of UpSkill 2023 set an engaging tone right from the start, with a delightful icebreaker segment that left participants smiling and connected. Attendees were invited to mark their locations on the interactive map of Sri Lanka and share intriguing facts about themselves. The resulting exchange of words created an amusing atmosphere, infusing a refreshing energy into the event. 

Mr. Bandara, our esteemed speaker, leveraged this engaging activity to establish a genuine rapport with the audience. Prior to delving into the session’s core content, he took the opportunity to interact with attendees on a personal level. Curious about their academic journeys, he inquired about their years of study and the degree programs they were pursuing. 

Drawing upon his own passion for electronics, Mr. Bandara engaged the audience in a discussion about the essential skills of an electronic engineer. He delved into the dual aspects of these skills, emphasizing both the technical expertise required for the job and the equally vital realm of management skills. 

Presenting many real-world behavioral scenarios, Mr. Bandara generously shared a pile of insights, tips, and tricks. These encompassed navigating the intricacies of the professional sphere, preparing effectively for internships and work-life, maintaining a harmonious balance between studies, work, and social engagements, and even honing essential life skills. 

This interactive and light-hearted start to UpSkill 2023 exemplified the event’s commitment to fostering meaningful connections among participants and facilitating a vibrant learning experience. 

  • Talk Session 02: Leading with Empathy 

The second speaker- Mr. Mohamed Rushdi is a leadership trainer and coach who has more than 15 years of experience in training people and businesses via his training initiative.

Currently, he is heading the career guidance and entrepreneurship empowerment unit of NSBM Green University. Previously, he worked in several corporate organizations such as WSO2, Lanka Software Foundation, Fonterra, Unilever, and Motha Confectionary. He is currently acting as an advisor for the IEEE SL Inspire Program. He was also adjudged as one of the top 10 emerging young leaders of Sri Lanka, and he became the runner up of the Business Executive of the Year award; 

As a huge cricket enthusiast, he used various cricket-inspired examples to showcase Leading with Empathy. He emphasized how good leaders always consider all parties to be successful.


Day 02

The second day on UpSkill focused on the financial and entrepreneurial side of individual well-being, here There were 3 speakers in all, Mr. Dulith Herath, Dr. Nirosha Wedasingha, Mr. Bhagya Boteque, and Mr.Rahul Nimesh. Here Mr. Rahul majored in the entrepreneurial mindset topic and elaborated on the ongoing and trending techniques and methods of income, while the rest of the speakers focused on “unleashing entrepreneurial success’ in the panel discussion. 

  • Talk Session 01: The Entrepreneurial Mindset 

Mr. Rahul Nimesh, our esteemed speaker, and financial expert, delivered his knowledge during the second day of UpSkill 2023, centering on the theme “The Entrepreneurial Mindset.” With his profound knowledge and dynamic presentation style, he skillfully elucidated the audience on the intricacies of current financial landscapes and offered invaluable insights into optimizing passive incomes. The session was an enlightening journey through concepts such as inflation, trading strategies, and alternative avenues for nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset. Mr.Rahul’s expertise shone as he navigated complex financial concepts with clarity, equipping attendees with the tools to not only comprehend today’s economic climate but also leverage it for their entrepreneurial ventures. His comprehensive discourse left the participants inspired and empowered, armed with practical approaches to enhance their financial acumen and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit 

  • Panel Discussion: Unleashing the Entrepreneurial Success 

The panel discussion was held on the second half of the 2nd day of UpSkill 2023. The distinguished panel included Mr. Dulith Herath, Dr. Nirosha Wedasinghe, and Mr. Bhagya

Boteque. The panel members were questioned on various aspects of entrepreneurship, such as innovation, resilience, networking, collaboration, and survival. 

The first question raised to the panel was how they foster a culture of innovation within their respective organizations. Upon that, Mr. Dulith Herath replied that they always highlight novel ideas within the organization. And how it builds up fruitful projects when taking a new step forward. He also stressed how leveraging technology, and promoting sustainability also heightened the path of his business. 

Dr. Nirosha Wedasinghe discussed technology’s role in startups. IT’s importance in sustainability was mentioned, urging eco-friendly practices and cybersecurity vigilance. She also emphasized key factors such as maintaining work-life balance and networking among colleagues. As a lecturer, she pointed out how undergraduates should use new ideas when starting a start-up. 

Trust-building was stressed through transparency and ethics. Platforms connecting students and businesses were suggested by Mr. Bhagya Boteque. New entrepreneurs were advised on resilience, adaptability, and learning from failures. During challenges, practical financial survival tips, including diversifying income, saving money, negotiating, and exploring government support, were given by him. 

Overall, all three panelists gave many valuable tips on entrepreneurship.


Day 03

The final episode of the UpSkill 2023, the most awaited physical event of the calendar was held on the 5th of August from 9:00 AM onwards at AIA Tower, Colombo 07, which was led by two amazing guest speakers, Mr. Kapila Karunarathne and Mr. Shenal Colonne. This highly anticipated event was graced by the expertise of two exceptional guest speakers, Mr. Kapila Karunarathne and Mr. Shenal Colonne. Mr. Kapila Karunarathne conducted an engaging networking session, fostering connections among participants through interactive games that encouraged collaboration and exchange of ideas. Simultaneously, Mr. Shenal Colonne shared enlightening insights into the art of effective communication and the influential potency of voice within both the industry and corporate domains. Their combined wisdom created a memorable finale, leaving attendees with invaluable skills, a renewed sense of connection, and the empowerment to navigate the professional world with confidence. Networking Session: Power of Presence

Our first talk session of the day which happened on the theme of “Power of Presence”, we believed that we selected the best person to grace the session. Mr. Kapila Karunarathne is the Head of Delivery – Testing at ExactPro Systems who is an industry-oriented software professional with over 20 years of experience and an experienced professional in working with clients around the world. 

Since we’re undergraduates who are about to enter the industry in the near future, it is important to know the techniques, the ethics, and other pros and cons of the happening world. This session was mainly focusing on understanding self, where Mr. Kapila included several interactive games, such as plitting the crowd into a few groups of common interests and allowing us to talk to each other and identify how individuals with common interests speak, to the difference of how it could be if people in different interests were put under one roof. Here he emphasised on how important it was to identify and understand different people’s mindsets, people’s opinions and find the middle ground in the professional world. Mr. Kapila Karunarathne was a perfect living example for our topic because his session was not only contained with techniques, it was a more practical session that was specially prepared for building the connection and network between the audience. He has explained the importance of having this kind of professional network around us and also mentioned the benefits of that as well. 

The audience was very engaged with the speaker and we were glad to see that Mr. Kapila also enjoyed delivering the session successfully. Even though the audience came as strangers in the beginning they left the session as friends, and that was the ultimate goal. 

  • Workshop: Communicraft 

The second talk session of the day happened as a workshop with the theme of “Communicraft” and we believe that we’ve selected the exemplary gentleman to deliver the session. Mr. Shenal Colonne is the vice president – Delivery / Segment Head at Virtusa. He is an IT professional who leads project teams globally and has over 21 years of industry experience. He has been a visiting lecturer for over 12 years for undergraduates and postgraduates as well. 

As undergraduates who are about to start their careers in the near future, it is really important to communicate with people when it comes to professional work, not as how we communicate now, but how we are supposed to mold into the corporate world of communication, notice, and presentation. Here the speaker gave emphasis on many types of communication strategies of how to use the loudness of voice to speak up and various other communication types and how to use them in different situations. Mr. Shenal Colonne was really an energizing personality who came well prepared for our topic,while his session was more practical and the audience was impressed. He has explained all the advantages and importance of having this kind of communication skills in the industry and also the drawbacks that may get you sacked from the company!We found that the audience was jaw

droppingly interesting and all ears to the speaker as he successfully concluded the session by clarifying all the doubts that the audience had raised. 


As the team of LETs talk – IEEE Young Professionals Sri Lanka, we’re really grateful for the support and the team spirit of our organizing committee, to successfully complete the signature project, UpSkill 2023. This 3-day event of 3 talk sessions, panel discussion, network session, and the workshop in all was successfully completed with over 200 registrations. In combination with both physical and virtual events, the series continued in the comfort and ease of participation for any individual who was willing to join. All in all the organizing committee has worked hard since the beginning to make this event series a success. Considering all the feedback and comments we got from the participants each day has shown us that we have done something valuable for society.