(L-R) : Jeevith Senaratne, Director Operations - Star Garment Group; Shanaka Rabel, Group Chief Digital and Transformation Officer - Stretchline Holdings Ltd; Janaka Botejue, Chairman – Bernard Botejue Industries; Sanjeewa Kodikara, Chief Information Officer- Hirdaramani Group

Feb 06, 2014 (LBO) Writing being my bête noire it is with some trepidation that I write this. I can picture Mel chiding me, Aiyo, what men! Poor show Tones! The start of the week saw me wake up to yet another morning of my wife’s Facebook rituals. Only this time, it was going to forever change our outlook of life, the universe and everything else. The shock, disbelief and emotional upheaval of the tragic passing away of a dear family friend and colleague were unprecedented. I woke up every one of the last three mornings hoping that it was all a bad dream. But, alas this is not the case.

My first encounter with Mel was in the early days of Vanguard when I was still wet behind the ears and Vanguard had just two other employees Asantha Sirimanne and Dushi Dias led by the Lakshaman Bandaranayake. A call comes in for Asantha and Mel introduces herself and asks for Asantha. He isn’t in, I say anxious to hang up quickly. By the time, I had hung up Mel knew all about me, my girlfriend, dog and everything else. That’s Mel for you.

She could genuinely put anyone at ease, even in the most trying of situations with her infectious smile and wit.

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