Work Hard

Work Hard

"Take whatever you have seriously, honestly and work hard on it"

Roshan Abeysinghe – International Cricket Commentator | Managing Director – RF Asia International (Pvt) Ltd | President – Ragama Cricket Club

Q :

Take us back to the time, when you were a school student, how did you step into cricket and what made you choose it out of all other sports?

A :

My school career was between two schools: De Mazenand College, Kandana and St.Joseph’s College. I had quite a few sports that I liked: Badminton, Soccer and Cricket. However, for some reasons, cricket took
took center stage in my life and I felt that I was a bit better in cricket than in other sports. I actually started liking the game in the early ’70s when I was quite young and I had a few heroes that I looked up to. In soccer and in badminton, we didn’t have international names. Australia vs England, The Ashes contest used to fascinate me, The Chappel’s, names like Tony Greig and then some of the West Indian greats, These people fascinated me with their sports and abilities, and cricket was a bit bigger in Sri Lanka than badminton and soccer. That was the natural inclination I got towards cricket.

Q :

Apart from the school level, you have also played for the Ragama Cricket Club as well. What do you cherish the most about your sports career?

A :

You got to accept that I haven’t played at the highest level. I have played at my best in two-day cricket. That is Sara trophy cricket. I have played for Kotte Cricket Club and Anthonian’s and lots of other clubs
clubs. Finally, I played for Ragama Cricket Club, in which I was the 1st Captain. So, in terms of cricketing achievements, as I haven’t played 1st class cricket in the country, I don’t generally carry things too much. But I had my little things, I remember the bits and pieces, but it’s nothing big to speak about. I feel a long association with the game for 30+ years, it’s just the enjoyment I had at the level I played.

Q :

You are one of the best International Cricket commentators from Sri Lanka. What made you so, and how did you excel in language and communication skills?

A :

I don’t know about being one of the best, I know that I am one of them, being the best, that’s for people to watch, decide and tell me. As far as the language proficiencies, at home, we used to speak in English
English. I used to read a lot. I believe, if you need to excel in a language, you need to have a very solid vocabulary. I picked up the paper and I used to read what I liked, that used to be cricket. I gathered a lot of data in terms of words. Then, my school St. Joseph’s gave a massive help, because at St. Joseph’s, anyway we used English. It helped me more but I think I still have a lot to learn because no one is perfect in what they do. I still read Sinhala and English both. So, reading, home environment and the school had been the reasons.

Q :

You are a professional marketing personality apart from being a cricket commentator, stepping into Sales and Marketing; is it a choice you made or did it happen by default?

A :

It wasn’t a choice because I wanted to be a finance person, an accountant. So, at first, I worked as a Management Trainee at The Finance. There, we were taken through all the The Finance divisions. Once,
Once, I looked at what the accountants were doing, I felt that it was a very boring job, that didn’t interest me. Then we were exposed to different divisions: Marketing, Sales etc and as I got exposed to those divisions, I found the excitement those give. So, that is the reason why I went to sales and marketing. I did my studies and examinations as well, and I am where I like.

Q :

Share us about your first job and what was the most challenging about it?

A :

My first job was at The Finance as a Management Trainee in 1981, when I was 18 years old. The challenges were to adjust from what you were in school to an office environment. It was not as easy as today, because
today because people can well prepare when they are going to a job, they can research, they can check on the internet and understand and adapt quite nicely. But I was like a fish out of water. Walking in and straight away exposed to a person like Lalith Kotelawala, who used to be the chairman; a real tough person. That was a challenge. During my 1st month, I was told to go to Kandy branch and overlook some construction work. By myself in Kandy, that was a new experience for me, and I never knew about construction. That was a huge challenge but I went through it.

Q :

Currently, how do you manage to cope with the shifts and different roles of your professional life? (Your role at RF Asia International (PVT) Ltd., role at Ragama Cricket Club, role as a cricket commentator)

A :

Management is about delegation. So, RF Asia International (PVT) Ltd now has come to a stage where we have enough people who can overlook different functions. So, I sit here, but it can run without me because
because the world has got smaller, connectivity is greater and communication could be achieved easily. So based on that, it becomes quite easy. At Ragama Cricket Club also, it’s again about delegation. You have to make sure that people are given authority and they are given responsibility and they got to report. I run Ragama Cricket Club, also as a commercial enterprise, where people are not just given a responsibility and forgotten in the next hour. They report, they take the full responsibility and accountability for their actions.

Q :

As the Managing Director of RF Asia International (PVT) Ltd., how were you able
how were you able to position two internationally reputed cosmetics brands Keune and Jovees in the minds of Sri Lankan consumers?

A :

We understood the subtle difference between the brands that were in the market
market and our brands. We understood the positioning strategy of our brand. Our positioning strategy was very different from the cosmetic brands out there. When people were taking the position of distributing to the outlets and distributing more to the trade, we took the step of going
the step of going directly to the end user, we only concentrated on “Below the Line”. So we just continued to do that. We gave free training to every possible salon and we built a relationship between the salon therapist, owner, and brands. We not only told them how good the brand was but also we showed what the brand could do and also showed the commercial side of it.

Q :

Beauty care is a field which is very crucial in customer satisfaction. So how do you maintain the market share of the brands Jovees and Keune under such conditions?

A :

Keune hair cosmetics is the fastest growing hair cosmetic in the world. In that, there is a brand called “So Pure Balance”, which is 99% natural. Jovees also delivers on what they promise. When there is continuously upgrade
continuously upgrade and development, it becomes very easy for you to bring it down and give the customers the options that it offers. We have revolutionary natural products under these two. These things have helped the two brands to maintain their position and high level of standards. Of course, we have a very strong sales and distribution network and marketing team. Those are the reasons for us to stay competitive in the industry.

Q :

What is your biggest achievement in life and what qualities of you really made you go for that achievement or become that person?

A :

I really don’t know what my biggest achievement is, because I’m still living, but there are a quite a few things that I am sure I have achieved in my life, that I can be proud of. Building the company RF Asia International
Asia International (Pvt) Ltd. from nothing, to current position, where we have a market share of 70% or more. We have beaten international brands. Apart from that, being an International Cricket Commentator, to be there, and being there continuously for many years is a great achievement for me. And above all, I have tried to live a good life. My father had instilled a lot of values in my life, being honest, fair, those are the real secrets and achievements that I have today.

Q :

What is your message for the passionate young generation who follow their dreams in any of the fields, it may be cricket, marketing, entrepreneurship or anything?

A :

I must say that I have been disappointed with the modern generation because I feel that the current generation is not serious about their lives. When I started working as an 18-year-old, I valued my job, what I had to do
had to do. But today, the current generation doesn’t pay much of an attention. We have employed people, we offer very good packages, but they turn up one or two days and then leave. That’s not been responsible. They should be solid and strong and responsible. I think younger people need to be serious with what they are doing. Take whatever you have seriously, honestly and there has to be hard work.

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