A dive into the deep end – The Journey of a JKHMT

Once, I read a quote which said that our lives are defined by the journeys we take and not the destinations we reach.

I am now about to share a glimpse of one such amazing journey which defined the launch of my career, the journey of a ‘JKHMT’ – a management trainee of John Keells Holdings PLC.

It all started on the 1st of August 2019 at the John Keells Holdings head office. The batch consisted of 6 including me. My first impression of my batch, “Hmm seems to be a bunch of quiet people”. But this was proven to be wrong on the first day itself and let me just say that looks can be very deceiving. But of course, in a good way because more than a year later, I still regard them as some of my good friends that I could always rely on professionally as well as personally. 

After our very insightful induction across the John Keells Group, it was time to start our solo journey. You see, as a JKHMT, you go through a series of stints. At each stint you have the opportunity to be exposed to diverse work cultures and people. The good part about the programme is you get hands on experience at almost every sector . But at the same time, the downside is that if you really enjoyed a particular like a stint, it only makes the goodbye that team even harder. In my case I am happy to say that it was always the latter, with each stint the goodbye just kept getting harder with everyone I worked with along the way. #attachementissues.

My first stint was at Group Business Process Review (GBPR). A stint which I actually dreaded due to its association with ‘audit’. Being someone from a purely marketing background, my face could not hide the sheer excitement I showed to start off at GBPR. On top of that I was assigned to work on data presentation based on information which was relatively Greek to me at the time. However, I must admit, if it weren’t for that stint, I would not have mastered ‘Canva’. And for those of you who know me, know that I am practically married to Canva. This marriage to Canva is all thanks to GBPR through which I was able to develop a report for improved data visualization. 

After GBPR, I moved onto John Keells Properties (JKP). During which I was again tasked with another challenging yet interesting project, to help improve sales for Trizen – to the Chinese investors in particular. And of course, how can I forget, the Halloween party through which I made my debut in being a horror house tour guide. 

Then came the Transportation sector (TRP). A stint which really tested one of my weaknesses, conducting financial feasibilities on a few key projects lined up for the sector. Being an individual who runs away at the mere sight of any number crunching, this stint helped me overcome this fear to a certain extent for which I am forever grateful. However, though I may have admitted towards the end of the stint that I like financial feasibilities I still admit that I, in fact do not.

While all these stints were taking place, each MT also had to take on a CSR project with John Keells Foundation (JKF). My CSR project with JKF was considered to be my stress reliever since it gave me the opportunity to engage in projects which allowed me to have fun as well as contribute for the greater good. And besides the trips that require you to travel for projects was also an additional perk we all enjoyed.

I then moved onto Jay Kay Marketing (JMSL). A project which required me to eat most of time in order to identify and recommend processes for further improvement in the preparation of food at the hot kitchen. Truly a one of kind project which allowed me to realize the importance in paying attention to the finer details which could create the biggest change and that consistency is key. 

And then came the work from home phase as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While I was supposed to be based at Ceylon Cold Stores, Ranala I must say the stint did not go to waste since I was asked to work on a project to implement the best possible practices in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19 at a factory premise.

I then moved onto John Keells Office Automation (JKOA) where I was tasked with a project that was of great interest to me which was to propose a marketing strategy for JKOA during which I even ended up buying a phone from JKOA for my father as a birthday gift. Special shout out to Mark for convincing me to buy it. 

Then came the finale, Keells Food Products (KFP). Being someone who considers any place which requires me to travel more than 10 minutes away from my home as ‘Dottey’, my daily commute to KFP was definitely a challenge. Setting aside my commute issues, the project was by far the cherry on top in which I was involved and given the responsibility in handling a product launch for Keells Krest, Ezy Rice – Dhaiya Rice. Please remember me whenever you see Dhaiya Rice and please do eat it (This is not a paid advertisement).

Unfortunately, I do not have enough words to take you through my whole journey which was definitely a special one and I will forever be grateful for those 15 months for molding me into the individual that I am today.

While this may the end of this journey, I know that this is just the beginning of another.