Diving Into the John Keells Family

Two and a half years ago, I was given the opportunity to join the John Keells Group as a Management Trainee, allowing me to spend 15 months immersing myself in a number of innovative initiatives in multiple businesses within the Group. Whether it was being a part of exploring international markets for John Keells Properties, working on the launch of a guilt-free frozen confectionary range for Elephant House, supporting in developing a new sales channel for Union Assurance, or working with the team to drive the introduction of exports for Keells Supermarkets, each of these experiences has provided me with incredible exposure to different strategies, processes, and cultures – a combination of which has made John Keells an awe-inspiring place to work. Words could never do justice to just how invaluable and extraordinary my journey has been in terms of the learning and growth I’ve experienced, and I shall proudly attest to the fact that this is undoubtedly an empowering and dynamic place to work.

In my opinion, however, the beauty of the John Keells Group is an aspect even more gratifying than the professional development you’re guaranteed to experience, but rather the extended family and support system one inherits in being a part of the Group. No matter which business unit you work in, how long you’ve worked here, or what position you’re in, you’re given the opportunity to be a part of this vibrant community and so much more, making the John Keells Group greater than just your average day-to-day workplace.

To paint a picture of how I’ve come to witness this inexplicable bond, I’d like to take you not so far back to 2023. I had the opportunity to become an ex-co member of the John Keells Group Sports Club and be a co-coordinator of the Group’s swimming team, leading close to 100 swimmers from 23 businesses within the group. Our swimming calendar started off with the Group’s Inter Company Swimming Championship, for which our swimmers traveled from far and wide – including the Maldives, and spent the day battling it out amongst each other to take the trophy home. Within the span of just one week following the meet, we went from being friendly rivals and near strangers to becoming one team with a shared passion and a common goal. I would dash out the door for practice every morning and it became the best part of my day not only because of my love for being in the water, but because of the endless fun we had; laughing together, racing each other, supporting one another to become better swimmers, and in the process creating some of the most precious memories and unexpected friendships. Come the day of the Mercantile Swimming Championship, our collective efforts from the practices leading up to the meet and the unwavering support we gave each other from the stands, led us to emerge overall runners-up with a marginal gap. This was by no means an easy feat, but the camaraderie and immense joy we felt during our time together was by far our greatest gain of all.

It was quite remarkable to witness our team come together from all parts of the country – Colombo, Kandy, Bentota, Hikkaduwa, Habarana, and Yala, not only to compete on race day, but also a month later to celebrate our performance and reconnect with friends, whom if not for this opportunity we may never have had the privilege of meeting. While I’ve touched just one way I’ve become part of this family, it’s merely one out of a million different avenues we at John Keells are able to experience what I believe makes this Group truly special.