May 11, 2021

Jayomi among Asia Pacific’s 40 ‘Women to Watch’ class of 2020



The influential industry magazine Campaign Asia-Pacific, has selected Sri Lanka’s Jayomi Lokuliyana among 40 outstanding women across marketing, media, technology and communications.

She is the only Sri Lankan to be featured in the ‘Women to Watch class of 2020’ by the magazine which provides insights and intelligence into the ideas, work and personalities shaping Asia Pacific’s marketing-communications industry. Campaign Asia describes Jayomi, who is the Co-founder and CEO of data driven digital marketing company zMessenger, as someone who has overcome the odds and battled unwilling investors to launch Sri Lanka’s first programmatic advertising ecosystem, Adstudio.

The selection is following competitive nominations received from Singapore, China, India, Hong Kong, Australia to New Zealand. What is unique is that Jayomi is flying Sri Lankans flag high in the list and featured among large players such as Google, Dentsu, Havas, BBDO, Carat to Visa.

All the entries for Campaign Asia Pacific Women to Watch 2020 went through several rounds of judging and analysis to ensure the women who have been selected are the most deserving of this commendation.

Campaign Asia Pacific said 2020 has been one of its biggest years yet for paid submissions to ‘Women to Watch’, which is now in its eighth year.

“It has been inspiring to see the volume of companies and individuals that have taken the time to nominate exceptional women during this time – proof that gender initiatives remain a priority for the industry even in the most adverse circumstances,” it added.

It has been inspired by the diversity of entries this year across both industries and geographies. The magazine received representation from Singapore to Sri Lanka, Hong Kong to the Philippines, India to Indonesia, Japan to Korea, Vietnam to China, Australia and New Zealand.

Campaign Asia Pacific had following citation for Jayomi.

As a woman entrepreneur in the mobile ad market, Jayomi Lokuliyana struggled to get her business off the ground. In Sri Lanka, the mobile market was nascent, and banks and other investors were unwilling to fund a startups building a business idea focused on this unproven segment. Despite these odds, Lokuliyana managed to beat the odds and get her venture zMessenger off the ground.

Despite this rocky start, she has managed to grow her five-member start-up to a 130-person team operating in diverse digital industries in three countries. Lokuliyana launched the country’s first programmatic advertising ecosystem Adstudio, aimed at helping agencies and brands target and deliver relevant communications plans.

Currently she envisions zMessenger digital transformation driver, by offering data-powered artificial intelligence-based advertising solutions. Over the past seven years, zMessenger’s business has grown at a CAGR of 64% and she has devised multiple mobile innovations including a mobile-based election violence monitoring platform, BigBon (Sri Lanka’s first deal-discovery and aggregating platform), MyMed (an online market space for healthcare products), Star Friends (a celebrity/ influencer network platform) and (Sri Lanka’s first programmatic ad network).

Being a woman who’s experienced the hardships of getting a venture off the ground, Lokuliyana is a firm believer in and advocate of promoting female participation in the digital economy. She was appointed by the Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka to its working committee consulting for policy-level intervention to aid digital transformation of Government services.

She has also mentored business executives, especially women, and evangelised digital entrepreneurship opportunities at more than 60 forums reaching over 10,000 individuals. In order to create a national-level movement on female participation in the digital sector, Sri Lanka’s first cabinet-approved Chamber for Women in Digital was incorporated under the auspices of the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and Ministry of Digital Infrastructure, and Lokuliyana was appointed as the chairperson to drive the participation in the country’s digital sector.

Jayomi was a winner of Entrepreneurial Winning Women Asia Pacific Class of 2019 of Ernst & Young. Her other feats include the Women Icon Award Asian by the Business Excellence & Research Group of Singapore in 2018; Best Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at the South Asian Business Partnership Award in 2017, the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award by the Women Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Sri Lanka.

She earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the Postgraduate Institute of Management, University of Sri Jayewardenepura and holds a postgraduate diploma in Marketing from Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.

Campaign Asia Pacific said this year there had been a greater mix of industries, covering holding companies and independent agencies, publishers, adtech vendors, brands, events companies, producers, consultancies and more. Many of the women featured in the list have not always been in the marcomms industry, which often works in their favour.

From contemporary dance to international trade to journalism, these unique beginnings bring a diversity of thought to their current roles. Others have been with the same company from the outset, proving that company loyalty exists in the modern world and can lead to fast progressions. Several women also run other ventures alongside their day jobs, such as a probiotic brand and a yoga and meditation business.

The magazine said significant gender inequality still exists within the industry that it writes about every day – and some regions in Asia remain particularly problematic for women. In fact, Campaign and Kantar’s annual Diversity Study found that equality had actually deteriorated between 2017 to 2018.

So while there is inequality, there is still a need to spotlight the inspiring stories of women who have overcome biases, smashed glass ceilings and lifted not only their own but other women’s careers too. Campaign Asia Pacific hopes ‘Women to Watch’ can continue to be a motivator for female rising stars in the industry, and a resource of the incredible female talent this region has to offer.

As a publication Campaign Asia-Pacific dives deeper into important subjects and presents the most compelling information that matters to businesses in the fastest-growing and most exciting communications market in the world.

Campaign Asia-Pacific serves the marketing elite, those that are pushing creative advertising and communications to new boundaries, redefining brand experiences through multiple touch-points, both on and offline. Campaign Asia-Pacific’s editorial focus investigates the ideas, work and personalities shaping the marketing communications and events industry.

Source : Daily FT 24/82020