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Bani Chandrasena '93 Leads Diversity & Inclusion Efforts at the London Stock Exchange in Sri Lanka

By Kenneth Stratton '19 FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2019 - 3:00 PM WNE100

Today she’s the Head of Human Resources for the London Stock Exchange (LSEG) in Sri Lanka, responsible for leading the new Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness Department. But before that, Bani Chandrasena’s career path began the moment she stepped on campus. A native of Sri Lanka, Chandrasena found a home away from home in Western New England upon her arrival in 1990. While her family stayed in Sri Lanka, she wasted no time getting involved on campus as a student leader. 

Yvonne Bogle, Assistant Dean for Diversity Programs and Services, remembers Chandrasena as an active member of United and Mutually Equal (U&ME). “While a student here, she participated in the cultural and ethnic events, such as the Black History programs,” Bogle recalls, adding that Chandrasena worked on the Annual Children’s Christmas Party as well.

In addition to working with U&ME, Chandrasena worked at the library, served as a Resident Advisor, Peer Advisor, and Peer Tutor while at Western New England. In these roles, she was responsible for helping first year students transition to college life, advising residents who lived on campus, and working one-on-one through a variety of academic issues with a diverse group of students.

As an international student, Chandrasena made the decision to stay stateside during her pursuit of a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting, with a minor in Computer Science. After spending summers working and completing additional courses, in just three years, Chandrasena had swiftly moved through her studies and was ready to take on the “real world.”

That first step outside of life at Western New England saw Chandrasena start in general banking at Anz Grindlays Bank before moving into marketing and later human resources. While there, she developed the first credit card system for the bank from the ground up. After spending a year and a half in Kenya, Chandrasena returned to the bank, before making the move to MAS Linea Aqua - a holdings group that manufactures products for companies like Speedo and Victoria Secret. While with MAS in Sri Lanka, Chandrasena was responsible for talent recruitment and development. She then joined Stax Inc. as the Director of Human Resources for two years, before returning back to MAS.

Chandrasena is always changing industries in an effort to continue growing and learning. In 2011, she joined MillenniumIT, and by 2015, the company was named one of Sri Lasnka’s best places to work. “We take great pride in our culture of mutual respect and teamwork,” Chandrasena then told Daily Mirror. She went on to say that MillenniumIT is “firmly committed to providing our team with a world class working environment,” with an emphasis on empowerment and growth.

These values are in line with the work Chandrasena did at Western New England, alongside Bogle in U&ME and in various other roles. Whether it was fostering growth as a tutor, or helping empower first year students, Chandrasena’s commitment to these values has always been at the core of her work.

In 2011, LSEG acquired MillenniumIT. With the hope of merging MillenniumIT and several other brands into one technology hub, LSEG asked Chandrasena, as Head of HR, to work with over 5,000 employees – a far cry from the 200 employees she used to oversee.

Overcoming that challenge, Chandrasena was ready for the next. Since 2018, she has been leading the new Diversity, Inclusion and Wellness Department for LSEG. After a lengthy research period, Chandrasena developed a three-pronged approach for LSEG: promote a commitment to diversity, inclusion and wellness internally, in the tech industry and in the community.

“It is important to focus on diversity and an inclusive environment where all people feel valued for who they are,” Chandrasena said, as reported in The Island in 2018. That focus continues today, as Chandrasena expands gender inclusivity efforts at LSEG. With the hope of fostering growth of women in the technology industry, Chandrasena’s department is teaching male managers “bias control,” so as to improve team work, productivity and output. She is also working with parents and teachers in Sri Lanka on how to better present the industry as attractive to young women. Next on her agenda are race and LGBT concerns, proving that Chandrasena shows no signs of slowing down.

“We have kept in touch over the years because she was so active while attending school here that we developed a relationship,” Bogle said of her former mentee, who in her own right, has become a mentor to young women in Sri Lanka.

Her career path may have begun at Western New England, but it’s reached far beyond Springfield’s cozy campus. As her work in Sri Lanka continues, Chandrasena has shown she will always be committed to empowerment and growth.