Buzz with Danu : Lasantha Malavige

Published : 10:31 am  May 20, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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Today on Buzz with Danu, I feature the man who has made occasions more beautiful – Dr. Lasantha, known for his brand Lassana Flora – a brand that has expanded its footprints with branches in many cities in Sri Lanka.Coming to know Dr. Lasantha on a personal level, it’s inspiring to see how much he believes in giving back to society. He says, “Today over 100 out-growers are involved with Lassana Flora supplying flowers and foliage” – a way to improve many livelihoods.You can never go wrong with gifting flowers and Lassana Flora has over 100 choices when you walk in to their showrooms.
Today this busy man speaks to me about life, and the art of his business. Hope you enjoy the read.

Full Name -  Lasantha Sanjeewa Malavige
Hometown-  Homagama
Status- Married
Birthday- 27-09-1971
School attended –
D S Senanayake College
Idols- Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Richard Branson
Favourite Colour- White


What made you start Lassana Flora?
I just wanted to make use of my creativity and wanted to take up a challenge. I did not have a lot of plans at that time as a third year medical student in the Colombo Medical Faculty.

Who has influenced you the most?

My parents, sister and wife.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge for Sri Lanka in 2015?

Political stability, ethnic & religious harmony. However, when you look at the past, as a country we have handled much bigger challenges and I am optimistic about overcoming these challenges. As a nation we need to forget about differences and focus on common goals for the country and its people.

How do you feel Sri Lankans adapt to new brands?
I think Sri Lankans adapt to new brands fairly fast.

How important is family in your busy career life?
My family is extremely important to me. I love to spend time with my children, having fake wrestling fights with my 6 year old son. Every Sunday we visit my parents, have dinner or lunch with them. I wish I had more time to spend with my family.

What qualities do you look for in the people you hang out with?
Positive, honest people with integrity and who are fun loving.

How would you describe your personal style?
Simplicity is an important part in my life.  I work hard but have fun while working, I believe in treating everyone involved fairly with respect.


How do you give credit where credit is due?
I am generous in giving full credit to anyone who deserves credit. As a nation we lack appreciation and encouragement. I learnt the value of appreciation, during my five year tenure at the Oxford University, in the UK. I was fortunate to work with the best academics in the world who are very generous is appreciation and giving credit where credit is due. I learned a lot of these skills in addition to medicine in Oxford.

Why do you do what you do?
I want to make a difference to the society. I have taken on several challenges, firstly, as a businessman, I want to set a benchmark in service excellence and contribute to overall improvement in service standards in the country.  Improvement in service standards will contribute to improved happiness and quality of life in our society. This is a continuous struggle and I like this challenge.  Secondly, as a doctor, I have taken on an important but neglected field of specialty that is Sexual Medicine. Many people suffer in silence with sexual problems, helping them overcome these problems gives me enormous satisfaction. The common driving force in both these instances is my desire to make people happy.


What keeps you going everyday?
The desire to make a difference in  society and to contribute to the happiness of the fellow citizens.  I get huge satisfaction by making someone happy.

Have you ever felt that you have too much to handle?
 At times, yes. Fortunately, I have a great deal of support from my wife, sister, brother- in- law, parents, mother and father- in-law and from my wonderful staff. I think my biggest asset is my staff, they are creative, very much committed and talented. I am extremely grateful to them for making things easy for me.

How do you balance your life, as your hands are full with being a  doctor and running a business?
Fortunately, I do not have an employer, I resigned from the government service soon after my internship.  I practice medicine on part time basis as a visiting consultant in two private hospitals in Colombo and conduct a free clinic at the Family Planning Association.

I have a few other commitments as a visiting academic at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Oxford and as visiting lecturer in several undergraduate and post graduate programmes in Sri Lankan universities. I have been juggling my business life and medical career for a long time and have learned the importance of prioritizing.  I would like to be more efficient, I always think of strategies for better time management.

How do you like to spend your free times?
I like to go to the gym or play and spend time with my kids.

What do you think about Buzz with Danu on Hi TV?
I think it’s a great programme, questions are direct and interesting.


in the SPOT

What do you think about Colombo Society?
Colombo society is well connected, everybody knows who you are.

Colombo Fashion week?
I think Colombo Fashion Week is a great initiative, I hope it will grow further in years to come.

Sri Lankan Beauty Queens? 
We have beautiful women in Sri Lanka, however only a few will contest in these pageants.

Media Freedom?
I think we have enough media freedom in this country now.

What are your thoughts about Sri Lankan politics?
Still there are issues here. In the late 80’s when the provincial council system was introduced, professionals kept away from politics as getting into politics was a risk to one’s life. With the conflict this trend continued, politics was not an option for many of those who wanted to serve the country. I do not think everyone in politics should be well educated, as a talented individual who has missed the opportunity for a formal education should not be denied of engaging in politics. However we certainly need more educated, patriotic individuals wanting to make a difference to this country rather than thugs and drug dealers taking up politics. I am happy to see the trend is changing,  more and more educated people are taking up politics.

For Fun
Go to a play or musical?
Will go to a play.

Go to the theatre or a movie?

Hike or bike?
Hiking is my favourite.

Crash with friends or stay in a hotel?
Crash with friends.

Travel  by plane, train?

Watch TV or read a book?        Very much prefer to read a book.

Use Facebook or Twitter?          Facebook.

If you wanted to find the second best answer to a question or problem, what technique would you use?

I seek advice and opinion from many people as possible, including my staff, family and friends. My staff always come up with creative solutions. I sometimes even seek opinion from my 6 year old son and 13 year old daughter.  A few days ago my son gave a very valuable comment to improve an artwork in rebranding our delivery vehicles. My daughter, always comes up with beautiful ideas to improve our products and service delivery.

If you wanted to create an environment where motivation can thrive, what’s the first thing you would do?

Discuss and agree upon clear and measurable responsibilities, listen to their views and comments.   Recognize and reward their achievements.

If you wanted to encourage innovative ideas, how would you go about it?

Recognize and reward innovative ideas and implement them. Biggest recognition and respect for someone who comes up with an innovative idea, is to implement their ideas.