Where are you – and what are you doing – on your PiA fellowship?
I’m currently in beautiful, sunny and incredibly humid Colombo, Sri Lanka! I work for MAS Innovations, the research and innovations unit of MAS Holdings, an apparel manufacturing company that primarily does active wear, swimwear and lingerie for companies such as Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Lululemon, etc. I specifically am the Business Models Lead for a product development project – we’re looking to expand MAS’ offerings into the healthcare and wellness space. Most of the work at this point has involved market and industry research, running consumer interviews, financial modeling, and anything else one would expect from a strategy consulting position. The first few weeks of being employed at MAS I completed an intensive production/operations training at one of the factories in rural Sri Lanka, which was an incredible experience! I spent each day at a sewing machine in a production line, experiencing the day-to-day life of a factory worker (and realized that I am unfortunately, not a very good seamstress).
What activities do you do in your spare time?
I spend my free time traveling as much as possible on weekends around the rest of Sri Lanka (wildlife parks, historical sites, temples, beaches), spending time with my coworkers/friends enjoying Colombo nightlife, and doing anything active (people here are super active!) I’m in a running group with some coworkers and have been training for several races, and swim frequently as well. It’s also safe to say that eating is a full time hobby here as well (reader take note, your life is not complete until you’ve had coconut roti)
What is the most significant thing you’ve learned during your time on PiA?
Two things tie for first place:
1) How to operate a sewing machine
2) How to successfully bathe in a lake while remained fully covered in a sarong
What has been your most embarrassing moment in Asia? (So far … there will be more!)
Completely failing at giving a tuk tuk driver sufficient directions to my house… only to have him turn to me at the end and say, “Madam, I speak English.”
What do you miss the most from home?
Regularly hanging out with my Momma. That, and burritos.
What do you miss the least from home?
Cold weather. Yes, I know I’m from California and all so my opinion on this matter is moot… However, I’m pretty jazzed that as a December baby, this year I’ll have the opportunity to spend my birthday on the BEACH.
What do you hope to do after your PiA fellowship?
Eat incredibly spicy food without experiencing mild hallucinations and compromised vision (my first few weeks were certainly a character building experience!).