Praveeni Perera – Canadian Small Business Woman of the Month of February 2014

Praveeni

Praveeni Perera is a dynamic young entrepreneur. She is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and consulting services to clients around the world. PEC provides training and consultancy services in three main focus areas : cultural intelligence, international protocol, and business etiquette.

Prior to launching her own venture in June 2011, Praveeni worked in the non-profit sector. She took on the role of  Project Director for a NGO heading international development projects in Africa and Asia.

Whilst pursuing her undergraduate degree in Biology, her work in the non-profit sector instilled in her an interest in cultural intelligence and intercultural relations.  Having always harbored an affinity for the business world Praveeni decided to further her education completing a MBA in International Business, which allowed her to combine her interest in cultural intelligence with her love for the corporate world. Praveeni is also a certified International Protocol and Corporate Etiquette Consultant.

In addition to her career Ms. Perera plays an active role in her community having clocked many hours as a volunteer at both the Ottawa Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Praveeni currently sits on the Board of Directors for Immigrant Women Services Ottawa, a non-profit organization that provides immigrant and visible minority women and their families in Ottawa with the tools and support to achieve their full potential as members of Canadian society and participates in the elimination of all forms of abuse against women and children.

In her spare time Praveeni enjoys the arts; having played in a stage band in high school she has a great appreciation for music.  She enjoys writing and is a contributing writer for The Professional Edge business blog and  Restaurants and Hotels Magazine. Her articles have been featured online by MBAJobs.ca

Praveeni believes that a work –life balance is essential for success. She credits her achievements both personal and professional, to effective time management skills along with her driven and motivated personality.

OUR Q & A WITH PRAVEENI

*What inspires you?

Hearing about the successes of other entrepreneurs and business leaders inspires me. I think there’s a great deal to be learnt from the successes and failures of  leaders such as Jack Welch at GE, Richard Branson at Virgin, and even Canada’s own Arlene Dickinson.  Learning about the different styles of leadership they employed to tackle each situation is a great motivator for me.

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?

I’m most proud of launching and running our international workshops in South Asia. I had no idea what the South Asian market would be like going in and I took a risk that paid off. Although there were roadblocks  along the way I was able to successfully launch Professional Edge Consulting’s PR campaign, meet with HR leaders and host a myriad of successful workshops. This was a great challenge for me and a fantastic learning experience.
*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?

The advice I would give other aspiring small business owners is to know themselves and their brand. In order to be able to market something successfully you have to know your brand inside out. You need to be aware of what services you are selling, who you’re selling to and be able to adapt your strategy to suit your market and audience.

Networking is also essential to growing your business. I would encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to be confident, get out there and build the connections they need to be successful in their field. There’s no substitute for hard work.
*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?

There will be a greater focus on cultural intelligence in our workshop offerings this year. For example we will be highlighting programs such as Let’s Talk It Out our conflict resolution workshop, and Lost In Translation, which focuses on communication. I am also in the process of authoring my first book on networking. You can also look forward to my monthly blog posts at The Professional Edge.

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