Episode 159 -Using a smile to break down barriers with Santhoshi Watapuluwa
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In this week’s episode of the ‘Happy Lawyer Happy Life Podcast’ I had the pleasure of interviewing the wonderful Santhoshi Watapuluwa. Santhoshi began her career in her home country of Sri Lanka studying law, opening a firm and overcoming I suspect many hurdles in doing so.
As her family moved to Australia in search of a better life, Santhoshi had a whole new set of challenges to overcome, having to rebuild her career in a jurisdiction quite different to the one that she had begun her career in.
Santhoshi is the last to tell us the full extent of the challenges she faced in doing this and it is no doubt her attitude and positive mindset that has enabled her to continue to run a firm in her home country of Sri Lanka whilst raising her family, supporting her husband and building her own career in Australia. I have come to conclude that Santhoshi is a true trailblazer in law. To build a career as a woman in a country that is new and different takes a special set of courage and bravery and in this interview, I explore with Santhoshi just what that has meant to her.
In this interview, Santhoshi and I also chatted about-
- If Santhoshi was not a lawyer she would have been a teacher.
- Santhoshi wore a traditional Sari and we discussed her Sri Lankan roots.
- Despite it being fairly uncommon in Sri Lanka in the 80s, Santhoshi was encouraged by her family to study law and become a lawyer.
- The differences between University study in Sri Lanka and Australia.
- Santhoshi’s experience growing up in Sri Lanka.
- Some more differences between our two countries, particularly with family, the independence children have and women in the legal system.
- The relationship that Santhoshi’s children have with her extended family.
- Santhoshi first job in Law and her apprenticeship (articles) experience.
- The reason that Santhoshi originally moved to Australia 13 years ago.
- Santhoshi’s connection with Sri Lanka and commuting back and forth as she continues to run her law firm there.
- Santhoshi has been ‘new law lawyer’ for longer than all of us!
- The way in which Santhoshi manages her staff and the independence and trust she places in her leadership team.
- Discrimination and Santhoshi’s perspective on this tricky topic.
- Santhoshi means happy! She uses her smile to break barriers both with clients and other lawyers.
- The strong men that have influenced Santhoshi over her lifetime.
- Family roles and the role of the modern mother.
- Santhoshi’s Happiness Tip!
Sit back and enjoy this interview with Santhoshi Watapuluwa