Mirror Magazine
7th May2000
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By Laila Nasry.
In the ever-changing and fast-developing world of computers she has carved out a niche for herself. She exudes an air of confidence, a determination... a passion for excellence. At 21 years with her own company, Deshani Caldera has the world at her fingertips.

Skyberlink Internet Solutions (www.skyberlink.com), which she set up in July 1999 together with a US partner changed her world completely. Graphic designing just a hobby until then, transformed into a profession with ample scope. 

Clients came in from the US and it was a case of developing and marketing websites for them. Five months on and the achiever in Deshani was not satisfied. She wanted more for her company. It was time to develop...to expand. Thus Skyberlink was registerted as Private Limited which catered to the local market. This saw an increase in her number of clients. The Foreign Correspondents' Association was her first local client and there's been no stopping her since then. 

The biggest challenge she faces is that of being young. "Everybody's question is 'Do you think you can make it? Are you sure you can handle it all on your own?' It is something that lives within me that says yes I can do it," says determined Deshani, who has to prove to her clients time and again that she can handle responsibility and is equal or better than the others who have been in the business for 4 to 5 years. 

It's not easy, however, specially when most clients are totally ignorant of the subject and want to get a website because their competitor has one. Thus she has to devote time to telling them what they are in for and how their company would benefit. 

"Sometimes clients ask me loads of questions which leave me wondering whether it is out of ignorance or just to check whether I know my work." 

Deshani has no problem with her international clients because they know all about the internet. "It's such a day to day thing for them like watching television and I have to be exact in what I'm saying." 

At times local clients can be tiring specially when they approach her in an unprofessional manner while others well aware of her never-say-die attitude give her a run around getting her to do demonstration after demonstration with no clear indication whether they intend to hire her services. 

Yet, Deshani has learnt the art of dealing with various types of clients and clearly puts them in their place. "Inevitably they are the ones who lose," she says nonchalantly. But there are times when she feels "no I can't take this anymore" but her will power surges through and inevitably in the next breath she is telling herself "no I'm going to see it happen". 

The profession has its ups as well and Deshani is happiest when she sees that 100% satisfied, 'this is perfect' look from her client. She strives for that and the team under her settles for no less. 

Currently the company is expanding and Deshani is hunting for 'unique, absolutely perfect people' to deliver the goods. "I know the perfect people are out there and till I find them I'm not going to stop looking." 

Being the boss of her own company and not having to take orders from anyone makes one wonder whether she takes things easy. On the contrary Deshani works hard as she believes in setting a good example. She strictly adheres to the work time which she imposes on others, which is from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. "Though I'm the boss we don't have a hierarchy. We work as a team."

She is also of the opinion that work should be completed in office and no one should take it home since after 5.30 it's their private lives that they have to work on. During office hours her relationship with those working for her is strictly professional, but when it's off work they hang out together. "It's a free working environment," Deshani explains. "Once in a while we take the day off and play pool."

Challenges motivate her. She compares having her own company and building it up, to climbing up a long ladder. "It's a fight to get to the top. That's the biggest challenge and that's what keeps me going." 

Where does she want to be in 10 years? "At the highest level in the Internet Solutions Provider industry. The best in Sri Lanka" and without batting an eyelid she tells me, "It won't take me ten years to get there".


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