"Dare to be different. Stand out from the crowd"
From the housewife who runs a home-based business to the enterprising young entrepreneur, each one gleans inspiration from the success story that Otara is. Influencing, leading by example and recognizing the infinite power of perseverance – she has groomed many to follow in her footsteps. The very first Odel store, although only the start of numerous achievements to come, was borne through tribulation;
My shop down Dickman’s Road marked a new beginning. It was a piece of me, showcased in my very own little shop. At the height of its popularity and when customers were flocking to it, a fire burnt down the shop. This absolutely devastated me. I couldn’t imagine how I would recover from this. All my time, all my hopes, all my dreams – all gone before my very eyes – it was a feeling of utter helplessness at that point in time.
Just as Otara” means “reincarnation” and “embodiment of good in human form” in Sansrkit, with her tireless spirit and the willpower to soar above adversity – this challenge became an opportunity for growth;
Despite the rebuilding of the shop again during the shortest span of time, it really made me question whether I wanted to be in this small space forever, whether I am just being complacent in working within my comfort zone. When disaster strikes, you find yourself questioning what went wrong. This mammoth setback made me realize I needed to improve and understand financial management if I wanted to develop the business further and not be confined to a small space, so I put in all the time and effort to better equip myself and not give up.
Through self-belief and purpose, Otara’s ability to overcome obstacles has transformed Odel into what it is – an internationally acclaimed department store and she – one of Sri Lanka’s most influential individuals to date. Always determined to serve a purpose and give voice to the voiceless, Otara’s yearning to improve the welfare of animals and street dogs in particular only grew in time. Propelled by a passion that was within her since her childhood, she used it to transform mindsets and address subjects that were often overlooked. This, in turn laid the foundation to inspire more people to rally together for the greater good and become community changers themselves. Using her business acumen and celebrity-status to bring about change, Otara revolutionized the perception of the Sri Lanka street dog, making owning one of these once unwanted animals, into a trend that was “fashionable.” Being the forerunner that she is, Otara set the standard by adopting not one but three street dogs, each carrying its own unique tale. Establishing a team of likeminded individuals, to date, they continue to work tirelessly towards making each and every street dog that comes their way, loved and wanted.
As Otara’s sphere of influence expanded, so did her compassion. Remaining true to the highest ideals of humanity, as Ambassador for World Animal Day, Habitat for Humanity and Earth Hour, Sri Lanka – she inspires, educates and empowers individuals from all walks of life. The ability to continuously renew knowledge and keep learning daily is an attribute of Otara’s that is worth incorporating into one’s life. Influencing the way people think, eat, exercise and perceive themselves; displaying that being a working mother is no easy feat, but not impossible for those who set their minds to it, are just some ways in which she leads by example.
Using her skills and talents to transform the world around her, Otara continues to serve as a source of inspiration for those who believe in the infinite power of themselves.