Free the Slaves has a new leader! Indika Samarawickreme has joined us as our new executive director.
Indika brings more than 20 years of international experience as a leader and strategist. She has managed multi-million dollar programs, budgets and staffs for Fortune 500 companies and major nonprofits. She brings a global perspective, having worked in program development in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, and having grown up in Sri Lanka. Indika received her MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, where she has also taught classes in international marketing and supply chain management. She is a chartered accountant in the U.K. and has held more than 25 board memberships.
Indika was attracted to join Free the Slaves because of our group’s sense of purpose—and our ambitious goal.
“We are at a historic moment,” Indika notes, “with a clear and deliberate choice to make. Do we join the movement and end slavery or shall we look the other way? We surely owe it to our sons and daughters to say we ended slavery in our generation.”
Her name is a challenge for some to pronounce (she goes by “Indika Sam” for short), but there’s no mistaking that she will carry on the best traditions that have shaped Free the Slaves from its earliest start-up days.
“Free The Slaves has alerted the world to the fact that slavery still exists,” Indika says. “It is now showing the world how slavery can be eradicated if we all work together. I am proud to join the hugely talented team.”
Free the Slaves Board President Stephen Maher says Indika inspires confidence.
“It’s clear to the board that Indika is intelligent, passionate and a natural leader, with the vision to ensure the continued success of Free the Slaves,” Steve says. “Her strong financial and analytical skills, collaborative approach, and warm interpersonal style will help Free the Slaves build on the solid foundation established by our outgoing chief executive, Jolene Smith.”
Co-founder and long-time chief executive Jolene Smith, who has moved to South America, will remain affiliated with Free the Slaves for continuity and support.