Interview: Sayuri Mohotti

Interview: Sayuri Mohotti

While we are well aware of Sayuri Mohotti and her excellent work ethic, for anyone that may not know you that well, could you please provide an introduction about yourself?

Hi everyone! I am Sayuri Mohotti. I was elected as the Director of Professional Development Avenue for the Rotaract Year 2021/2022. I am a second-year undergraduate at the Faculty of Arts and I’m specializing in International Relations.

I’m commonly known as ‘the bookworm’ among my friends, but that does not necessarily mean that I’m familiar with all kinds of genres. I have a limited scope of interest in novels with happy-endings; be it fiction, a fantasy or even a biography. I’m a well-known Marvel fanatic and have watched every single Marvel movie or TV series over and over; but I draw the line at reading the comics. 

Upon your appointment as the Director of the Professional Development Avenue, what was your vision for the avenue? What were the pillars that you wanted to develop the avenue on?

The vision of the Professional Development Avenue is “rebranding Rotaract as a professional network for the youth“. This remained my vision throughout the entire year as director.

My long-term objective was based on enhancing the skills and capabilities of our fellow Rotaractors by providing inspiration, guidance as well as various opportunities for personal development and assisting career development. We even went one step further from our initial mission by extending the benefits towards the general public and promoting the good name of Rotaract.  

However, from the start, I wanted to focus on personal skills such as confidence, self-assurance etc. before moving on to projects that were of a larger scale which focused on career development and career guidance. For example, our very first project “Bare Niceties”, focused on informing the general public about manners, decorum and social etiquette that are expected to be followed in various social instances such as during a wedding, an interview or a Zoom meeting. 

People generally have high expectations when you say ‘Professional Development’, in keeping with this, what opportunities did you envision for the members of your avenue?

When compared to other avenues, the Professional Development Avenue – from an outward appearance – seems rather bleak and monotonous. People generally expect the avenue to focus on dull and unimaginative topics of interest. Therefore, most members who join the avenue do so hoping to get some added qualification for themselves and their future professional lives.

Thereby, I wanted to change this perspective from the start. While the main focus of the Professional Development Avenue was training and developing skills; personal development and career guidance, my team and I were dedicated to designing projects that encouraged a more fun and interesting outlook towards the entire avenue as a whole.

As such, we targeted projects and activities that were encouraging and entertaining while at the same time, addressed the main focus areas required from the avenue. For example, we wanted to design a project that targeted improving the debating skills of individuals. Therefore, to make the project more appealing to participants and the spectators, we reformed the idea to focus on five popular fandoms; anime, comedy, novel series, fantasy and pop-music. As such, the debates were held under these fandoms under content-related motions. Thereafter, “Fandom Fight Club 2.0”, one of our most successful projects, was born. 

The Professional Development Avenue always seeks to give its members a chance to better themselves in their skills and competence. Thus, what goes into selecting and creating projects that aim to provide its attendees a platform to develop themselves?

As I mentioned, my team and I wanted to make the avenue a fun and interactive platform that encouraged creativity and imagination while at the same time, developing professionality of the members and the beneficiaries. As such, while our priority was to address the pillars of the avenue; training and developing skills; personal development and career guidance, we also ensured that our projects were engaging, interactive and innovative.

This was no easy task as our focus areas were skills which were rather hard to master such as addressing the fear of public speaking or developing etiquette. These areas concerned segments of an individual’s personality that members were most insecure about. So, we had to make sure that we put our members at ease during our project so that they could forget about their fears and insecurities and focus on developing their professional skills and talents. 

Are you proud of what the Professional Development Avenue has done this year? If so, what would you say are you the most proud of taking into consideration both your team and your efforts?


The past year was undoubtedly one of the toughest years in Rotaract Arts’ history. We had to conduct all our projects and activities virtually and the continued power cuts certainly proved to be quite challenging. We had to learn to adapt and fully rely on digital platforms. We also had to work around the erratic power cut schedules that affected our team members differently. As a result, we had to discover new online platforms and applications and learn to maneuver within such novelties. I should say that my team certainly handled these tasks with little (or let’s say minimum) complaints.

Considering such inconveniences, to be able to successfully complete six amazing projects is truly an extraordinary feat!

The Professional Development Avenue has really gone from strength to strength these past few years. What would you like to see the Professional Development Avenue do in the future?

The Professional Development Avenue during the past few years has produced an astonishing set of novelties. Out of the many, the increased attempts at extending the hand of friendship and collaboration with other Rotaract and Interact Clubs is one of the most promising originalities. This is – I believe – very important as the whole point of the Professional Development Avenue is to foster personal and professional connections within the Rotaract network hub, with an aspiration that these connections will continue throughout the professional chapters of our members. That being said, I would love to see this particular element within the Professional Development Avenue continue for many more years to come. 

Rtr. Sarasi Neranjana has been announced as your successor! How are you feeling about this appointment? Is there anything that you would like to convey to her? Be it advice or just your blessings?

I was delighted to hear that Rtr. Sarasi was appointed as the incoming Director of the Professional Development Avenue! She pioneered three major projects of the Professional Development Avenue this Rotaract Year. From the very first project of the Professional Development Avenue last year, Sarasi showed promising skills at leadership and had a unique presence within the avenue.

Having said that, I wish Sarasi and her team the best of luck for the coming Rotaract year and I hope that they will have a successful and exciting year ahead!

– Interview conducted by Rtr. Vibhath Jayasinghe and Rtr. Janidu Wijebandara

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