A leader in innovation and business, UNSW Law alumna Shemara Wikramanayake recognised with prestigious Alumni Award | Law

A leader in innovation and business, UNSW Law alumna Shemara Wikramanayake recognised with prestigious Alumni Award

UNSW Law alumna Shemara Wikramanayake was recognised for her exceptional achievements and her inspirational leadership in the community on Tuesday 16 May 2017 with a prestigious Alumni Award in the category of ‘Business and Innovation’.

The annual awards celebrate the achievements of ten of the University’s most accomplished graduates and graduands, chosen from a pool of close to 290,000 alumni. President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs congratulated the recipients saying: “Choosing these winners from the extraordinary pool of talent spread across 146 countries and all facets of human endeavour is not an easy task".

“We are extremely proud of the alumni we honour here tonight, the remarkable innovation they demonstrate, and the impact they are having in Australia and worldwide,” Professor Jacobs said.

Presenting the award to Shemara, Chancellor Mr David Gonski AC remarked on Shemara’s outstanding achievements in business and her undeniable impact in the community.

Shemara is Head of Macquarie Asset Management, Australia’s largest global asset manager, with over A$500 billion of assets under management. Shemara is also the Chair of the Macquarie Foundation which globally distributed $29.7M to more than 1,500 non-profit organisations globally in 2016, with Macquarie staff also donating 46,000 hours of their time.

Her previous roles have included heading Macquarie’s Infrastructure and Real Assets business in New York for four years from 2004, and leading the establishment of Macquarie’s infrastructure and private equity funds in both the US and Canada. Before that, Shemara led Macquarie Capital’s Prudential team for four years, reviewing all of the Group’s principal investments. She also established and led Macquarie’s Corporate Advisory offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Shemara Wikramanayake graduated from UNSW Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce in 1985.  As a student Shemara was actively involved as the Vice-President of the Law Society in 1983 and the President in 1984.

Since graduation, Shemara has been a true leader in the UNSW alumni community. She was a founding member of the UNSW Law Faculty Advisory Council and served as an invaluable council member for seven years. Shemera is passionate about tertiary education as a way of tackling social disadvantage and personally contributed to several scholarship programs at UNSW Sydney, including the Ngoc Tram Nguyen Scholarship. She was instrumental in setting up the Serendipity scholarship program for refugee children, including children from disadvantaged countries to study at university in Australia and New Zealand.

During a 30 year career at Macquarie she has led a number of businesses around the world whilst also maintaining a deep involvement in the philanthropic space. She embodies the true spirit of the UNSW ethos of excellence, equity, diversity and inclusion.

Congratulations Shemara!