Head of Legal and Compliance
Sarita Walpola is the Head of Legal and Compliance at UNSW Global. She is responsible for managing legal and compliance risk across all parts of the business and heads a small, agile team of senior legal and compliance professionals involved in activities ranging from higher education and pathway provider regulation, to corporate contracts, commercial transactions, IP, privacy issues, data protection and consumer law.
With priorities that include enabling business strategies and facilitating UNSW Global’s alignment with the University’s broader strategy, Sarita guides her team to deliver comprehensive solutions to a wide variety of business challenges. Since joining the UNSW Global team in 2017 as Legal Counsel, Sarita has established excellent relationships across the business, UNSW Legal Office and the wider University.
By harnessing these relationships, and drawing on her professional expertise, she is focused on creating a smooth path through complex areas of potential business vulnerability, in order to support UNSW Global’s ambitious plan for the future. This is of vital importance as UNSW Global becomes more strongly integrated, both strategically and operationally, with UNSW's international business.
With a background as a commercial lawyer, Sarita’s approach to practice is both technically strong and pragmatic. She brings to her role a mix of top-tier law firm and corporate boutique experience, having worked on multibillion-dollar deals in the financial services, energy and resources, and IP / telecommunications sectors, and advising on a wide range of corporate compliance and governance matters.
With a long-held interest in global development and outreach, Sarita provided corporate advice for the purposes of funding development projects in Nepal and Uganda as the in-house counsel for the Adara Group. She has also volunteered in Sri Lanka with the UN Development Programme to help provide legal education and access to justice for less-advantaged groups.
UNSW Global provides the perfect environment for her to apply her corporate skills for the public good in a not-for-profit context, and she is excited by the opportunity to advance the University’s engagement overseas, raise Australia’s international profile and create opportunities for students.
Sarita also brings to her role a strong passion for furthering opportunities for and supporting women throughout their careers. She actively contributes to creating a work culture that values a sustainable balance between work and family commitments.