Intelligent CXO Issue 21 - Page 64

If you could go back and change one career decision , what would it be ?
When I was a younger , my passion was art . I was very much into writing , drawing and storytelling – I wanted to be a cinematographer . But there was one caveat , I was also very good in science which is quite unusual and a challenge for me because most educational systems demand you choose one .
As Sir Ken Robinson eluded , there ’ s a hierarchy in our schools where mathematics and science are at the top while arts and literature are at the bottom . I grew up very aware of that hierarchy and was always told , ‘ You get a career in maths and science , arts are a hobby ’. When I attended UCLA , I majored in biochemistry and minored in cinematography / screenwriting . Attempting to study both in a very competitive and intense programme left me quite unbalanced and frustrated . I eventually ended up in tech marketing with some serendipity .
Although I ’ ve very much enjoyed my career in tech , I ’ ve always wondered what my life would have been like as a writer and cinematographer . I often think of my past professors who told me I should write books , wondering what could have been . I would like to go back and explore that path when I transition out of tech .
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry ?
My advice would be quite straightforward : don ’ t be afraid to start from the bottom and learn as much as you can as you grow in your career . I sometimes feel we focus on glorifying success and put little attention on how important it is to put in the work during the process .
A C-level position is not a bragging right , it ’ s an opportunity to help people which is hard to do if you can ’ t relate to them , and the best way to do that is to show them you ’ ve done the work they ’ re doing and understand what it ’ s like to be in their shoes . I started from the bottom , and I couldn ’ t imagine appreciating my journey and the impact I ’ ve had in people ’ s lives if it had just fallen on my lap .
What behaviour or personality trait do you most attribute your success to and why ?
I ’ d have to say adaptability , resilience , optimism and empathy . Adaptability because things in life don ’ t always happen how we envision them so it ’ s important to learn how to take on situations as they arise while keeping an eye on our objectives , despite setbacks which is where resilience comes into play . As I mentioned earlier , having a healthy mind is so crucial in being productive and having a positive outlook in life or being optimistic helps tremendously , particularly when creating something innovative . As humans , I think we need more empathy in the world , and I always try to understand how people feel and see the world through their perspective .
What ’ s your go-to productivity trick ?
My go-to productivity trick is centred on less is more . I don ’ t believe in working hard all the time or being a workaholic , so I try to be as effective as possible in balancing my time and productivity . I believe in working short but intense hours , which means putting aside any distractions such as cell phones and including meetings . I spend a lot of my time strategising and solving problems in my head so I ’ ve recently been investing more time meditating and talking to a therapist so I can better deal with whatever situations I face . I think great productivity starts with a healthy mind .
What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months ?
With the greater society being more mindful about sustainability , there ’ s been a growing interest in providing a platform for CEOs of sustainable or social impact companies like myself to talk about our solutions to some of the world ’ s biggest problems . There ’ s a general understanding that governments can only do so much in terms of legislation , and the private sector can play an important role as a catalyst to educating and driving change from consumers . I see this trend growing exponentially over the next 12 months . x
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