Leadership Perspectives - A World of Opportunities

This evening I went to a panel discussion organized by Trinity Student Managed Fund, that pooled together four leaders in their own fields and expertise in the UK and Ireland region. These leaders were: Caroline Keeling, CEO of Keelings, Vivian Hunt, head of McKinsey in UK & Ireland, Dr. Pippa Malmgren, author and current advisor for Brexit, and Jamie Heaslip, former Irish rugby captain. I wanted to write and reflect on some of the wise words of advice that they spoke of during their panel discussion.

Caroline Keeling talked about the adversity she had to overcome during the 2008 economic crisis and how she overcame seeking leadership in a company run by her father. During the 2008 economic crisis, she found herself hitting a brick wall as they have doubled their production in 2006 due to the forecasted increase in demand and this was drastically imploded with the crisis in 2008. Caroline talked about when we as human beings hit a wall, often times we become prideful and self-reflect, but that the best thing she did during the 2008 crisis was asking fellow successful Irish businessman to coffee to seek their advice. She stressed the importance of IQ, EQ and PQ in her ability to be a successful leader. When you are a leader, have a clear vision. When you have a clear vision, you can use and inspire your team to find the solution.

Vivian Hunt provided advice about how when she was young in her career, she often didn’t have the answers or know how to solve something, but she figured out how to navigate through these situations. She navigated through the situations through her coined acronym of ‘SOQs’, using short open-ended questions to collaborate with the team around her to solve the task or issue at hand. She talked about the importance of being connected, tolerant and inclusive in leadership. In her closing remarks, she gave the advice of, “Be bold, move early, and look for opportunities to scale your product or idea.”

Pippa Malmgren told a captivating story about what she was doing during 9/11 as the Special Assistant for Economic Policy to the President of the United States, George W Bush. She detailed how the planes crashing into the World Trade Center led to the power supply to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to be cut off and how she had to call a guy who called a guy to get a maximum capacity generator on a wide load truck from Maryland to 14th St. Lower Manhattan to get the NYSE back up and running. She talked about the importance of operating a lifestyle like the motto of Formula 1 racers that race at 80% capacity, leaving the remaining 20% capacity to react to a potential crash. That 20% in our lives should be allocated to doing things we enjoy while also engaging our minds in creative ways. She talked about how there are two types of mindsets of a leader: 1. “I want to be a leader to be successful, rich and respected.” 2. “I want to be a leader because someone else will benefit from it.”

Jamie Heaslip talked about setting a standard for yourself where you can shoot and achieve lofty goals, but also reflecting back and being happy at how you addressed each challenge that you were dealt. He went on to tell a story about how he was the captain of the Irish Rugby Team and one day this title was taken away from him as the team had not been performing. He decided to take the high road and support the new captain and acknowledge that there is no ‘I’ in team. He talked about the importance of learning through your failures and how you frame each situation in life to make it an opportunity.  

These leaders provided an incredible amount of insight and advice on how they have been able to lead others in their own respects and all had a confident, yet humble demeanour. Leading is a process that requires a clear vision in order to serve a cause bigger than yourself. I look forward to the moments in my life where I can rise up to the challenge and continue being a leader in my own respect.


Jake SiegertComment