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- Dr. Ahmed Nabil: From Ophthalmologist to One of the Top 10 Healthcare Business Leaders of 2023
Exclusive Interview of Dr. Ahmed Nabil of Mouwasat Medical Services. Edited by Powered Magazine Dr. Ahmed Nabil is an exemplary medical professional who has found success at every step of his career. Additionally, he is renowned for his work as an ophthalmologist and leader in the field, having dedicated his life to helping patients improve their sight and overall health. His commitment to excellence and passion for helping others have made him one of the most respected medical community members today. He dedicated himself to becoming a great physician and a man of high character and integrity at a young age, and he has made a conscious effort to bring this same high standard to all he does. Dr. Nabil credits those who came before him with much of his success, citing them as "a valuable source of inspiration and guidance. By observing how others demonstrate these attributes in real-life situations, I was motivated to improve my performance and maintain the responsibilities of my role." Dr. Ahmed has successfully led and developed QA and development departments in large hospitals and companies as a healthcare manager with over 20 years of experience in the UAE, KSA, UK, and Egypt. Dr. Nabil possesses strong leadership and supervisory skills, constantly looking for ways to enhance clinical services and meet the future needs of different departments. Dr. Ahmed's expertise extends to private healthcare, including investment strategies, acquisition management, strategic planning, and day-to-day operations to ensure profitability. Dr. Nabil raises the bar for healthcare leadership by offering stable, hands-on leadership in dynamic environments. Dr. Nabil began his professional career in 2003 as a resident doctor in the ophthalmology department at Al-Azhar University. He was Executive Director at Bank Alhly Hospital in 2007, followed by rising to the ranks of COO of Al3oyon Aldwaly Hospital International Eye Hospital in 2010. From 2011 to 2014, Dr. Nabil also lectured at the medical education unit, providing training courses in various medical and non-medical fields. Seeking further education, Dr. Nabil travelled to Europe to study business and leadership in England and Sweden. In 2015, he worked as a European Union liaison officer, where his primary responsibilities included receiving and promptly disseminating information from the European Union to Al-Azhar University. During this time, he was also responsible for ensuring the completion of tasks and assessing and facilitating business strategies with external partners. Following his success as COO of different hospitals, Dr. Nabil took on the leadership role of COO at one of the largest hospitals in KSA, Mouwasat Hospital. Under his leadership, the hospitals achieved significant recognition, winning national and international awards, including JCI, HIMSS 7, and Centres of Excellence, and were named the world's best smart hospitals. Dr. Nabil is highly experienced and passionate about providing quality healthcare to patients. The Mouwasat Group of hospitals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recognises the importance of state-of-the-art technology in delivering quality healthcare, which is a critical reason they promoted Dr. Ahmed Nabil to COO. With over 40 years of experience as a healthcare provider, the Mouwasat Group has consistently invested in and innovated IT healthcare solutions to improve the efficiency of health service delivery. The Mouwasat Group is known for providing high-quality healthcare services, and its network consists of eight hospitals with over 1,700 beds, providing the highest quality of care for its patients. As healthcare becomes increasingly complex, having an experienced and knowledgeable COO at a hospital is essential. As COO, Nabil coordinates the hospital's various departments, ensuring all operations run smoothly and efficiently. He also helps develop strategies to improve patient care and satisfaction and provides leadership in implementing new initiatives. Moreover, he ensures that staff are adequately trained and supported to ensure optimal patient safety. Dr. Nabil is an invaluable asset for any organisation, giving stability and peace of mind in an ever-evolving healthcare environment. Dr. Nabil has faced countless challenges in his career, but cites moving to Europe in his 20s without speaking the language as one of the significant challenges he has had to overcome. During this time, Dr. Ahmed had to navigate a new culture and language and make new friends while adapting to a different way of life. Throughout his life, Dr. Nabil has believed that maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to success and happiness, stating, "I believe that a healthy work-life balance refers to maintaining a harmonious relationship between my work and my personal life." Excelling in time management allows him to allocate quality time for his family, hobbies, and personal goals. Dr. Nabil struggled to find a healthy balance between work and his personal life, resulting in negative consequences such as consistently working long weekends and holidays, leading to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion due to chronic stress and work-related pressure. Additionally, he found it challenging to maintain healthy relationships with my family, friends, and loved ones during this time. Through his efficient delegation and fostering a collaborative atmosphere, Dr. Nabil and his team effectively handled the heightened workload and shortage of medical supplies while maintaining the highest standard of care for their patients. Throughout his 20+ years in management and consulting, Dr. Nabil has realised that career growth is primarily determined by how well he handles the crucial "turning points" in his professional journey. One such pivotal turning point for him was when he transitioned from an individual contributor to a managerial role, which helped set the stage for his career progression. Dr. Nabil feels the key to his successful career lies in strategically approaching these turning points, creating opportunities, and combining preparation and courage to propel himself personally and professionally. Dr. Nabil has spent years honing his leadership skills and abilities, including taking initiative, developing critical thinking, and motivating others. He believes empowering his team is necessary to create a solid and productive team. He feels establishing a company culture is vital to success, as is ensuring everyone on the team feels respected and valued. Additionally, he firmly believes in encouraging his team through open communication, giving and receiving honest feedback, and allowing others to offer insight into every situation. Nabil also understands the importance of balance and delegations and says, "I don't have to take on more than I can handle, but I need to do more than simply what's covered in my job description if I want to grow." Dr. Ahmed Nabil has had a successful career as COO, a medical doctor, and an entrepreneur, including the Perfect Doctor issued by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, Certificates of Academic Excellence from several associations, and Certificates of Appreciation from renowned organisations such as the Embassy of the United States of America and the Ministry of Education. Dr. Nabil is a dedicated mentor who prioritises the growth and development of his team, providing guidance and support to help them achieve their goals. As a doctor of ophthalmology, Dr. Nabil has devoted his life to helping others, committing countless hours to providing quality care to those who need it most. His dedication to his profession has earned him respect from peers across the medical world. He has established himself as one of his field's most widely recognised global leaders. He is an exemplary role model for those looking to succeed in their chosen fields, demonstrating that ambition and dedication make anything possible.
- Elevating Corporate Learning: Kalina Trajanoska, Co-Founder & CEO of Coach Microlearning
Exclusive Interview of Kalina Trajanoska of Coach Microlearning. Edited by Powered Magazine In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we explore Kalina's journey from a passion for education and technology to becoming a trailblazing leader in the field of corporate learning. Her innovative solutions have been instrumental in helping organizations deliver effective training that aligns with the ever-changing demands of the modern workplace. Tell us about yourself and your business. I am the founder of Coach Microlearning - an innovative tool for internal corporate training that finds and fixes the gaps in employees' knowledge in just 3-5 minutes a day. It’s similar to the popular language learning app Duolingo, but used for workplace training. As employees interact with the learning games, the coach pinpoints areas for improvement from incorrect answers and suggests micro-lessons. The app incorporates motivational features like achievements and personalised refreshers to enable employees to master every aspect of their training in record time and prevent expensive mistakes. Today, Coach brings value to many international corporations that use it for sales, safety and product training, onboarding, and more. My background is in software engineering and graphic design, but my passion has always been education and learning. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? Starting any business is challenging in and of itself, but launching a startup where you build a product from scratch is another beast! Previously, my co-founder and I were working on a project-based model with international clients, so we were used to the simple business model of outsourcing. But, when we detected the gap in the market for a solution like Coach, it was truly a challenge to decide to take the leap and start investing in building the product. Your belief has to be strong if you are to intentionally cut down your revenue stream and essentially be in the negative each month on purpose while you’re bringing your idea to life. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? Building a startup is akin to a rollercoaster ride, so believe me when I say that there are many ups and downs. It takes courage, determination, wit, and adaptability to be able to remotely succeed. The best way to think of failure as to take it as a lesson. Many people say that, but I'm not sure how many actually practice it. It means to write down and reflect on the cause, what could be done differently and what has been learned from it. And do it religiously! In the end, I strongly believe the road to success is paved with failures. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Whether we like it or not, AI is here, and it's here to stay. We have to be open to the changing landscape of technology if we are to survive as a business in the next century. But the businesses that win not only reluctantly adapt to the new technologies; they innovate with them and lead the way. That's why we're building our AI-powered training generator, which converts existing Word materials into ready-to-use Coach training modules in 2 minutes! My advice is: don't ignore AI; find a way to benefit from it! What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? Doing something that hasn't been done before! I come from a small, developing country, and inadvertently, on a global scale, that makes me an underdog. I'm driven by the thought that my team and I could be the first global success story from my country, Macedonia. Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't make it impossible! The next generation deserves to see that even the underdogs can win. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? Keep learning, keep practicing even if it's bad at the beginning - it's the only way forward. The three most important traits to work on when starting something new are: 1) curiosity / passion 2) perseverance 3) ability to learn independently How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? The biggest technological leap in modern times that affects most businesses is the AI revolution. Not only are we developing new, unique features powered by AI, but we're leveraging AI tools in many aspects of running the business: copywriting, sales, data analytics, and more. We're encouraging our teammates to explore new ways of doing things since if you're set in your ways, you're missing out and at risk of disruption. In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture? Our roadmap for future development is fluid, and we're continuously adding client requests to it. We've enabled many opportunities where either the users of the app or the managers using the admin panel can leave feedback, feature suggestions, bug reports, or any comments they might have. In the end, Coach is meant to bring value to them, so if their needs are changing and evolving, so should the product accordingly. If you're not keen on implementing customer feedback and requests, be aware you're risking a churn increase! What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? I foresee 4 trends being crucial in the future of corporate training: upskilling and reskilling. Personalization & Adaptive Learning: Personalized training, adapted to the current knowledge level of each employee is the future. It ensures everyone gets what they need, making learning more efficient, effective and worthwhile. Microlearning: Let's face it, we're all busy. Microlearning gives quick, bite-sized lessons that fit into any schedule. It's flexible, fast, and makes sense in our always-on world. Spaced Repetition: Ever forget something you just learned? Spaced repetition helps by revisiting info over time. It's like a brain workout, making sure knowledge sticks around for the long haul. Gamification: Who doesn't love a good game? Gamification makes learning fun and engaging. It's not just about points or badges; it's about making training something employees want to do. With Coach, we combine all of these 4 trends in a unique learning experience guaranteed to boost performance. We’re seeing these trends in different successful products already, such as Duolingo, Kahoot and TikTok and it’s just the beginning. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? The most rewarding is definitely the stories of happy clients! To know that what you’ve made brings value is the goal of every founder. It makes it all worthwhile. There are many difficult aspects – wearing every hat in the company, establishing healthy work-life balance and deciding the direction the whole ship is set to sail to. The responsibility isn’t small at all, but as other founders already know – diamonds are built under pressure! Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? Studies show that 70% of newly acquired knowledge during training sessions gets forgotten in 2 weeks! That’s a huge loss for the companies investing into training their employees. If you’ve experienced this either as a L&D, HR or Sales manager / director I invite you to find me on LinkedIn and drop me a message. There is a cure for the forgetting curve, but only if you take action!
- Trailblazer in Family Business Transformation and Philanthropy: Dr. Anuraag Guglaani
Exclusive Interview of Dr. Anuraag Guglaani of Wazir Advisors. Edited by Powered Magazine Image Credits: Dr. Anuraag Guglaani The journey from being an aspirational fighter jet pilot to a renowned family business doctor and Entrepreneur – Investor, who believes in creating wealth through business, for utilization in the upliftment of women and youth empowerment coupled with entrepreneurship enhancement and employment generation. In the realm of exceptional individuals, there exists Dr. Anuraag Guglaani—a visionary leader, a catalyst for change, and a passionate advocate for transformation and philanthropy. With a multitude of prestigious awards and accolades to his name, Dr. Guglaani is leaving an indelible mark on the world through his remarkable achievements and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact. Tell us about yourself. Well I take pride in being known as a renowned “Business Doctor” who sits on the Board of Multiple large family business groups, steering their growth, transformation and sustenance and am also an entrepreneur invested in couple of businesses, while being the Managing Partner & CEO of Wazir Advisors. During my youth, I got trained at the world’s top most military officer’s training academy to fulfill my aspiration of becoming a Fighter Jet Pilot with the Air force. Apart from my armed forces officer’s training, I also have a Ph.D. in Family business transformation, Doctorate in Technology governance, Doctorate in Humanitariasm (hc), MBA in Finance & Marketing, EMBA in leadership and Management , Fellowship of Chartered Institute of Management and Leadership( FCIML) , Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and am a CISM ( Certified Information Security Manager), CDPSE ( Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer) & CGEIT ( Certified in Governance of Enterprise IT), I am also involved with the public sector for policy formulation and advisory, and am an avid speaker at multiple global forums and universities on the topics of leadership, business, investments, entrepreneurship, and transformation. You have been honored by the US President with a lifetime achievement award and also have many other laurels and awards in your kitty. Tell us more about it. Yes, I have had the rare honor of receiving “Presidential Lifetime Achievement award” from US President’s Office which includes a medallion and a citation of “with grateful recognition” given by the AmeriCorps and the Office of the US President. I have also been honored with the “President’s Volunteer Service Medal” along with a letter of appreciation from “The White House”, personally signed by the President of the United States. In the recent past I have also received Global Humanitarian award, Top 100 change Maker, Global Icon, International Excellence and Tableau d’ Honneur awards. The key reason behind receiving all these awards is that I have created an indigenous model for supporting women and youth entrepreneurship and empowerment through geographical expansion of businesses and profitability enhancement, and then utilizing the profits for the benefit of society through generating employment, skill enhancement, and knowledge transfer. I am also a board member of multiple non-profit organizations and play an extensive role in elevating the status of women and the empowerment of youth while ensuring that they get to play a significant role at the board level in organizations. Tell us about your business. We are in the very interesting business of ensuring that other businesses become sustainable rather than fail and that they are able to maximize growth and profitability by capitalizing on market opportunities and structuring themselves better. We build and implement strategies, transform and turn around organizations, and expand and grow businesses in multiple industries and geographies while mitigating risks. Wazir Advisors is a 15-year-old, premier strategic advisory and implementation firm comprising 200 team members operating from 14 offices spread across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, serving 1000+ clients representing top brands and family businesses. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? The biggest challenge always is to get the Founders and Chairman’s to realize the gravity of the situation which they are in and to make them understand that business can be conducted differently with lesser stress, better efficiency, larger productivity and greater profitability by imbibing a differentiated mindset and problem solving approach. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? I have always been a strong believer that failure is a better teacher since continued success makes us complacent while failure forces us to challenge ourselves and think outside the box. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Any business that exists, is there to solve a particular problem in the market or fill a gap. To address those needs, a solution is developed, which becomes the business model, and then it is essential to identify who is going to pay for that solution, and that becomes the customer. Subsequently, it needs to be ascertained what value someone is willing to pay for the solution, and that becomes the price and value proposition. All of the above requires a deep understanding of customer behavior, the market, competition, etc., and in the current dynamic business landscape, it is essential to constantly remain informed in order to make the right decisions at the right time. Thus, the emphasis on market intelligence and research can never be undermined; however, businesses get so involved in day-to-day operations and firefighting that they lose sight of the importance of such initiatives. Image: Handout What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? My motivation comes from the fact that I am able to make a meaningful impact in the lives of Founders and Chairman’s of businesses and their families, by helping them create a more process driven, less people dependent and highly profitable organization thereby providing them sufficient peace of mind to enjoy their life in parallel. Over and above that, the work that I do to be able to utilize these profits for the betterment of society, especially women and youth, fuels my passion to go stronger. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? Focus on 3 C’s : Curiosity, Connections and Creating value. Extensive traveling across the globe for partnerships, alliances, JVs, mergers, acquisitions, sourcing, and conferences has helped me connect internationally with decision-makers in government and the private sector and establish a strong network with affluent business leaders, which helps me in every sphere of life. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? While I promote and implement intelligent automation as a business enabler, I also focus immensely on mitigating technology risk. Along with enhancing ROI for shareholders, I also envision and implement strategic goals and undertake transformation, automation, technology governance, risk management, and compliance frameworks to create well-governed organizations. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? The ability to make a difference for businesses and their owners has by far been the most rewarding aspect of my career and business path. Having been able to create a unique, differentiated, and affordable business model by listening to the needs of the market and the consumer and constantly upgrading and innovating the same keeps me on my toes. Being able to constantly convince and help founders realize their shortcomings and weaknesses and to be able to let go of their ego and become more responsive is the most difficult aspect, and it takes time and patience on both sides to undergo that process. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Presentability, communication, networking, listening skills, risk-taking ability, an eye for opportunity, honesty, industry knowledge, constant learning, and above all, smart common sense are by far the key drivers for success. How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year? Undoubtedly, the biggest benefit of being able to also partially work remotely and be able to talk to clients over video calls has been providing access to customers from across the globe, which was only possible earlier through travel. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? My message to business owners, founders, chairmanships, entrepreneurs, and C-suite executives is that they should never shy away from seeking external guidance and support. Being involved in day-to-day operations, they would never get a clear picture of their own business, and neither would their employees be able to provide them with a complete and honest understanding. Someone with external, unbiased, and varied industry expertise can look at things very differently and provide valuable guidance and a road map to success. Always look for people who have a blended experience of industry and consulting so that they can become a part of problem solving and implementation rather than just advisory.
- Bhaskar Sivanathan: Pioneering Excellence as Founder & CEO of Thought Frameworks, Inc.
Exclusive Interview of Bhaskar Sivanathan of Thought Frameworks. Edited by Powered Magazine Bhaskar Sivanathan is the founder and technical head of Thought Frameworks, he surely showcases an unmatched sense of dynamism, ardour, and synergy when it comes to anything QA and QC. Bhaskar has been driving the quality wheel at the heart of Thought Frameworks, a forerunner in providing exceptional quality software across all domains. And has significantly helped establish several partnerships with key vendors, making sure that all client partnerships are always about “quality that meets customer satisfaction”. He has been influential in harbouring several successful businesses and joint ventures across the world over the last two decades. Tell us about yourself and your business. I am Bhaskar, a seasoned automation architect by profession, bringing in about 22 years of hands-on experience in the field of software quality assurance and testing that's further backed by years of building automation frameworks and performance testing teams for leading startups, SME's, and enterprise-level applications using both commercial and open-source tools. I started my journey as a Java developer for a US-based organisation during my initial years after completing my degree in mechanical engineering. Later, while delving into programming, I discovered all the SDLC processes that further pushed me to move towards automation. I had mostly specialised as an individual contributor till 2003, then I joined Ionidea, where I got the opportunity to work as an automation/performance lead, where my forte was starting a project at a client location as a single resource and building an offshore team. On a similar note, while working at client location Scantron in 2009, consulting opportunities continued to expand offshore businesses, which marked a stepping stone in September of the same year to start my own self-financed business that I had been waiting for for the last 9 years. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? Starting out, there was always a latent fear, especially towards the initial few months, even after having a successful background and nine years of experience in this industry. The biggest challenge by far was getting the second client. Outreaching and getting more customers was not my forte; however, we were very strong on the technical side of things, and managing all our client deliverables well was never an issue. Over the years, I learned to strongly believe that finding the gap always resolved the challenges. As we initially focused mostly on automation and performance testing, we slowly discovered more challenging aspects on the functional side of things. The ability to understand these latent gaps was a slightly challenging period, but we took notice of it at an early stage, and now we provide over 15 services, successfully analysing several latent QA challenges like these. And have never looked back since. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Practising the art of a consistent self-learning process, competitive analysis, market research, and analysing and adapting recent market trends Keeping all communication channels open. Building a team with good leadership skills, enhancing our entire team management strategies, and optimising our project management skills Scrutinising the minute areas of self-correction is necessary for achieving a larger yet more detailed scope of improvement. Lastly, it all boils down to managing all our client deliverables with the utmost perfection. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? Whenever I don't have tasks at hand, I keep getting these constant ideas in my head that keep motivating me further. I would say that self-introspection, critical thinking, and having no regrets are essential. To add to it, challenges and problem-solving are the two absolute key motivators that have kept me going over the years. What advice would you give to someone just starting in their chosen field? It's simple: just love your job. That's it. As I strongly believe, if you like your job, you just do what others are saying. If you love your job, you will do more than is needed. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? In the year 2023, we will all know one thing for sure: productivity is key. Especially when it comes to all software applications. With the newfound love for all things digital, web and mobile apps are essential and possibly unavoidable at this point thanks to the AI onslaught. But guess what makes them function better? A good independent QA drill For us, upscaling productivity comes to mind first when dealing with all the software applications of our clients and stakeholders across varied domains, and that's what sets us apart in the industry. We know the utilitarian aspect of QA very well, and that's exactly what we leverage via our services. In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture? I feel QA is becoming increasingly relevant for all industry domains, without a doubt. And Software testing, as you may have heard, is a fundamentally integral process for creating reliable and usable software products. It is seldom the only process for re-evaluating and verifying a software application to ensure that it's working as expected. It helps identify underlying defects and reduce errors and flaws while elevating the overall quality of the software system in its entirety. Our clients have been highly appreciative and have consistently maintained our long-standing partnerships to further highlight the positive difference that our services have made towards their product's functionality and system performance. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? The software testing life cycle is becoming increasingly important, as it is the only way to fully ensure the quality and reliability of all web applications out there. Identifying and fixing any leftover defects or errors in the code is the turnkey process that enables all software developers across the board to deliver quality software that meets the end users' utilitarian needs and expectations at the same time. Likewise, digital transformation has become a driving force in the software testing industry, revolutionising traditional approaches and paving the way for innovative automation testing methodologies and tools. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? Within 3 years of starting my business, we had a team of 55 QA engineers who were managing versatile projects globally. We had always been strong on the technical front but never focused much in terms of sales and marketing, except for hiring one insights salesperson, and that was it. We mostly targeted midsize companies and startups, building long-term associations lasting over 6 years. But outreaching, getting more clients, and carving a niche in terms of our service offerings is still a work in progress. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Patience is an essential component of this business. As software testing and QA processes can be time-consuming, monotonous, and oftentimes frustrating, a successful QA analyst must have the requisite patience to work through all these managerial issues and keep a positive mindset amidst all constraints. Always. How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year? The pandemic, I think, made me change perspectives. About nine years after what we started with, we have now changed our strategies completely. We launched Thought Frameworks 2.0, which solely focused on building the nonfunctional side of our team like sales and business development, digital marketing, content and communications, etc. And now we are a team of 95 % ISTQB certified individuals and a CMMI Level 3 service provider. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further? Stay agile (literally), self-motivated, and always open up for conversations.
- Chris Petillo: Driving Digital Transformation and Innovating for the Future with Rhyno Healthcare
Exclusive Interview of Chris Petillo of Rhyno Healthcare. Edited by Powered Magazine Chris Petillo is a dynamic leader and technology enthusiast at the forefront of driving digital transformation and innovation in the corporate landscape. With a passion for leveraging cutting-edge technologies to propel businesses forward, Chris has established himself as a trusted advisor and thought leader in the realm of digital strategy and implementation. As a champion of digital innovation, Chris Petillo has helped businesses harness the power of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics to enhance customer experiences, optimize operations, and drive sustainable growth. His keen ability to align technology initiatives with business goals has resulted in successful digital transformations across various industries. Join us as we explore the remarkable achievements and thought leadership of Chris Petillo and discover how his innovative mindset and strategic approach are driving digital transformation and propelling businesses toward a successful future. Tell us about yourself and your business: I, Chris Petillo a seasoned healthcare information technology professional with a passion for innovation and the betterment of patient outcomes through collaboration and strategic implementations of advanced technology. My journey in the healthcare sector began over 35 years ago, where I was lucky enough to be able to play with the “best toys” available at the time, as well as implement and optimize new digital imaging technologies across the US. I've since been at the vanguard of healthcare IT with several large academic medical centers, being an early proponent and adopter of cloud image storage, and involved in all aspects from electronic medical records, clinical ancillary systems, data governance, and custom development. I hold a Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering, which has laid a solid foundation for my career. Over the years, I've developed a deep understanding of healthcare IT, enabling me to engage in all clinical areas of healthcare. My blend of technical acumen, leadership, collaborative, and risk management skills have been instrumental in driving my career trajectory and leading me to the founding of Rhyno Healthcare Solutions in 2016. Rhyno Healthcare Solutions is a healthcare professional and advisory services company. Our mission is to provide experienced IT resources to healthcare organizations, with the aim of improving clinical efficiencies and patient outcomes. We pride ourselves on our unique approach, combining technical expertise with an in-depth understanding of the needs of healthcare providers, payers, and patients. We understand both the clinical & business requirements and how that translates into technical solutions. In 2022, I extended our reach globally by establishing our sister company, Rhyno Healthcare International. The primary goal of Rhyno Healthcare International is to utilize our unique methodology in an international landscape, focusing on technical implementations including business process analysis, impact analysis, risk mitigation, and change management. In addition to my work with Rhyno, I've had the privilege of sharing my insights and experiences through several published articles, focusing on topics such as PACS and Enterprise Imaging. Through these platforms, I aim to help shape the dialogue surrounding the role of technology in healthcare. On a personal level, I am deeply committed to transforming healthcare through technology. I believe that by translating the requirements and expected outcomes across all stakeholders, we can drive meaningful change in the healthcare sector. My vision is to lead Rhyno in pushing the boundaries of what's possible, making healthcare more accessible, efficient, and effective for everyone. In my spare time, I enjoy being with and cooking for my family, and sleeping next to my bulldog, Portabella. Bella and I have competitions to see who can snore the loudest. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? Over the course of my career, I've experienced numerous successes and failures. I view each as a learning opportunity that contributes to my personal and professional growth. Success has alway been from collective achievements, not just an individual one. Every success Rhyno has enjoyed has been the product of our dedicated team working hard to fulfill our mission. I make it a priority to celebrate these successes with the team, ensuring that each member's contribution is recognized and appreciated. As for failures, I've always viewed them as an essential part of the journey towards success. In the fast-paced world of healthcare technology, setbacks are inevitable. Each failure presents an opportunity to reassess our approach, make necessary adjustments, and come back stronger. I believe in taking responsibility for these setbacks, analyzing them honestly, and using the insights gained to improve our strategies and processes. Throughout both success and failure, I maintain a steadfast commitment to our mission. I continually remind myself and our team that we are working towards a transformative change in healthcare. This perspective helps us stay resilient, maintain a positive outlook, and keep striving for our clients goals. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? The landscape of Healthcare Professional Service organizations has changed greatly over the last ten years. Growing vertically is much easier than horizontally, once you have partnered with your client and can prove your company's value. With the increase in both vendor management/procurement processes and security requirements, growing horizontally for a smaller company is extremely challenging. It can take months or years to execute the proper contracts just to be able to provide basic services. You have to be in for the long haul to hope to eventually break through. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Staying competitive in the technology sector requires constant vigilance, education and a willingness to innovate. At Rhyno, we keep our finger on the pulse of industry trends and advancements. We strive to be early adopters and implementers, and offer our customers leading edge solutions whenever possible and appropriate. However, Healthcare IT often seems to be behind the curve of using innovative technologies and solutions. Many healthcare vendors are not easily or quickly able to migrate to new infrastructure or software to stay on the leading edge. Healthcare IT budgets and manpower also make it challenging to stay technically competitive, having to deal with system mandatory upgrades and regulatory requirements. This makes for a mixed environment of product maturity and supportability. To differentiate ourselves, we've built a strong brand identity that reflects our unique approach to healthcare solutions. This includes our focus on comprehensive business process analysis, impact analysis, risk mitigation, and change management, alongside our expert implementation of the latest technologies. Our key differentiator is to be able to communicate across all areas of the business and IT staff, who often need support minimizing the time it takes to resolve both simple and complex project issues. We strive to maintain a customer-centric focus. We understand that the end goal of our work is to improve patient outcomes and increase clinical efficiencies. This commitment to our customers' needs and success guides our strategic decisions and helps us maintain our competitive edge in the market. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? My primary motivation is the reward of being a Solution Delivery provider. A full solution within every IT project can be a wide variety of things. It can be technical, operational, financial, translational or even just emotional. It amazes me how many issues can be resolved in a 20 minute phone call with the appropriate people. Issues that can remain unresolved for days or weeks, can be resolved in an hour. That is what Rhyno brings to the party and one of my most rewarding motivations. This motivation is not just mine, but one shared by the entire Rhyno team. Each challenge we face is a stepping stone towards achieving the right solution. Additionally, I am driven by a deep sense of accountability towards the healthcare providers, patients, and other stakeholders who rely on our services. I am committed to delivering on our promises and to continuously push for improvements in our solutions, processes, and services. Finally, our team is a crucial motivation for me. Their passion, commitment, and expertise are truly inspiring. In the face of adversity, we support each other, learn from our experiences, and come out stronger. What advice would you give someone starting in your chosen field? In the field of Healthcare IT, a strong foundation in technical knowledge, clinical/business/patient workflow, and system integration is crucial. This includes understanding different healthcare ancillary systems, IT infrastructure, data analysis, and more. But more importantly, you need to have a genuine passion for improving healthcare services and outcomes. Be prepared to embrace continuous learning as healthcare practices evolve. Keep up-to-date with emerging technologies and consider how they can be applied to solve current healthcare challenges. Understand the balance of technology and operations required to improve all patient outcomes and always look for ways to integrate solutions to allow the caregivers to focus on what they should do best - provide patient care. Focus on building relationships within the healthcare and tech industries. These connections can provide valuable insights, opportunities for collaboration, and support when facing challenges. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business/operate your venture? Technological advances have been instrumental in shaping Rhyno Healthcare Solutions. They have enabled us to create and implement innovative solutions that have a real impact on healthcare providers and patients. For instance, the advent of public cloud technologies has revolutionized how we deploy, support and access applications and data. This has been a game-changer in terms of efficiency, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness. However, it is still a change, and all change faces resistance if not communicated and planned effectively. A strong strategy and implementation plans will be needed to ensure that the new technology is sustainable both from a financial and operational perspective. Advancements in data analytics have given us the tools to understand healthcare processes and patient outcomes better. We now have access to and can analyze large volumes of data to identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement. Communication technologies have made it easier for us to collaborate with healthcare organizations around the world. This has allowed us to expand our reach and impact, have access to the best clinicians, and to learn from a diverse range of healthcare systems and practices. Technological advances have not only improved our business operations but have also enhanced the services we provide to the healthcare sector. We are excited about the potential of future technologies to drive further improvements in healthcare services and patient outcomes. In what ways has customer feedback/response influenced how you prioritize goals/objectives for your business/venture? Customer feedback is at the heart of everything we do at Rhyno Healthcare Solutions. It fundamentally shapes our goals and objectives. In the complex world of healthcare IT, we understand the importance of listening to our customers – the healthcare professionals who are on the frontline of patient care. This extends outside of our information technology partners and must include the business end users who understand and must live with the technical decisions implemented. Their insights guide our development efforts, helping us to focus on solutions that genuinely address their pain points and facilitate improved patient outcome. Often, Rhyno is engaged to ensure the translation of the business requirements are truly understood by the technical teams responsible to implement. We also take customer suggestions regarding our service delivery very seriously. Whether it's a comment about our response times or a suggestion for a new feature, we take these into account when setting our operational priorities. It's this customer-centric approach that allows us to provide top-notch service and continue to innovate in the healthcare IT space. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? There are several key trends emerging in the healthcare IT industry that I believe will shape its future. Firstly, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming increasingly prevalent. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize healthcare by providing predictive analytics, enhancing diagnostics, personalizing medicine, and streamlining administrative tasks. Artificial Intelligence can take on the more mundane clinical tasks and allow our clinicians and caregivers to focus on more challenging & effective ways to improve patient outcomes. Secondly, the adoption of cloud-based solutions is on the rise. As healthcare organizations continue to generate vast amounts of data, cloud technology offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for storage and access. This is particularly relevant for medical imaging, where high-resolution files need to be accessible to healthcare professionals in real time. Another key trend is the increased focus on data security and patient privacy. With cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, there's a growing need for robust cybersecurity measures in healthcare IT. Interoperability is an often neglected but significant trend. There is a push towards creating systems that can seamlessly share and use information across different healthcare entities, improving coordination of care and patient outcomes. At Rhyno Healthcare Solutions, we're excited about these trends and are committed to leveraging them to drive innovation and deliver exceptional services to our customers. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career/business path? Reflecting on my career in healthcare IT, I've had the opportunity to experience a multitude of rewarding and challenging aspects that have shaped my journey and defined my path. One of the most rewarding aspects of my career has been seeing the tangible impact of our work on patient care. Implementing and advancing technology in healthcare systems has led to increased clinical efficiency, improved patient outcomes, and has even saved lives. Knowing that our work makes such a significant difference is incredibly fulfilling. I find great reward in the problem-solving aspect of my role. The healthcare IT sector is complex and constantly evolving. Navigating this landscape, identifying opportunities for operational optimization, and developing effective solutions is intellectually stimulating and immensely satisfying. Starting Rhyno Healthcare Solutions and later Rhyno Healthcare International has been a significant milestone. Being able to lead teams dedicated to transforming healthcare through the application of technology has been a highlight of my career. On the other hand, the path has not been without its challenges. The rapid pace of technological advancement in the healthcare sector, while exciting, can also be daunting. Keeping up with new developments and ensuring that we leverage them effectively for the benefit of our clients requires constant vigilance and adaptability. Additionally, working in the intersection of healthcare and technology means dealing with stringent regulatory requirements and data security concerns. Ensuring ongoing compliance while trying to deliver innovative solutions is a delicate balance and a constant challenge. It was often frustrating not being able to implement real effective change due to having to spend a lot of time and resources on less than innovative requirements…so much so, that Rhyno was created to help balance both. However, the rewards of working in healthcare IT far outweigh the difficulties. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? In the realm of healthcare IT, there are several skills and areas of expertise that I believe are essential for success. A deep understanding of healthcare processes and systems is paramount. This includes knowledge about the functionality of electronic medical records, departmental and enterprise ancillary systems, integration, data warehousing, analytics, and other key components of healthcare technology. Also, the ability to adapt to rapidly evolving technology is crucial. With innovations such as cloud image storage and AI making their way into healthcare, it's imperative to stay ahead of the curve and know how to integrate these technologies into existing systems for improved efficiency and patient outcomes. I believe that strong problem-solving and communication skills are vital. The healthcare industry presents unique challenges that require innovative solutions. The ability to analyze situations, identify potential roadblocks, resolve misunderstandings between the different implementation teams, and devise effective strategies is key to overcoming these challenges. How has working remotely or online impacted Rhyno Healthcare Solutions over the past year? The transition to remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed presented challenges, but it has also offered opportunities for growth and innovation at Rhyno Healthcare Solutions. As a company deeply involved in technology, we were able to pivot quickly to a remote work model, leveraging our technical expertise to ensure seamless communication and collaboration among our teams. We were very concerned about remote Command Centers for critical cutovers, but we found that we were able to successfully drive those remotely almost as effectively as being onsite. This transition has shown us that we can maintain productivity and high-quality service delivery, regardless of where our team is located. Moreover, this shift has opened up a broader talent pool for us. We are no longer geographically limited when hiring new team members, allowing us to attract and retain top talent from anywhere. On the downside, the shift to remote work has put a spotlight on the importance of cybersecurity. Protecting our clients' sensitive data is a top priority, and we've ramped up our security protocols to address potential vulnerabilities associated with remote work. In terms of client relationships, we've found that the move to online meetings hasn't impeded our ability to maintain strong connections. In fact, it has allowed us to be more flexible and accessible to our clients. However, there is still something missed by those “random bump into in the hallway” conversations. So while remote work has been a successful (and forced) experiment, there are still some aspects that are missed by personal contact. What tips would you like to offer to others in a similar position but looking to take their careers or businesses further? In the ever-evolving field of healthcare IT, I would say one of the most important tips is to stay current and adaptable. I would encourage others to continually educate themselves about the latest advancements in health IT, whether it's advancements in standards to improve integration, cloud deployments, AI, or other technologies that can enhance patient care and streamline processes. You also need to focus on understanding the needs of your stakeholders. In healthcare, these stakeholders include not just your team members and customers, but also the healthcare providers using your systems and the patients who are ultimately impacted by your technology. Being able to effectively translate between these groups to ensure everyone's needs are met is crucial. Don't underestimate the importance of a strong team. As a leader, your role is to inspire and guide, but it's the team that executes the vision. Invest in your people - provide opportunities for growth, encourage innovative thinking, and cultivate a culture that values collaboration and mutual respect. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? One thing I would like to emphasize is the enormous potential for positive change in the healthcare sector through technology. We are at a pivotal moment where technology can drastically improve how healthcare is delivered and experienced. As professionals in this field, we have the opportunity to significantly impact people's lives by enhancing patient care, increasing accessibility, and improving efficiencies and outcomes. I'd like to stress the importance of ethical considerations in health IT. As we harness the power of data and AI, we must also remember our responsibility to protect patient privacy and use this information responsibly. It's crucial that we balance innovation with ethical considerations to ensure we're using technology in a way that benefits all, without compromising the trust of those we serve. I encourage all those involved in healthcare IT to embrace the challenges we face as opportunities for growth and learning. The road to transforming healthcare through technology isn't easy, but the potential rewards - improved patient outcomes, enhanced efficiency, and a more sustainable healthcare system - make the journey worthwhile.
- Danijel Koletić: Transforming Industries with Data-Driven Insights and Innovation
Exclusive Interview of Danijel Koletić of Apriori World. Edited by Powered Magazine Danijel Koletić is a seasoned data strategist and analytics expert dedicated to unlocking the power of data for businesses worldwide. With a proven track record of driving impactful outcomes, Danijel has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and thought leader in the field of data-driven decision-making. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of delving into the world of Danijel Koletić. From his early inspirations and career journey to his thoughts on the future of data analytics, we gain valuable insights into the mind of a visionary leader who continues to shape the industry. Tell us about yourself and your business. Each individual has his own mission. Sometimes it is a real mystery, and the real mystery is the path of life. I, Danijel Koletić, started my career very early, at the age of 22, as the executive producer of the Eurovision winner composer Rajko Dujmi, and by the age of 27, thanks to blessing and vision, but also courage, I had signed various national events in Croatia as a director. I was also the director of the Ford Super Model Croatia competition, Croatian Gol Championship, WTA Lady's Open 17500, and the 37th Split festival; I was a producer of the award-winning children's show Turbolimac Show; editor and host of the Sunday lunch show; I participated in the launch of today's most famous women's magazine Gloria and of the weekly Nacional; and with all that, I didn't even know I was dealing with public relations. Throughout my career, as things changed, I upgraded my life path from event management to public relations, brand management, and crisis management. More than 150 projects. Today I deal with strategic consulting under the motto less is more. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? In the area of the Balkans, there were very few offices that knew what public relations were. In 1996/1997, I visited 237 companies, both public and private, in order to present public relations, and they were just being born then. The biggest challenge was to explain to people because for a couple of years, partly because of the unknown, partly because of ignorance, they thought it was "selling fog", I was lucky that in 2000, I became the director of the London School of Public Relations of the franchise program for the Republic of Croatia, which replaced the gap in academic opportunities to study public relations for a few years, and today, after 25 years, many leaders still do not understand the role and mission of public relations, which in the beginning was, and still is, the role of management, it was said that is the one in the function of relations with the media. Today, thanks to the new order of the media scene, and new rules, all agencies that deal with public relations have different procedures and approaches towards media whose native articles are paid for. From 1996-2018, it was possible to rent your story, but the ratio of media creativity in terms of editorial content was 80% compared to paid native stories, and today it has decreased, I would say to 60%. Politics, sports, international topics, and some interesting things or disasters fill the editorial content, while the rest, due to the endless possibilities of publication on portals in various sections, come to countless possibilities for different topics and publications. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? One who has not experienced failure, which happens at the beginning of a career, cannot appreciate success enough. We all learn from mistakes. I was lucky that my business mistakes were more related to believing the wrong people than project failures towards clients. Image is not bought; image is created, and you have to give more than expected and be very creative regardless of whether you work in finance, construction, medicine, advertising, or strategic consulting. Creativity and narrative are two of the keys to success with people. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? I have always been innovative and one step ahead of others. I am guided by the fact that I must always give advice to the client that will provide him with a business strategy that will create profit. Of course, if we're talking about crisis communication, it's different because, in that case, you have to neutralise and preserve someone's reputation as soon as possible. Austrian company Pfanner Juices, German baby food manufacturer Hipp Porridge for Children, Telemach, a telecommunications company in Serbia, Bayer, a pharmaceutical company in BiH, and many other cases of crisis management represent a business challenge. There is no recipe for this situation; it is necessary to give a strategic direction today, now, and immediately. Whether it's a crisis or not, the creativity of strategic consulting as well as tactics are crucial to remaining competitive. I had the opportunity to change two laws in the Republic of Croatia, and I am currently participating in the third. Regardless of public affairs, one word changes everything, and in this situation, you need to have teams of legal associates who will translate your creativity into legal possibilities. For those who have never done it and do not know, it is a process that requires time and patience. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? My biggest motivation is my ambition to succeed. On the one hand, and on the other hand, through the PRO PR conference, I connect senior experts and public relations leaders from the region. You have to understand that the salaries of public relations employees from the Republic of Slovenia to North Macedonia, as well as their status in the eyes of the market and management, are different. We always talk about the importance of volunteering, whether through the motto ''Share the knowledge, Share the experience'', whether through reading books in a home for the elderly, or in some other way. Life passes quickly, and then the key question is what we take with us and what we leave for the soul. Money in life comes and goes; we invest, we spend it, and we fear for our old age. Different countries and their social systems create our personalities, habits of business, life, and behaviour. Life has no rules, but we must love it and be grateful for it. Croatia was part of the war conflicts when they attacked it and stole the territory of a neighbouring country. Today we do business with these neighbouring countries, and new marriages are born, but traces remain. I was at the tram station, waiting for the tram, when a man was killed by a sniper next to me. I'm lucky that I don't carry that trauma but only a memory; ordinary people, in most cases, are just a number of individuals, regimes, and politicians. That's why you have to focus on the things you can change. Always do your best, never give up, and constantly believe in yourself while respecting others. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? Opportunities and competitiveness. First of all, I would advise them to volunteer and look for mentors in the business sense, to watch what they eat, and to acquire as many skills as possible by the age of 27 in order to be competitive. Focus on a certain area of activity will give success. At the age of 26, I had 38 employees, I realized that it was not for me, so I sold the agency and decided to live by the motto less is more. Everything has its advantages and disadvantages, but what counts is experience, so the most important thing is to be patient. You can expect money if you have 10 years of work experience, the crypto world has changed opportunities, startup strategies have created a new mindset of entrepreneurship, and young people have more opportunities than ever, but the main advice is: success requires sacrifice in younger days and good time management. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? The main topic on the planet after fake news today is chat, GPT, and AI. At this moment, this represents opportunities for many people because different generations and different positions give different opportunities, but the question is whether someone at the age of 55 is ready to learn again. We learn while we live, and learning creates competitiveness. I try to be informed, but I don't try to be the best at everything. In order to be successful, you must surround yourself with people who will cover your shortcomings and be complementary. New technologies, like everything else, have positive and negative effects. However, neither artificial intelligence nor Chat GPT will dominate, at least for the next 30 years. Let's not forget the technology behind cloning the first sheep Dolly, it was a great scientific success and trend, but we don't see mass production of cloning, at least not for now. Maybe it will happen due to a lack of food. People can only do more together. Everything on this planet has its reasons, including wars, because weapons have to be taken out of storage. We are all part of the ecosystem, but only some create, some follow, and some state. Be prepared to learn and change your own habits if you want to stay in business. In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture? I never allow myself to do business with a client, and after analysing the situation, he says in which direction to go. My role is to guide the client in accordance with his capabilities. There are no big or small clients. During my career, I have periodically worked with family companies that own hotels, bakeries, and clinics. They are different from corporations; they all have one goal, which is to make a profit. You and the client represent one team because common goals are set. If you clarify this at the beginning with the client, ask the right questions, listen well, and give a reasonable timeline for implementation, then there will be no doubts. I always emphasise to clients that we are on the same side—one team, one success. The involvement of different experts with different views and transparency in communication is the only way you can achieve your goals. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? The new generations are too comfortable; most of their lives are reduced to looking at a cell phone screen, and their motor skills are dulled. Logic, connection, and artificial intelligence will certainly provide numerous solutions and facilitate business guidelines in different areas, but unfortunately, they will also reduce the creativity of the human mind. Despite artificial intelligence, humans will remain the key to success. The main trends will be a reduction in the number of employees in the IT industry and an increase in the number of employees in the cybersecurity industry. Despite the creativity of artificial intelligence, only those with more skills, which means logical connections, will be able to survive thanks to their competitiveness and will be more in demand. Food production is a sure source of income. Unfortunately, most young people today do not want to engage in agriculture; at least that's how it is here in SE Europe. In the consulting industry, despite the fact that artificial intelligence can provide some guidance, it will not have all the parameters to provide a final and true path to success. It can give some general guidance, but it is not what will lead you to success. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? The most difficult was certainly the beginning. I came from a small tourist town with one suitcase and 150 dollars. I rented my room, and I started as a waiter working on the side. The rest is history, I would say, because as a waiter, I came from the road to the newsroom of a tabloid and asked them to give me two pages for the organisation of a humanitarian concert. That was in 1991, when already more than 36 children were left without both parents, and on January 15, 1992, thanks to donations, around 400,000 dollars were collected in one night. Of course, my status and my life have changed since then, but my financial situation has not changed too much because Croatia was at war and my income was not great. I worked for experience more than for large sums of money. The money came by itself because there were many requests for cooperation with me, the number of people I cooperated with expanded, and the agency grew. More people, more expenses, more work, and fewer opportunities for free time That's why, as I already mentioned, I decided to sell the agency. Time is the only resource that we cannot get back, and that's why I repeat that time management is very important. Don't let time pass you by, like life. Enjoying the little things works wonders. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? In my field, the most important thing is transparency. You have to talk transparently with your team, with your closest colleagues, with your clients, and in your private life. For someone, success is having millions of dollars in their account. For someone with a harmonious family and a sincere friend, you need to constantly invest, try to be in places where special people gather, have the courage to approach people, talk to people, and work on yourself. We have a reading crisis today. Our brain has accelerated absorption due to social networks on mobile phones, but the capacity to focus has decreased. I want to be among the best who provide strategic advice in the fields of reputation management, positioning, and business development. How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year? I was surprised because I got the job with Harvard Medical School Postgraduate Medical Education and the job about law changes during the first days of COVID-19, before the pandemic. In 2018, from September until January, I was on the road every week to Frankfurt, Doha, London, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Madrid... The pandemic brought something wonderful to business, which is the possibility of online meetings and more. It created new workers and new job opportunities. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further? Clearly specify what you know and what you don't know; define what you want; and, above all, what you like to do. If you're doing something you don't like, it's never too late to change. I believe you can do anything just like me; it's just a matter of focus, desire, and will. If you see that the client does not understand what you are talking about and that he is not ready to follow your advice, you are not working for money because you are investing yourself in the work, and it has no price. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? Believe in young people, accept the changes of the new social order, don't go back too far in the past, think when you give advice on business opportunities, be yourself, respect others, don't allow yourself to live other people's lives, and don't comment on other people and their life situations based on gossip and articles from the media or the portal if you have not met these people. Manage your time and allow yourself to appreciate yourself; put your ego aside; and don't forget that all this is fleeting. As we came to this planet, so we will leave filled with kindness, knowing that thanks to your work, you provided professional support to your team and improved the businesses of many.
- Ayush Bagla: Driving Innovation and Growth as CEO of Ackuretta
Exclusive Interview of Ayush Bagla of Ackuretta. Edited by Powered Magazine Ayush Bagla is a visionary leader and accomplished entrepreneur in the field of 3D printing and manufacturing. As the CEO of Ackuretta, a leading provider of 3D printing solutions, Ayush has been instrumental in driving innovation, revolutionizing manufacturing processes, and empowering businesses across various industries. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of delving into the remarkable journey and insights of Ayush Bagla. From his entrepreneurial drive and industry expertise to his vision for the future of 3D printing, we uncover the depth of his passion and the breadth of his contributions to the manufacturing landscape. Tell us about yourself and your business. Hello world, I'm Ayush Bagla, the latest in a long lineage of astute business professionals, proudly representing the fifth generation of our entrepreneurial family, it's no exaggeration to say that the pulse of commerce courses through our veins. A decade ago, I took the reins of innovation and founded a pioneering 3D printing company, specialising in the forefront of polymer-based technology, Ackuretta. Fast-forward to today, and our cutting-edge technology is a game-changer in the dental industry. Thousands of users across a span of 80 countries utilise our solutions daily, crafting a plethora of dental applications. It's not just about printing; it's about revolutionising dentistry, one application at a time! What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? Venturing into a bold new chapter, I bid farewell to my roots in India and set my sights on the vibrant opportunities awaiting me in Taiwan. The excitement of the unknown beckoned me, and I leapt. With dedication and an entrepreneurial spirit, I launched my own business—a bootstrapped venture that wasn't simply about survival but about flourishing. For nearly a decade, we've been sailing on the wave of high growth and profitability, a testament to our relentless efforts and strategic agility. We didn't just dream; we executed, and the results were beyond what anyone could have anticipated. However, our journey hasn't been without its hurdles. When COVID hit, it was a storm that threatened to sink many. We were tested and pushed to our limits. But it's during these trying times that we find out what we're truly made of. We managed to navigate both the mental strain and financial pressures, demonstrating resilience and perseverance beyond measure. The challenges weren't easy, but we tackled them head-on, transforming them into stepping stones towards a stronger, more resilient enterprise. Even during the darkest hours, our passion and commitment to our mission kept us afloat. And as we look to the future, we remain invigorated, ready to conquer whatever comes our way. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? Navigating the entrepreneurial landscape, we often found that setbacks outnumbered triumphs. Yet, every stumble was merely an opportunity to get up stronger, each mistake an avenue to adapt and innovate. As the torchbearer of this venture, I knew that yielding was simply out of the question. Regarding victories, they never begot conceit but instead amplified our humility. We live in a world that never stops turning, making it imperative to keep our feet firmly on the ground even as we reach for the stars. We savoured our successes without losing sight of the continuous journey ahead, aware that unexpected bends in the road were always possible. This approach has enabled us to remain optimistic, poised, and ready for whatever comes our way, illustrating our unwavering resilience and indefatigable spirit. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Get ready to be crystal clear about what's going to make waves in the long run and stick to it! Even when things are in flux, don't sweat it; ride the tide instead. And remember, we're not just adapting to change; we're anticipating it, leading the charge, and staying ahead of the game. Bring it on! What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? Fueled by an invincible desire to endure, we persistently seek to contribute positively to our community, impacting not just our team members, customers, and suppliers but also our fans. Even though the idea of facing the loss of ten years of hard work is formidable, we're determined to rise above it. Instead of seeing it as a curtain call, we view it as a challenging interlude. The journey is far from over; in fact, we're optimistic about the exciting prospects that lie ahead. With unwavering faith, we know that there is a bright light awaiting us at the end of this tunnel—a beacon of hope, resilience, and unparalleled growth. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? Life's a thrilling journey, isn't it? No matter how well we pack our bags, the road ahead always has a few surprises. But guess what? We're more than ready. We've got our eyes on the horizon, primed for change, always expecting the unexpected. And we're not just along for the ride; we're blazing the trail. Let's embrace this adventure! How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? Isn't technology just mind-blowing? It's turned what seemed impossible yesterday into today's reality! Remember 10 years ago, when we first started dreaming of creating things that didn't exist? Back then, the technology we needed was still a thing of the future. But look how far we've come! Semiconductors have advanced, optics have transformed, polymers and fillers have evolved, software has skyrocketed, and AI has exploded onto the scene, and it's all powering our progress. It's more than just a step forward; it's a leap that's sparking a whole new market. And guess what? We're right at the heart of it! In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture? Let's be real; our customers are the true captains of this ship, right? Dentistry—now that's a unique art! And in a sphere as intricate as this, introducing technology is like inviting an artist to swap their paintbrush for a stylus. It's a big shift! But just look at the digital art scene—it's been revolutionised in the past decade. Now, about our customers—they're the ones with the real vision. They know their goals inside and out. And that's why we adopt a first principles approach! It's like a fun puzzle. We know the end picture, so we work backwards, piecing together the steps needed to reach those goals. Bring on the challenge! What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? Get ready because we're witnessing an incredible shift in the dental practise!" Scanning, printing, and software technology are all being adopted at lightning speed. And the adoption of scanning technology? Wow, it's outpacing even our wildest forecasts! So you can bet that the next wave of products is going to hit the market faster than ever. Let's not forget the golden rule of computing: garbage in, garbage out (GIGO). But guess who's here to save the day? Good ol' AI! It's cutting down the learning curve and making digital technology adoption more cost-effective than ever. Meanwhile, advancements in material science are opening doors to new applications and business models—things that would make most jaws drop! And let's just say there's nothing quite like the look on our users' faces when they hold end-use products, crafted from scratch, in less than an hour. It's a sight to behold! What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? Imagine rolling the dice on the technology of the future—technology that experts, advisors, and big corporations had dismissed and doubted. Yet, we had the foresight to see that current technology was heading for obsolescence within a blink of an eye—just 5 short years. It was a bold move, but we believed in it. We put all our chips on this new technology, and within a couple of years, bingo! We were not only ahead, we were leagues ahead of our competition. This journey wasn't a breezy road trip, oh no. The stakes were high; investing in this new frontier of technology was a sizable investment, a leap of faith, and an enormous commitment of time. And let's not forget, we were charting this course in the midst of COVID, when the business climate was challenging and resources were like gold dust. Now, let's talk about hardware - it's like an intricate dance, complex and challenging to scale. But once you've mastered the steps, it's a game-changer. The entry bar is set high and few can clear it. Breaking through in this domain, especially 3D printing, is like planting your flag on the final peak of the fourth, possibly the last, industrial revolution. And let me tell you, the view from up here? Absolutely exhilarating! Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Problem Solving: A puzzle master who crafts solutions by spotting intricate pieces. Adaptability: Nimble and flexible, ready to pivot in the face of change. Advanced Learning Curve: Rapidly mastering new concepts and skills with a steep learning curve. Resilience: Bouncing back from setbacks and thriving through challenges Finance: A strong grasp of finance is necessary for managing budgets and making strategic decisions. Team Building: Gifted at bringing people together to form motivated and united teams How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year? When it comes to our team culture, we're old school—we love the energy of a buzzing office. But looking at the bigger picture, remote work has been a game-changer, especially for smaller businesses like ours. It's put a whole new spin on reducing overhead—no more hefty office bills! And it's not just us. Our customers are also loving the convenience of online shopping, and as a result, we've seen the buying cycle whizz past at unprecedented speeds. Remember those expensive trade shows where we used to demonstrate our products? Well, we've managed to cut those costs significantly. And let's talk about time – that precious commodity. Once upon a time, squeezing in four meetings in a day felt like running a marathon. But now, with the rise of digital platforms, we're acing up to 10-15 meetings a day. We're making every minute count! What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further? Let's talk money—understanding it and getting savvy with it. It's all about taking a financial masterclass and seeing every choice through the lens of its cash flow impact. This kind of thinking clears away the fog of uncertainty, guiding us to make financially solid decisions. And trust me, it's a game-changer. Suddenly, decisions aren't just emotional or based on a hunch. They're grounded, they're rational, and they're financially sound.
- Maxim Galash: Revolutionizing Digital Currency Exchange as CEO of Coinchange
Exclusive Interview of Maxim Galash of Coinchange Financials Inc.. Edited by Powered Magazine. Maxim Galash is an innovative leader at the forefront of the digital currency revolution. With a deep understanding of blockchain technology and a relentless drive for excellence, Maxim has made significant contributions to the field of digital currency exchange as well as the broader adoption of blockchain solutions. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of delving into the mind of Maxim Galash. From his entrepreneurial journey and the challenges he has overcome to his insights on the future of digital currency and blockchain, we gain valuable insights into the world of digital finance and the vision that drives Maxim's innovative endeavors. Tell us about yourself and your business. I'm Maxim Galash, CEO of Coinchange, a prominent platform in the DeFi market that generates yield through carefully crafted quantitative and systematic strategies. These strategies are combined into diversified portfolios, each with a unique risk-reward profile. Our portfolios are distributed through direct-to-business and direct-to-consumer applications, utilising APIs for partnerships and offering separately managed accounts for our institutional clients. Additionally, we operate an OTC desk, servicing institutional clients, crypto miners, and other entities in the blockchain and payment business sectors. My background is quite varied. I graduated from the University of Toronto as an electrical computer engineer, worked at 3G Capital, and served as a general partner at the venture fund BGS Venture LP. Afterward, I founded my own professional services agency, building apps for various clients. I also ventured into the startup realm, launching several mobile applications in the social and music industries, some of which I later sold. After a sabbatical period spent buying crypto, my fascination with the blockchain grew, leading me to start building an online OTC. Later on, I incorporated the DeFi investment portfolio business into the operation. Today, Coinchange offers a multitude of products and service lines to our clients, who are predominantly fintech and blockchain-native businesses. As for my education, besides my bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, I also completed my MBA through a power MBA program. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? Launching a business is a daunting task and requires courage to initiate the process. The key is to think, talk, build, and do everything related to the project. The journey often involves several core challenges. Funding: Finding the necessary capital to get your venture off the ground is usually one of the first obstacles to overcome. Team Building: It's crucial to assemble a team that shares your vision and is committed to realising it. Timing: Assessing whether the market is ready for your product is vital. If the timing is off, even the best idea can struggle to take off. Geography and clients: It's important to ensure there is a genuine demand for your product and not just a perceived one. You need to understand whether your target clients truly want what you're offering and if your chosen geographical location aligns with that demand. Move forward one step at a time, reflect on past experiences, and seek new connections. Use your network to inspire and evaluate the market's, clients, and product's potential. This will help you make informed decisions as you navigate these challenges. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? Over the course of my career, I've experienced numerous failures. Out of five startups I launched, three didn't succeed. These failures are always difficult to process. Recognising failure and having the strength to step back and reflect rather than relentlessly trying the same approach is a real challenge. As entrepreneurs, we're often counselled to relentlessly push forward, never surrender, and persistently strive towards our objectives. However, discerning the right moment to halt, pivot, or initiate a transformation can be a delicate balance to maintain. Every failure has been a learning opportunity for me, teaching me to recognise when the potential rewards don't justify the cost or effort or when there's simply no viable opportunity left. I've learned to identify my weaknesses and hire a team that can complement them. Delegation has been a crucial lesson. Understanding your limitations and building a team that can bridge those gaps is essential. Knowing what you don't know is as important as knowing what you do know. It's vital to look at the market and your product objectively and to have the courage to make a change when necessary. Choosing the right partners at the start of any venture is crucial. The business journey is often a rollercoaster, and having partners you can rely on for funding, advice, and sharing the pressures of external circumstances can make a significant difference. These lessons have been invaluable for me, and I believe they are essential for anyone embarking on a business journey. There will always be more lessons to learn. Being open to them is key to growth and resilience. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? The primary strategy I employ is straightforward: listen to your clients. Ensuring that you're in tune with their needs and feedback and integrating that into your business and product offerings is paramount. Next, fostering a culture of constructive contradiction within your team is key. It's important not to seek unanimous agreement on every issue. Instead, encourage team members to voice their unique perspectives and reward them for doing so. This diversity of viewpoints enriches decision-making and stimulates innovation. Third, strive to minimise bureaucracy and excessive management oversight. While essential controls in areas like finance and operations are necessary, they should not be so constrictive as to stifle creativity and impede new initiatives, product changes, or marketing campaigns. Aiming for a flatter organisational structure can help ensure a dynamic flow of ideas and feedback. Cultivate an open and transparent feedback culture to increase agility and responsiveness in a rapidly changing market, which is essential for maintaining competitiveness. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? Human motivation often arises from two primary factors: fear and pleasure. Much like anyone else, I am no exception to these driving forces. Fear, while typically seen in a negative light, can indeed be a powerful motivator. Fear of missing out, of being last, of losing, of appearing foolish, or of not realising one's aspirations can spur relentless perseverance. Simultaneously, the pleasure derived from overcoming challenges, satisfying clients, and fostering a happy and prosperous team provides a strong dopamine boost, which fuels motivation. A sense of purpose in what we do is a vital source of motivation. Our work helps people earn more and encourages financial independence, giving them the freedom to decide how they want to spend their time. This contribution to our clients' lives—the ability to help them navigate towards a better, more secure future—is a deeply rewarding driver for the entire team. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? My foremost advice would be to pursue what you love and do it exceptionally well. Ensure that your chosen path is not driven solely by the desire for monetary gain or personal pleasure but rather by a harmonious blend of both. Being truly passionate about what you do is vital, as this will fuel your commitment and resilience, particularly when navigating the ups and downs inherent in a startup environment or any new venture. So, stay passionate, love what you do, and strive for excellence. This commitment will not only bring you satisfaction but also improve your chances of success in your chosen field. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business/operate your venture? The recent wave of artificial intelligence (AI) has been transformative for our business, particularly in our marketing and sales operations. We've been leveraging AI technologies, such as GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer), for various tasks. AI helps us generate prospect lists and identify target client profiles. With input from sales and marketing teams, AI creates extensive lists of potential prospects and curates them, obtaining contact information for key decision-makers, filtering, structuring, and categorising them. AI is used to generate content for newsletters, blog posts, and social media content, as well as to create images and videos, complementing the work of our design and marketing teams. AI's role in development and quantitative strategy teams is less pronounced than in human creativity and iterative processes. AI has yet to find a suitable role in integrating these methodologies into a systematic approach. We use AI-infused systems for CRM, customer support, compliance, and fraud detection, but don't directly utilise them as we operate as clients of these service providers. AI has revolutionised sales and marketing operations, improving efficiency and reach. We anticipate further AI integration across other areas of our business in the future. In what ways has customer feedback/response influenced how you prioritize goals/objectives for your business/venture? Customer feedback is essential for our product development and business strategy. We listen closely to our customers and adjust our product roadmap based on their needs and responses. We also take into account market research, management decisions, and overall market conditions, but customer feedback holds the highest degree of influence in shaping our goals and objectives. Our business has changed from a predominantly retail-focused business to a B2B-focused one due to customer feedback. We noticed that our B2B clients were more engaged with the platform, requesting more features, and generally showing higher account balances. We are investing more heavily in our B2B platform, sales channels, and operations while still maintaining our retail offering. In essence, customer feedback plays a crucial role in determining the direction of our product development, market approach, and overall business objectives. It's an invaluable tool that enables us to align our goals with the needs of our most engaged and valuable customers. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? There are several emerging trends in our industry that I believe are going to shape its future development and growth significantly. Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs): NFTs are having a tremendous impact not just in art and collectibles but also in digital applications like gaming. For instance, platforms like Sorare allow users to collect and trade NFT cards, build their sports teams, and compete online. It's a fascinating blend of gamification and blockchain technology that brings new levels of transparency and engagement. Decentralised Finance (DeFi): DeFi, which essentially takes intermediaries out of financial transactions, is another transformative trend. It promotes peer-to-peer transactions, scalability, and personal control over financial activities. Moreover, participation in DeFi markets can be rewarding, with many platforms providing returns for engagement. Security Tokens: The rise of security tokens is another notable trend. These tokens allow for the securitization of virtually any asset, from real estate and cars to jewellery and mines. This process enables fractional ownership, allowing anyone in the world to purchase these tokens and gain exposure to the revenue, dividends, and potential appreciation of the underlying asset. These trends are creating new and exciting opportunities in the crypto and Web3 landscapes. As a leading yield optimisation platform in the DeFi space, we are actively participating in these trends. We act as an asset manager, offering both custodial and non-custodial ways for our clients to earn in these evolving markets. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career/business path? One of the most challenging aspects of my career path has been making pivotal decisions that significantly impact the direction of the business. For instance, when we decided to shift our focus from B2C to B2B, it required an extensive restructuring of our business, which was certainly a difficult endeavour. We had to reduce our operational expenses, let go of some of our employees, reorient our marketing and sales strategies, and reassess our overall positioning. The process of letting people go was particularly tough, but it was necessary for the sustainability of the business. As for the most rewarding aspects, nothing can replace the exhilaration of achieving key milestones. When we started seeing our first clients sign up, generating our initial revenue, reaching the first million in deposits, or acquiring our first thousand clients, these were truly exciting moments. Seeing the tangible impact of our hard work and the value we were creating for real users provided immense motivation and fulfilment for the team and me. Ultimately, it's the balance of these challenging and rewarding experiences that forms the essence of entrepreneurship and makes the journey worthwhile. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Absolutely. Staying ahead in a rapidly evolving field like cryptocurrency requires a unique blend of skills and attributes. Here are some key areas of expertise that are particularly essential: Research and Analysis Skills: With new protocols, tokens, and blockchain technologies constantly emerging, it's critical to have strong research and analytical skills. This helps to understand the utility, risks, and real value behind every new financial product introduced in the market. Technical Understanding: A background in mathematics or engineering can be highly beneficial. This provides the ability to synthesise and interpret complex data effectively, which is necessary to make informed decisions in this technical and often complex field. Adaptability: Given the fast-paced nature of the cryptocurrency industry, being able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances is vital. This includes the ability to pivot, offer new services, and adjust your approach based on market evaluation and reflection. Strategic Thinking: Strategic decision-making skills are also essential. This involves synthesising information from a variety of sources, assessing potential risks and opportunities, and making informed decisions that align with your broader business objectives. Industry Knowledge: Lastly, a deep understanding of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency markets is a given. This includes knowledge of different cryptocurrencies, an understanding of blockchain protocols, smart contracts, and decentralised finance (DeFi) trends. These skills, when combined with a passion for the field and a willingness to stay updated with the latest developments, can help drive success in the cryptocurrency industry. How has working remotely or online impacted your business/venture over the past year? Operating remotely has indeed affected our business, but it's been mostly a positive experience for us. Being remote-first, we were ahead of the curve when the pandemic began, as we were already well accustomed to working from home. The challenges lie in fostering a sense of unity and shared culture when everyone is dispersed. To maintain this, we conduct regular stand-ups where the team can catch up, and I make myself readily available to anyone who needs assistance or guidance. Additionally, we face the challenge of ensuring everyone is aligned with our vision and has a clear understanding of their responsibilities. This comes down to open communication, setting clear expectations, and trust. The beauty of remote work is the flexibility it offers everyone on the team. We can cast a wider net in terms of talent and skills because we're not restricted to one geographical location. This has helped us form a diverse, talented team, all working together to drive the business forward. There is a learning curve to managing remote teams effectively, but with the right tools, clear communication, and a strong culture, we've found it to be a rewarding experience. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers/business further? First and foremost, always maintain honesty with yourself. Understand where you are and what you're capable of, and don't let biases cloud your judgement. Knowing your starting point is crucial to planning your journey. Second, don't let optimism make you underestimate the challenges. Projects often take more time and resources than initially estimated. It's vital to account for this in your planning. Third, always have a plan and backup plans. The ability to adapt and pivot is crucial, especially in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. Things don't always go according to plan, so having alternatives ready can save you a lot of stress. Fourth, maintain a healthy level of paranoia. This might sound strange, but in a competitive business landscape, it's vital to stay on your toes, continuously thinking about how you can improve, stay ahead, and outperform your competition. Lastly, ensure you surround yourself with the right people. Building a team that complements your skills and shares your vision is vital. It's equally important to incentivize them appropriately to ensure their dedication and commitment to your shared goals. These are some broad pieces of advice that have served me well, and I believe they can be useful for anyone looking to advance in their careers or business ventures. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? Absolutely. There are a few more points I'd love to highlight. Our business operates within the realm of decentralised finance (DeFi); we employ a systematic, quantitative approach to asset management. Our platform specialises in optimising yield, and we've developed several robust portfolios. If anyone is interested in exploring DeFi investment products, I would highly recommend checking out what we have to offer. We're also open to collaborations, so if you have a DeFi or yield product that you think would fit well with our platform, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Additionally, for those of you who may have idle cash sitting around and want to see it work more effectively for you, our separately managed accounts (SMAs) could be an excellent solution. We're always eager to work with new partners and clients. Thank you for this opportunity to share our work. We're excited to connect with those interested in DeFi, yield optimisation, and overall financial growth. I look forward to potential future collaborations. Be the change; yield the impossible!
- Balázs Slezák: Revolutionizing Technology Solutions for a Connected World
Exclusive Interview of Balázs Slezák of Wozify. Edited by Powered Magazine Join us as we embark on an extraordinary exploration of Balazs Slezak's vision for a connected world, and discover how his relentless pursuit of technological excellence is shaping industries and transforming the way we live, work, and connect. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of delving into the mind of Balazs Slezak. From his early inspirations and career journey to his groundbreaking innovations and future aspirations, we uncover the insights and perspectives of a true technological pioneer. Tell us about yourself and your business. I've spent nearly ten years in the startup world, and my name is Balázs Slezák. If I were to be dramatic, I would say innovation runs in my bloodstream. I have founded three tech startups and achieved a successful exit with one in 2018. Since then, I've been wearing two hats: one as the leader of my software development firm, Wozify, and the other as a startup mentor. Both roles have recently taken a direction towards the space industry. As a mentor for the European Space Agency and the EU’s CASSINI Space Entrepreneurship Initiative, I find myself at the intersection of the space industry and the startup world. My mentoring activities and my current venture, Wozify, are built upon the years of ups and downs, failures, and successes that I experienced as a startup founder. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business (and how did you overcome them)? Every business I've started has posed different challenges. For instance, fresh out of university, I founded an advertising agency despite knowing nothing about advertising or, to be honest, business in general. I had to learn everything on the fly. Although it generated revenue and allowed me to earn a modest living without getting a 9-to-5 job, this business was destined to fail. However, it transformed me into a generalist who is now confident across all areas of the business world, including sales, marketing, and finance. With my very first startup, my co-founders and I fell into the most common trap inexperienced young entrepreneurs face: based on an idea, we started building something the world didn’t really need. We failed, but we learned our lesson: start with the market first and build a product second. With Forma Eyewear (the 3D printed eyewear company that was later acquired), we needed to simultaneously develop high-quality materials, create a cloud-based software solution for fitting, and build a fashion brand, all on a very limited budget. The solution was to assemble a team with diverse skillsets where everyone was capable of wearing multiple hats. With Wozify (my current business), the biggest challenge was standing out in the highly competitive market of software development. Our solution was specialisation (focusing on startups), and then, when we were dissatisfied with our growth, we decided to specialise even further (targeting space industry startups). How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? Failure is inevitable. Except for a few outliers, the vast majority of entrepreneurs experience several failures before achieving success. These failures provide invaluable opportunities for personal and business growth and serve as building blocks for future success. While failures can be painful and it's natural to grieve, the ability to bounce back every time is what ensures you're unstoppable. I believe that perseverance, combined with taking calculated risks, paves the way to overcome a series of failures and eventually achieve success. To paraphrase a popular movie quote, you either die a failure or you live long enough to see yourself become a success. However, we mustn't forget survivorship bias. The stories we often see in the media focus on successful individuals who persevered, but they usually represent the exception, not the norm. That's why taking calculated risks is crucial. It's important to always protect the downside and avoid taking risks so substantial that, if they materialise, they could put you out of commission for years. As a leader, I find it beneficial to assume all responsibility for failures, losses, and setbacks and share credit with my team when we win. This fosters a positive culture and drives performance. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? The world is changing so rapidly that it's unprecedented in human history. Continuous learning, both at the personal and organisational levels, is the only way to stay relevant. Moreover, an abundance mindset is tremendously beneficial. Networking, getting to know, and eventually forming partnerships with competitors can create greater value for all market players involved. Business, in the vast majority of industries, is not a zero-sum game. However, the most important factor remains delivering value to the customer. Being exceptional in the areas that customers deem most important secures a long-term competitive edge. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? I have long-term goals and a vision for my own personal growth as well as that of my companies. Short-term adversities, setbacks, and failures can be painful, but in the grand scheme of things, they are just bumps in the road. What motivates me most is creating value in everything I do, whether it's leading my team, mentoring startup founders, or teaching. And of course, I hope to capture a portion of that value that translates into financial success. I firmly believe that material wealth is always a side effect of making an impact on the world. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? This might seem counterintuitive, but for young individuals starting their careers, securing a job is often a better initial move than starting a business. If your ultimate goal is to launch a venture in a specific industry, first gain employment within that industry. Gaining real-world experience while being paid by your employer helps mitigate risks in your career strategy and simplifies the process of starting a business later. As for navigating the startup world, my advice is straightforward: Begin with the market. Aim to solve a problem or fulfil an existing desire within the market. Make something people want. This is where the vast majority of startup attempts, including my first one, stumble. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? Everyone is talking about AI now, and not enough people are talking about space. I strongly believe that we are at the advent of the golden age of space entrepreneurship. Working with Earth observation and satellite data to create value on Earth has enormous untapped potential. Space tourism, space manufacturing, and asteroid mining are all nascent industries that are bound to flourish. Right now, the space industry makes up a negligible fraction of global GDP, and everything indicates that an exponential boom can be expected. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? I love what I do, and there are so many rewarding experiences. For instance, speaking at conferences and conducting workshops and training for people who are genuinely interested is a joy. However, the best feeling always comes from the success of a client or mentee. When they reach an important milestone, for example, raising a round of venture capital, getting featured in a prestigious publication, or being acquired, it fills me with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Contrary to popular belief, being a jack-of-all-trades is extremely useful when founding a company, especially when combined with a willingness and ability to learn quickly. The best strategy is to be T-shaped, having deep knowledge and skills in a particular area along with the ability to collaborate across disciplines. How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year? Wozify had been operating as a remote-first company with a geographically distributed team even before the first wave of COVID hit. We transitioned to a fully remote organisation then and have never looked back. This structure allows us access to a larger talent pool both nationally and internationally, and it affords our colleagues the flexibility to become digital nomads if they so choose; in fact, recently, one of our team members relocated to South America and continues to work from there. Additionally, it saves us a significant amount of commuting time. Of course, we understand that remote work isn't suitable for everyone, so we make this clear to candidates during our recruitment and selection process. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further? Look beyond the obvious. Look for insufficiently solved problems. Niching down is almost always the best strategy in the beginning. Give value first; expect money second. Embrace change and try to anticipate its ramifications. Maintain a strong work-life balance. Pay attention to your health. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- Jill McAbe: Empowering Women in Leadership and Driving Social Impact
Exclusive Interview of Jill McAbe of BOOM-U Media. Edited by Powered Magazine In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of delving into the extraordinary accomplishments and insights of Jill McAbe. From her career highlights and experiences to her perspectives on gender equality, diversity, and driving social impact, we uncover the depth of her passion and the breadth of her contributions. Tell us about yourself and your business. I'm Jill McAbe, a business course creator and bestselling author specializing in productivity and business development for purpose-driven independent professionals. With a background in leadership, certifications in change and coaching, and a wealth of business experience, I've used my expertise to help others achieve emotional and financial well-being. After a life-changing car accident, I refocused my efforts to empower purpose-driven professionals, reaching over 20,000 students through productivity courses like "The Neuroscience of Goal Setting". My business development courses, such as IGNITE and True2Brand, have helped my clients become micro-influencers in their fields. What sets me apart is my unique blend of business acumen, scientific knowledge, and spiritual teachings. My commitment to balance is admired by my community; I prioritize well-being over the relentless pursuit of financial gain. I've been recognized by Forbes, Fast Company, and Entrepreneur Magazine, among others, and featured on many top 1% podcasts. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? When starting my business, my biggest challenges revolved around selecting a single skill set and carving out a niche. The abundance of potential products and services initially overwhelmed me, and I hesitated to choose just one. However, I soon realised the importance of focusing on building one product at a time to achieve success. This gradual approach eventually led to the development of an ecosystem of products. Another hurdle was finding my niche. While consulting for high-earning entrepreneurs and assisting them with vision, strategy, and leadership development, I thrived on their energy. However, working with team members who lacked the same enthusiasm for growth proved draining. This prompted me to shift my focus towards independent, purpose-driven professionals who not only pursued financial success but were also committed to making a positive impact through their work. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? I view both success and failure as essential in shaping our journeys. Inspired by Teresa Amabile's research at Harvard, I've come to understand the significance of recognising even the smallest victories. It fuels a positive feedback loop in our brains, propelling us forward. Similarly, failure plays a critical role as a teacher. Throughout my two decades of entrepreneurship, I've encountered failed initiatives, launches, and challenging financial periods. However, these experiences have provided invaluable lessons and guided me towards a path I know is better. Embracing the saying "when one door closes, another opens," I've learned to let go of circumstances beyond my control and embrace a calm curiosity. This mindset has led to the discovery that setbacks often pave the way for better opportunities. I'm deeply grateful for my past failures, as they have ultimately led me to pursue what I love today. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? To keep up with changes, I’ve employed listening, purpose, and persistence. For instance, when the COVID pandemic struck, I noticed a sudden influx of new "business coaches". Despite my decade-long track record and the $100 million in value my clients had collectively created, I now faced a wave of new competition. A new wave of coaches offered prescriptive ‘follow-my-lead’ business systems, but business, I believe, isn't one-size-fits-all. Each enterprise is a unique puzzle that needs a tailored approach. To succeed, professionals must grasp the foundations of business and apply them to their specific circumstances. Following someone else's blueprint doesn’t typically achieve the desired results. To stay competitive, I leaned on my years of experience and commitment to serving my market. The breadth of my programmes and my inside-out methodology became a unique selling point. Above all, it's my passion for helping people who help people that truly sets me apart. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? My drive is fueled by the joy I feel when my clients succeed! Many of my clients and course participants have become leaders in their spaces or micro influencers. It brings me to tears of joy when I see them surrounded by people who love them. The positive ripple effect that I know is unfolding in the world, and the fact that I am a small part of it, makes me feel incredible. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? The most crucial advice I can share is to pick something you genuinely enjoy. There will be challenging times, so your passion will serve as a necessary motivator, guiding you through tricky stages like marketing your business and finding your community. While initial clients often come from personal networks, the true test lies in reaching a broader audience beyond personal ties. To succeed, a clear and compelling brand message is essential. This is often overlooked by professionals, hindering their business growth potential. I recommend developing a founder’s story following the structure of a hero's journey as the first step. Crafting this story for oneself allows all other messaging, such as unique selling propositions and social media topics, to naturally align. This powerful narrative accelerates trust-building and becomes a remarkable catalyst for marketing efforts. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? In my industry, I observe a significant trend towards holistic wealth, transcending a fixation on financial prosperity alone. This shift, driven by global changes in social, economic, and environmental landscapes, is leading individuals to reevaluate their priorities and definitions of success. Purpose-driven entrepreneurship is gaining momentum, with an increasing emphasis on creating value aligned with personal and societal impact. The rise of registered B-Corps and the demand for leadership development exemplify this commitment to positive social change. As society undergoes transformative crises, individuals are prioritising personal fulfilment and societal improvement. This awareness is reshaping our industry. In response, my Wealthy System offers a holistic approach to wealth creation, focusing on balanced, purpose-driven success that benefits both individuals and broader communities. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? The key to success in my field is leadership, not merely as a means of managing others but as a means of bringing out the best in them. Before this is possible, however, one must learn to bring out the best in oneself. Self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and embracing one's truth are vital. My programmes, designed around an inside-out methodology, advocate for this personal growth as a pathway to professional success. Hence, a holistic approach to leadership and personal development is essential, fostering both personal and professional thriving. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? Never doubt that you were purpose-built for success. Far too often, I hear of people abandoning their dreams after being told they 'weren't good enough'. Don't let others dictate your worth or the fate of your dreams. Embrace your calling. Remember, many successful individuals faced rejection. It's essential to remember that one person's feedback doesn't define you. The world needs your solution. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Believe in yourself, trust in your abilities, and make your mark on the world. If you need help getting to the next level of success, I invite you to my monthly First Friday Fireside Chats for free group coaching. I’d be happy to help you! You can RSVP at Eventbrite here.
- Harsh Girish Patel: Driving Global Excellence in Legal & Accounting Services through Water and Shark
Exclusive Interview of Harsh Patel of Water and Shark. Edited by Powered Magazine Harsh Patel is a highly accomplished professional with a strong background in International Corporate and Business Laws, tax, cross-border structuring, family office, corporate compliance, real estate transaction advisory, start-up venturing, and strategic advisory. As the Founding Member and Global CEO of Water and Shark, he has established the company in numerous countries, including India, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and others. Tell us about yourself and your business. I am the founder and chief executive officer of Water and Shark, and my name is Harsh Girish Patel. I have law licences to practise in several nations, including the UAE, India, the UK, and others. I am a corporate lawyer and a qualified chartered accountant. My journey as a professional began with a small dream. A dream to be able to help others and showcase my abilities as a problem solver. To define and establish myself as a leader of the new age, and to help others grow along with me. I embarked upon a journey to become a chartered accountant, one of the most coveted professional qualifications one can aspire to have. Once I was able to achieve this, it motivated me to further enhance my skills. At the mere age of 19, I was able to start my own business and venture out into the vast waters of the business world. Hence began the journey of water and sharks. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? I started the journey in a tiny office in a metro city in India and have scaled it and expanded it from a regional firm to a global firm in the past decade. Yes, it was a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, where a decade ago the technology, the infrastructure, the team, and the requisite skill sets were not easily attainable. But with a vision to be the world's best and to be able to compete in the same ring as the industry stalwarts, we motivated and drove ourselves to where we are. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? Personally, I attribute my success not only to myself but also to those who have supported and guided me throughout my journey. People who stay by you during your hardship are those who deserve to be with you during your success. I have always re-evaluated my methods and choices when I have faced challenges that seemed unsurmountable in order to ensure that I don’t repeat them. And in my success, I have never let my hunger die. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? We consider ourselves a one stop shop for the modern era. With this belief, we claim to be up to date with the ongoing trends. We try to blend our style and essence into modern methods of business and cater to clients' requests. We tend to be creative with ads and urge everyone to be relentless. The motto is to do better and be better, not only today but to compete with tomorrow. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? I am a firm believer that problems and challenges give way to opportunities, and these opportunities build and shape your foundation for growth. During the pandemic, we have seen many businesses face challenges and difficulties; we are no different, but having a positive attitude and perseverance has enabled us and the firm to move forward. Trust and faith that these are just challenges and not the end, and by sticking together and collectively putting our minds towards the challenge, we overcome it. Being able to stand firm in tumultuous times is a sign of a strong foundation, which we have nurtured and established in the last decade. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? My advice to beginners would be that every path or journey you embark upon will be filled with hardships and challenges. It’s the mindset and the discipline that prevail to conquer these challenges and achieve what you have set out to do. If you fail or falter, it's not the end; you can always choose a different approach. Life is long, and it offers more opportunities than one can imagine, but opportunities come to those who seek them. So be confident, be smart, and do not let the negatives drag you down; keep on learning from your failures. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? Yes, technology has eased the way business is conducted. Living in the 21st century, we are surrounded by technology that is constantly evolving and advancing. Any firm that fails to adapt to or embrace technology in their business will be left behind. Be it in any part of the industry, business, or sector, including financial and legal profession firms, from the reduction of human intervention to automating and efficiently optimising services, there has been a significant advancement in the new business era. Due to technological changes, we are able to provide services across the globe without any hindrance. Our employees can work from remote locations, which helps improve their morale with such flexible working conditions. Overall, technological changes, especially in the last two decades, have helped businesses grow manifolds, including ours. In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals or objectives for your business or venture? A customer’s feedback is always to be taken as positive, because it would either be an appraisal of the service you have provided or an insight on what could be better. Being able to offer your services in a better manner gives you immeasurable satisfaction. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? Due to advancements in technology and the rapid growth of digitization, the advisory and service industries are no longer confined to geographical boundaries. Sitting in one corner of the world, you will be able to advise clients all over the world. With the right skills and mindset and by aptly utilising the resources around us, the growth for this service sector is exponentially high. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? Every businessman on the path to success has to be willing to lose something. Sacrifice is the key to achieving something that is not easy to get. To be where I am today, I have sacrificed my comfort, my time, and many other things that were difficult. But these sacrifices have gotten me where I am, and that is the most rewarding thing. To be able to stand at a podium with other stalwarts of the business community is a feat not achieved by many. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? In the service industry, knowledge and communication go hand in hand. One without the other would never lead to success. You need to be aware of all the changes in your industry and the world and be up to date about the latest trends while being presentable and having the right skills to convey the message in its true essence. How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year? Working remotely has been both a boon and a bane. As a boutique firm engaged in providing business solutions and services to clients, it can be done from any corner of the world, which has provided a sense of flexibility in work. But at the same time, the impact of being physically present for a client is not good. Certain times, being physically present, be it in a meeting or an office work space, plays a significant role for not only the business but for an individual too. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further? My sincerest advice to others in a similar position is that, in the world of business, the ups and downs are the only constants. Embrace these moments in their stride and keep on developing yourself. The key is to take your failures as lessons and your successes as milestones to achieve something greater and bigger. With all the knowledge of the world at the tip of your fingers, only you can steer your ship to the shores of success.
- Innovating for Progress: Brian Thomas, CIO of the City of Lawrence
Exclusive Interview of Brian Thomas of City of Lawrence. Edited by Powered Magazine In a world where technology has become the cornerstone of progress, leaders like Brian Thomas are at the forefront, driving innovation and transforming cities. As the esteemed Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the City of Lawrence, Kansas, Brian Thomas has been instrumental in leveraging technology to enhance public services and improve the lives of citizens. In this exclusive interview, we delve into Brian's visionary mindset, his groundbreaking initiatives, and the remarkable impact he is making as a catalyst for technological advancement in Lawrence. Join us as we uncover the driving force behind the city's digital transformation and gain insights from the remarkable journey of Brian Thomas. Tell us about yourself and your role. I, Brian Thomas After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, my background and education have been in the technology field, predominantly healthcare. I am currently the CIO for the City of Lawrence, Kansas. As the CIO, my top priorities are helping our city’s leadership implement the strategic plan, assisting with a performance improvement programme, and providing technology vision and support for 950 employees. What were your biggest challenges when serving as CIO at the city or other companies? Challenges come in many forms, but what I have found sitting in the C-Suite and over my career is that planning and communicating help mitigate challenges that are avoidable. I discovered early in my career that if I was able to thoroughly learn the business I was supporting, I was able to provide solutions and better support the company and its customers. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? When handling success, I have always maintained a sense of humility and remembered where I started in my career. While I have contributed to many successful milestones, I like to say it was always a team effort. I’ve been proud to serve with many great people and teams over the years, and it’s because of them that I’m successful. As far as failures go, I would say they were some of the best learning experiences one could have. Each failure taught me a great lesson and made me look for a path to be successful at the next opportunity that came my way. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Education and networking Over the last 25 years, technology has massively changed and is still changing. Keeping your skillset sharp is key to knowing, but more importantly, having that knowledge to apply solutions to problems. Networking with peers and other leaders has also been my go-to strategy. I learn so much from others, and keeping a strong network of various professionals and leaders allows me to be available and stay marketable. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? Knowing that adversity and challenges bring a new lesson or new benefit to experience. It’s important to note that there will always be peaks and valleys, and you need to remember to pace yourself and plan accordingly. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? You can’t learn everything in one day. Pace yourself and take deep breaths when feeling overwhelmed. Also, try to go the extra mile in everything you do. Focus on excellence and providing the best customer experience possible. Lastly, build relationships at all levels. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business? You don’t realise how many things have changed in the last couple of decades until you sit down and reflect on how things were done when you first started your career. I would say the last 3–4 years have really been a game changer with some of the latest platforms, process automation, and machine learning. With conversational AI, we are seeing use cases for just about everything. For example, having a chatbot manage simple but high-volume customer requests will change everything and enhance the customer experience. In what ways has customer feedback or response influenced how you prioritise goals and objectives for the business? I believe that customer feedback, good or bad, is the best way to improve your product or service. I would rather get some negative responses on our surveys than none at all. Receiving no feedback can be misleading, and I believe some people think that no feedback is good feedback. If you aren’t getting feedback, then I would make it a priority to reach out and engage. Keeping your pulse on the customer is a great way to keep true north on your compass. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? As mentioned previously, I believe leveraging some of these newer and emerging technologies is key to bringing more efficient processes to your organisation. Additionally, let your employees lead. They are your best asset and are fully capable of doing great things. Give them the goal, and they will amaze you with better outcomes and solutions. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? The most rewarding aspect of my career has certainly been the people and relationships. On the flip side, regarding difficult aspects, one could say the same about people. However, my philosophy has always been to treat people the way I’d like to be treated and to be a good listener. This has guided me to both success and personal fulfilment. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Sure. There’s a certain amount that is technical, but by and large, I would say that having those soft or people skills is by far more essential than the technical. Being empathetic, communicative, and transparent have certainly contributed to my success. How has working remotely or online impacted your business over the past year? A lot. I could spend eight hours discussing this topic. At the end of the day, remote work is a positive perk for staff. However, building camaraderie and keeping staff engaged can certainly be challenges. I have recently read a book from a good colleague of mine, “The Successful Hybrid Team”, and it has provided a lot of insights and solutions to some of the most common challenges working in a hybrid or remote environment. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers further? As I mentioned earlier, start with building foundational, long-lasting relationships. Next, find a mentor. Whether you’re a customer service representative or the CEO, this is vitally important to help navigate challenges and guide your career trajectory.
- Neil Mann: Pioneering the Future with Vision and Expertise with Future Horizon
Exclusive Interview of Neil Mann of Future Horizon. Edited by Powered Magazine In an era defined by rapid technological advancements and profound societal transformations, there are visionary individuals who dedicate their lives to shaping the future. Neil Mann, a distinguished futurist, advisor, writer, consultant, and founder of Future Horizon, stands at the forefront of this paradigm shift. With Future Horizon, Neil has established a platform that fosters dialogue, collaboration, and knowledge exchange among forward-thinking individuals and organisations. Through this visionary venture, he has created a vehicle that actively shapes the trajectory of the future. Join us as we explore the remarkable journey of Neil Mann, uncovering the depth of his expertise, the impact of his insights, and the transformative power of his forward-thinking mindset. Tell us about yourself and your business. “If you’ve ever wondered what the cross between a Swiss Army Knife and a Chameleon looks like, I’m it,” is how I introduce myself. For the last 20+ years, I’ve worked as a strategy expert for major advisory firms, as an internal consultant, and as an independent specialist. I’ve worked in different roles in diverse industries in various parts of the world, and the constant theme that runs throughout is that I’m all about delivering tangible business outcomes via digital innovation. I founded Future Horizon in 2022 in response to seeing a huge need for business-focused, independent strategic advisory. I refer to this need as future-forward digital change. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? Many people misunderstand what a futurist is, so really refining the brand message and positioning took time to ensure the value is straightforward to consume for non-technology people. In a nutshell, we translate, simplify, and de-mystify the latest cutting-edge digital trends. A futurist does not and cannot predict the lottery numbers for next week; it is all about strategic anticipation: rapidly synthesising detailed technical information, then forming and communicating a compelling big-picture forecast perspective. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? There are three fundamentals that shape how I approach tasks and respond to events. As a Stoic, I only spend calories on what I can influence and control; everything else simply “is”, regardless of what you may think of it. This pragmatism has helped me throughout my life, but especially during challenging periods in my career. To move forward and grow, I believe in first learning from the past; it is prudent to look backwards before one looks forwards (something clients often find surprising coming from a futurist). I’ve also learned that my instinct and “gut feel” are two of my most valuable assets, and hard-won experience has demonstrated I ignore them at my peril. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Market flux is the precise reason why Future Horizon exists: to bridge the gap between where you are today and what the future might bring tomorrow. We help you stay ahead of what's next, providing reconnaissance into the edge of technology—we scout the digital frontier, as it’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. My main route to market is via my strong professional network—through connections, introductions, recommendations, and referrals. Though I work globally, Asia has been my home for more than 12 years now, and the importance of cultivating strong long-term relationships and partnerships has had a profound impact on my approach. I work backwards from my target customers; when it comes to innovation and “hot topic” buzzwords, they want analysis, clarity, perspective, insight, and advice that is specific to them, their business, industry, and overall context. For example, what is this technology, how does it work, what are the implications, give me some examples, what are my options, what should I (my company) do, and when? Also important is my active participation in local associations, regional societies, and international industry communities. Finally, learning from the startups that I advise, mentor, and invest in – they are often the first to really try something new. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? One of the reasons for creating Future Horizon was that in other organisations I always felt a degree of constraint, especially when it came to questioning the embedded status quo. Politics and hierarchy would invariably nerf any direct challenge but, being the founder the buck stops entirely with me; be that success or failure. I wholeheartedly embrace that. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? The future is not something that just happens to us; the future is something we do. Every day I research, explore, and evaluate bleeding-edge technical studies and innovative projects, developing an ever-evolving perspective on new market frontiers. It’s an incredibly exciting time, and I am optimistic about how we can positively shape our future. I was regularly working from home, perhaps one day a week, with international clients back in 2008 when I was at Gartner, so the ability to work remotely from anywhere is nothing new for me. Future Horizon is a digital-native business, as one might expect, and that allows us to engage with the widest gamut of firms, organisations, and individuals from around the world using the latest collaborative tools. That said, where practicalities, time, and budget allow, there is, as yet, no real substitute for meeting and working with clients face-to-face (particularly at the start and end of engagements) to create shared understanding, build relationships, and drive momentum. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? Technology innovation and digital disruptions will continue to increasingly permeate every aspect of our day-to-day lives and, in some ways, transform them like never before. For example, the rapid uptake by the masses of conversational interfaces powered by GPT models has been down to seamless accessibility; it is the “iPhone moment” for artificial intelligence (AI), and we’re only getting started in understanding both the applications and implications of these tools. We are exceptionally bullish on how future enhancements will boost and enrich how we live, morphing work, home, culture, and society. Businesses will either change or be changed, and so when conventional approaches are not enough, clients must continue to seek out trusted, deep, independent expertise to deliver practical solutions to their unique problems. One area where we are seeing considerable demand is strategies for how companies can more proactively anticipate – leveraging strategic foresight – regulatory changes which may affect their operations. For key verticals such as financial services, pharma, natural resources, hospitality, logistics, or media – the ongoing cost of compliance is an unavoidable price of doing business. Connecting the dots is not easy, but automated analysis and analytics can deliver reliable insights. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? I find it stimulating and satisfying to work with business leaders and boards to help shape their strategic direction; my work often falls into advisory circles around “we need to stop doing X” or “we desire to do Y but are not sure how to get there”. Helping organisations be better prepared to face the future and reduce their risk of being blindsided by change is enormously fulfilling for me. This is especially true when I work with them on an retained basis as you really get to see the adaptations occur over time. In terms of challenges, a common theme is senior executives who have read or heard about a particular technology and seek guidance and empowerment on how to approach it rapidly. Often this is a hammer looking for a nail and, other than some potential short-term positive PR spin, is not the path to sustainable long-term value. We call this “innovation theatre,”, as it's not fundamentally focused on core change but more for show. It’s all about balance. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? My superpower is being able to take what is occurring at the bleeding edge of innovation and convey the future implications in consumable business language. I’m a passionate believer that we are not victims of what the future might hold if we prepare ourselves in advance. Being an information junkie is a prerequisite; I spend hours daily researching what might be the newest developments, innovations, pivots, and disruptions. In my line of work, it’s not enough to just keep abreast of market news on any given day; it’s much more expensive in scale: assessing trends, detecting vectors, forecasting, signal-scanning, scenario-planning, and always challenging yourself to think bigger and not be constrained by existing de-facto norms. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? Exploring futures and building anticipation is zero risk for a business. Even with significant resources and smart personnel, it is difficult to anticipate what’s coming around the bend. especially when you are inside looking out. I therefore challenge business leaders to question if they can afford for their organisations not to ingest, synthesise, and form a viewpoint on swiftly moving horizons, risks, opportunities, and trends, especially in such uncertain times. Think bold. Think broad. Think beyond.
- SEC Files Lawsuit Against Binance, Alleging Violations in Crypto Trading
World's Leading Cryptocurrency Exchange Faces Legal Battle Over Regulatory Compliance. In a significant blow to Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed a lawsuit against the company and its CEO, Changpeng Zhao. The complaint, filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., accuses Binance of operating a "web of deception" and lists 13 charges, including artificially inflating trading volumes, diverting customer funds, misleading investors about market surveillance controls, and failing to restrict U.S. customers from its platform. The SEC alleges that Binance and Zhao secretly controlled customers' assets, allowing them to commingle and divert investor funds at their discretion. The complaint also claims that Binance established separate U.S. entities as part of a scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws, corroborating investigative reports published by Reuters in recent years. According to the SEC, from three years ago until June 2022, a trading firm owned and controlled by Zhao, Sigma Chain, engaged in wash trading on the Binance.US platform, artificially inflating the trading volume of crypto asset securities. The SEC revealed that Sigma Chain spent $11 million from an account on a yacht. SEC Chair Gary Gensler commented, "We allege that Zhao and Binance entities engaged in an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law." In response, Binance stated that it intends to vigorously defend itself, emphasizing that the SEC's jurisdiction is limited as Binance is not a U.S. exchange. The news of the lawsuit had an immediate impact on the cryptocurrency market. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, experienced a drop of up to 6%, reaching its lowest level in nearly three months. Binance's native cryptocurrency, BNB, also declined by over 5%. Industry experts predict that the lawsuit's ramifications will extend beyond Binance and could significantly affect the broader crypto industry. This legal action adds to Binance's existing legal challenges, as the company was previously sued by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in March for allegedly operating an "illegal" exchange. Additionally, the company is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for suspected money laundering and sanctions violations. Binance released a statement on Twitter: Today, the SEC filed civil claims against Binance s in what is the latest example of regulation by enforcement under the current Commission. To be clear, we believe the lawsuit is baseless and we intend to defend ourselves vigorously. However, we want to address what has become an all-too-common occurrence for entities and individuals operating in the American digital assets industry. For nearly two and a half years, Binance has engaged in good faith with the SEC. All along, the objective of our engagement has been consistent: work constructively toward a clear, practical regulatory framework that enables businesses like ours to grow, create jobs, and provide American consumers safe access to digital assets. While we remain open to a productive compromise that protects our customers and their digital assets, with this latest action taken against our business and following similar actions taken against Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken, and other market participants, the SEC seeks a near eradication of our industry. Simply put, today’s filing is unjustified by the facts, by the law, or by the Commission’s own precedent. The relief sought by the Commission would harm the very investors the SEC is charged with protecting. It would also stifle innovation and punish our company and industry rather than working to allow American businesses to thrive. We continue to call on Congress to step in and pass bipartisan legislation that creates a workable regulatory regime for digital assets and reins in the bureaucratic overreach of which our industry is the victim. Until then, our country’s role as a leader and innovator will continue to be undermined. As Binance faces these legal battles, its future remains uncertain. The outcome of the SEC lawsuit will have significant implications for the exchange and may reshape regulatory approaches to the cryptocurrency industry in the United States. Market participants are closely watching the case as it unfolds, awaiting further developments that will shape the landscape of crypto trading and regulation. Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or financial advice. The information provided is based on the knowledge available at the time of writing and may be subject to change as the legal proceedings progress.
- Abiola Adediran: Nurturing Wealth and Legacy as Partner at Genea Family Office
Exclusive Interview of Abiola Adediran of Genea. Edited by Powered Magazine In the realm of wealth management and family office services, Abiola Adediran stands as a trusted partner dedicated to nurturing wealth, fostering long-term prosperity, and safeguarding legacies. As a Partner at GENEA FAMILY OFFICE, Abiola brings a wealth of expertise, insight, and a genuine passion for helping families navigate the complexities of managing their wealth. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of exploring the insights and expertise of Abiola Adediran. Tell us about yourself and your business. I Abiola Adediran, grew up as the first of four children in an average middle-class family. Growing up for me was marked by very strict discipline, and I was often surrounded by people who were much older than me, and I learned a lot from observing and listening to them. I started out as a science student and studied project management technology. I also qualified as a chartered accountant while I was at the university. My professional career began as an investment banker at Oceanic Capital in Nigeria, after which I moved to consulting at one of the Big 4 consulting firms, KPMG Professional Services, where I was involved in statutory audits and other advisory engagements for clients in the financial services industry, mostly banks and insurance companies. I left as a manager and moved into the investment management industry, where I worked as the group chief financial officer of Coronation Group. I had oversight of multiple businesses and was instrumental in growing them into sustainable businesses. During this time, I was also involved in setting up and managing a single-family office, Tengen Family Office, that managed the assets and affairs of the promoters of the businesses. My work in the last fifteen years has focused on delivering cutting edge strategic transformation for businesses and creating sustainable impact and returns for all stakeholders. I now run an independent, boutique multi-family office, Genea Family Office, which provides innovative advisory services to wealthy families and enterprises, helping them to build lasting legacies and preserve their wealth for multiple generations. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? The biggest challenge I’ve had when starting my business has been building the brand to grow and scale. More often than not, consulting businesses are about the exchange of intellectual knowledge for value and are usually very hard to scale. I needed to build a business that would thrive without me and could generate and execute client mandates without relying on me. I was able to build a unique model that allowed me to leverage technology and a virtual consultant consortium to serve more clients and grow the business. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? I enjoyed a great deal of success in navigating my career, and I was fortunate to be able to access the right training, exposure, and mentorship that gave me a lot of leverage and helped me harness my strengths and improve my weaknesses. I don’t dwell on my past successes, but I’m always quick to move on to the next big thing and reach for more because I believe that the possibilities are endless and you only get as much as you reach for. I’ve also had my share of failure, and this has helped me develop the staying power and determination to manage difficulties and the resilience I need to press through challenges and cut through complexities. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? It has been about clearly defining the target market we serve and understanding their needs well enough to be able to create unique solutions that solve their problems. We remain nimble and quickly adapt to changing market trends and customer preferences while leveraging technology as much as possible. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? I’m motivated by the desire to make an impact and leave a lasting legacy. I’m also of the opinion that adversity does not last forever. Setbacks and failures are a part of life, and when the going gets tough, the easiest thing is to look for something to blame and play the victim, but rather than do that, I choose to change how I think about hardship. I try to see the lessons in hardship and how I must change and evolve to become a better person and make better decisions by using the experiences to grow stronger. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? My advice to new start up founders would be that they should decide what is important. They need to have the ability to see through what is not very important. Although tempting, fancy office spaces and exotic branded stationery are vanity progressions. Having a tested product or service that people are willing to pay for and getting more people to know about it and actually buy it should be the focus at the early stage. Another thing is the fact that entrepreneurs don’t just need money; they also need support. I’d encourage them to get business mentorship from experienced business leaders, attend meetups within their industry or local community, and seek out online support via forums and groups. You’ll be surprised at just how willing others will be to help and offer advice for free. Lastly, they should stay focused and ensure that they understand the purpose of what they are doing because it’s easy to get distracted by shiny objects. If you find that you are heading in a direction that doesn’t support your business purpose, you risk derailing due to potential distractions. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business/operate your venture? We leverage technology significantly in running business activities. From managing virtual teams to executing client mandates and meetings online, we use different technology tools to ensure that tasks are done on time and maintain a good level of productivity. In what ways has customer feedback/response influenced how you prioritize goals/objectives for your business/venture? We seek customer feedback to improve our product and service offerings and ensure that we’re changing with the realities of the business environment. We use insights from customer feedback in new product development to ensure it is tailored to their needs. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? A new form of globalisation that recognises interdependence and the good of humanity based on the collective actions of countries, businesses, and people will start to emerge. As a result, companies will change their governance and business management models with a greater focus on corporate social responsibility and the well-being of people. Another trend is the accelerated rate of digital transformation through the use of AI, which will force companies to take radical steps to adopt technological advancements and modernise their culture, organisational structures, measurement systems, and operating architectures. Even if the organisation is ahead today, we have to be continually prepared to change, take calculated risks, and fail fast, or the business will get disrupted. The use of an on-demand workforce will increase, especially with the increase in global mobility. Organisations need to understand and learn how to engage and retain on-demand talent with improved people management programmes, strategies, and tools to create value for an on-demand workforce. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career/business path? The most rewarding aspect of my career path is that it prepared me very well for the entrepreneurial path I’m currently pursuing. I had the opportunity to develop the depth of my expertise as a transformational business strategist, cutting across critical areas of enterprise building. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Transferable skills like problem solving, communication, critical thinking, showing initiative by proactively handling situations and finding answers to questions without direction, and leadership skills using interpersonal skills to coach and develop others are skills that are critical for success. How has working remotely or online impacted your business/venture over the past year? Working remotely has allowed us to scale and increase the reach of our business beyond our local geography. We’ve been able to leverage virtual teams/consultants and serve clients in other jurisdiction without having to move or set up offices in multiple locations. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers/business further? For those looking to transition from a professional career to business, they need to be prepared before they launch out. They need to have a clear and compelling vision of what they are meant to be doing, develop themselves by developing relevant skills that help develop resilience, and understand how to build a business from scratch. They should also test their ideas and ensure that they are sustainable and profitable before they decide to make the move.
- Pioneering Transformative Experiences: Magomed Aliev, Founder and CEO of Expovision
Exclusive Interview of Magomed Aliev of Expovision. Edited by Powered Magazine In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of delving into the mind of Magomed Aliev. From his early inspirations and entrepreneurial journey to the remarkable advancements and transformative experiences crafted by Expovision, we explore the insights and perspectives of a true industry trailblazer. Tell us about yourself and your business. I Magomed Aliev, my life experience is related to entrepreneurship in the field of IT technologies, and since my first year at the university, I have begun to try myself in this. When I had not yet graduated from the university, I was offered to become the director of the Technopark at the university, where I began to gain experience working with startups. I studied the work of creating a startup from all sides, both from the side of the startup itself, developing my projects, and working with accelerators to learn all aspects of startup development. I gained experience in the start-up industry in the US while doing an internship there, as well as participating in some of the best accelerators in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. I also managed to work for a medical IT startup producing lingual braces. Having gained diverse experience, I started working on my own project. In 2018, I founded my IT company, Expovision. Initially, it was a small startup that later turned into a company with more than 30 employees. Now our company operates in several industries and includes individual projects within Expovision. We want to build a blockchain company that will make services for people better and easier. The core of our company is the financial sector; for this, we issued our Expo tokens, and around the core, a number of projects united into a single ecosystem: Expocar - An online car dealership where we mainly work directly with car manufacturers and eliminate numerous intermediaries between the factory and the client. We have also developed our own unique 3D configurator for car selection. Edenwise - a P2P platform for international cash transfers. We allow you to quickly and reliably transfer cash between cities and countries. Expovision - An educational centre for the training of IT specialists and a digital studio for the provision of IT services. A couple more projects are under development; we want to create a large ecosystem using blockchain technologies and Expo tokens. Today, most blockchain projects and cryptocurrencies have no practical application either in business or in social life. We want to change this and offer the world products that they can use to improve their lives using advanced technologies. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? My main challenge was created by myself. I set myself the task of helping young students become professionals, attracted them to internships, gave them tasks and the opportunity to learn, and then they became employees of my company. It was difficult to organise work with an IT team whose average age was 19–20 years old, but in the end, it justified itself. We even opened an educational centre for the training of IT specialists, which has been operating for 3 years, and we take the best graduates into our team. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? I never react too emotionally to success; I take it for granted, and I perceive failure as experience and work on mistakes. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? Our work is so connected with advanced technologies that we constantly monitor the market and how it changes; most often, we even try to get ahead of it and constantly test new niches and technologies so as not to be among the lagging behind. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? Stagnation occurs in people in two opposite cases. When he gets success and achieves his goals, and when something doesn’t work out for a long time. I have been in both situations. When something did not work out, I convinced myself that hard work would sooner or later yield a result. And when I was successful and relaxed a bit afterwards, I reminded myself of my big goals and ambitions and that I'm far enough away from them. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? Study all the details of the area you have entered, and preferably work at least a little in this industry in order to know the whole kitchen and not make a lot of mistakes. And constantly try to be as active and daring as possible; business does not tolerate patience. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business or operate your venture? In our company, we use not only ready-made products that are available on the market but also develop our own. For example, for the Expocar project, an online car dealership, we developed a bot that constantly monitors sites with car sales announcements around the world, selects the best offers according to specified criteria, and provides them to the manager. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? I believe that the blockchain will have the same scale of change for the whole world as the Internet did in its time. It is necessary to follow this trend and prepare for the introduction of this technology in all industries. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career or business path? One of the most difficult stages was when I was just starting to make my first projects and they didn’t work out very well. I realised that the problem was that I didn’t have enough experience in these industries, so I began to study them deeper and work in these areas myself. You need to know the market in which you work. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Leadership. I think this is the most important skill. It includes a number of advantages that an entrepreneur cannot do without. How has working remotely or online impacted your business or venture over the past year? I have two sides here. The parts of the projects where there was already well-coordinated teamwork continued to work successfully remotely as well. And the team that gathered remotely had problems with it; it was difficult to establish high-quality work between employees. I came to the conclusion that they need to work together offline, at least for a while, after which online work will be effective. What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers or businesses further? Networking, networking, and more networking You won't build a great company without it, and to do good networking, you need to be active and participate in various events.
- Fueling Success: Pasquale Davide de Palma, Founder of HRCoffee
Exclusive Interview of Pasquale Davide, of HRCoffee. Edited by Powered Magazine Pasquale Davide de Palma is expert in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Social Recruiting and Social HC. Pasquale's interests are focused on human capital management, he has a degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of Bari, and has studied at MELIUSform Business School and Spegea Business School, Italy. Tell us about yourself and your business. I Pasquale Davide, started HRCOFFEE, a part of Exprivia SpA and an IBM business partner, specialises in HR tech innovation. Established in 2018 in Molfetta, Italy. HRCOFFEE became a finalist at the World Open Innovation Conference (WOIC) at the University of California, Berkeley, and was recognised as "one of the best global startups. Today, the HRCOFFEE SaaS solution is used by well-established companies operating across borders, including ID Logistics Spain, Lundbeck Italia SpA, IEEE, and Barilla SpA. Everything we do is based on the fundamental idea that people are the heart of any organisation. Employees are not just "numbers" but active actors in the organisational value-creation process. We firmly believe that when people are in a state of well-being at work, they can build positive relationships with others, realise their potential, develop creativity, and make meaningful contributions. Thus, we advocate the importance of the social aspect of ESG, including professional development, employee welfare, diversity, and inclusion. In 2021, HRCOFFEE was awarded the Family Audit accreditation for its high standard of employee well-being policies and practises. What does HR Coffee actually do? HR Coffee has developed two platforms: The HRCOFFEE Platform, which includes three elements of digital HR: traditional HR, social HR, and people analytics, is useful for those organisational leaders and HR strategists who want to create and strengthen internal communication, employee engagement, and cognitive analytics projects. This is a bottom-up platform, so a people strategy process is needed. This platform uses IBM Watson. The second platform is Splash, a low-cost platform that helps HR managers gain a good understanding of people analytics and apply it in their practise. Splash uses ChatGPT, an AI-powered tool that helps to interpret data with ease and provide actionable recommendations to successfully manage employees. Thanks to the use of artificial intelligence, fill-gap processes can be developed. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? HRCOFFEE remains competitive through continuous learning and development and an understanding of the changing needs of customers. We focus a lot on training our team internally, conducting market research, and advancing technology. Every three months, we conduct focus groups and organise events to generate discussion and gain feedback. This approach helps us to look critically at our two platforms, improve them, and develop them further, as well as stay informed about customer needs. Curiosity drives innovation, and at HRCOFFEE, we value curiosity. I believe that being curious and open to new ideas is important for organisations to stay competitive. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? When I started taking my first steps in the world of using data applied to HR practise, it was 2002. It was my first year of university, and I was fascinated by the world of business psychology. At the time, only a few talked about using data in companies. I remember that I was fascinated by books written by Dr. Jac Fitzenz. I met Professor Dean Spitzer, Frank DiBernardino, Salvatore Falletta, Fermin Diez, Sandeep Apte, and of course Nigel Nicholson. I was fascinated by the use of cognitive data in the quantitative world; back then, the indexes were mainly quantitative, and I remember that Dr. Jac urged me to go ahead, to study, but above all, to be curious. Today I feel very grateful and want to say thank you to all those fantastic people who shared their knowledge with me, because it was the real strong motivation. I have always felt in search of what I find today in HRCOFFEE, a startup whose drive is curiosity. So, if I had to advise anyone entering the world of HR technology, I would tell them that the most important thing is not to forget that you need to be curious, because to be innovative, you have to be curious. In the word "innovation, there is an extraordinary word: "action. The action to innovate is the most important process for HR, and this starts with curiosity. And this drives me to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity. How have technological advances affected your life? Technological development must not be stopped. We should not be afraid of it; we must govern and manage it. We must learn to surf the waves of innovation, and as I said, we do this by remaining curious. HR deals with people. It deals with the needs and dreams of those who work within organisations. If we are afraid of technology and its progress, it means that we will end up no longer being citizens of the world; we will put ourselves in a ghetto, and organisations die in ghettos because the soul of the company is missing. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? I think the world is changing. Today, the most important trend is data. The data will greatly influence the next decade. I think the problem will not be technology or artificial intelligence. I believe that the real problem will be the ability of HR to identify, in a world of confusion, the real and useful data points for the people strategy. I think it's a historic moment—HR is preparing to become strategic for the business, and this is the first time in history. We are facing a revolution of organisations, a sort of small industrial revolution, where HR will be strategic but will need to have tools and instruments such as the people strategy and a co-programming document on corporate strategy. I will give an example. It will be strategic to understand that talent is no longer static but dynamic and therefore in transition; it will be strategic to analyse the individual leadership of people; it will be important to work on individual worker development plans; and it will be essential to move on to the concept of the corporate community. In short, we are facing an epic moment because technology will be able to support many of these processes. Here I see an important growth in the world of engagement and connectivity. Clearly, this can be supported by analytics platforms where HR can develop their training because the problem is not using standard platforms but being able to customise your own people report analytics to understand organisational trends. So to conclude, I also see a need emerging to deepen people analytics processes, and this is the first time in the past 18 years. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? I think the passion for organisational processes is crucial for the HR Tech world, but above all, the love for one's work, the strong ethics to be applied, and the striving for success We always need to remind ourselves that we work in a world of people and that we are at the service of the organisational process. We are the balance sheet of the organisation, and because of this, we must have a lot of humility. What problems does the world of human capital management face today? In my university years, I imagined a bottom-up management system of HR processes through data, then I imagined it through a system that I called the People Performance Plan. If you think about it, these three words indicate the present, the past, and the future of organisational processes. Over the years, I have become convinced that the main problem of what is now called "people analytics" is basically the confusion created by data, the enormous amount of data, and the difficulty of knowing how to use it. For this reason, I created a sort of training platform: a technology coach who helps HR professionals understand which data points to choose, why to choose them, and how to improve processes. The second problem I've noticed over time is the ability to read and interpret these data, and we do this today through the use of artificial intelligence. Today, we use artificial intelligence (IBM Watson and ChatGPT), which helps interpret data by giving interpretation suggestions. That is why I believe that HRCOFFEE technology is useful to the HR world because, through social organisation processes and data analysis processes, it helps to understand and gain insights from corporate knowledge! Knowing that the evolution of organisations is determined by the development processes of creativity How is remote or online working impacting the HR world? I believe we are facing an important organisational pivot point. The experience brought by the COVID pandemic has made us aware that today's physicality of the workplace can fail and has given us the awareness that technology is a strategic tool for developing the organisation. However, this produces some important reflections, such as: Organisations must choose the technology to use to enable work. This means that the IT team and the HR team must talk to each other and collaborate to understand the needs and requirements. Attachment to work dimensions—physical spaces and team members could be lost, and therefore HR must develop engagement processes through important internal communication. The use of analytics becomes strategic because it serves to understand the organisation's trends. We must not be afraid to face managerial uncertainties. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven't already discussed? Yes, let me recommend a free online webinar that we will be running on June 27 where we'll talk about the importance of people analytics for everyone. This is a very important and strategic topic, and you can learn about it from the top researchers and practitioners in the field of people analytics. We have also created a blog section on our site, hrcoffee.us. It's a space open to everyone; anyone who wants to tell their business story can do it! Through our blog, we would like to share knowledge and expertise with the broader community and contribute to the improvement of the world of work.
- Innovating the World of Sports: Steve Madincea, Managing Partner of Fantastec Sports
Exclusive Interview of Steve Madincea of Fantastec Sports. Edited by Powered Magazine In the ever-evolving landscape of sports technology, few individuals have made as profound an impact as Steve Madincea. As the Managing Partner of Fantastec Sports Technology Ltd., Steve has pioneered groundbreaking solutions that are transforming the way we engage with sports. With a deep passion for both sports and technology, Steve has bridged the gap between these two worlds, introducing innovative platforms and experiences that enhance fan engagement, athlete performance, and sports business operations. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of diving into the dynamic world of Steve Madincea. Tell us about yourself and your business. I Steve Madincea, started my current business Fantastec Sports Technology with my business partner Simon Woollard in 2018. We identified few sports enterprises were using technology effectively to engage with the massively growing digital first sports fan base. What were your biggest challenges when starting your business? The greatest challenge was convincing many within the sports sector of the upside they could have by focusing on emerging digital sports fans. They mostly thought of engagement as in-stadium and were just learning about the powers of social media. When we demonstrated our various MVPs, they were blown away, and I think many of the products were probably over their heads. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? The exact same! Don’t let your ego get too big when you have success, nor should you allow yourself to get too low when failure occurs. Instead try and enjoy the challenges every failure brings. What strategies do you use to stay competitive in a changing market? We employ multiple strategies to stay competitive in our rapidly changing market. The first thing we do is have constant dialogue with current and future customers to understand what is on their minds. The second is to keep an open mind to the various solutions coming onto the market. Never “pooh-pooh” a competitor’s approach or product. Instead, try to understand it and see what learnings you can get from their perspective. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? Whenever we get great DMs or email notes from fans, which is quite often, we know all of our hard work is paying off. That’s why we share all customer input far and wide throughout our team. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? Never join something where you know all the answers. The professional challenge of looking for the right answer to customer issues can rarely be beat. Pushing yourself and learning new skills are equally motivating. How have technological advances affected the way you conduct business/operate your venture? Almost every day we discuss new tools and tech that can help us serve our customers better. During a recent AI workshop, we uncovered four distinct areas where we could apply AI and/or machine learning to make our products, features, and processes better. In what ways has customer feedback/response influenced how you prioritize goals/objectives for your business/venture? Customer feedback has been our backbone from day one. But you must understand that different customers like to engage in different ways. While Discord was popular for a long time, hardcore crypto enthusiasts embraced it, chasing away many authentic sports fans. So, we have tried to create varying feedback and engagement platforms for different constituencies. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? As Web3 opportunities emerge, it quickly becomes evident that there are more solutions to customers problems this year than there were last year. So our product has quickly evolved and now offers more utilities than it did just six months ago. I think that rapid responses to sports fans needs will continue to accelerate change for us and others. What have been the most rewarding and difficult aspects of your chosen career/business path? The most rewarding by far has been having a hand in developing bright young people. It is so great to watch them grow and then go on to bigger and better things for themselves than they ever imagined. Maybe the most difficult are the people who don’t want to change. They are often older. They don’t feel the need or the desire to re-invent their working ways, and that is kind of sad. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? Keep an open mind and never stop learning. When you work at a pioneering enterprise like Fantastec you must be open-minded about any solution as things have been and will continue to change so quickly. How has working remotely or online impacted your business/venture over the past year? I am going to go on record and say that remote working is overrated. As someone who has had horrible commutes, I get the novelty of exchanging that commute for some extra “me” time. But all great businesses were built by teams. Teams are in direct conflict with me. We may never go back to five days per week in a big city office. But I think full remote working will ultimately become known as a fad like the Rubik’s cube! What tips would you like to offer to others who are in a similar position to you but looking to take their careers/business further? Get out and engage with people. There is so much wisdom in the world, and it is yours and there for the taking. Through my formative years, I created a “mantra” where I wanted to learn something new from every person I met. Sometimes it is something bad about their working practises, but at least I learn it! People are what make business fascinating, and only by meeting with them can you truly learn. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? All entrepreneurial businesses are tough, and they should be, or else everyone would be doing them. You will have setbacks. Don’t dwell on them. Instead, deal with them, learn what you can, and move forward. Never ever stop moving forward as a professional, as a team, or as an enterprise. Constantly moving forward is at the epicentre of your professional growth.
- Pioneering Personal and Professional Transformation: Judy Xu, Founder and CEO of Balance Group
Exclusive Interview of Judy Xu of Balance Group. Edited by Powered Magazine In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we delve into the inspiring journey of Judy Xu, exploring her unique insights, her transformative coaching techniques, and the profound impact she is making in the lives of her clients. Prepare to be enlightened and inspired as we uncover the wisdom and expertise of Judy Xu, a driving force behind personal and professional transformation. Tell us about yourself and your business. I’m Judy Xu. I am the owner of the Balance Health group of businesses and a transformational coach and healer, dedicating my life to serving others. After a long corporate career, I decided to change and seek out my soul’s purpose, and I have stayed very aligned with that ever since. Today, I am a transformational coach for senior executives and entrepreneurs. I bring together Western wisdom and Eastern traditions and integrate coaching and healing modalities like Shamanism, Buddhist psychology and hypnotherapy, numerology, and others to bring deep healing and transformation to my clients. My business, Balance Health, is another expression of my desire to be of service. I often stress to the team that our vision is really to support people to heal, grow, and find bliss. We have very experienced master healers to holistically support our clients, and we are bringing these approaches to the corporate world, where we facilitate corporate wellness events and promote conscious leadership. How do you think about strategy in a changing market? For me, my main focus is on what I would really like to create and how I can master my craft. This is why I’ve learned from the best people in the industry over the years. I studied with some of the world’s best executive coaches, such as David Peterson, former Chief Coach at Google, or Claire Zammit, on transformational coaching and female power. I learned from teachers, pioneers, and masters in Shamanism, Akashic records, and Buddha psychology. Learning is followed by practise. I have coached many clients over the years and developed my own methodology and system for supporting my clients. And I am on a never-ending journey of learning and growth, not only for me individually but also for us as a business. As an example, one of my female coaching clients is the Asia CEO of a large financial services firm. She relished the coaching as a perfect combination of high quality executive coaching and spiritual growth that allowed her to grow and realise her full potential. Her feedback and journey opened my eyes to the unique value that I can provide in this market: to deliver more than just regular executive coaching, helping my clients holistically, at a deep personal level, and raising their consciousness as leaders. What trends do you see emerging in your industry that are likely to shape its future growth and development? Over the last 15 to 20 years, we have seen a lot of growth in the segments of personal development, coaching, and wellness. At the same time, our customers are also becoming more sophisticated. They are not only looking for straightforward success but rather for more: personal fulfilment, purpose, meaning, feeling fulfilled, fully realising their potential, and wanting to be fully alive. This level of self-actualization requires very deep support, which is not easy to come by. At the same time, our clients are also looking for a more holistic approach. Many are seeking to truly understand the connection between the physical body, mind, emotions, and spirituality to improve their wellness and day-to-day performance. Even in the corporate and leadership worlds, we see the yearning of people to grow holistically, improve their mental fitness, and stay interested in mindfulness. On this basis, I launched a mental fitness programme for high performance executives and entrepreneurs that has been very welcome and successful, delivering great results to C-Suite executives who want to reach their full potential and stay mentally fit during challenging times. What have been the most rewarding aspects of your chosen career? The most rewarding aspect is seeing the success of our clients. We are very close to them, so we can feel their joy and celebrate with them when they overcome difficult patterns and are able to create a very successful life. There is nothing better than hearing that one of our clients finally got that desired promotion or managed to publish that book they always wanted to write. For our business, one of the most fulfilling events is when we see emails from our clients who had fertility challenges, sending us photos of their sweet, cute newborn babies. It makes all of our hearts melt with happiness and gratefulness that we were part of the journey. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential for success in your field? The demands on coaches today are very different compared to 10 years ago. Clients are looking for more than direct success; they are looking for a deeper level of fulfilment and demanding real transformational results. The traditional way -oriented, action oriented executive coaching—is not able to deliver the necessary results. A deeper skill is needed. That deeper skill should be able to go to a deeper identity level—the level that resonates with the whole core stories of what people tell about themselves or about life in general. The deeper skill should be able to identify the psychological roots beneath it to transform their core beliefs. Before you know it, you might find out that your client has traumas that are limiting his core beliefs and blocking him from reaching his goals. The deeper skill must be able to identify how to heal the client from this psychological root and implement better actions so the new goals can be reached. Coaches need to have the capability to look at a person’s life holistically—looking at their physical, mental, emotional, energy, and spiritual aspects and heal the imbalances that they can find. Oftentimes, an imbalance happening at the spiritual-energetic level that is not being addressed ends up as an issue at the emotional level. If it is still not addressed at that level, it will manifest at the physical level, and so on. We need to have a deeper understanding of what is happening in the person’s life to see the patterns and resolve them more easily. How have you handled success and failure over the course of your career? One of the important things that anyone should learn is how to take a very neutral perspective on success and failure. We should not be attached to success. In the same way, we should not avoid failure. To me, failure is a process towards success, and in that sense, there’s really no such thing as failure. I learned to understand more about who I am, what my calling is, and how I can improve things and be of service to others. “Your life is not about you; it's about everybody whose life you touched and the way you touched it. “ What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their chosen field? I would sum it up in three things. Be very very clear of what is your intention, what is your vision, what is your purpose. Ask yourself 5 times why to go deep and to become super clear of what your purpose is and help you to go forward even in challenging times. Use your imagination and intuition to think big, to dream big and to really feel and sense what’s the real highest possibility that you can achieve. Embrace it as if you have already created that future. Future is not something out there. Future is something that you can already embrace now. Take your personal growth seriously. For the readers who are entrepreneurs and business owners, take your own personal growth very seriously. Often what you see on the outside (external conflicts) is a manifestation of what is happening on the inside (internal conflicts). You need to look inward to know what needs to be worked on. Inner work allows you to see external business challenges in a different perspective, and hence you will naturally handle challenges with more ease. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers that we haven’t already discussed? We all have great ambition and potential. But remember that we can only perform at our best when our own needs—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—are fully met. That is the only time that we can serve in a very neutral space and really be of true service to others. I wish you all the best in your own journey of creation, your own journey of growth, and your own journey of service.
- Lama Naseer: Leading with Excellence as a CFO of Aanaab
Exclusive Interview of Lama Naseer of Aanaab. Edited by Powered Magazine In the realm of financial management and strategic decision-making, Lama Naseer has established herself as a seasoned professional, driving financial excellence as the CFO of Aanaab. With a proven track record of delivering tangible results and a deep understanding of financial intricacies, Lama plays a pivotal role in shaping the financial landscape of the organization. In this exclusive interview with Powered Magazine, we have the privilege of gaining insights into the world of financial management through the lens of Lama Naseer. From her career journey and the challenges she has encountered to her perspectives on financial leadership and the evolving landscape of finance, we uncover the wisdom and expertise of a trailblazer in the field. Tell us about yourself and your business. My name is Lama Naseer, and I’m Aanaabs’ CFO and an early stage investor in the company. I joined Aanaab in its second year because I saw the potential impact this company could accomplish, and now in its fifth year, Aanaab has demonstrated that many times over. I have always been interested in initiatives that support balancing the scale, like co-founding CellA+ for Professional Women, being part of Riyalis’ Financial Literacy programme for kids, starting the Acumen+Jeddah chapter for social entrepreneurship, and in the career choices I made. Aanaab is an EdTech that started catering to a need for upskilling Arab speaking teachers (B2C track) and catering to school needs through training and recruitment (B2B track). Today, it has expanded to address an even bigger need in terms of becoming the eLearning platform that builds your skills, knowledge, and mindset around your profession of choice. It brings the best in terms of international and regional collaborations and customises it to market needs. In markets with young populations, huge growth, and a huge need for skilled professionals, the potential and the demand are huge, and we’re here as the first and, in some cases, the only ones in the region to offer what we do. How is a startup CFO different from a corporate CFO? Startup CFOs are value creators; while they handle all the financial functions of a traditional CFO, they spend more time shaping a startup's strategy and product iteration. They come in early to build the financial structure as well as, in many cases, handle investor relations, fund raising, and, on a need-by basis, other roles such as legal. They’re strategists and visionaries who take on a more collaborative role with different departments than traditional budget management. They must have a scaling up mindset to accommodate the decisions needed for growth hacking. Finance in general gives visibility to every aspect of a company; startup finance, by necessity, is involved in day-to-day operations, and in my opinion, it’s the most exciting role in a startup. What were your biggest challenges in your role as a startup CFO? I think one of the biggest challenges of being a startup CFO is finding that balance between a healthy cash runway and meeting growth requirements. It took some adjustment in my case; you need to adopt a different mindset where profitability and bottom line are not at the forefront of decision making in those early years, at least not as the main drivers. What motivations drive you to keep pushing forward in the face of adversity? I believe that in different phases of life, what drives us evolves and shifts, and that’s ok. My earliest motivations were to prove myself by going into a challenging career, and then it was to have impact on a larger scale. While now as a mom to an amazing daughter, Dala, it’s to be the best role model to her, demonstrating by example that everything is possible, and continuously trying to be the best version of myself. Are there any skills or areas of expertise that you think are essential in your field? A solid financial foundation is a must. Resourcefulness is another, and it will come in handy in seeking different sources of funding. Thinking outside the box, creativity, and flexibility. If you like structure and clarity, then this role is definitely not for you. Communication and networking skills. Startup CFOs must show their abilities as outward facing CFOs; they must be more strategic. Their background is not necessarily from traditional roles in accounting but could be from investment banking or other prior careers. What have been the most rewarding aspects of your chosen career or business path? At Aanaab, we help scale up impact on a national and regional level. Utilisation of EdTech speeds up the implementation while increasing the reach geographically and socioeconomically. Two of the projects I’m most proud of are supporting the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture in one of our markets for the introduction of music teaching in kindergartens. Training 16,000 public and private school teachers. Another is a collaboration in 2020 with the Ministry of Health, at the time of the coronavirus pandemic, for an online course on how teachers can teach awareness about COVID-19 and precautionary measures, reaching 11,000 teachers across the MENA region. What advice would you like to give someone starting their career? Love what you do, pay it forward, and be open to different experiences. Love what you do: life is too short, and we give our best contributions when we are passionate about what we work for. Pay it forward: be generous with your help, advice, and time whenever you can. From experience, supporting others always comes back positivity, whether it’s through karma or the people you once helped who end up helping you and being there for you when you most needed it and least expected it. Be open to different experiences: because you never know where your career might take you. The more you experience, the larger the option pool will be. What about advice for someone interested in starting a tech company? Educate yourself about metrics, because it all comes back to that when it’s time to fundraise down the line. Have clear expectations that your business model will iterate many times. Know that the growth stage is a completely different ballgame. People who were there in the beginning will not necessarily be the right team to steer the company through growth. Priorities shift, and you need to be flexible while juggling the different parts. Finally, I cannot stress enough the importance of finding the right investors, especially in the seed stage.