(Round-Up) Great Lessons From CEOs, Leaders And Talents

Inviting a guest speaker for a seminar can be a significant encounter to students. They gain exposure to real-world challenge and triumphs in their subject area from a professional who can draw in unique experiences and perspectives. Speakers are also valuable in the corporate world as a method to increase engagement between prospective stakeholders and the general public eye. This post offers a general overview of key takeaways from speakers in SMEs and fortune-listed companies with insight to corporate lessons learnt, recruitment advice and recent emerging trends.

Guest Speaker: David Dohyung Kim, Director for Global Brand Management 
We recognise Huawei as a leading global provider of digital technology and smart devices. The brand is constantly redefining the future of technology and ushering new waves of technological advancement through their commitment building a better- connected world. This talk invites David-Dohyung Kim, Global Brand Director for Huawei to the stage to discuss his career lessons learnt. 
What are your thoughts on innovation?
Huawei's vision is to become a global iconic tech brand with an important corporate value to keep customer-centric. The brand is committed towards innovation to enrich and bring comfort to customers. Often conceived as 'delivering something better and new', it is simply the process of taking old ideas, merging these ideas to create a new product and then releasing it to market.
Do you find fulfilment in working for Huawei?
To understand Huawei, we have to look at the specific values that define the culture of Huawei and work to understand the foundation of Huawei’s value-driven culture. Like with most corporate positions, data crunching may feel tedious at times. You can try to find job fulfilment in moments where you build connections with others, from the work you do, reflect on the positive impacts you have made.
What would you expect the reality to be when working as a team? 
Collaboration drives work performance. Employees who work in teams are more productive, get things done faster and communicate more effectively. However, having disagreements between workers are inevitable. People may have alternative views on how to execute a particular task. To overcome the barriers of teamwork, building a relationship of communication and trust between one another is ideal. You are all working towards the same end goal.
What lead you to quit your previous job?
There is not just one “smoking gun” reason that makes an employee quit, as it is typically a combination of things that weigh on their minds and impact their decision to quit over time. In his personal story, Kim looked for an alternative path after realising that the company core marketing strategy were conflicting between his personal beliefs and interests. The loss of motivation over time reinforced this which drove towards him to his final decision of leaving and seeking a new career opportunity. 
Red Hot Pennies
Guest Speaker: David Schulhof, Chief Executive Officer
A digital marketing company founded by an alumni at my university. Red Hot Penny is a team of digital marketing specialists who help to identify and acquire new customers. Whether this is an e-commerce retailer or online brand, they work to provide proactive, clear, expert advice reflecting the client's values and ambition helping to forge strong contracts and partnerships.
What are your best lessons with recruitment?
There is an old expression - being a jack of all trades but a master in none. A person should focus on improving what they are good at than trying hard to be master of all: Programming, SEM, Analytics. It is much preferred to be a master in one and be fairly able in others to a recruiter. You would appear more favourable if you are strong in a particular skill/field than being good at all.
What attracts your attention in an applicant?
The hiring process begins when a company identifies the need to fill a position and ends when a candidate accepts a job offer. In the past, Red Hot Penny hired an individual who took the initiative to submit a very creative CV - A Super Mario styled game that was made on Game Maker. This creativity caught the recruiter's eye. It made them reconsider adding an additional team member. Sometimes thinking outside the box and taking the risk is worth it. This is especially true in the process of job search. 
What advice would you give your younger self?
Make sure you have a personal life so that you can reward yourself for the businesses successes. Don't mix business and your home life and give yourself time to recharge and switch off. This is critical to your wellbeing.

Guest Speaker: Opeyemi Ogunsanwo, Founder and Creative Director 
A luxury fashion brand born in the UK who emphasise creative designs and distinctiveness. Their mission is to empower males and females on who they want to or wish to be. The consumer-centric brand embodies the motifs for confidence, strength and being fashion-forward. A cool entrepreneurial startup.
Is a great CV important for recruitment?
You do not need your CV to make a statement as for who you are as your personality can shine through from the initiative and actions you take. For example self-sourcing through LinkedIn, looking at job adverts then calling up with confidence ("I see you have a job advert listed... I think I'm right for your role")... It could offer a chance to show the recruiter how a candidate is really like beyond their constructed CV.
Useful advice for a job interview in the fashion and luxury industry?
You need to be positive. The most important thing is to have the right attitude. You must go to the interview with the sole intention of being offered a position. Too many candidates during an interview give too much consideration to whether they want the job and whether they are suitable. Do not go into the interview with the mindset that you do not really want the job. You never know, you might decide after the interview you really want the role or decide that it is not for you. Not trying your best for an interview get you nowhere.
An important message to express to the audience?
Time is the most valuable and precious thing in life. You have maybe heard this many times but its worth recollecting. You realise this much more as you get older, so it is best to make the most of it before it goes. If you have a brave business idea, test it out. You will never know where an opportunity may lead you if you never try in the first place.
The Walt Disney Company
Guest Speaker: James Gardiner, Commercial Partnerships and Marketing 
Walt Disney Co. is a diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise. Operating for Media Networks, Parks, Experiences and Products, Studio Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI). The company's objective is to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information in their diversified portfolio of content, services and consumer products.
Does the magical feeling of Disney follow true to the workplace?
Disney's workplaces have a ‘great atmosphere’ and an ‘amazing working environment’, filled with highly skilled people. If you are passionate about the company, you will fit right in. Additionally, with employees citing supportive teams, an open, flat, and relaxed structure, and tonnes of opportunity to get involved with projects and campaigns, working for Disney can be a great way to learn and grow. The speaker mentions that everyone does love what they do. The company works hard to create a fun imaginative experience for all its associates.
How does it feel working for a particular role for a long period?
Working for the same company for a long time does come with its privileges. You become very knowledgeable about the tasks, workflows, and systems at your job. Everyone knows they can count on you. However, it is always best to reassess your situation often. Doing so will help you determine what works best for you and what actions you should take to improve your personal goals. Just like any other organisation, some aspects can feel mundane at Disney too. If you want to continue to work with your long-time employer, consider internal opportunities for job shadowing or participating in a job rotation. Doing this can be a win-win for you and your company as it can help add variety one's experience.
What are your best approaches to preserving brand reputation?
In 2018, The Walt Disney Company ranked on Forbes as the "World's Best Regarded Companies," which considers' trustworthiness, social conduct, the performance of their products or services, and how they perform as an employer. The speaker mentions how the company would never encourage brands which may promote negative healthy lifestyles to their younger audiences  e.g. promoting original Coca-Cola instead of Sugar-free Coca Cola.  
Top Shop 
Guest Speaker: Graduate Talent 
Topshop is a global fashion and beauty company branched from Arcadia Group which connects women with the new and the next in style and culture. The brand that originates from London, the city renowned for fashion experimentation and cultural defining street style movements. Topshop is a high-street brand for expressing individuality. 
How do you start a career in fashion? 
The fashion industry might be competitive but it is constantly growing and changing. There is always a need for transferable skills and creativity. You do not need to necessarily be a designer to work in Fashion as there are many other non-specific roles and opportunities. There are numerous IT, data analytics jobs and even CSR jobs available which do not require fashion-specific know-how or any fashion-related prerequisites. 
What have you learnt from first-hand experience working in the fashion industry?
Retail and eCommerce is definitely a growing business sector. Most brands are reverting from retail outlets to online stores and distributors. Fashion businesses can capitalise on this. The also speaker expresses how it can be arduous planning the new launch of products to market but it is all a worthwhile process after you see the end results. 
What are future challenges for fashion markets?
The most important thing for a global fashion brand is to stay current. Fashion needs to be current and adapt to its time, trends, consumers and needs. The speaker highlights e-commerce as a major challenge. Many traditional retail outlets are being shut down and transitioned to e-platforms. E-commerce is the way forward for fashion as there is more competition than ever before. 
Guest Speaker: Graduate Talent
KPMG is a multinational accounting and auditing firm, providing three main business services - audit, advisory and tax services. The name KPMG represents the four principle founding members of the company and their respective member firms - Piet Klynveld, William Barclay Peat, James Marwick and Reinhard Goerdeler. 
What is the purpose of technology?
Consumer expectations and demands of their infrastructure providers are rapidly changing. Some players (those in more monopolistic positions) will see customer satisfaction deplete if they fall short to respond on demands for improved technology. Others look to increase access to resources in under-served customer markets. The major priority of technology, in general, is to help the improve economic prosperity of nations and to enhance the quality of life of people.
What can a young student take away from an opportunity at KPMG?
With passion and purpose, KPMG works hard to integrate innovative approaches and deep expertise to deliver real results. Working here taught the speaker about commercial awareness, resilience and adaptability helping to build from the skills gained at university e.g. analytical skills, interpersonal skills and communication skills.
Why are psychometric tests used?
Employers opt for psychometric tests as they enable them to gain a deeper insight into a candidate's personality traits, competencies, style of working, and motivations. These are things that might not come across clearly (and truthfully) in an interview. The test attempts to work as an objective method to assess the candidates through measures relevant to the company. 

Here you have insights from a series of talks hosted at my university. If you enjoy this post and found it useful you can check out my other posts soon to be updated!
Reference list
Riebe, L., Girardi, A. and Whitsed, C., 2016. A Systematic Literature Review of Teamwork Pedagogy in Higher Education. Small-Group Research, 47(6), pp.619-664.
Zorek, J., Katz, N. and Popovich, N., 2011. Guest Speakers in a Professional Development Seminar Series. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 75(2), p.28.

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Cedric Noronha said...

A great way to know about the business insights through the leaders. Also, it gives a depth about the business opportunities.

Ntensibe Edgar said...

Hhhhmmmm....this is quite the list. It gives me so much to think about.

Lucy Clarke said...

"A person should focus on improving what they are good at than trying hard to be master of all." This is really important. Sometimes we care so much about our weaknesses that we fail to improve on our actual strengths. Finding balance is key.

Matt said...

Great roundup! I liked learning about the Disney one. I have a good friend that used to work for Disney, it was indeed a great workplace.

Hayley said...

As a previous student, I always enjoyed listening to guest speakers and hearing about their career journey and tips.

khoingn | The Broad Life said...

I always love to great this type of post. Learning from other succesful people is somehow a shortcut way to achieve success. Thanks for sharing the post!

Marie at Complete Literature said...

These are great interviews. I especially like what James Gardiner said about the advantages of working in one place for a long time.

Yudith said...

This is really great to get insight from success influencer. Investing time and resources in developing team members is the best way to improve the culture and employee engagement

Aliceee Traveler said...

I loved the Top Shop interview. Fashion is competitive but not impossible to get into it. It needs just passion and dedication 😁