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7 Questions with Alexandra Barlow
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Alexandra Barlow
Name: Dr.Alexandra Barlow (PhD)
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Apeiron Kallos Pty Ltd
Hi, my name is Dr. Alexandra Barlow and I lead Design in the Deep, a corporate but multi-talented team of business professionals, finance, marketing and business transformation experts with extensive experience of working with businesses around the world.
From our one of our many International Offices I head up a dynamic team from Cape Town South Africa, we provide business consultancy and services designed to help you:
Lead with purpose.
Build a brand that resonates with your target customers.
Implement the right marketing mix for your business.
Master the financials.
Put in place the systems, processes and support you need to grow.
Grow in confidence.
Through a series of clear, actionable steps, we’ll help you get clear about what makes you stand out in the marketplace, create an authentic marketing message that resonates with the clients and customers you want to attract, get to grips the financials and build the systems, processes, and support you need to grow your purpose-led business.
So, what’s different about us?
We understand the unique challenges various businesses face as well as the very complex issues any company may experience.
My team includes experienced professionals with extensive experience of business, finance and marketing at the highest levels who have started, grown and scaled companies. This means we have a deep understanding of the unique challenges and constraints a business can face in the process starting and growing– lower access to starting capital, perceived lack of skills and experience, disproportionate caring responsibilities and the lack of mentors and role models. It can even just be requiring a specific level of skill to deal with a designated area that your business needs.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
In the words of William Shakespeare, "Heavy is the head that wears the Crown". To lead there is much required but most importantly trust. Trust in your team to know that they are capable of encompassing the Mission, Vision and Values of the Company. Some may not always be excellent team players, they may not be fully sold out to the idea that unity brings victory, as a leader you are tasked to mentor them, to do all that is within you to bring their best out and if you have done all you can to help them and now are faced with the choice of what is best for the team and the one the choice to let go of an employee is challenging in that they will never see the side of your human nature that tried to saved them.
Apart from the above, business is a ever constant challenge of growth, evolving according to economic climate keeping up with the challenges presented in global crisis, however, the real challenge is never giving up but pushing beyond the limits because you are not in business just for fame but also for the men and women who rely on your decisions to keep them growing and earning.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My business journey started when I was 19 years old, I studied and while attaining my degrees, started to road map businesses that would work on a global level.
Being a founder to several brands that now are internationally owned all birthed through Apeiron Kallos, the board of Directors unanimously voted for me to take the position as CEO as the very vision, passion and culture of Apeiron is designed and owned by me. Leadership is a quality not to just be at the top but when possible to climb into the trenches with my team and obtain victory.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As an International Brand, my work days start within the time-zone of the client requiring my services. I work with passion to always be ready, and strive to perfect everything I need done. I work with the best qualified persons in their respective teams.
Hectic when you operate some days on 2 hours of sleep and you are a wife and mother of a 20 year old graduate student and a 18 year old in school.
One might think there is no balance but there is, I am not always required, and in those quiet times its solely dedicated to family because I do not train employees but brand ambassadors who are equipped to handle the hard bare coal faced reality of providing our clients with success and that I can clearly see in the financial growth of our business.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
On the breaking news of Covid-19 I saw panic, everyone wondered how they would overcome this issue and loss of income, I had to lead from the front. I reduced my salary to diminish the impact they would feel, I worked with them to achieve new heights, I developed new systems and encouraged them to understand that together we can overcome them.
The lesson I learned here was leadership requires you to first show that you are not more than your team but are equally affected by the same fears they face, and if you do not see the humanity then you have no right to use the word equality.
I learned that respect towards leadership comes from showing that I can do everything in my power to save our business and retrenchment or job losses to save money is not an option, if anything it is a loss of vastly experienced talent.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I am an avid reader, however, I had excellent mentors like my Dad & Mom, my leadership is based on their teachings of growth of intelligence, speaking to your beliefs even if your belief system is against the side of society but wins in the face of justice. That honesty is the best policy.
As a Suma Cum Laude PhD graduate in law, I often look at the lady Justice and find the beauty of her stature, she is blind to the ranting but will weigh the scales of your evidence. I weigh the scales of my heart and live boldly to speak truth, speak wisely, trust myself and dedicate my passion to succeed in spite of the odds against me.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
I believe that my team are masters of their destiny. I empower people to trust the process and apply it to learn that mistakes are not the end of the world and can be fixed but ownership of the mistake helps you remember the cost and once you understand the concepts of what it will take to succeed you have begun to grow as a leader.
I teach you are a leader from the day you arrive to work in your designated position. Together we are a team and the team goes for gold.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
As a woman, I lead the first Online English Centre in South Africa, through our Mission, Vision & Values System for the pilot project, we become the most renowned team with zero absenteeism, highest commendations from parents, minimal internet disruptions and expanded to being the first and sole female owned company provided teachers world-wide to some of the largest Education Centers in Asia. This leads to Companies using our expertise to proofread material, work with international contracts, and employment opportunities to teachers around the world. We later were awarded the HR function to manage the professionals who were employed.
I am humbled that when Companies choose Apeiron its referred to as please have Alex and her Dynamic team join us. This is the victory of years of dedicated passion.