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7 Questions with Farzana Baduel
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7 Questions with Farzana Baduel
Name: Farzana Baduel
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Curzon PR
Farzana Baduel is the CEO of Curzon PR. She has been appointed as the Resident Public Relations expert and Ambassador for the Oxford Foundry, the University of Oxford’s entrepreneurship centre. She set up Curzon PR in 2009, having previously served as Vice-Chair of Business Relations for the UK Conservative Party.
She is both Chartered at the Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and holds a Fellowship at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). She is a trustee at The British Asian Trust, a charity that tackles poverty, inequality and injustice in South Asia.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
I have perfectionist tendencies and the biggest challenge for me was to let go of the detail and focus on the macro perspective.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I founded Curzon PR in 2009 and over the last 11 years I set up offices in London, Dubai and New York and now we work as a remote working team with colleagues working in countries including the UK, Australia, India, Canada, Portugal, Pakistan, Nigeria, Israel and Argentina.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up at 7 am to feed my dog and take him for a walk in the park. I am usually at my desk by 830am to catch up on emails and slack before my meetings start at 9 am. As my colleagues and clients work across different time zones, I often have a mini mountain of messages to respond to before 9 am. My day is full of Zoom meetings, usually with colleagues, clients, journalists and new business leads. Zoom meetings can be tiring however they tend to be productive and therefore shorter than the usual one hour. I take a short lunch break to walk with my dog around the neighbourhood and as soon as I finish at 6 pm, I bolt out of the door with my dog for a much-needed stroll in the park. I try not to work in the evenings and weekends, but the reality is that I work a couple of hours in the evenings as well as during the weekend. I love my work and am passionate about what I do, so I don't mind working outside of normal working hours.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
CEOs should be chief engagement officers rather than chief executive officers. Talent is everything.
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?
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie is a classic of relationships. Business is ultimately all about relationships and the book helped me to understand how to relate and engage with people.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Identify future leaders and cultivate opposing opinions to be shared without fear of reprisals.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
I recall the time I was travelling non-stop and was taking 7 flights in 10 days including long-haul and I was exhausted. I realised I was becoming anxious and stressed and was being unkind to myself which led to being a poor leader and manager as I didn't have the energy to manage people well. I realised this was unsustainable and started to take time out for myself and improve my work/life balance and I felt instantly better and work became easier ironically when I worked less.