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7 Questions with Felipe Rubim
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7 Questions with Felipe Rubim
Name: Felipe Rubim
Current title: VP
Current organisation: CI&T
Felipe Rubim is CI&T's Vice President responsible for Asia Pacific, currently covering Australia, China and Japan markets.
With a strong "hands-on lead by example" attitude and a gigantic appetite to challenge the status quo, Felipe's career spans more than 18 years working in the software development industry, from Brazil, USA all the way through Australia and Japan. He had the opportunity to experience all sorts of digital transformation, and witnessed first-hand what worked well, and what hasn't. He lives by the motto "the only constant thing in life is a change" and he believes resilience is one of key aptitudes one must have to succeed in this ever changing world.
Technology, People & Culture Learning and Change take me out of bed every day.
A curious person, with a healthy obsession for traveling and knowing new places (and their local cuisine), he enjoys running, motorbiking and snowboarding as his way of winding down.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Over the years, what I've found most challenging - but at the same time, most exciting - in running CI&T in the Asia Pacific region has been the different culture assimilations. CI&T, founded in Brazil, is a global digital solutions partner for some of the world's biggest companies. Being from Brazil and having lived and worked in the US, coming to the Asia Pacific region was initially mostly about demystifying myths, reconstructing concepts and creating bridges around respect and understanding, whilst pushing the business forward through different ways of thinking and innovation.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have been with CI&T for about 17 years, and have had the opportunity to experience different challenges and be involved in many opportunities. I think a key factor that helped me get the needed experience and knowledge was the fact that I was able to face such challenges, learn from them, and apply the learnings in the new areas/engagements. On top of that, I was very fortunate to have great coaches and mentors - people who inspired me to take risks.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I like to think I have a structured yet flexible approach. A good part of my personal routine is locked in early in the morning, followed by key sessions that involve major decisions and discussions. Despite having structure, I like there to be some room for flexibility in the afternoon in the event of anything unexpected, as every day brings new opportunities that sometimes demand a quick response. I'd then spend the evenings with my family and invest time in my continuous education path.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Trust your instincts and your experience - truly trust them - when making decisions. I've been through situations where I was highly influenced by stronger opinionated individuals, or I was afraid to delay a decision - thus not listening to myself or giving the decision the proper weight and attention. That often came with heavy consequences afterwards. Overtime, and especially in the last few years, I have learned to trust myself much more.
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?
"Skin in the Game: The Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life", by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
I like this book because it helps you, as a leader, identify how several "actors" around you can have roles that ultimately don't involve owning the risks involved in projects - a good reminder for leaders to only have people with skin in the game around them, both in personal as well as professional life.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
First and foremost, by leading by example. Complement this by opening opportunities for the ambitious minds on your team to take over and run the next initiatives themselves. Find a balance that allows them to have enough of a safety net for them to try, fail, learn from it and then succeed the next time around.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
What has fascinated me the most about our business is the human aspect of the sales process when it comes to understanding, respecting, and following - yet subtly challenging - the status quo. Working at such a global company, our work often crosses into multiple countries, cultures and languages. For example, I’m a Brazilian, living in Australia and working with clients in Japan. The relationships I have built through CI&T continue to be incredibly insightful and rewarding on both a professional and personal level.