7 Questions with Francisca Harding
Name: Francisca Harding
Current title: CEO / Founder
Current organisation: Harding Media
I am a 37 year old Afro Latina with Doctor of Education, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the City College of New York, and a Doctorate from Northeastern University
As well teaching Anthropology, Biology, and Chemistry, she is CEO of Harding Media and Consultancy, and president and founder of Harding’s Heart Foundation, a shelter providing social services, education, and life skills to young men between the ages of 17 and 27. Also founder and creator of BRAiNS Academy, a STEAM Boarding school in the Dominican Republic.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
personal life and business
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
It's a very long story... Let's just say that I've always had a passion to help people. The problem is that first you have to learn to help yourself. WeAreHardingMedia started off as a corner office in our 3 bedroom apt. Now it's an international company bridging together the most underserved and underrepresented communities with the most served and represented. We bring balance to our world.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Still working on it... Since the markets in Europe and China are at a different standard time, then where I live and work, sometimes insomnia gets the best of me. The trick is a schedule. Make sure you balance yourself, remember that your "beauty rest" is not just physical it's mental as well.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Putting yourself first isn't selfish, it's actually selfless. I've learned that as a leader you have to be able to manage yourself because you are ahead of a company, people's lives and family's well-being depend on your health and the stability of your company. So make sure you take care of yourself, so you can take care of all of those that depend on you.
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?
The Art of War; by Sun Tzu. The methodology of this beautiful written art work can be well applied to business, education, sports. The philosophy behind the way of thinking and analyzing the purpose of your company can allow you to plan for your company's adaptation to the ever evolving national and international markets.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Being humble. As a CEO you cannot separate yourself with your employees, it doesn't matter what position they are in, what matters is that you are able to know who they are and what their needs are. It is your responsibility to be familiar with all your employees, not just for interviews. Allow them to understand there is always a way to reach their dreams within the company. Breeding loyalty and respect.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Unfortunately, this is going to sound a bit horrible but, none is dispensable, even yourself. Never rehire anyone that someone fired. People can have the best intentions, but if there was a good enough reason to let them go in the first place, there will be a second.