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7 Questions with Shivani Jariwala
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Shivani Jariwala
Name: Shivani Jariwala
Current title: Director - Cyber Advisory Services
Current organisation: Digital14
A trusted advisor for cyber security, Shivani has helped develop and deliver trust, provide the necessary leadership and enhanced overall cybersecurity maturity for organizations and communities around the world.
She is a dynamic leader with a successful track record in working with various C-level executives and state, national and multilateral bodies across various industry verticals.
She is also the President of Cloud Security Alliance’s UAE Chapter, and a speaker and thought leader on topics such as cloud adoption, cyber security and regulatory challenges.
Shivani has earned a Master of Science Degree in Information Systems at New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at Mumbai University.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Prioritizing between my professional aspirations and personal responsibilities, as the primary caregiver to my toddlers.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
In my early 20s I worked at leading organizations in three different countries over eight years. My objective then was to travel, gain perspectives across different borders and focus on further education.
In my late 20s, I joined a startup consulting firm which was pivotal to my growth and understanding of the consulting world. The experience changed how I perceived my job and I began to look at everything from a business perspective.
Through that, I gained enough confidence and support to start my own company.
We set a good foundation within a year and began to make sales. However, due to a downward trend in the market, we decided to cut our losses and put a pause on the startup until we could gain confidence in the market.
The learning that I gained from this entrepreneurial experience was phenomenal.
In my mid-30s I returned to the corporate world as a new person, with greater insights and views towards business growth, customer engagement and operational excellence.
I learned that the bottom line is to experiment in your early 20s. Don’t be afraid to travel, change jobs or work for a startup.
You will learn something new each day.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
First things first, I start my work day with a To-Do list - a fresh one each day which includes work AND personal commitments.
My entire day is driven by the list. Thanks to the remote working situation, the fine line between work and home has blurred, hence it is even more important, in my opinion, to make a consolidated list and prioritise the importance of each commitment, then plan the entire day around that. Once the top-priority items are addressed, I discard the list and all my time is dedicated to learning, family and fitness.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
1. Crisis is often an opportunity for leaders to emerge.
2. You are better, stronger and smarter than you think. Make the effort to understand how others perceive you; you are more likely to be able to control the situation when you do that. You will start to see people reacting to you in the way you want them to. It's amazing how this can boost your confidence levels, too.
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 Decision Book – Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking. This helps with structuring thoughts and enables objective-based decision-making.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. This helps you to streamline the thought process when setting up a startup.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Build a vision which is beneficial to all. Share it with your team and motivate them enough to care about it and be invested in its success.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
When I was a consultant and had decided to relocate to another country, the internal company transfer was not working out. When I told my partner, he reached out to our clients and competition and referred me to them.
I was surprised by this, and thanked him for going above and beyond to help me. His response was: “Someday you will be a partner in a very large firm, and you will go above and beyond to help me.”
With power comes responsibility. Each person that you lead will become a leader someday and make an impact, so be kind, build good working relationships and help to create a positive culture. Positivity pays forward.