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7 Questions with Tammy Hamawi
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7 Questions with Tammy Hamawi
Name: Tammy Hamawi
Current title: Managing Director
Current organisation: Tribunity Human Empowerment
Hi, I am Tammy Hamawi.
I believe that real leadership at the top is about vision, growth, and partnerships.
I’ve served as an ICF-accredited neuroscience coach for seven years and have over three decades of experience as a director, GM and shareholder of an international logistics and transport operations based throughout the South Pacific, as well as most recently joining the C-suite team of an ASX-listed software solutions developer, as Chief Sales Officer leading a global sales team through the company’s most successful, ambitious growth and acquisitions’ phase.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MY STORY
I learned adaptability, negotiation, and partnership from a very young age as I attended international boarding schools, moving across different countries, languages, laws, and beliefs.
I joined the male-dominated shipping and transport sector at the age of 19 and immediately thrived in this fast- paced industry.
I created my company—Tribunity Human Empowerment— back in 2009 to dedicate my skills to the personal growth of others.
In 2014, I helped save my daughter’s life by compelling the Australian health minister to provide life-saving medicine to her and all Australians diagnosed with the ultra-rare disease aHUS.
My current focus is to dedicate 2021 and beyond to the development of C-suite executives and politicians through a dedicated 12 month self-development program - LIONS (Lead+Influence+Open+Navigate+Shape)
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Reflecting back, I’ve had to solve many challenges that came from different phases of my career journey so far.
Either originating from my own self growth, for example when I became a mother while running a transport & logistics company… It brought huge challenges ( I say opportunities!) that needed me to act outside the conventional norms. There is also the high-cost / high-stress environment, from the competitive nature of transport, which requires real innovation in our approach. Having created a solid reputation of trustworthiness was really my foundation and allowed me to negotiate long-term & mutually beneficial partnerships, that became the legacy I left behind when I retired from the logistics industry in 2009.
Working for a publicly listed ASX enterprise brought responsibilities and challenges in many different ways, and some unexpected ones, such as “balancing the needs of empowering everyone while reducing the loss and waste that comes from workplace politics” which affected productivity and workplace satisfaction.
As I mature into my career journey, today I cannot ignore the lack of true innovative thinking that exists in Australia's top CEOs and Leaders. Diversity and Inclusion are still treated more like buzz words and we forget that the true cost of delegating this to HR and not having it led from the top, is low productivity and a high sense of disconnect, in the workplace.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Climbing my career ladder was not typical. When I entered the logistics industry in Sydney back in 1985, I thought this was going to be a summer job. Entrepreneurialism was the driving force of the company, and I found myself thriving in it. Less than a year from starting, I was offered a promotion and I took it. By working hard, being open minded and eager to build partnerships, my career rose and my confidence in my business ability grew. I went from container control, to documentation, then to customer service then to sales. Within 3 years I was leading people, which came quite easy for me, as I am naturally open minded, authentic and empathetic. Empowered by being a confident communicator and negotiator, the lack of formal university qualification didn’t seem to become an obstacle. I found myself educating myself by investing in personally rewarding programs and skills. I was drawn very early in my career to making myself responsible for my own self-development. I think I was 22 when I hired my first coach for 3 months and learned mind-set skills to pivot and achieve growth while feeling comfortable and really enjoying the pace of my work… back then, it was my life.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
This routine changes and improves with wisdom and self-education because, once upon a time I would wake up at 6am, immediately start replying to emails, no breakfast I would get to the office by 8am, work right through with minimal meals, unless I had a business lunch or dinner, then get home very late, relax a little and get to bed by 2am. I worked this pace 7 days a week until 2003, when I took my first real holiday. Of course, such a routine was slightly transformed when I became a mother, where I took liberty to arrive in the office by 10am, giving me valuable time to be a mother while still answering emails and calls. I remember how I fought judgements from my peers to craft my own routine, by negotiating quality over quantity. At the time, working virtually was not a concept accepted by the Australian working landscape, but as any trailblazer tells you…. I was doing it before it was even accepted. Because I knew that what I delivered was valuable. I thrived working huge days because I always felt it was my choice to do so.
Since leaving my last corporate role in 2019 and re-establishing my human empowerment business, I approach my day with the same amount of passion and energy, but I choose to fit in a lot more of my own personal wants. I wake up at 5am, focus on time with my partner before he leaves. I then dedicate about 15 minutes to my mental wellbeing, focusing on breathing, pondering and planning. I spend another 10 minutes doing a full body stretch routine. I’m not a very hungry person so I usually only eat one meal and find myself doing this around 3pm, which is when I try to close my working day so that I can add other joys like learning, sharing time with my mother or daughter, exercising and just enjoying my own company. I am usually now disconnected from all news and electronics by 8pm and asleep by 11pm. It is more important for me to adapt then to keep doing what I do, just because this is how it’s done. I think each person should craft their day based on their own unique needs. For example, If someone tried to force me to make time to eat… like breakfast I would resent that because for me that is not something my body needs.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
In 2014 I faced my most awful crisis. My daughter was fighting for her life from an ultra-rare blood disorder. The medicine she needed to save her was too expensive and the Australian health system had this medicine but not approved for her illness. I had to use every skill I knew to negotiate. By 2015, we managed to get the medicine approved on the PBS, save her life and bring quality to her life, as well as have this medicine available for all Australians with this aggressive blood disorder. The most significant leadership lesson I learned was that the same skills and abilities that helped me succeed in my work life, were the same skills and abilities that allowed me to save my daughter. So cultivate skills that are meaningful, powerful, adaptable and that support the greater good in 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?
I do not have a book that has had any profound impact on me or my leadership. I learn most from my own experiences and develop knowledge by learning more about science, philosophy and Eastern wisdom, then putting things in to practice through trial and error. I think this is why I have never been interested in writing a book, but instead I create programs and workshops. I believe each individual has their own profound way and the voice they need to follow is within. We have to master ourselves and then improve ourselves, so we can as leaders, feel comfortable to have diversity in all our businesses while gaining the most outcome through including everyone’s contribution.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Building leadership capacity needs to be a constant effort and should affect everyone including the CEO. Thriving leadership means a company can hold onto their best talent for longer, which enriches the experience and knowledge that is accessed by all. I won’t mention here how thriving leadership capacity in an enterprise directly improves profits and market share. Promoting a culture of champions leading champions is the most productive and rewarding way of leading people. So first you have to establish the right environment that supports leadership and promotes self-leadership. Allowing for easy access to Soft skill workshops, and building mentorships between peers, can have a powerful impact on how adaptable and cohesive teams become. Teaching leaders to lead their teams through a process of “asking powerful questions” is a lot more valuable than allowing leaders to lead through status. Examining company culture to highlight where bottlenecks exist and providing resources and time for teams to create solutions is healthy. And people do not take on more leadership, if they are not mentally well. The mental health of everyone becomes a mandate for all team leaders and goes beyond just asking “Are U OK”. Allowing for time and opportunity for individuals to learn skills to improve their own mental, emotional and physical wellness and having the CEO participate in everything that is offered by the company, is a must.
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 will make this one easy on myself to answer.... for me knowing that I touched hearts and was not afraid of being human in every deal I have had, leaves me feeling that every day is meaningful.