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7 Questions on Leadership with Adilah Holivay


Name: Adilah Holivay


Title: Chief Executive Officer & Principal Advisor


Organisation: DNA Legacy Blockchain Brokerage LLC


Adilah Holivay has over decade of experience in the banking and financial industry, which lead her into her role as the CEO of DNA Legacy Blockchain Brokerage, a company that provides blockchain solutions for currency and financial services. As a certified blockchain expert, she oversees, evaluate, and design controls that ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards in all blockchain projects. Additionally, she also identifies and evaluate new blockchain opportunities that result in increased revenue and efficiency for her clients and stakeholders.


As a visionary leader, she is passionate about propelling growth and innovation within the financial services sector. Her collaborations with industry giants and Big 4 firms, helped build and maintain relationships with 20 key partners and stakeholders. she also contributes to the compliance and risk management field, serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the NABCRMP and receiving the Board Member of the Year award in 2021. Lastly, she is a known featured author in "Courage in Cannabis", a best-selling anthology that showcases my ability to communicate complex topics in an engaging and informative manner. Her mission is to leverage her expertise in finance, technology, and compliance to create value for clients and stakeholders.


Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!


I hope Adilah's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Cheers,

Jonno White



1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?


Leadership indeed presents numerous challenges, particularly concerning responsibility and the delicate balance required for success. One key challenge I face is shouldering the weight of responsibility that comes with leadership roles. The decisions I make and actions I take directly impact not only myself but also others within the team or organization. This responsibility entails considering the broader implications of my choices, aiming not solely for personal victories but ensuring that success extends to benefit others, providing them with opportunities to thrive.


Maintaining a balance between my personal success and enabling the success of others is a complex challenge in leadership. It involves navigating the fine line between my individual achievements and creating an environment where everyone can leverage opportunities. Effective leadership isn't just about my personal gains; it's about uplifting and empowering others, ensuring that their growth aligns with the overarching vision.


Moreover, the dynamic nature of the world demands me to adapt constantly. Change management becomes crucial as the world rapidly evolves. Leading with a clear vision while being adaptable is essential for helping others understand and align with that vision amidst these constant changes. It involves not only having the desire to lead but also having the foresight to manage change effectively, making it easier for others to comprehend and support the direction I am steering towards.


In summary, leadership's challenges stem from the immense responsibility of steering others towards success, maintaining a delicate balance between personal and collective achievements, and navigating change while ensuring a clear vision is communicated and understood by all.


2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?


Becoming a leader for me wasn't a straightforward path, as I didn't have an extensive network handed to me. Instead, I had to actively create connections by consistently showing up, engaging, and demonstrating curiosity and courage. My journey into leadership began when I was tasked with a pivotal role at Cardtronics, a company focused on designing complex banking systems for large financial institutions. I was entrusted with leading the team to tackle these intricate challenges, which was a significant opportunity for me.


This leadership role also opened doors to my involvement with the National Association of Black Compliance Risk Management Professionals (NABCRMP), where I volunteered in a board position. Through dedication and commitment, I progressed to a nomination for the Board of Directors, eventually becoming the Chair. This experience propelled me into speaking engagements and taught me invaluable lessons in networking and engagement.


After successfully navigating two years in this influential role and completing a 1.5-year tenure at Deloitte, I realized that leadership was never an easy journey. However, it offered unparalleled visibility and opportunities for growth and impact. Through these experiences, I learned the art of balancing visibility with responsibility and the importance of continuously learning and evolving as a leader.


3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?


My typical day revolves around a structured routine that helps me manage both professional tasks and family responsibilities. Here's a breakdown of my daily schedule:


Morning:


Wake up and start the day with meditation to center myself.

Followed by a refreshing shower to prepare for the day.

While having my morning coffee, I gather my thoughts and plan out my day.

Work Focus:

4. Start the day by focusing on the tasks I prioritized the night before.


Review and assess new tasks that need attention for the day, adding them to my schedule.

Evaluate any unfinished tasks from the previous day and incorporate them into my current agenda.

Family Responsibilities:

7. Being a mother of two daughters, I regularly engage in school drop-offs and pickups.


I ensure to make time to prepare homemade meals for my family in the evenings.

Evening:

9. After the day's work and family time, I wind down with a nightly routine.


I take a bath to relax and unwind.

Spend time reading to further relax my mind.

Lastly, I prepare a task list for the next day to have a clear plan when I wake up.

This structured approach allows me to balance my professional commitments with my role as a mother and prioritize both aspects of my life effectively. While my routine might vary occasionally due to meetings or unforeseen events, maintaining this schedule provides me with a sense of organization and ensures that I fulfill my responsibilities at work and home.


My typical day revolves around a structured routine that helps me manage both professional tasks and family responsibilities. Here's a breakdown of my daily schedule:


Morning:


Wake up and start the day with meditation to center myself.

Followed by a refreshing shower to prepare for the day.

While having my morning coffee, I gather my thoughts and plan out my day.

Work Focus:

4. Start the day by focusing on the tasks I prioritized the night before.


Review and assess new tasks that need attention for the day, adding them to my schedule.

Evaluate any unfinished tasks from the previous day and incorporate them into my current agenda.

Family Responsibilities:

7. Being a mother of two daughters, I regularly engage in school drop-offs and pickups.


I ensure to make time to prepare homemade meals for my family in the evenings.

Evening:

9. After the day's work and family time, I wind down with a nightly routine.


I take a bath to relax and unwind.

Spend time reading to further relax my mind.

Lastly, I prepare a task list for the next day to have a clear plan when I wake up.

This structured approach allows me to balance my professional commitments with my role as a mother and prioritize both aspects of my life effectively. While my routine might vary occasionally due to meetings or unforeseen events, maintaining this schedule provides me with a sense of organization and ensures that I fulfill my responsibilities at work and home.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?


As a leader, one invaluable lesson that I've learned, or rather been reminded of, is the significance of rolling up my sleeves and truly immersing myself in understanding the task at hand before diving into action. Particularly in the realm of technology, there are numerous implications that come with decisions—often, these decisions involve considerations like additional costs or expenses. Making the wrong choices can have far-reaching effects on clients and overall management decisions.


Therefore, what I've learned is the essence of leading by example and also by understanding the roles and perspectives of the individuals I serve. By taking the time to comprehend the needs, challenges, and aspirations of those within my team, client base, or the organization, I can make more informed and impactful decisions. This approach not only helps in mitigating unnecessary costs or missteps but also contributes to building a stronger brand, a more cohesive team, and a resilient and thriving organization.


In essence, it's not just about directing from the top but about immersing oneself in the trenches, understanding the nuances, and empathetically leading to drive positive outcomes for everyone involved. This lesson continually reinforces the importance of hands-on involvement and empathetic leadership, which I strive to apply in every aspect of my role as a leader.


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 book that has significantly impacted me as a leader is "Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Power" by Lalah Delia. This book has been instrumental in reshaping my perspective on personal power and its impact on leadership.


Lalah Delia's insights have helped me understand that true power resides within oneself, regardless of the external circumstances or position in life. It emphasizes the idea that by recognizing and harnessing this internal power, one becomes unstoppable, capable of navigating challenges and living authentically.


"Vibrate Higher Daily" has inspired me to embrace my inner strength and truth daily, fostering a sense of empowerment and resilience in my leadership journey. It reminds me that leadership is not merely about external influence but stems from a deep understanding of oneself and the ability to live authentically while positively impacting others. This book has been a guiding light, encouraging me to lead with authenticity, purpose, and an unwavering belief in my own power.


6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?


"Transform fear into fuel; it's not an obstacle but an affirmation for growth." Adilah Holivay


Embrace fear as your fuel, not a hurdle. It's a signal for growth, not an obstacle. Use it to navigate challenges and propel your journey forward. Transform fear into a source of motivation, pushing boundaries and innovating in uncharted territories. Let it ignite resilience and determination within you, steering clear of self-doubt or limiting beliefs. By reframing fear, you empower yourself to turn setbacks into stepping stones for success. Embrace it, harness its energy, and thrive in the face of adversity.


With courage and a proactive mindset, you'll rise above obstacles and achieve greatness.


7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?


The tale of Goliath from the Bible speaks of a courageous young shepherd named David who faced a towering and fearsome warrior. Goliath, known for his immense strength and intimidation, challenged the Israelites to send forth a champion to fight him. Despite the giant's size and reputation, David stepped forward armed with only a sling and stones. He confronted Goliath with unyielding confidence and faith in his abilities and in God.


Rather than succumbing to fear, David approached the challenge with a clear plan and strategy. He used his agility and skill to outmaneuver Goliath, aiming with precision and maintaining composure amidst chaos. David's calculated actions led to striking Goliath with a stone from his sling, achieving an unlikely triumph against overwhelming odds.


This biblical narrative parallels our own lives, where we often encounter our own formidable challenges or "Goliaths." These obstacles might appear insurmountable, ranging from personal struggles to professional hurdles or unforeseen situations. Like David, having a plan and strategy becomes crucial in addressing these challenges, allowing us to monitor and analyze the threat in a structured manner.


However, beyond planning, the most critical aspect lies in maintaining a clear mind free of fear. Fear can cloud judgment and hinder our ability to confront challenges effectively. By approaching our personal "Goliaths" with courage, determination, and a resolute mindset, we can tackle these issues with depth and substance. Just as David's fearlessness led to victory, facing our challenges with confidence and a steadfast spirit can guide us toward triumph.


The story of David and Goliath serves as a powerful reminder that while challenges may seem overwhelming, our approach and mindset determine our ability to overcome them. With a clear plan, strategic thinking, and an unwavering attitude, we can confront our own "Goliaths" and emerge victorious.

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