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7 Questions on Leadership with Daniel Affar Leki

Name: Daniel Affar Leki

Title: CEO


Daniel Affar Leki is a Financial Consultant or Consulting CFO.

Daniel is a Finance Leader with extensive experience in leadership including boardroom exposure and experience with board dynamics. His leadership role extended to cover talent acquisition and development, and technology and digital transformation. He is value- driven and a team player. He believes in the power of teamwork and collaboration. Daniel's professional interest and focus lies in corporate finance and strategic advise to businesses that are starting up from ground zero up or matured business pursuing organic growth.

His most recent experience was as a CFO of a startup telecommunications business as its CFO where he developed a growth mindset and consolidated his knowledge base and skill sets in the key result areas of finance, human capital, technology and overall business strategy. The firm's capital and asset intensive nature of the business impressed on him specific skills in project financing and financial modelling as CFO.

One of his significant achievements as a telco CFO was co-sharing a lead role with the CEO in the merger transaction as part of the government's industry restructure to separate wholesale business from retail and mobile businesses. His understanding of the business and its operating environment added value to his role as CFO in respect of his role in the business analysis and growth strategies with specific focus on the link between the three elements of the financial statements - Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement.

Daniel is a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) with an MBA (University of Liverpool UK - 2012) with specialisation in accounting and finance. Attaining his MBA broadened his perspective on business finance practices of firms in respect of agency theory and corporate governance, capital structure and cost of capital, dividend policy, working capital management, and capital market efficiency and impact on share price of company.

His professional development also included various career and industry training and up skilling over the years. Daniel enjoys travelling and photography including drone video and photography. He is an avid reader and loves music. He is married and has an adult son who is a professional and lives independently.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Listening with my heart more than my ears. The ability to listen and understand in order to communicate back with clarity.

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

Leadership journey for me begun in 2007 after I joined the public sector after migrating from the corporate world. I took up the position of chief accountant which was a Manager's position. A few years later I got promoted to as Director Corporate Services. This was a leadership position that started off on my leadership journey.

The pace and intensity was not as fast as the corporate environment which provided an opportunity for me to embark on a personal development to learn and develop new leadership skills. I started buying books on leadership and personal development, including reading biographies of successful world leaders in business and government.

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

I'm a morning person. My daily routine starts at 5am in the morning with meditation, then reading and journaling.

Breakfast then commute to work arriving between 8.30am and 9.00 am. As the GM and CFO, my day to day is more involved with meetings and discussions with colleagues though I get to meet with my direct reports who are line managers once a week formally but informal meetings or discussions throughout the day or the week.

I am usually home by 6.30pm or 7pm latest. Refresh then catch up on some reading whilst awaiting dinner. I'm usually in bed by 10pm so I can wake up early at 5am.

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

Patience and perseverance.

Transition into semi retirement and managing short inconveniences is a challenge at times but through patience and perseverance, I'm able to endure and keep pushing.

Patience and perseverance has its rewards.

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 CEO Next Door has profoundly shaped and influence my leadership. Successful CEOs and business and thought leaders were interviewed and it was concluded that CEOs who processed the 4 genres become successful in their careers as CEO as well as navigating through the process to overcome challenges.

The 4 genres are - decisiveness, reliability, adaptability and boldness or courageous. After reading this book and commiting to emulating the genres in my own professional and personal life, has made a significant difference in my life.

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

Be yourself. Be authentic and true to your values and principles.

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

Making a bold move to correct a situation that required higher authority to intervene and correct but instead ended up compromising their position and did nothing to correct the situation.

One of my managers was insubordinating me because she missed out on the opportunity for promotion to the head of the department position. I succeeded her.

She colluded with another manager in numerous acts of insubordination and the CEO was fully aware but refused to take action based on my recommendations.

Because the CEO has compromised his position, I had to seek independent advise before making a bold move to terminate my HR Manager.

CEO intervened and reinstated her back. That's when I lost the respect for my CEO and exited the organisation some months later.

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