Interviewee Name: Helga Iliadis, Assistant Deputy Minister
Company Name: ServiceOntario
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Helga Iliadis: I was born in Germany and have been living in Canada since I was two. I’m currently married to an incredible Greek gentleman, 37 years this coming September. We have two sons, and my career for the past 39 years has been completely focused on customer service.
Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?
Helga Iliadis: Over the years I would say that the lines between my personal and work-life have become blurred. For example, I consider my colleagues – when I have worked with them over an extended period of time – as my extended family. And the work that I do often brings me every bit as much joy as the personal aspect of my life that I treasure. The way I integrate both aspects of my life is by prioritizing, so that I can spend time with my loved ones and the people that mean the most to me. And my other strategy would be to multitask and make every minute count, including those minutes that are meant just to relax.
Avil Beckford: What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?
- Identify the values that you wish to shape your life.
- Constantly strive to be the best you can be.
- Give without thought of return, you will be amazed at the outcome.
- Whatever is meant to be will be.
- Happiness is a matter of choice not chance.
Avil Beckford: When you have some down time, how do you spend it?
Helga Iliadis: I spend time with family and friends that I love. I love to listen to beautiful music and I really enjoy communing with nature, and if I can combine any of those things it’s even better.
Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?
Helga Iliadis: I’m an extrovert so I tend to love bouncing ideas around others, whether I’m working with just another individual or a creative group. I find that in that environment one idea sparks another and before you know it a great plan emerges.
Avil Beckford: What’s your favourite quotation and why?
Helga Iliadis: There are a lot, but the one I would pick is, “Whatever you want, give it away.” The reason why this quotation impresses me so much is that it’s simple yet profound and it applies in so many areas of your life.
Avil Beckford: How do you define success? And in your opinion what’s the formula for success?
Helga Iliadis: Success is in the eye of the beholder, it really means achieving your goal, whatever that goal may be. And I find a repeatable formula for that success is first of all to be clear about what you would like to accomplish, next in order to achieve serenity to recognize which elements in that situation you have little to no control over, and it’s important to accept that you don’t have control over those elements and then just choose how you’ll respond to them. After that you want to identify all of the elements that you do have control over and brainstorm options for yourself, and then finally you would choose the option that will most likely help you achieve your goal. The beauty is that if perchance the first time around your plan doesn’t work, you are not a prisoner you can always revisit.
Avil Beckford: What are the steps you took to succeed in your field?
Helga Iliadis: I learned that there are an infinite amount of paths to success. For many people, I know that revolves around having a very deliberate one-year, two-year, five-year plan for your career, but for me what has worked over the years is to completely focus on the work I’m doing in the present, to work at becoming the best that I can possibly be in that role, and I find that when I take that approach and if I leave myself open to continuous learning, the opportunities for the future have always presented themselves.
Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?
Helga Iliadis: This question took me back to the question about the formula for success. That is the advice I would share to be really clear about what you’d like to accomplish, think about what you can’t control and how you choose to respond to it, look at everything that you can control and brainstorm your options and then choose the option that will help you to be successful.
Avil Beckford: If trusted friends could introduce you to five people that you’ve always wanted to meet, who would you choose? And what would you say to them?
Helga Iliadis: I am not going to go to the place of famous leaders, rather I’m going to think a little smaller. I would love to meet four people, my two sets of grandparents whom I never knew. If I had that privilege I’d like to sit down and hear about their lives, what they went through, and I’d like to hear all about my mom and dad and what they were like as children. That would be a precious treasure.
Avil Beckford: Which one book had a profound impact on your life? What was it about this book that impacted you so deeply?
Helga Iliadis: There are so many wonderful books out there, but one in particular that stuck with me over the years I would say is Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It was a wonderfully, easy read. The power that was in it for me was the concept of living a principled life, that your principles are essentially the bedrock upon which your life is built, applied to both your personal and as well as your work-life. That would be it.
Avil Beckford: You are one of the 10 finalists on the reality show, So, How Would You Spend Your Time? Each finalist is placed on separate deserted islands for two years. You have a basic hut on the island and all the tools for survival; you just have to be imaginative and inventive when using them. You are allowed to take five books, one movie and one music CD, and whatever else you take has to fit in one suitcase and a travel on case. What would you take with you and how would you spend the two years? T he prize is worth your while and at this stage in the game there really aren’t any losers among the 10 finalists, since each are guaranteed at least $2 million?
Helga Iliadis: I’m always an optimist so I’m going to assume that the deserted island that I would spend my time on would sustain a simple life, so I’m not going to take basic supplies. I would take a suitcase full of books and if I have to stick with things that fit in a suitcase I would also take a little kitty-cat for company. I thought to myself, “if only my husband could fit in the suitcase I would gladly take him as well.” As to what I’d do with all that time, who knows? again it would be a matter of communing with nature, reflecting within and continuing to learn.
Avil Beckford: What excites you about life?
Helga Iliadis: The limitless possibilities! And particularly, the limitlessness of human potential, that’s what I find truly exciting.
Avil Beckford: How do you nurture your soul?
Helga Iliadis: The things I love the most are listening to beautiful music and being at one with nature, those are absolute balm to the soul.
Avil Beckford: If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
Helga Iliadis: That was easy, health and happiness for my children.
Avil Beckford: Complete the following, I am happy when…..
Helga Iliadis: I’m doing something that I love with people I love.
How can you use this information? What do you have to add to the conversation? Let’s keep the conversation flowing, please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Many readers read this blog from other sites, so why don’t you pop over to The Invisible Mentor and subscribe (top on the right hand side) by email or RSS Feed.
Book link is affiliate link.