Interviewee Name: Shirley Adrain, COO
Company Name: Asia Pacific Technology at Societe Generale
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Shirley Adrain: I’m a mom and wife and I’ve got a career in investment banking information technology. In addition to that I sing, paint, cook and try to keep fit.
Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?
Shirley Adrain: I timetable everything. To cope with everything, I write a list and make sure that everything is timetabled. For me, that just gives me a bit more control – that I can cope with everything.
Avil Beckford: When you have some down time, how do you spend it?
Shirley Adrain: I like spending time with my friends and family just relaxing, doing something with my daughter, generally outside doing some exercise.
Avil Beckford: What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?
- Take responsibility for your actions and not blame other people.
- Surround myself with positive people and use them to help me develop and act as a sounding board for issues.
- Face my fears and do them anyway.
- Take the road less traveled.
- Have as much fun as possible.
Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?
Shirley Adrain: Have confidence that you’re going to have an idea and use lateral thinking. I always know that I’m going to come up with a solution, and I sit there for a while, and quite often I come up with the idea in the middle of the night if I haven’t thought about it and didn’t get the answer during the day. It comes to me in the night. But I think it’s knowing that you are going to come up with a good idea and letting your subconscious work on it. So it’s really harnessing the power of the subconscious mind.
Avil Beckford: What’s your favourite quotation and why?
Shirley Adrain: Well being Scottish, I have to go for a Scottish quote, “What’s for you wont’ go by you,” which means what’s for you in life won’t go past you so it’s having that confidence that you’re going to get success.
Avil Beckford: How do you define success? And in your opinion what’s the formula for success?
Shirley Adrain: Success is being what you want to be in life, being happy, achieving something and looking back at your achievements. The formula for success is simply believing in yourself. It has to be key; and choosing excellence, always trying to do the best you can, and learning and growing from your mistakes. You have to focus and continue to improve, that’s important.
Avil Beckford: What are the steps you took to succeed in your field?
Shirley Adrain: I’ve had some great bosses who I have learned a lot from, and it is good to have different bosses because they teach you different things. My job requires working with a lot of people and building relationships. I enjoy doing that, as well as building a great team is really important. A lot of my roles have been global and regional and in those circumstances it’s really important to build relationships with all the people in all the locations to spend time with them and understand their needs. And when you want to roll something out, when I have rolled things out on a global and regional basis, I spend time lobbying the key people before hand, before I ask for a decision to be made. It makes it that much easier and ensures that I deliver what they want, so they’ll buy into it.
Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?
Shirley Adrain: The world of work is now very different from when I started out working. Today it’s key to build a good network and to use the network to help you. There are so many people and not enough jobs so it’s about thinking about yourself and your personal brand, having that level of confidence and building that network and trying different ways to get into your field of work. And also getting as much coaching and mentoring as possible really helps.
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?
Shirley Adrain: I guess I would want to meet inspirational people.
- Nelson Mandela would be a great person to meet.
- Gandhi has so many successes so I’d like to look at some of what he did.
Avil Beckford: Which one book had a profound impact on your life? What was it about this book that impacted you so deeply?
Shirley Adrain: It is The Road Less Traveled because it’s a book that I’ve read a few times, and it makes you think about how you live your life and what decisions you make. It’s about where you are going in life. For me it made me realize that I had to look at my life mission statement, and where I wanted to go in life. I’m sure that once I’m clear on what I want to be doing in my life, to make sure that what I choose to do is in alignment with that, so when I look back I know that I’ve done the right thing, and can be proud of what I have achieved. I don’t want to be looking back and having a lot of regrets.
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?
Shirley Adrain: I would want to learn a lot of things so I would take a couple of big books and spend time reading and thinking about them. I would also write a book since I would have so much time, and think about what I could give back to others.
Avil Beckford: What excites you about life?
Shirley Adrain: All the different challenges that life has. I have been very fortunate to work and live in different countries, so I’m continually learning about the different cultures I am exposed to. I think it’s about learning new things and I also like meeting new people. I like not knowing what’s going to happen next – uncertainty and change is something that I enjoy.
Avil Beckford: How do you nurture your soul?
Shirley Adrain: Helping others and trying to make a difference! I get a lot of pleasure when I’m able to help others.
Avil Beckford: If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
Shirley Adrain: I would wish that people could live together more happily – have more fun and get along.
Avil Beckford: Complete the following, I am happy when…..
Shirley Adrain: I’m with the people I love and I’m doing something that I’m passionate about.
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.