Interviewee Name: Heather White, Director Membership – Large & Mid Markets
Company Name: Board of Trade
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Heather White: I’m a wife, mother, volunteer and a hardworking professional doing a job that I really like. I am married to a guy I really love and have two kids that I really love.
Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?
Heather White: I’m not sure if I do a very good job, but I do keep things separate. So when I’m at work, I don’t do personal stuff, and when I’m at home I don’t do work stuff. Sometimes I do some work stuff but I try not to mix the two. If it’s family time, it’s family time. However there is a transition time, so if there are issues at work, when I go home I will talk to my husband about them, so I need that transition period. But outside of that, there is no real integration per se because some of the things that you tolerate at home you wouldn’t tolerate at work and vice versa.
Avil Beckford: When you have some down time, how do you spend it?
Heather White: I love to travel – driving or going away, and I love to read and I love to play sports. I play basketball, table and lawn tennis. I play whatever the kids play. I love movement.
Avil Beckford: What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?
- Be sure of who you are.
- Stay focused.
- You always have to study and find ways to improve yourself.
- I have a range of interests that have served me well. I don’t know if everybody can handle it but it has worked very well for me to have a wide range of interests.
- Every person you meet you should treat them well andwith respect.
Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?
Heather White: I’m a groupie so I find conversations with people help me to generate new ideas because someone might say something that you can build on, or might trigger something for you. I also think that you have to listen to what other people have to say because no idea is off limit. That has helped me but the group dynamics has been my biggest idea generation tool.
Avil Beckford: What’s your favourite quotation and why?
“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” Doris Mortman
“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.” Unknown
Avil Beckford: How do you define success? And in your opinion what’s the formula for success?
Heather White: Success is a very elusive term for me. I think you have to be good at what you do, so that’s a big thing and if you’re good at what you do you’ll make money at it easier than someone else. But I think it has to benefit more than just yourself. I grapple with the definition for success all the time. But I don’t think that success is in your wealth, it’s in products or services that you offer that can help a wide range of people, or even help to make the quality of someone’s life better. The formula for success, especially in the early part of your career, is to work hard, be open to suggestions on how to improve yourself, and be a subject matter expert. And never think that you know everything there is to know about that area.
Avil Beckford: What are the steps you took to succeed in your field?
Heather White: I don’t know if I’m successful, but I know that I’m good at what I do because my clients affirm that all the time. The people aspect was very critical for me and I was never intimidated by people who were not nice. I deal with senior level executives daily, some are rude and intimidating, but for the most part they are nice. I think it’s a reflection of how you treat people – I treat them with respect, but I am also very confident in myself.
I learn a lot from people and I evaluate criticisms. If someone said something about me I always analyze it and I take it back to my mentors, my family and say, “This is what someone said about me, is that how you perceive me?” I also have people in the office who I can talk to, and my mentors are good for me. Family and mentors play a key role in my life.
Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?
Heather White: I would say to be flexible in the early stage of your career. Be open to learning a lot of things. I’m a trained forensic chemist, and now I’m in sales and account management. I had to be open. You have to be open to opportunities, learn from others and get a mentor.
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?
- I’d like to have met Abraham and Daniel in the Bible because of their stories – moving from one place to next, to the unknown, and hearing the voice of the Lord.
- Nelson Mandela has had an incredible life so I would like to meet him personally. I read his book Long Walk to Freedom and I thought the time he spent in prison all those years was simply incredible. I think his focus is amazing.
- I’d love to meet Barack Obama and I’d love to meet him now when the markets are crashing. The challenges he has are pretty incredible.
- I would also love to have met Winston Churchill.
Avil Beckford: Which one book had a profound impact on your life? What was it about this book that impacted you so deeply?
Heather White: For me it has to be the Bible because it has nuggets of truth that have helped me. It’s tried and proven and it works like clockwork. It also helps you to focus on the real things in life and that’s my reference points. I have read some wonderful books, but nothing compares for me like the Bible.
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?
Heather White: I have several praise and worship music CDs that I listen to so I would take one of those and I would take The Color Purple for the movie. I would take the Nelson Mandela book Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. I love Debbie Macomber who wrote two books, one on giving and the other on how things work out in your life. I also read a nice book Return to Fitness: Getting Back in Shape after Injury, Illness, or Prolonged Inactivity that I really like.
For the two years, I would read and exercise because it would be a great opportunity to lose some weight. I would exercise, eat healthy and memorize the Bible. I would try to find other people because I have never had to be alone.
Avil Beckford: What excites you about life?
Heather White: People, experiences and how those two can come together.
Avil Beckford: How do you nurture your soul?
Heather White: Reading, going to the spa and spending time with friends.
Avil Beckford: If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
Heather White: I wish I had the resources, know-how and power to help my friends in Africa and make life better for them – people in places like Somalia, Darfur and Congo.
Avil Beckford: Complete the following, I am happy when…..
Heather White: I’m happy when I’m with my good friends and family and in an environment where I feel loved and people think a lot of me. I am happy at work, with the people I work with because I like them and we get along very well.
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