Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Claire Cassar, HAUD

Claire Cassar

 Company: HAUD

 Job Title: CEO

 Location: Malta


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
The most valuable piece of advice I’ve been given during my career is to play to your strengths and also identify and work on areas for personal improvement. Surround yourself with a team that has the right ‘get-go’ attitude and that has a broad range of skills which compliment yours.
For example, the team at HAUD has a variety of experience ranging from direct involvement with technical solutions for our customers and those that manage relationships with key stakeholders at global mobile network operators (MNOs); to those with more inward facing but equally important roles. They are the ones that provide vital support, such as strategic analysis of revenue or the upkeep of administrative tasks, without who we simply could not function as a business. Working in a team with such a diverse set of skills allows each member to not just grow their own knowledge, but support others with their own experience.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?

One of the worst pieces of advice I ever received was related to the benefits of cost cutting. It’s my opinion that when budgetary forecasts aren’t met, you need to consider the core drivers, which may mean spending more in certain areas as opposed to seeing cost cutting as the only option. While reining in spending is sometimes important, if all you do is cut back it can negatively affect growth and morale.

On the other hand, considered strategic investment can have a stimulating influence on the business, and even if it was concentrated on one department or function, the resulting success can be infectious throughout the organisation as a whole.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
To build a career in the tech industry, you must have a passion for technology, irrespective of which area or function of the organisation you sit in. Technology is perhaps the most powerful agent of change active in the world today, and can improve people’s lives considerably. You have to want to be part of this change, no matter how insignificant you think your role is.
To turn this desire into success, it is of the highest importance that you understand completely the eco-system in which you operate, from clients’ requirements to determine the most suitable product offering and other, often unseen, market factors. Keeping up to date with developments in the industry, especially in terms of how competitive forces are defining the market, can also help you become a more effective decision maker when it comes to your own company’s offering.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
My top tips for someone aiming to secure a C-Level position are to focus on learning what drives success within your company, learn to read and interpret detailed financial reports and to also develop strong leadership skills.
Understanding your company is one thing, but understanding what drives its success is sometimes a little bit more difficult to identify. It’s all too easy to focus on your department or job role without taking a step back to see how you can add more value to the wider organisation.
Some decision makers I have worked with through the years have been willfully blind of key financial information available to them, and have made poor decisions as a result. You must use all the information available to you to make the most informed decisions possible.
You often hear of people being described as natural leaders, but my experience has taught me that that it’s not as simple as that. All the best leaders I know are constantly striving to improve. You will never stop developing as a leader, as every experience teaches you something different.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
In terms of my experiences in mentoring, I take immense pride in identifying individuals with high potential and helping them to maximize their growth. It’s great to see people develop and progress in their careers, especially when they are receptive to advice and willing to try new approaches in their work which lead to better results.
Some of the people that I have mentored are now in C-Level roles in organisations ranging from NRAs to other international businesses. It pays dividends, however, as they are now successful business leaders in their own right, and have been my sounding board on new projects – it’s always good to get a different perspective.


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