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Human Resources

C-Suite Career Advice: Richard Parris, CEO, Intercede

We ask industry leading C-suite professionals for their expert career advice...

16-09-2014-richard-parris-ceo-intercede
  Name:
Richard Parris

  Company: Intercede

  Job Title: CEO

  Location: Leicestershire, UK

 

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
The most prosaic advice I was ever given was never take no for an answer. That phrase is not just a saying. Adopting that mindset means you have to start thinking differently and thinking creatively to find solutions to problems, rather than just accepting ‘no’ and giving up. More emotionally, another valuable piece of advice someone gave me was to follow your heart. It will be a hundred times more difficult to succeed if you are not doing something you genuinely believe in and want to be doing.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
More than a decade ago when I was trying to source funding for Intercede, a bank manager told me that I would never get the funding I was looking for and that I should give up on the company. Today, I am the CEO of a 100+ person publically listed company, operating on two continents and selling globally. A neat illustration of why ‘never take no for an answer’ was good advice.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
As an entrepreneur, I would say to anyone starting up their own tech business that you should be prepared to be 100% committed to your dream, because you will have to live with it for longer than you think. There is no such thing as a get rich quick business. It will take at least twice as long to accomplish what you want than you thought it would, but the satisfaction and the sense of achievement will be greater than you could hope. And that just spurs you on to do more.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Be authentic, be yourself. You will struggle to perform at the most senior levels if you are pretending to be something or someone you are not. Understand what your strengths are and don’t be afraid to use them. I am an engineer both by training and by nature, so I was always going to want to build something. I am now building a world-class software company. I’m also tenacious which is a trait I have found works for me, to stay ahead in the complex and ever-developing markets that Intercede operates in. Although, my staff use the word bloody-minded instead!

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
I believe being an entrepreneur and starting your own company is as exciting and as valid a career choice as any other option when young people are thinking about what to do in their future. From a standing start, with only an initial £5,000 investment I have created more than 100 hi-tech jobs in the UK Midlands. I have overseen some of the smartest people in the region as they have built careers in cyber security as developers, testers, sales and marketing professionals, technical consultants, project managers and support staff. I have mentored a cadre of managers to lead a growing team of world-class engineers. With 80% of our revenues deriving from exports we are helping drive the UK economy and through our technology we are making the world a safer place. I could not be more proud of all of this and it’s what I talk about at public speaking engagements and mentoring forums aimed at teaching and stimulating entrepreneurship amongst MBA students and business start-ups.

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