Our next speaker, Mr. Robin Bradshaw, is the Country Manager of Cathay Pacific Airways with a degree in Philosophy and Theology (How cool is that?). He has been with Swire for 21 years. Swire, a highly diversified global group, is a 200 years corporation which is established as a trading company in Liverpool , UK by Mr. John Swire.
Mr. Bradshaw have moved around a lot and has been assigned in Indonesia, Hong Kong Singapore and Papua New Guinea (where he met his wife). He shared that the downside in moving around a lot both in territories and functions is that he cannot share any technical expertise. However, he said that the best managers in the business are the people who get the best technical people. He added that if you can manage people and finance then you can work in any business. It is about finding the best people and bringing out the best in them.
Swire’ motto is to be rather than to seem to be. They stay in the background and and let their brand and product do the talking for them. Humility is one of the core values of the organization and something that is evident in Mr. Bradshaw.
He also made the conducted some sort of a pop quiz about Cathay Pacific and it definitely woke the audience. It was like “The Price is Right” where you have to give the right number (like how many aircraft they have). I even got a prize 🙂
Mr. Bradshaw share some of his defining moments:
- Being pressured by his manager to do something he didn’t agree with. He shared that in situations like this, you need to stand your ground and do what you believe is right and fair.
- Having to terminate a long serving staff that kept on disrupting work. It was very difficult for him because he knew and worked with that person for a very long time. How you handle the conversation of this nature is very important. He made sure that the person being fired understands the situation and make him see that it is also for his own good. Getting fired is never a good thing but it will also free you to pursue a new job that might be a better fit for you.
- SARS – During the SARS scare 80% of their flights has been cancelled and Cathay Pacific is on its way to bankruptcy. They were forced to to send employees on unpaid leave but when the business got back on its feet they paid them all back. This move has earned the trust of the employees.
Aside from his business insights, Mr. Bradshaw also tackled work-life balance and how he is able to make it work. It find it refreshing to hear someone of his stature talk about meditation and mind-fullness. It was a reminder to never sacrifice everything else in your life in favor your career. He also shared that being able to help people feels so much better than closing a huge deal with a client.
My favorite part was when he talked about being true to yourself and keeping your sense of boundary. Who are you? What do you really want to do? Know yourself. Be honest with your self. Being aware of who you really are is vital in everyone’s journey through life. We sometimes get distracted with so many things that we lose sight of what truly matters. We tend to get so busy chasing our goals and dreams that we forgot to stop and stay still for a while and listen to what our hearts say. We also need to take the time and contemplate on how we are living our lives and the paths the we chose to explore. We don’t want to work hard all our lives for something only to realize that it is not really what we want.