True calling

Alexandra Zagury True calling

As MD of RIM Southern Africa, Alexandra Zagury is at the forefront of empowered technology.

Alexandra Zagury is as slick and dynamic as her company’s latest product, the BlackBerry 10. No wonder she’s up for the challenge of managing the unique requirements and opportunities of a fast-growing market such as southern Africa. ‘This region is very different to Europe,’ she says.

‘I believe there is a huge potential.’

What makes you tick?

I live for those moments when I can add value or continue my journey of personal learning. Most artists who depend on creative inspiration say the key is to keep trying until you move from a plateau to a spark moment. This is how you learn and grow.

How has technology helped women?

The rise of mobile technology goes hand in hand with a rise in women-owned companies in many parts of the world. The benefits of being in touch wherever you are and carrying your office in your pocket are enormous for female entrepreneurs.

You were Research In Motion (RIM’s) first managing director in Turkey. Is your current role very different?

I have lived in about a dozen different countries, including the US, Tunisia, Argentina, South Korea and Poland, and have learnt valuable skills and lessons in each of them. My role here is somewhat different in that I’m now consolidating a successful business.

What part of your job do you enjoy most?

I enjoy a challenge that stretches me intellectually and as a leader. I also love working with technology because it’s constantly changing.

Greatest achievement?

My daughter Viveka. She is the light in my life and she keeps me grounded.

3 Philosophies I live by:

1. You have to focus on doing something, not on being someone.

2. Anything worth doing demands hard work. There are no shortcuts – if you want to add and create value you have to work for it.

3. Decision-making is the art of fine-tuning the right level of data analysis, common sense, instinct and risk in a timely fashion.

Alex’s must-read leadership books:

1. The Art of War by Sun Tzu. The best manual on why strategy and planning are key drivers of business performance.

2. The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. Presidents get 100 days to prove themselves, but business leaders only get 90 days.

3. Resonate and Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte. Two practical books that illustrate the art and science of telling a story.

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