Following on from the winners’ announcement on Monday 1st February, Susan Fadil is the first to feature in the DMJ Governance HOT 100 ‘Spotlight Series’.
The Spotlight Series sets out to understand what it means to Susan to be a Governance HOT 100 winner within the ‘Team Leader’ category. Here is what she had to say:
How did you become a company secretary/governance professional?
As many a company secretary before me I came across the career opportunity by accident. I joined Mayer Brown as an assistant to Geoff Smethurst a Chartered Secretary who provided company secretarial services to the firm’s clients. It was here, that I developed my company secretarial skills, knowledge and experience and was encouraged to pursue the ICSA exams. Geoff was an excellent mentor and I owe him so much. My accidental finding of this career has certainly been challenging, fulfilling and rewarding and I am pleased that I am now in a position to be able to mentor and coach a new generation of company secretary/governance professionals.
What have been your biggest challenges working through the pandemic?
One of the biggest challenges was the near overnight change from office to remote working in a home environment and ensuring that you have a dedicated work space, if possible. The kitchen table is not ideal as you’ll get interrupted and moved elsewhere on a regular basis. Task one was some major tidying and organising of the study to make it a pleasant place to spend working hours. I am pleased that early on during the pandemic I invested the time to do this, as with a house full of people studying and working, a quiet place to work is essential. Sticking to a routine and getting dressed appropriately for Zoom meetings and the day ahead helps change your state of mind and feel prepared. Taking a break is essential and finding the correct balance now that “home has become work” is essential, walking the dog every morning prior to the start of my working day helps enormously and provides that crucial exercise and “thinking time”. It is equally important to take regular breaks every few hours throughout the day.
The biggest challenge from a governance perspective was seeing those who were once less flexible being forced to adapt to new ways of working, often embracing technology and the new norm with enthusiasm. Board meetings became more focused and concise. Boards looked to the company secretary for guidance on their governance frameworks and how these should be adapted to reflect the new norm. The pandemic has highlighted our interdependence and interconnectedness and I am delighted with how the team at JTC have reacted and changed in pursuit of the common good and risen to the challenges of working through the pandemic.
What does winning in this category mean to you?
I love my chosen career and current role and to be externally recognised by my peers in a category with such notable governance professionals is an honour.
To find out more information about the DMJ Governance HOT 100 please click here.