Quick-fire round: Sharon Constancon, CEO, Valufin
13 May 2015 -
Award-winning coaching and governance specialist tells us about her background, management styles and business inspirations
Sharon Constancon is a leader with two hats, serving as chief executive of Valufin – which specialises in risk management for the foreign exchange (or forex) field – and spearheading Genius Methods, a boardroom coaching and evaluation provider.
Before she set up Valufin in the UK two years ago, Sharon rose to the top of the forex field in her homeland of South Africa, scooping the Woman in Business of the Year in the South African Chamber of Commerce Awards 2013.
As well as inspiring women with that feat, Sharon has a keen interest in the relationship between board governance and business ethics.
Her quick-fire round starts now…
1. What was your favourite subject at school?
Maths was my favourite subject, but I also really enjoyed geography and the sciences.
2. What was your first job?
As a secretary at Johannesburg Consolidated Investments, the sister mining house of Anglo American.
3. Which mobile device(s) do you use?
Blackberry Q10 and iPhone 6 Plus. I also use an iPad and a Kindle.
4. What is your biggest achievement in business?
Getting my company listed on the Stock Exchange.
5. What is your biggest regret in business?
Taking too long in retirement before starting my next firm.
6. How has your sector changed since you began your career?
It has become more regulated, compliant, transparent and ethical.
7. What kind of effect have those changes had?
That motto “the customer is king” applies in a very real way today – but many industries and firms are still on the journey towards that realisation.
8. Who are your business heroes?
In trading, George Soros. In the entrepreneurial world, Richard Branson. For governance it is Paul Myners, and for sheer business acumen, Sir Martin Sorrell.
9. Which are the traits you most admire in other businesspeople?
Creativity, tenacity and emotional intelligence.
10. Which single thing would you like to eliminate from your job?
Time wastage, in whatever guise it arises.
11. How would you describe your management styles in one sentence?
Listen, understand, improve and empower. Support others to deliver their goals.
12. What was your best holiday?
My first cruise – Cape Town to Southampton.
13. What is your favourite day of the week and why?
Friday, as I try and work from the office rather than being on the road or in client’s offices.
14. How do you unwind away from work?
Walking outdoors, or sharing a meal with friends.
15. What is your favourite film?
The Theory of Everything.
16. What is your favourite smell?
Freshly mown grass and the heat of the bushveld.
17. What music do you like?
Music with a genuine tune that makes me want to sing along to the words – preferably artists from the 60s to the 80s.
18. What keeps you awake at night?
I am not in bed long enough to be kept awake! If I had to worry, it would be about a person I cared for.
19. Which four guests would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Richard Branson, Neil Diamond, Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela. If inviting people who are no longer with us is against the rules, though, I would ask Kate and William Windsor.
20. If you could, what advice would you give to yourself aged 20?
Try to keep work in balance with your personal life, and make a success of both.
For further thoughts on business ethics, download CMI’s report The MoralDNA of Performance.
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