Level Up Leadership: Nadia Ridout-Jamieson

Listen to the podcast (FULL TRANSCRIPT):

Level Up is a podcast for anyone interested in improving their leadership skills. The series is designed to help you get to know the leaders of Experian and gain insight into the skills needed to grow your career.

You can subscribe to Level Up Leadership on iTunes, Google PlaySoundCloud and Spotify.

Most recently, we spoke with Nadia Ridout-Jamieson, Chief Communications Officer at Experian. Nadia is responsible for investor relations, internal and external relations, corporate communications and management of the Experian brand. Before Experian, Nadia spent ten years in the investment banking industry. She was a sell-side media analyst covering stocks in the marketing services, professional publishing and consumer media industries, starting her career at Cazenove, before moving on to Lehman Brothers. She studied chemistry at the University of Wales, College of Cardiff, and holds a PhD in surface science from Cambridge University.

Here are a few takeaways from our discussion with Nadia:

Sometimes leadership comes spontaneously.
Like Nadia said, “You start off as an expert in something, your team grows, all of a sudden you’re managing people, then somebody adds on another responsibility and then another and suddenly, you’re managing a function.” Although you may not have always wanted to be a leader, sometimes it just happens! 

Mentorships don’t have to be formal.
Some of the best things Nadia learned in her career came from slight comments or tips to get seeds planted. You don’t always have to formally ask someone to be your mentor; sometimes it’s as easy as being shown the better way to do something or receiving advice during a difficult time. 

The culture of your organization has a large effect on your work.
Nadia mentioned after working at Experian, she knows organizational culture is something she would pay a lot more attention to if she were to ever work anywhere else. Because Experian’s supportive and collaborative culture was a stark contrast to other companies, Nadia knows that the culture you surround yourself with is important, and a great environment is the responsibility of all leaders.

Soft recognition is important too.
You may not always be able to give your team formal recognition for their achievements, but Nadia points out it’s important to give them what she calls soft recognition, which empowers and helps people take credit and be applauded for the work they do. When you’re a leader, encouraging your team is key to keeping morale up.

Leadership is not about a boss and an employee.
New leaders may take some time to realize this, but forceful leadership is counterproductive. “I’m the boss and you have to listen to what I say” is no way to lead a team. Leadership is about getting a group of people together and using your skills and abilities to move that group toward a common goal.

You don’t have to be friends.
Sometimes, we get caught up in the idea that your coworkers are your “work family” and that everyone should be close-knit and compatible. Unfortunately, that won’t always be the case. Great workers will recognize that some people will never be your friend but that doesn’t mean they don’t add tremendous value to projects. You don’t have to be friends, but there has to be a level of respect.

We were so happy to have the opportunity to chat with Nadia for Level Up.

Check out interviews with other Experian leaders.

Full Transcript

Mike: Hey everybody. Welcome to the Level Up Leadership podcast. My name is Mike Delgado.
Patty: My name is Patty Guevarra.
Mike: This podcast is designed to help you get to know the leaders here at Experian and also gain insight into leadership skills and traits needed to grow our careers.
Patty: In this podcast we’ll talk mentorship, career navigation, handling rejection, work-life balance, mental health, diversity and inclusion, and so much more.
Patty: Today we’re talking with Nadia Ridout-Jamieson, Chief Communications Officer at Experian.
Mike: 00:00 So, Nadia, thank you for doing this.
Mike: 00:00 So, Nadia, thank you for doing this.
Nadia: 00:02 Absolutely, happy to.
Mike: 00:05 So you’re actually the first doctor that we’ve had on Level Up.
Nadia: 00:10 Okay. I haven’t used that term for a while.
Mike: 00:16 I was looking at your LinkedIn profile and it said you’ve got a PhD from University of Cambridge. Tell us about your academic journey and then your transition into industry.
Nadia: 00:29 I guess I had always been bought up in quite a scientific household. My father was an engineer and my mother actually took a degree in Zoology when, really after she had had children, and then did a PhD while we were growing up. There was always that level of inspiration. And so it was always natural that I would go into sciences. I took a degree in Chemistry, did a PhD in Chemistry at Cambridge and had really terrific time. Really met some fantastic people, worked on some really interesting projects but it wasn’t for me in the long run and I learnt from those experiences.
Nadia: 01:26 There was a time when a lot of Mathematicians, people who did Physics, were going into the financial industry, a little bit like people today go into Technology. So, I followed that path and spent several years working in the Financial Industries specifically on the investment side. I enjoyed that. It was another decade, and then wanted to have a career change. So I took those skills I had learnt in investing and brought them into Experian. And then my role developed from there. So, it wasn’t a planned path but it had a little jig to it.
Mike: 02:21 What did your family think of you transitioning? Because getting a PhD in the Sciences is a lot of work and I’m curious as to what was your families response when you said, “I think I want to try something else.”
Nadia: 02:38 Well as a [inaudible 00:02:38], when I was quite young, when I was about 17, I had told my mother that I wanted to do Economics and she flat out refused to let me switch course from Physics to Economics, but I think in reality my heart was always more on the Economics, financial kind of side, than in the Science side and it suited me better, so by the time I got to there, I just think they were very supportive and happy I had a career.
Mike: 03:13 That’s cool. As you began working in investor relations, what were some of the things that drew you into eventually getting into leadership roles?
Nadia: 03:31 It just happened. I think it’s quite a common path that you start off as an expert in something, your team grows, all of a sudden you’re managing people, then somebody adds on another responsibility and then another responsibility, suddenly you’re managing a function. I’d say it was more like that, it was more organic. I think one of the things that I have contributed, I think I was phenomenally fortunate to end up at Experian. That sometimes fortune plays a role for people, but one of the things I’ve always really enjoyed in the kind of roles that I’m in, is actually working with leaders. Part of my skill set that got developed when I was in the city or in finance was really around meeting an awful lot of CEO’s, an awful lot of CFO’s of very large companies and getting to understand a little bit about what good leaders and good leadership are and I’d say actually my opinions around leadership are more formed by that, rather than any kind of route or path that I might have taken.
Patty: 05:00 Did you have mentors?
Nadia: 05:03 I’ve always had mentors, but I wouldn’t call any of them formal. It’s interesting, the whole mentoring concept. I find formal mentorship quite constraining, a little bit artificial but I’ve had so many people who have had such an impact on my career and helped me to develop along the way. It’s only sometimes when you look back, they made a slight comment here, or a little tip there and the seed gets planted, and you think, “Okay, I can work with that.” So, that has been the most valuable kind of mentorship for me.
Mike: 05:43 As you talk about your growth and experience at Experian and then career wise these opportunities came up where you could lead small teams and then bigger teams. Did you run into any rough patches? Any parts of this journey where you’re questioning yourself. Like, is this what I really want to do, I really want to be managing people?
Nadia: 06:12 Oh my goodness, I can’t believe there’s ever a leader or someone who does anything worthwhile, who wouldn’t look back and think there were some problems along the way. So, yeah absolutely. Managing people is something I’ve never found that particularly problematic. I really enjoy working with lots of different people, lots of different skill sets. I get a lot of energy from that. Problems, inevitably, if you’re in any kind of institution, whether it is scientific or business you’re going to run into problems. Your role, really is to deal with those problems and to find the solutions. And not to just find solutions but to find good ones. Now I do often look back and think I wish I had known now then what I know now, I would do it differently. For some reason, none of us ever go back and do that same problem again, no, we just move onto new problems. Maybe that’s what keeps it fresh and challenging for us.
Patty: 07:29 You mentioned something earlier that is interesting to me. You mentioned that sometimes fortune plays a big role in your success and I totally agree with that. Sometimes we’re just lucky to be where we at. I’m curious whether you have any advice, specifically for women, about how they can be more intentional about their leadership journey?
Nadia: 07:51 So, I was intentional. I made an intentional move to move out of finance into investor relations. I felt that the time was right and I could see that the particular skills that I had built up over those 10 years would really serve me well in investor relations, so that was the deliberate piece. I wanted a fresh challenge and I felt ready for it.
Nadia: 08:23 The fortunate piece, I applied to some companies and I’m actually glad I didn’t actually end up in some of the earlier roles because those companies didn’t fare quite so well. The fortunate piece was the Experian came along at the time that I was looking for that role and I think that that was just good luck. For women, I hate to be gender specific. I think things apply equally across all sorts of different types of people. I can only really speak for myself.
Nadia: 09:06 I think that you do have to have some confidence in yourself to be able to go out there, you have to believe that you can do something and you have to sometimes believe that you can do something that you don’t entirely have all the answers for, so take a little bit of risk. And maybe some people are better at taking risks than other people.
Mike: 09:35 Experian has been a big part of your career and I’m wondering what was it that drew you to work for Experian and what were some good signals that you thought that would be good coming over here?
Nadia: 09:52 The story was I was at the head hunter and they said, “Have you thought of applying for this company?” It was GUS and they’re going through a spin out. I went away and I read some analyst notes and I thought, “Oh my god, this is just me.” I was doing media equity research and I was working with a lot of companies who were working with data, but I’d never heard of Experian so I just thought, “Wow, this is a fantastic opportunity and I think I can add a lot of value here.” So, I was interested in the proposition of Experian if you like.
Nadia: 10:38 I knew nothing about the culture of the organization but when I came to it I fell in love with the culture and the people and it contrasted so, I can’t emphasize this enough. It was such a huge contrast to the places that I had previously worked where the culture was quite competitive and in some places quite aggressive that failure was not particularly well tolerated. I’m not saying it is at Experian, but people would let you know in quite forcible ways, so Experian was just a much more supportive and much more collaborative culture and I think that has been incredibly appealing. If I was to work elsewhere I would pay lot more attention to what the culture of the organization is.
Patty: 11:42 What are some little things that you do to keep up that culture amongst just your team?
Nadia: 11:48 I think it comes from the top. If people say culture comes from the top it is really true. I think we just cascade that really through the teams, but I think that you have to put a lot of effort into dialogue and to hearing people’s opinions, into, I think there is a big culture of recognition at Experian. Not formal recognition but in a way what I’d call softer recognition and let empowerment, helping people to take credit for the things that they do and to be seen to be rewarded for the things that they do, and I think that’s a very good piece. It’s those things that I think I try to encourage on my team.
Mike: 12:39 Okay, I’m kind of curious about the same lines of building a culture, what would you say for those new leaders who are taking on new teams and they’re trying to instill a positive culture, they’re trying to build trust with their teams, I’m curious how you would encourage them on that journey?
Nadia: 13:04 I think role models are very important. So modeling behavior is very important. But I don’t think that that’s the entirety. Quite often when new people come into an organization we’re all familiar with this, they won’t quite fit, they come with different set of cultural beliefs or values and being part of the environment will actually address quite a lot of that but it’s not addressed in its entirety. I think feedback is very important, 360’s, getting the feedback directly from your peers, and I think the more honest that feedback is the better.
Nadia: 13:57 Maybe that is a slight criticism of Experian. In a way people are very nice and won’t provide it, but I think you do people a service when you do that. And I think that there is such a misconception to what leadership is and we all know this. We watch things like The Apprentice and the team says, “I’m the boss, you have to listen to what I say,” and that’s not leadership. Leadership is about getting a group of people together and you work towards a common goal and you all work to the best of your skills and your abilities and you have something that is big and that you can all feel proud of when you achieve it. I think sometimes new people, people who are new to leadership, takes a while to realize, and I’d include myself in that.
Patty: 14:59 Was there ever a time when you maybe butted heads with someone on your team whether they were your reporter or you reported to them, and how did you navigate that situation?
Nadia: 15:10 Yeah, managing difficult situations, we always have those. I think sometimes with teams you have to realize that you’re not going to be good friends with everybody on the team, and that’s not actually why we’re here. Sometimes you have to recognize that people can add a lot of value but you’re never maybe going to be their best buddy and you have to find a way to get along. And I think there are lots of techniques you can use for doing that kind of thing. So, that’s happened to me.
Mike: 15:52 So you mentioned feedback has been something that has been really important to you. And I totally agree that 360’s are really valuable. You’ll hear things you didn’t know about yourself through that feedback. I’m curious about on your journey if there are any pieces of feedback you received that was super valuable that you implemented right away?
Nadia: 16:14 Yes, is the short answer. Feedback shows you your blind spots. We all think we know what our blind spots are but we don’t, because they’re blind spots.
Mike: 16:35 That’s right.
Nadia: 16:35 Usually these are not big things, because if they’re big things your company would stop investing so, I’m struggling here Mike. I know you want me to say a specific thing but I can’t actually, maybe there were so many that I can’t-
Mike: 17:05 I was talking to Gerry and during one of my annual reviews, he was talking, Gerry was talking about my personal presence when I enter into a meeting room. Be mindful of the energy you bring into a room. It was something I never really thought about but it made me like, “Oh I really need to be aware.” When I enter into a room, like what type of energy, what type of presence am I bringing in and so that feedback was super helpful because I never thought about that. I’d walk into a meeting room, sit down, try to be helpful, but I wasn’t consciously thinking, “How am I helping everyone else to contribute.”
Patty: 17:36 How are you setting the tone for the rest of the meeting?
Nadia: 17:38 Yeah, over the years I’ve had lots of feedback and I’d put them more in the categories of tips and then you move on because if you’re smart you adapt then you get another set but then you have another set of challenges and another set of feedback so I put them more in the bucket of continuous learning. You’re not going to completely change your personality but you might soften a few of your rough edges. I wouldn’t say then Mike you have any problem.
Patty: 18:23 As Chief Communications Officer for Experian you have a really big job of trying to keep up with everything that is happening in Experian all over the world. How do you make sure you are listening to what is really important, focusing on that and canceling out any of the noise?
Nadia: 18:40 That’s a great question. I think the first point of the question is actually you need to put yourself in the flow. You need to understand what is going on first of all and the bigger piece is actually creating the trust, the relationships, the networks, the some of the systems you have to put in place to actually be in a position to capture information and intelligence. I think that’s actually the more difficult hurdle. Particularly when you are talking about such a big organization over multiple jurisdictions. I think that then filtering out what’s noise and what’s not, I think that comes over time and experience and learning to prioritize things. That’s such a big piece of what we actually try and do as a business, is how to prioritize. I wouldn’t say it’s a particularly easy piece of any role but I think you just get better at it with time.
Patty: 19:56 Right. And having that much responsibility must be tiring I can imagine. How do you recharge and how do you keep your energy up?
Nadia: 20:06 Oh everybody knows this. I plant trees.
Patty: 20:07 Oh, you plant trees?
Mike: 20:07 Oh, really I didn’t know that.
Patty: 20:07 Yeah, I didn’t know that.
Mike: 20:07 Really.
Patty: 20:08 That is so cool. What kind of trees?
Nadia: 20:17 Mixed woodland trees but it’s not unknown for my husband and I to plant 30 or 40 trees in a weekend, so-
Mike: 20:25 What? Is this a place you go?
Patty: 20:28 It’s just their backyard.
Mike: 20:34 I don’t know anyone who does this. [inaudible 00:20:35] I’ve never heard of anyone who plants trees.
Patty: 20:37 That is so cool.
Mike: 20:37 How did you get into doing that?
Nadia: 20:42 We bought a field. We live in a rural community and we started to re-wild them and then we bought another field and so we just love it.
Mike: 20:53 I love that term, we re-wild it.
Nadia: 20:58 Yeah.
Mike: 20:58 I like that.
Nadia: 20:59 So, then nature takes over and it’s very enriching.
Patty: 21:05 It’s cool too to know that you are responsible for all these trees. [inaudible 00:21:13]
Nadia: 21:13 I haven’t fixed global warming though. [inaudible 00:21:15] That’s beyond my particular capacity.
Patty: 21:23 That’s really cool. Of all the leaders we’ve asked-
Mike: 21:26 No one plants trees.
Patty: 21:27 There’s a lot of runners.
Mike: 21:29 There’s a lot of runners.
Nadia: 21:29 A lot of runners, oh okay.
Mike: 21:32 Yeah, that is super important to get away. Especially when you love your job and you love the people you’re with, it’s easy to over do it, over work, so it’s so important to have those breaks.
Nadia: 21:48 Completely. I think we all work really hard but nobody, let me backtrack, not many people can be on 110% of the time, so it’s really, really important to have that time and balance. To spend time with family. To spend time on doing the things you love. I really believe in that and I always encourage that with all my team members. As long as they work hard as well.
Mike: 22:22 Do you have any other hobbies you love to do?
Nadia: 22:28 I just love to be outside so cycling and just outdoors, walking. As long as I’m outside in the fresh air and the sun and the rain, I’m happy.
Patty: 22:43 Yeah, it’s a groupie. Just being out with the clouds. That’s funny. What career advice would you tell yourself? I know you said earlier that there are so many things that you’d assume you’d love back then that you’d know now, so what are some of those things that you’d tell yourself?
Nadia: 23:00 I would tell myself to really research a problem in a very detailed way, very early on. I would tell my much younger self that there is huge value in networking, not networking, forming networks to slightly different because, having a coffee with somebody makes all the difference. Or saying hello to somebody and having a bit of a chat with them in the lift, it just transforms your relationship and then when you need maybe a bit of support around a business challenge you’ll find you have huge resources that you can draw on and that’s probably something that took me a while to appreciate.
Mike: 24:12 Do you have advice for those of us who are more introverted, it’s a little bit more hard to start those conversations. Advice for us to be more intentional about building that network.
Nadia: 24:25 I’m an introvert, I’m a quiet person and that’s why I think you have to do it in a way, the idea of deliberate networking to me is an athima which is why I resisted it for a long time but it’s so easy to have a cup of coffee with somebody or just chat about the game or chat about trees. It doesn’t have to be a long thing, it can just be five minutes, 10 minutes, or go ask them about their business. People love talking about their business. But it has to be within your own comfort zone and actually for a shy person it makes your life a lot easier because then when it’s crunch time you don’t have to go up to somebody who you really don’t know who might be several levels above you in an organization and say, “Help, I need help.” You can just go to Roger and say, “Hi, can I just get your advice on something?”
Mike: 25:45 Do you build relationships not only here at Experian but also at other companies?
Nadia: 25:52 Again, I think as time goes on and especially having worked in several organizations your networks build naturally because everybody I’ve worked with twenty years ago is now somewhere completely different so you find all of a sudden that it’s exponential, so that’s natural.
Mike: 26:16 Are you intentional about reaching out to certain people?
Nadia: 26:28 I keep up with probably more I keep up with contacts. I think this depends on what your ambitions are and perhaps where you might see yourself in 10 or 20 years’ time. It also depends on what kind of role you play, what your job is. Because some jobs will be very dependent on having large networks outside of an organization. So I think if you really want to aspire to a very big leadership role, running a large business, then I think you do, those people are extremely well networked. So you have to compete at that level. So, in that case, if that’s your ambition, yes, you need to go out there and reach out to all kinds of different people. But if your ambition is not that, if your ambition is to be a really super expert in one particular field then maybe your network should be within that field and perhaps you might feel more comfortable with that.
Mike: 29:01 We interviewed David Proctor recently and he was talking about how intentional he was about mapping out his entire career. He had a grid, a spreadsheet, this is what I need to achieve to get this. He was very intentional. And then when I heard your story was very much organic and you weren’t looking for a certain title, that wasn’t important to you. It just naturally happened.
Nadia: 29:27 Yeah, that’s right. I too have come across a lot of people who are very intentional about their business and again I think if you really are aspiring to be in the top CEO’s, the top CFO’s you going to be competing against those sorts of people. Those roles, they’re very few of them and they are going to attract the best of the best and so you have to be very deliberate if that’s what you want to do. But there might be other things in life that you value. For me, it’s some of those things I mentioned, so I’m getting lost in this.
Mike: 30:19 You mentioned that the energy and excitement you get from just managing a team, like that excites you.
Nadia: 30:28 I do. I really do enjoy working with a team. I really enjoy having some kind of complex problem and then getting a whole group of people to solve that and probably the one that would stick out for me really would be the Experian rebranding, which was a very wide spread effort around the whole of Experian, it was a huge team of people that had to come together. Also, it’s not just about that. The job also has to be interesting. You need to be learning new things. Without that I think it would be a top struggle.
Mike: 31:24 What do you think are some of the personality traits, skills, things the leaders saw in you? If you look at your career progression, you are hand picked to move into certain roles. Other people are. Some people stay in their roles for long periods of time. But what do you think it was that stood out to leaders who thought Nadia would be really good managing these sets of projects, she used to be in this role?
Nadia: 31:54 I don’t know exactly because I’ve never asked. What I am glad about is that people saw something and trusted me when I didn’t always have the experience to deal with it. And I don’t know why they did that. Maybe there wasn’t anybody else around to give it to. But I’m very grateful for the opportunity. It is something I try to keep in mind with people in the team. Sometimes, giving somebody a really challenging project which really stretches them, is I think something that can be incredibly fulfilling for people so I try and think about it the other way around. Having overcome some of the obstacles myself I kind of think, “Okay, right. How can we. Here’s a big problem, I don’t really know how to fix it, I’m not sure whether x, y, z can fix it but let’s give that one a go.” And actually most people triumph, if you match the right problem to the right individual, most people will triumph.
Patty: 33:20 You mentioned trust throughout there, for you what are some ways you build trust on your team?
Nadia: 33:34 Trust comes from comraderie, trust comes from respecting other people, you know individuals. Trust comes from sometimes understanding that there are some things that people don’t want to discuss. Trust comes from a lot from having difficult discussions directly with individuals and distrust or broken trust comes when people hear things from other people. That is a big way to really destroy trust. So I think you have to build up your team in that way.
Patty: 34:25 Did you have a question there?
Mike: 34:29 I did, I forgot it. That was a really good question on trust. Because that is something that is so important for a leader to establish that friendship, that trust with your team. That requires transparency, openness, because leaders aren’t always going to know the way to go and leaders depend on their team to give input-
Patty: 34:52 It goes back to what you were saying, there’s too many leaders that are saying, “I’m the leader,” when you are a leader you don’t need to say that.
Mike: 35:00 You don’t have to say that.
Patty: 35:02 You just have the people trust them, you don’t have to-
Nadia: 35:05 The think the [inaudible 00:35:07] is team empowerment. When you have 10 people trying to solve a person it’s much better than one person trying to solve the problem, because everybody can look at it from different dimensions and sometimes it’s hard to step back and say, “Okay, I’m not the one with the answer.” I think then trust comes in those sorts of situations back to the recognition piece. You can’t have one person taking all of the credit for something that actually belonged to a lot of people.
Patty: 35:54 That everyone got their [inaudible 00:35:56].
Mike: 35:55 I think my boss Gerry does a really good job of just like celebrating the team. He’s always doing that.
Patty: 36:04 During his interview, his one tip was always be comfortable with someone in the room being smarter than you, to like celebrate that fact. That is like really good advice.
Mike: 36:13 Yeah.
Patty: 36:13 He’s like you’re not always going to know the answer, that would be weird.
Nadia: 36:19 It’s impossible to know the answers to everything.
Mike: 36:25 So, I have a question Nadia. One of the things that I struggle with, and it comes in waves, is self-doubt, imposter syndrome where you all of a sudden start to doubt yourself. You’re given a new title, or a new project and you start feeling, “Oh no, how did I end up here.” And maybe this is even something you fought for, like you worked really hard to get that project or that title and all of sudden now you’ve got it you’re like, “Oh no, if only they knew that I don’t really know what I’m doing.” So I’m kind of curious for those who suffer from that, it comes in waves I feel, do you have any advice for those challenging periods?
Nadia: 37:06 Yeah, and this goes back in a way to the question, what had you wished you had known, what would you have told your younger self. I think that the quickest feeling out of the imposter feeling which everybody feels is to get educated, get yourself up that learning curve as quickly as you possibly can. Then start to chalk up some achievements because that builds self belief and all of a sudden once you’ve chalked up just a few of those achievements, you really start to demonstrate to yourself and to others that you can do this. So I think it is biting it off a little bit at a time, and all of a sudden you look back and you think, “Okay, that was easy.” Now, what’s the next thing?
Mike: 38:06 You talked about, if you were talking to your younger self, is to get to know your part of the business really, really well, really digging in deep and I’m wondering like part of growing in business and being a better employee sometimes also includes not only knowing your job very well and the parts you’re working on but also knowing more about the business. In your role, you need to know what is happening across the business, and so I’m wondering if you could talk to about, not only knowing your stuff really well, being an expert, but also getting a sense of what else is going on outside of my role.
Nadia: 38:50 One of the reasons I came into my role, is because I just love learning about what other people, what different parts of the business are doing and learning just new things and so for me that is, if I’m not learning, if I’m not doing that, I feel that there’s somethings wrong and it’s actually one of the things I really encourage people, not just people in my team, but others is to get out and learn about the business. And particularly, really complicated business like Experian. Just learn as much as you can. And apart from anything else it’s absolutely fascinating because it’s part of industry and part of what’s going on in the world that is utterly transformational and so why wouldn’t you want to learn about that. It’ll make your life richer. So, I definitely advise anybody, get out there.
Mike: 40:04 I feel here there is so much to learn because Experian is doing all these amazing things with AI, machine learning and I feel, especially in your role, Nadia, you’re having to take this like tech talk and make it more easier to understand for all levels, for investors and we’re talking about new technology, so this is the first time, you’re translating what Experian is doing in this technology and then making it make sense to those of us who are outside of that field.
Nadia: 40:41 Yeah. I do have a little bit of kind of watch word which is there is almost nothing that the human endeavor can pursue, that can’t be learnt. Maybe there is some, like maybe I’m never going to be a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist but most things can be learnt and that it’s not that hard if you spend a little bit of time to actually understand it. You don’t have to be a complete expert if you’re not a practitioner in it, if actually all you’re trying to do is convey something. You can get the basics. And it’s really fun. One of the things that all the analysts. Nobody knew what positive data in Brazil meant but all the analysts got out and taught themselves what positive data is and now it’s just the common lingo. It’s the same with anything. Artificial Intelligence, what a machine does, all these things are acquired knowledge.
Patty: 41:54 You said that you feel you are not succeeding if you are not learning at all times but do you have any tips for distinguishing between I’m done learning and I’m stuck? Do you have any tips for people who might feel they are stuck and learning might not help their situation? Like if they should maybe move on or what they should do.
Nadia: 42:25 I think this is question I think of quite a lot in relation to my team people and the people I work with. And I think learning is something that obviously I like to do and I think a lot of people like to do but I think you think of other things that people would want to do it is you know, maybe they want to get more money or something like that. It’s old-fashioned but I think it still comes up to putting yourself in the stream for new experiences or trying to find other ways in which you can apply your knowledge that will be of value.
Patty: 43:56 Okay, so we’re coming up on our time here so we have time for maybe one more question.
Mike: 43:58 I have one more question. So, Nadia you spoke a lot about earlier on how important mentorship was to you and just the value you receive from relationships, as you ask the questions, get the advice and I’m wondering about your role as a mentor if you can talk a little bit about how you mentored others.
Nadia: 44:21 They can be formal mentorship relationships or the informal variety. Formal mentoring can work, it can provide a good sounding board. When I’ve mentored people in a formal capacity, I do find it slightly artificial but I’m always happy to do it if somebody would want to ask me for it. But there’s nothing better than seeing people actually grow in their roles and make slight parts, or changes or slight shifts because you’ve helped them in some way, along the way. And I think that’s a responsibility for anybody who has walked the path a little bit. Because it’s very different if you’re in your 40’s or your 50’s and you’ve been through several roles and somebody is just joining in their 20’s or 30’s and you don’t want people to make all those same mistakes. Unfortunately, sometimes people just have to and you just know sometimes that just very small touches and changes of direction can really help people. So I think there is a lot of value in that, both ways. And you’re never done with that either as a mentor or a mentee.
Mike: 45:47 Do you have any advice for those who are going to be a mentee, how to be a good mentee?
Nadia: 45:56 I think a good mentee, I’m not sure I do have any particularly good advice on how to be a good mentee. Listen and absorb. I think just watch, listen and absorb I think, and be a bit humble. Have a little bit of humility to understand. I think that generally isn’t an issue in mentees. That’s probably more an issue in people who think that they’ve got more of that when actually they have more to learn.
Patty: 46:48 I think that’s really good advice. That wraps up our interview. Thank you so much.
Mike: 46:52 Thank you Nadia.
Nadia: 46:52 Thank you both so much. Thank you.
Mike: 46:54 That was great.

Never miss a blog post!

Subscribe to keep up with all things Experian.