Iconsider myself a very fortunate person. An optimist but also a realist, and while I am not a massive risk taker, I certainly have had to seize opportunities when they have presented themselves. Born in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), I spent my formative years living in a country at war, until at the age of 14, independence was gained, and our world shifted to a new reality. Unencumbered by the turmoil in my formative years, I was left with a sense of duty, care, and overarching service.

As I entered my later teens and early twenties, the country experienced an incredible diaspora which once again delivered to people like me, the opportunity to grow faster and learn more through necessity than anyone in stable less tumultuous environments. I am grateful for this. Sales has always been within my DNA, and while I began my career in banking, I really found my purpose once I had settled into sales roles and then took on the role of General Manager / CEO of an IT distribution startup which included brands like Microsoft, Motorola, US Robotics, and Symantec within its portfolio of vendors.

In 1998 when a Microsoft executive asked me how I had achieved such incredible growth, I honestly couldn’t answer him. I believed I was “lucky”, and that lightning never struck the same place twice, but over the years repeatable processes, and understanding the “playbook” has delivered not just one success, but many, leaving a legacy of successful quarters and years, and also great people who I am proud to call friends.

In those early years I coined a phrase: – “Success is due to people, people are driven by relationships, and relationships require commitment and effort”.

I mention this because nothing is possible without great people and a commitment to one another that overcomes the facts and changes perceived reality. The single largest lesson I have learned in 30 years, is that people, and how we respect them, treat them, communicate, and empathize, is the single biggest influencer in how to succeed.

In 1999 I was fortunate to join Symantec a few months after John W Thompson had joined as CEO from IBM. It was still a relatively small business, with less than a thousand people, and in my new hire training I can still remember John explaining to us that it was a “diamond in the rough”, and that we had the incredible opportunity to polish this very special company. My 18 years at Symantec were an incredible journey of discovery, growth, and success, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been able to serve with such an incredible group of people in an amazing culture.

I have been fortunate to work in some of the world’s most important Cyber Security Software companies. Serving as the SVP of EMEA at Symantec, Sophos and Forcepoint, and as Chief Revenue officer at Forcepoint where we had the opportunity to integrate several companies that had been brought together and to mould them into one culture and one sales motion.

The journey over the past 25 years has had its highs and its lows, and I am grateful to all the people Inspiration in Leadership who walked the path with me and built such incredible foundations to help me write this book.