Prakash Chandramohan is an experienced executive who has implemented several transitions in his career, across industries and countries. An authentic leader, he’s also recognised for his strong sense of purpose and principles while working in the corporate world. As a Protagion mentor, he guides individuals on how to manage their own transitions successfully. And, he’s implementing another transition himself at the moment too! This is his personal journey:
“Early in my career I had a mentor who gave me advice on how to go about building my career. His advice was to look for “wide-open spaces” to carve out a niche, where there was the complete absence of competition. This is harder said than done of course. It involves a lot of exploration along with a fair degree of risk and uncertainty. But the prize at the end is becoming one of a few with the ideas, skills & experience for solving a certain type of problem.
I’m now two decades into my career, and the advice still resonates with me. Having most recently spent eight years at a UK wealth management firm, I left my executive role at the beginning of 2020 because I wanted to get more closely involved in how to empower people to understand their financial world better. I was struck by how much value there is in financial advice yet how few people seek it or even consider it. I had several hunches as to how this problem could be solved but there was no way to investigate them properly without leaving my full-time job. This “middle Britain” challenge has become my passion.
The bigger and bolder you are in the transitions you seek, the greater the surprises will be for you and the more unique you will become.”
What I have found, by making transitions in my career, is that opportunities have been given to me that weren’t afforded to others and I’ve been able to crack a number of problems along the way, as a result of knowledge & skills I acquired in a completely different field. This has really kept me going and given me the confidence to stay nimble in my career...
In preparation for a series of interviews with Non-Executive Directors (including independent ones i.e. iNEDs) for my profession’s magazine, I’ve been doing research around the topic, and came across a helpful report by the Institute of Directors (IoD) in South Africa. The report is based on an online survey by the IoD on the recruitment, selection and appointment process for NEDs. It also references a spread of international reports for those interested in wider reading, and concludes with an overview of advice for potential NEDs and advice for nomination committees themselves.
In this article, I focus on its advice for individuals rather than the companies. Some of the advice is specific to NED roles (such as treating the interview as a discussion among potential peers), while some is relevant to general job applications as well (such as tailoring your application to the role and its requirements). In future months, we’ll share with our readers aspects of my interviews with individual NEDs, their career journeys and their tips for others considering becoming NEDs too, alongside publication of their profiles in the professional magazines.
Read more to explore the reasons companies search for new NEDs and where they look, the attributes required of NED candidates, and the IoD’s advice on preparing your application, preparing for the interviews, considering an offer, and adding value once on board.
Sumit Ramani is an independent consultant with a strong focus on InsurTechs and non-traditional areas. Based in India, he has actively stepped out from his comfort zone from childhood, through graduating as an engineer and later switching professions and qualifying as an actuary, to starting on his own as an actuarial consultant as well as recently launching another venture that aims at helping customers identify their insurance needs. In his personal journey, Sumit shares the four key ingredients that have worked for him so far:
“I realised at a very young age that I have a thing for numbers and puzzles. I can vividly remember the morning walk when I was 6 and my dad, who is a medical doctor, introduced me to the concept of the time value of money. Since the earliest moments I can recall, he has been pushing the envelope. Hence, I believe that moving out of one’s comfort zone is possibly something that I have inherited. It also happens to one of the key ingredients of my success.
The second ingredient is taking charge of one’s life (and of course career!), which I first learnt the hard way during my formative years. Up until age 8, I was everything but meticulous. Every day after school, I would throw down my school bag and go out to play with my friends without even changing from my school uniform. Doing homework was out of the question and hence the mornings were the most painful part of my day. I would beg my mother to do my homework and she would agree after a lot of persuasion and my false promises to do better next time. But one particular day, she chose to turn down my request... Naturally, I was reprimanded at school. However, since then I have been taking care of my own work and have never blamed anyone else for anything that was my responsibility!
Perseverance and Personal Branding are the remaining two ingredients that have been helpful in my career. Let me talk about these and the first two ingredients as I share my life journey.