ADVICE: Three CEOs share their biggest career learnings to date

Jamie K Leach, CEO, Open Data Australia:

“Throughout my career, I have learnt that life does not always go according to plan and that it is not always possible to be strategic in your planning. I have been made redundant from my position. I’ve been employed by businesses that have closed. I’ve suffered through large-scale corporate restructures. I’ve been part of capital raisings that have not gone according to plan, and there has been a need to upskill and redirect my focus continuously. I have had to hone and revisit two skills; Agility and Resilience. I encourage anyone, in any industry and level of their career to make sure that these skills are in their wheelhouse.”

Uzair Moosa, CEO, Hey You App:

“My biggest learning came while competing with Uber – Uber back then was a $3 billion company while we were valued at a mere $ 5 million – despite all industry analysts forecasting our demise, we managed to outcompete them and were able to give them a good fight – the key learning over there was that with the right focus, passion and ambition you can at times achieve seemingly impossible tasks – the key thing is to stay in the ring, know your strengths, and be extremely persistent in pursuing your targets. 

This is something that I at least apply on a day to day basis – with entrepreneurship there are always ups and downs but to give yourself a fair chance you need to remain in the ring and keep giving it your best shot.”

Kristy Chong, CEO, Modibodi:

“The biggest learning I’ve taken with me throughout my journey is to listen to my gut and trust myself. Once we’d developed Modibodi, I sought some opinions as to how I should market this range of life-changing undies. I was repeatedly told we’d need super glamorous models to make supposed unmentionable topics (menstruation and incontinence) tolerable to Australian women and the media.

I refused to believe this was the only way we could have a presence in the market and from day one we’ve sourced customers or everyday women from diverse backgrounds to help model and sell our products.

Six years later we have customers contacting us daily to take part in our photo shoots that celebrate women of every size, ethnicity and age. From mums to athletes, nans to our movers and shakers in the business world, you’ll see every type of woman, and all remain photoshop free. I do believe that the best decision I ever made in business was going into a business that celebrates and empowers women. Modibodi’s philosophy is that all bodies should be embraced and celebrated, and celebrating other women inspires me each and every day.

We’re also passionate about educating the next generation of Australian women about loving themselves and encourage them to be adventurous and to get on with all the amazing things that need to be done today, period or no period.”

About the experts

Jamie K Leach, CEO, Open Data Australia:

Jaime is incredibly passionate about the transformative potential of data. She strives to raise not only the Quality of data but to enable a higher capability of skills and literacy in all areas of data.

Her corporate background is diverse; ranging from senior business development, general management, banking and wealth management roles, as well as leading development and data/technology companies through capital-raising and global expansion.

In her role as CEO of Open Data Australia, she continues to lead a team dedicated to the critical balance between Advocacy and Education and the delivery of Digital/Data Transformation projects with leading industry across Australia and the Pacific.

Kristy Chong, CEO, Modibodi:

Kristy’s the CEO and creator of Modibodi™. She’s a mum on a mission, a fash-tech entrepreneur and a social advocate for women’s health issues and rights.

With over 13 years in senior PR roles for organisations including McDonald’s Australia, sanofi-aventis and Edelman PR, Kristy’s worked with some of the biggest brands in the business.

Fast forward to 2011, when the concept of launching her own business ignited. After the birth of her second child, Kristy’s experience with “unmentionable” bladder leaks made her determined to start her own brand. One that would change our mindsets – and the planet! – by changing underwear for the better.

This ambition saw her design, develop and scientifically prove her patented Modifier Technology™ leak-proof undies and transform this into the Modibodi™ collection: a reusable, sustainable range of tops, singlets, period and sweat-proof undies as well as swimwear, created to liberate us all from endless amounts of landfill.

Kristy’s vision is to build a brand that makes the world better by empowering every bodi to make real, positive change. As part of this vision, Modibodi™ actively supports causes and organisations close to our heart, such as Days for Girls.

Modibodi™ has also won (and been nominated for) numerous product and business awards, which is still such an honour.

Uzair Moosa, CEO, HeyYou App:

After pioneering ride sharing in Saudi Arabia as General Manager of Careem, Uzair moved to Australia in mid 2018 to lead Hey You as CEO. His major achievements to date at HeyYou include:

  • Leading the company to generate profits; HeyYou is now one of the few food tech business globally to be cash flow positive 
  • Successfully growing HeyYou from being a Sydney-focused business to an Australian-focused business with meaningful presence in Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth
  • Winning merchant narrative through our focus on “Merchant Led Product Leadership”