Tamara Sakovska, non-executive director, JPMorgan Russian Securities, won the Chartered Director of the Year 2018 award for achieving the best exam scores of all this year's qualifying alumni.
Tamara Sakovska is an investment professional with 19 years of finance experience gained at Goldman Sachs, Permira, Eton Park, GFP and Lavra Capital. She currently serves as a NED at JPMorgan Russian Plc, an investment company listed on the LSE and managed by JPMorgan Asset Management. Ms Sakovska holds a BA with Honours and Distinction in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA with Distinction from London Business School.
The team at Director magazine caught up with her at the awards ceremony, to gain an insight into her leadership inspirations, her motivations and her advice for other directors.
What's the secret of great leadership?
"The leaders whom I respect the most are forward-looking and empathetic - communication and people skills are key. Unfortunately, there are many leaders - including those of major companies - who are brilliant and ambitious yet seem to be completely unaware of their deficient social skills."
What advice would you give people about navigating turbulent times?
"I've lived through Soviet hyperinflation and worked on Wall Street during the dot-com bust and the financial crisis. While it may be hard to embrace negative change, I believe that such turbulence ultimately creates new opportunities."
How do you solve a creative problem?
"My best ideas come to me while I'm away from my desk. Creative breakthroughs often happen when I'm physically active - swimming, running or walking in the park."
The best business book you've read?
"I have recently read The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right in one sitting. The book is written by Atul Gawande, a renowned US surgeon and writer. It focuses on managing ambiguity and complexity in a variety of sectors, from medicine and aviation to finance, by using a simple checklist."
How have you used tech to support your leadership?
"I found it useful to streamline my electronic calendar by removing all reminders and placing them in a separate app, so that my calendar only shows meetings, appointments and scheduled calls. A separate app now reminds me of everything else, such as birthdays and anniversaries, or what I need to do such as follow-ups with my colleagues or family, reading or errands. This approach removes electronic clutter and helps create clear workstreams. Many of my friends and colleagues have followed suit."
Which other person in the business world do you admire?
"Howard Marks, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital - for his incredible discipline and his remarkable clarity in conveying new ideas. I also have great respect for Jason Fried, a tech entrepreneur and founder of Basecamp, who has introduced novel work practices at his company promoting collaboration, productivity and living a full life while being successful at work."
What are your own professional development priorities in 2019?
"Digital strategy has been coming up quite often on our boardroom agenda lately, so I want to gain a deeper understanding of best practice in this area."
Find out more
You can find out more about the IoD Director of the Year Awards and read interviews with all of the 2018 winners in the November/December edition of Director magazine.
To find out more about the Chartered Director qualification, visit the hub here.