Be willing to take on opportunities: Q10 David Noel


Be willing to take on opportunities: Q10 David Noel

Observer business reporter

Sunday, August 02, 2020

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We admire them from afar and some of their stories have been brought to life by the business pages of this newspaper. But, never like this. The Jamaica Observer Sunday Finance Q10 (10 questions) lays bare the stories of some of our most accomplished, erudite and fascinating men and women in business, to assist in bolstering the confidence of our next generation and make the unattainable seem within reach.

In this week's Sunday Finance Q10 the spotlight is on David Noel — p resident and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica Limited.

This Kingstonian is not only an accomplished and dynamic banking executive, but a dedicated family man and die-hard Arsenal fan.

Committed to seizing every opportunity, the Wolmerian previously served as the deputy CEO, district vice-president in the Atlantic Canada region, and the managing director for the Caribbean east region with responsibility for 10 Caribbean countries.

Q10: How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

NOEL: Success is finding the right balance between career, family, and personal health and well-being. I don't always get it right, but it's really important to have balance in your life. If you focus too much on one thing, you're going to find over time that what you thought success would look like is not actually what it is.

Q10: What are your goals outside of work?

NOEL: To ensure that I am supporting my family and the wider community, and I am striking the right balance between how much time I spend at home and at work. I also play football and I try to get better. I'm not that good but it's something that I enjoy doing.

Q10: What's one common business advice that you oppose?

NOEL: There's a view that you should study, develop your technical competencies, move into a role, and once you have done all that, you have arrived. It's important to know that while technical competence is important, what's even more important is having a flexible mindset to be able to adjust to change and always be open to new things because the world is changing so quickly.

Q10: What is one quote or mantra that you live by?

NOEL: Be willing to take on new opportunities. Even if they are challenging or appear daunting. This is always a way in which you can grow and evolve. In life you're not going to regret the chances you took or the experiences you went after but rather the ones you passed up.

Q10: Where's your happy place?

NOEL: It's home with my children Zachary and Eden and my wife Francene after all the work and homework are done and its right before bed and they want to play and talk.

Q10: Who do you admire most in your life?

NOEL: My mother — she was an obstetrician/gynaecologist, but she would always leave work to pick up my siblings and me from school. A professional woman who would be there for us after school every day to help with homework. At a time when the profession was dominated by men, she was a woman who did well and was a leader in her field, so I always had a powerful female role model in my house and I still look up to her to this day.

Q10: If you are shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?

NOEL: I would want a smartphone — I'm assuming Wi-Fi will be there, if not I'm adding it to your scenario. COVID-19 has taught me how powerful that smartphone is in terms of being productive from anywhere. It has become an invaluable tool. And then a solar panel to give power to that phone continuously.

Q10: If you weren't the president and CEO of Scotia Group JA Limited, what would you be doing?

NOEL: Logical answer is that I would probably be practising law, maybe at Myers, Fletcher and Gordon where I started my career. I always enjoyed the law but when the opportunity came up to move to banking, it wasn't because I was tired, but banking appeared to be a new, more exciting opportunity. If I had a dream job though, it would probably be a football team manager. Not any good at football but I enjoy the sport.

Q10: If you could go back and give your 21-year-old self a valuable piece of advice, what would you say?

NOEL: I would say two things: One, worry less don't take yourself too seriously and worry about the small stuff things will work; and two, be bold — don't say no at opportunities, learn and try something new.

Q10: What's one thing you want people to know about you?

NOEL: People who meet me through the bank may see me as someone who is firm and serious but truthfully all the executives are regular people. I enjoy a good joke, watching football, a good party and socialising with friends. Irrespective of what role you may be, we're all human beings going through life, managing change, enjoying the good times and trying to weather the bad times.

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