Every CEO, irrelevant of their industry, has had to experience a long and winding journey of growth before occupying their current roles. Of course, few journeys are successful without the presence of a lifelong mentor.
That’s why, in the latest edition of the annual MaltaCEOs publication, we asked some of Malta’s leading business leaders what mentor they look up to the most. This is what they had to say.
Unsurprisingly, a significant portion of local Business Leaders consider their own parents to be not only their first, but most formative mentors.
Fortina Investments CEO Edward Zammit Tabona, P. Cutajar CEO Sarah Zammit Cutajar, and Viroc International Managing Director Mark Vassallo Cesareo, for example, all look up to their fathers in that capacity. Similarly, DataTech Consulting CEO Paul Baldacchino regards his family as one of the most impactful lifelong teachers.
After family, the second group of people we spend most time with throughout our lifetime is our colleagues, so it is only to be expected that these leave a lasting impact on our personal and professional lives.
Paul Magro, CEO at RiskCap, still looks up to the “prominent business mentors” he’s encountered throughout his years-long career. “They have helped me become who I am today,” he says.
Indis Malta CEO Joseph Attard shares a similar sentiment, referring to a Director he encountered in one of his previous roles as “the beating heart of the company.”
Other business leaders, like Malita Investments CEO Jennifer Falzon, are lucky enough to encounter their business idols on a quasi-daily basis.
“Malita’s Chairman, Kenneth Farrugia [is the mentor I look up to the most]. He has taught me and guided me since the day I joined Malita,” Ms Falzon says.
A healthy portion of Maltese C-level Executives look beyond their day-to-day lives for business inspiration. V&C Group CEO Christabelle Camilleri, for example, regards Shark Tank star and business mogul Mark Cuban as one of her biggest sources of inspiration.
Similarly, British Entrepreneur Peter Jones, popular for appearing on Dragon’s Den, inspires Malta Tourism Authority CEO Johann Buttigieg “for the way he invests in young people with fresh ideas.”
Both Karl Azzopardi, CEO of the Building and Construction Authority and CEO Patrick Spiteri Staines, from T4B Services, regard late Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs as the business mentor they look up to the most.
Kenneth Brincat, CEO of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, and James Camenzuli, CEO of Projects Plus, look beyond the traditional corporate setting for business inspiration and instead tap into their hobbies.
The former regards football coach Jose Mourinho as his biggest inspiration, for his skills in “handling the media” and his loyalty to his team. Mr Camenzuli, on the other hand, looks up to former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
As unconventional (yet valid) as these last two responses might have been, perhaps the most surprising answer came from David Magro, CEO at the Malta Freeport Corporation.
“I’m not religious, but I’d say Jesus [is the mentor I look up to the most], for the Parable of the Talents,” he said.
This article is part of the serialisation of interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2022 – an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders.
MaltaCEOs 2022 serialisation: For seven years, WES Trade has helped an expansive range of clients internationalise their products and services.
MaltaCEOs 2022 serialisation: Unsurprisingly, given his technical background, Joseph’s approach is very hands-on.
MaltaCEOs 2022 serialisation: CEO Paul Magro counts building successful teams and opening an office in London among his achievement.
MaltaCEOs 2022 serialisation: CEO David Magro is keenly aware of the responsibility his position carries.