Supreme leadership from Brian George
WHEN YOU’RE sitting across a table from Brian George, president and CEO of Supreme Ventures, you might get the urge to sit up straight. The bespectacled George has a professor’s demeanour, and when he asks a question in his thick Trini accent, you’ll perhaps consider raising your hand before responding.
“You’ve been following the World Cup?” That was all he asked, yet my gut reaction was to present an abstract, introduction, discussion, conclusion and references.
Happily, I can report that I gathered myself in time to respond more casually.
As it turns out, George, who attended school in the United States, isn’t as keen on our brand of football as he is on the American version.
That was the first thing that surprised me when he and I met up for lunch in New Kingston in June 2014.
I asked him what he wanted to do for a living, when he was a child.
“I wanted to either become a pilot, a music conductor or a priest,” he said, smiling wryly.
Two of the three options would perhaps seem laughable to some who know the grown-up George, but as he explained it, they weren’t all that bizarre.
“I grew up in a musical home. We used to say that even the sewing machine was a ‘Singer’,” he joked. He said, as a child, he enjoyed classical music and the process of getting all the instruments and sections to work together to make ear-pleasing sounds. And it isn’t too dissimilar to what he does for a living today.
“I believe that no CEO should fail to see himself as a conductor. It is your task to get an organisation to function in a unified direction to deliver the tune. Different persons will have different competencies and be talented in their own ways. It is the CEO’s task to get them to work together to make the tune. In that way, my childhood dream of being a conductor has translated into my role as a CEO,” he said.
He said he also grew up Anglican, and as a youngster at home in Trinidad, he would attend and participate in church services regularly. He also knew many priests whom he admired.
“The priests were allowed to get married and to socialise in different ways. So, for me, back then, being a priest did not seem very restrictive.”
His desire to become a pilot is being realised. He has started flying as a hobby and is loving it as much as he thought he would when he was a boy. It’s one of his favourite things to do that doesn’t involve work.
“I love a good ‘lyme’,” he said. “I
BECOMING A PILOT