SALLYANN DELLA CASA
EP 003 / 23.03.2021
This week Mission Makers are joined by a TEDx speaker and founder of one of the fastest growing tech companies in the Middle East, Sallyann Della Casa. During the episode we discover what it was like for Sally growing up in places extremely different from the Arabian Peninsula, how her time at Harvard catalysed her work towards the soft skills around organisational behaviour and how she managed to break free from the shackles of expectations from her family. We also go on to get Sally’s insights into what it takes to be a compassionate leader and the importance of looking beyond qualifications.
It is often said that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. If ever there was anyone who could vouch for this statement, it's Sallyann. The self-confessed book worm, who is known for reading up to five books at any one time, knows all too well the futility in doing so. For Sallyann though this belief goes way beyond just literature, it speaks to a determination of not wanting to be constrained by what others think her life should be.
It is on the topic of Trinidad and Tobago, where Sally grew up, where our conversation begins though. Despite leaving at the tender age of 11 Sally admits that the island nation still holds a special place in her heart, ““I'm a proud island girl and it influences everything about me,” she says. In fact, Sally credits her multicultural Caribbean upbringing for providing her with the necessary life skills to be able to survive anywhere in the world. It is a good job that it did because her life has since seen her live in a number of countries including Canada, Switzerland, America and most recently Dubai, where she now resides.
Our attention then turns to Sally’s stint practicing law. We go on to learn that in an effort to appease her somewhat conservative family and incidentally a family who had very low expectations of her, Sallyann opted to pursue a career as a solicitor, this despite holding no real desire to do so. After 10 years spent living for others, Sally broke free and decided to pursue a career in her true passion, education. Looking back now Sally has no regrets and instead is thankful that she was brave enough to make that transition. As she points out, “If we look back there is always evidence of who you truly are.”
Sally now divides her time between her Growing Leaders foundation and GLEAC, a technology company she founded that measures and develops soft skills through a patented 360 model. In an increasingly automated world, Sally believes that human skills are going to become ever more important and she shares best practices on how to nurture those skills. As she points out, “It's always the human side of us that makes us exceptional.”
As the interview draws to a close, we touch on Sally’s personal philosophy for life, which is increasingly based on saying no, a skill that many humans admittedly struggle with. As Sally explains though, “anybody can do it if I can do it.” Having learnt about Sally’s life, Mission Makers would be hard pressed to disagree.
Sallyann’s episode can be found on the video below and on Spotify and iTunes.
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Lessons To Fuel Your Mission
Every day is a chance to be reborn
'Not' to-do lists are very powerful tools in managing boundaries
75% of long term job success comes down to mastering soft skills
Understanding the skills gap in your organisation is crucial. If you don't know the destination for your employees, you cannot map the route.