Meet the Boss: Ali Vezvaei, CEO, Ecolog International

Ali Vezvaei

1. What part of your job keeps you awake at night?

The safety and security of my team is something that is always on my mind. Ecolog operates close to its customers, often in remote locations or areas with dynamic security profiles. We are determined to fulfil our commitments to our clients and equally we are committed to upholding the highest standards of safety and security when it comes to our employees – the most valuable asset for Ecolog.

2. Name three traits required to survive in this role.

Trust, curiosity and agility.

3. What is the biggest misconception about your job?

As the CEO of a global company, there is sometimes this notion that the position on its own grants immediate respect and will automatically inspire others to follow your vision and drive along the mission to get things done. And misconception it is! Like in any other human interaction, respect is earned and trust is built. So, it is one thing to tell your team what they should achieve and quite another to actually enable them to achieve it, if you do not have a very good understanding of the organisation’s strengths and limitations as well as the risks. Engaging with the team and being close to where the action is, the field, the operations and in front of the customers, allows the CEO to have his hand on the business pulse and be a better leader that not only inspires but also enables and empowers the team to thrive.

4. Who has had the greatest impact on your career?

I have been blessed to work for an outstanding leader, where I actually experienced, from an employee perspective, the difference between being a manager and being a leader. And the impact it has on the organisation as a whole and on individuals.

5. What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

People do not leave a company; they do leave their manager. So, take care of your people and they will take care of the company.

6. The top reason for your professional success?

The very fact that I do not take success for granted. Every day is a renewed commitment to the goals and an enhanced effort to make progress with the team. Add to that some pragmatism and extended focus on the customers. As a CEO, you are setting an example; one that comes back and contributes to your own success.

7. How do you relax?

Spending time with my family and just being around them. I travel so much for work that this is a true luxury. I truly believe in a holistic approach to life. Personal relationships play a role in how you conduct yourself as a leader and influence how you connect with others in the wider world.

8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?

Everything is virtual and connected these days so that is a moving target. However, as an early bird, let’s just say I like to get a head-start wherever I am and no matter what I have to do.

9. The biggest perk of your job?

I have to say that the travel which can take a toll physically and mentally, is also very rewarding. Even though I may fly to a place for a quick meeting and not really get to see that much, I am very fortunate to meet people and learn about their cultures, views and approaches to business. This diversity is the best life university one could wish for. I think that this is one of the biggest perks of a position like this and is a necessary quality to conduct business in today’s global marketplace.

Located in over 38 countries including parts of Africa (Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Cameroon, etc), Ecolog International is a provider of complete camp facilities and integrated service solutions, creating vital living conditions in the world’s most remote locations.