Can you tell us a bit about the company you’re CEO at and what it’s like to hold that position?
I’m the CEO at AJ Grant Building I’ve been the CEO for the last three or four years, and it’s quite a stressful role. There are a lot of people that rely on me to make decisions and provide direction for the business moving forward.
How is what you learned through the MBA helping you in your work at the moment?
I started off in marketing, and that was very beneficial because at that time we were looking to expand our business and grow, and so that was actually very relevant for me. Outside of that, it’s been the knowledge in understanding the decisions I’m making in leading the team are the correct ones. It’s given me some confidence in providing the right directions for the business and knowing that what I’ve learned is helping me in making those decisions.
Kim, can you share with us a bit about the personal journey your family went through in 2019 while your husband was completing his MBA?
Kim: We had a pretty good start to the year but by Valentine’s Day we found out that I was diagnosed with stage-four cancer. I had had breast cancer nine years earlier and had battled that successfully, but in February we found out that it had spread all throughout my liver. We were in a bit of a situation where we had myself sick, and Brad in a bit of a high pressure situation with work and studying his MBA.
How did you guys handle that?
Kim: I remember being in the hospital and somebody there said, “Look, we can contact AIB for you.” But he did it himself, contacted AIB and was able to put it on a hold. That just took massive pressure off of us, and it meant that I was able to be the patient rather than the full-time carer and the patient at the same time. That was really important for my recovery. At the beginning, when I was diagnosed, they said to us that, “The best thing that you can hope for now is to just manage the spread of the disease.” And being able to have that time to recover and take treatment and not have the extra stress of studying, I was able to, amazingly, be returned to full health.
Were there any other challenges that you guys faced?
When I first started the MBA I was moving from doing a diploma to a full blown university MBA course. There was more time invested – I was studying each night for an hour, hour and a half each night. Fortunately, Kim was very, very supportive and the kids as well. On weekends, I’d go into the office leading into an exam or an assignment and spend several hours in there, and they were very supportive of me doing that. Time was one of the big things; juggling that work, home, study balance. The end goal was always in mind and that was what was able to get us through.
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