I n today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, leaders must be able to navigate uncertainty, embrace new technologies, and drive cultural and organisational change to support digitalisation efforts.

Listen to what our team of experts from various industries had to say about the critical role of leadership in supporting digital transformation during the Leadership Panel discussion at AMCHAM T&T’s 5th Annual Tech Hub Islands Summit (THIS).

The session brought immense value to the participants at THIS 2023 based on the wealth of knowledge and experience shared by leaders in their discussions around the importance of culture change and transformative leadership to support the adoption of new technologies and processes. They also discussed the challenges of leading in a volatile environment with a lens on evolving technologies and an increasing focus on ESG.

Leadership Panel at AMCHAM T&T's THIS Conference 2023 (l – r) Karen Tom Yew, General Manager, Group Marketing and Communications – Republic Bank Limited; Brian Hackett, Territory Senior Partner – PwC; Navin Dookeran, CEO – Eximbank; Abraham Smith, CEO – Digicel Business – Trinidad and Tobago; John Outridge, CEO – Trinidad and Tobago IFC; Lorcan Camps, Founder and CEO – NIO Digital; Nirad Tewarie, CEO AMCHAM T&T (moderator).

Brian Hackett

Territory Senior Partner – PwC

“The best tools are the ones that we don’t focus on. You want a tool to be working seamlessly in the background, doing its job. The best tools solve problems. So, start from a focus of ensuring that the transformation you’re doing is the transformation that leads to an increase of value, sustainably. Secondly, what has slowed down the transformation is resistance. Work on the culture and the adoption of change. And lastly – measure, measure, measure. Everything must have a business case, must have an objective measure against it, and recalibrate, as you go.”

Karen Tom Yew

General Manager, Group Marketing and Communications – Republic Bank Limited

“If we summed up the challenges to digital transformation in one word, it would be ‘change’ management. We have long-standing employees who have also been very steeped in certain ways of doing things. So, our biggest challenge would have been managing the change and explaining it properly to people. How are we to overcome that? I think we’re in the process of doing it by engaging and having continuous dialogue with all internal stakeholders in particular, as the reason for the change. People always want to know what’s in it for me. How is it making my life easier? How it’s making my customer’s life easier. And when those things are communicated, clearly and consistently, the change seems to be a lot more palatable.”

Navin Dookeran

 CEO – Eximbank

“The key for leaders is that leaders have to really engage the staff early on in the process. They have to be part of that process to buy in and see the benefits early. You would be amazed at what your staff could accomplish with good advice and good collaboration from experts. I think that the key is that once you empower your staff to make decisions, I think that’s good to make a big difference in a successful implementation.”

Abraham Smith

 CEO – Digicel Business – Trinidad and Tobago

“Don’t worry about the digital part of the phrase ‘digital transformation’. There are lots of people who can deliver on the digital part of it. Instead, focus on the transformation part. What are you transforming and why, and what benefit is that going to bring you internally to the people you serve, both the internal people you serve and the external people you serve? No matter where you’re at on your journey, no matter how large of a company or organisation you are. Don’t worry about the digital part. Transformation is a part of life.”

John Outridge

CEO – Trinidad and Tobago IFC

“I really believe in bottom-up leadership. I don’t think the tone at the top doesn’t work anymore. You have to get the groundswell going. You have to get people bought into that vision, right? It’s not the quantity of decisions you make in this transmission journey but rather, the quality of just a few decisions. Another key thing is getting a ‘coalition of the willing’. You really have a clarity of purpose. You need to establish what is your vision from up top. Because at the end of the day, people are not going to follow you or buy into you because of what you’re doing, but they’re rather going to get invested because of why you’re doing it.”

Lorcan Camps

Founder and CEO – NIO Digital

“I would say that the future is very, very bright. Most of the technologies that are going to dominate our life in 2030 have not even been invented yet. So, it’s actually still early days. I think there are lots and lots of opportunities for innovation and for companies and individuals to embrace technology. My one takeaway is the changes have just started. So, enhance your digital skills, and as you watch the technology in preparation deploy, take advantage of it. It is not too late.”

Carina Cockburn

IDB Country Representative – IDB

“I think we have to expect and anticipate that mistakes and failures will be part of the process. I would say experiment as much as possible. It’s possible to detect failure much earlier in an implementation process. So, my advice would be to encourage businesses and individuals to experiment and try new solutions and new tools because it’s okay to fail, and it will prepare you for newer solutions and tools that will come forward in the future and be able to adapt and apply those.”