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How I got here… Mathew Thomas, managing director, Middle East, Turkey and East Africa, HP Inc.

How I got here… Mathew Thomas, managing director, Middle East, Turkey and East Africa, HP Inc.

Thomas details his journey to leading one of the biggest region’s globally for HP

Education

During my early years I was hesitating a lot between studying engineering and management. I finally decided on a compromise by taking up a bachelor’s degree in science and then pursued a post graduate degree in management. Over the years, I made it a point to attend numerous training sessions to upgrade my professional skills – always looking at reinventing myself in the workplace.

My Start

After graduating with my MBA, I started my career in 1988 as a sales executive of a computer store. This was an amazing experience and I learnt the importance of determination and persuasion skills as I had to sell desktop computers and dot matrix printers to customers who had not heard of the products at all. I changed industries to widen my exposure in operations and spent more than five years in logistics with TNT and DHL before returning to the ICT industry. I was appointed president of Redington Gulf for MEA before joining HP in 2010.

My Approach

I’ve had the privilege of being exposed to very diverse thinking. I started from humble beginnings – doing cold calls and holding sales meetings with clients in various places including the crowded Mumbai railway stations – and now help lead one of the biggest regions in CEMA for HP Inc. Being able to gain insight from different facets of the industry through my work and the network, I have been privileged to lead, guide and learn new practices under different leaders.

This has all impacted my life and the way I manage my business. I am not a perfectionist by any means but practice hard and repeatedly aim to achieve the best results. I strive hard to achieve my goals and create a winning team that reflect the mission and vision of  my organisation.

Highs and lows

Our markets are very dynamic, and the world around us is changing so fast that there is a new lesson to learn every day. Among my highs are the records we broke – personal and professional – business achievements, building a great team, being a part of this great company, traveling the world, constantly being forced to transform, working with young leaders and seeing them grow. And finally, making customers happy – both internal and external – and inculcating a healthy competition at the workplace.

Dos and don’ts

When in doubt, just take the first step. Be innovative and be prepared for what you want to do. Be genuine and let your value system dictate your actions.  Always be assertive and persuasive. Build your reputation along with your career. Never ask the question ‘why’ alone; instead use all the other w’s – what, where, when – any time you are asking questions. Do not let others hold you back.

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