How often do we come across selfless leaders who bring an innovative aspect to society with the potential for widespread growth for opportunities? It is astonishing to see how these leaders make their thoughts into reality. A thoughtful leader is filled with a willingness to listen and engage, and it is their humility and transparency that makes them exceptional. With such willingness, Brad Henderson is leading by example.
As the CEO of P33 Chicago, Brad’s two decades’ worth of professional experience brings a deep understanding of how to unlock economic opportunities that benefit businesses and individuals to P33’s efforts. P33 is committed to reclaiming Chicago’s position as the World’s Brightest Spot for technological discovery and development.
In an interview with CIO Look, Brad unveils his journey and shares his insights regarding economic opportunities.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proficient tech business leader.
I spent 15 years as a consultant at a large consulting firm, helping companies to solve real, complex problems related to strategy. About 6 or 7 years ago, it became really clear to me that a lot of the choices that these big companies needed to take on were intertwined with technology and couldn’t be solved without addressing the technology itself. It was the realization that technology had become a profound and crucial requisite for helping us all navigate to a better future.
What roadblocks or challenges were faced by you in the corporate business? And how did you overcome them?
For me, it’s all about mobilizing people – getting people to do different things – to solve big problems by thinking deeply about what we can do together as a team and then to act collectively as an agent of change and transformation.
How do you diversify P33’s offerings to entice the target audience?
P33’s mandate and what we take to heart in everything we do is that we first consciously recognize that we must acknowledge many different types of stakeholders and that they must be involved and engaged for us to be successful. Second, and this is really important, we actively listen and recognize that we need to truly understand what people need and hear what they have to say, over and above of what we want to hear or believe.
What culture change do you suggest for companies to embrace the global technology leadership for the inclusive growth for all?
This is an important question. And it’s hard because historically, technology has generally been developed by a non-diverse group of individuals. To be inclusive, it means you must physically go to places and explore how you can get exposure to different people, values, and new ideas that can be built directly into the technology solutions we create. It requires all of us to lean outside of our comfort zone.
How do you keep yourself up to date with the latest technology?
I’m a voracious reader. For me, it means finding a smart, curated resource like the Anti- disciplinarian newsletter from BCG, which gives me a great topline on the latest in complex emerging technologies.
What does it take to attract and retain tech talent?
I think the key is making sure that people get to solve hard, meaningful challenges where you can grow your career and maintain a high quality of life, and that’s why we think Chicago’s tech ecosystem has so much to offer tech talent.
What are the vital traits that every business leader should possess?
I think humility, transparency, and a vision for what a leader is doing, along with a willingness to listen and engage.
Where are you focusing your energy now, and where do you hope to make an impact next?
We’re focused on making Chicago the most welcoming and supportive place for tech talent for all backgrounds. This is really at the core of what we do. That and making sure that we are building toward how we can solve the toughest problems that materially improve millions of lives by creating breakthroughs in agriculture, improving access to healthcare, or helping people build a brighter financial future.