At 30 I started thinking about getting a serious job and I had the great fortune to meet Alan Findlay a man with a vision for what I might do and the courage to give me a chance. It was 1983, my daughter Kylie was just born, and it was time for my career. So I wrote a major bank suggesting I’d be ideal for a computer security job, which I saw as a new growth area.
My boldness paid off and I was interviewed by Alan for a position as Security Analyst. Next day HR called to offer me a Senior Analyst, Security & Control position, a more senior role which hadn’t even been discussed.
I suggested a mistake had been made and insisted on going back to discuss the role, at which time Alan outlined the position as he saw it. When I told him honestly that I had no experience in such a job, he simply said “It’s never been done before, so take it and I’ll give you a month to figure it out. When can you start?” That was Alan.
I took the job and over the next 8 years Alan promoted me every 18 months to new more senior roles I again had no qualifications to take. But he knew I had talent I didn’t see, so he kept challenging me until we both had corner offices in a high-rise block and were on the management board of an 18,000 person organization.
This 8 year ‘career’ taught me I could do far more than I believed, and is summed up in a phrase Alan said often “Bill, you never know how far you can go until you get your fingers burnt, so go get some fingers burnt." That was Alan.