Pictured: Anthony (bottom right) with his fellow Structuring for Success students in 2019
SSE alum Anthony Theofanidis was originally nervous to even apply to one of our programs. “I had this fear and initial doubts about not being suitable or academic enough,” he says. “This probably sat on my mind for 12 months.”
But when he applied and was accepted, he describes the experience as “super special”. “The day I got the phone call really transformed my confidence in going for things,” he says.
Since completing Structuring for Success with SSE, Anthony has continued to invest in his personal development and his confidence has grown even further. He was recently accepted into the Commonwealth100 program to help strengthen links between diverse regions and individuals, joining an elite group of international-focused young leaders.
“It’s just a small example of the continuous cycle of improvement SSE initiates for you,” he says
We sat down (virtually) with Anthony to get his thoughts on working remotely and starting your own business, as well as his advice for other young people looking to get started.
So after SSE, how did you get started in the world of entrepreneurship?
Initially, a friend who I met through SSE told me to leave my regular job and come help him launch his startup from his living room. The leap was super nerve-racking and felt potentially dangerous. However, something deep down inside me told me to do it.
What skills and capabilities do you think are most needed for today’s ever-changing job market?
Covid-19 has taught us all that businesses must be ready to deploy a new strategy within a matter of days. People are very much the same. We need to be agile, see forward, and react quickly but rationally. The world needs confident leaders who will not be afraid to get creative with new solutions to reinvent the way we do business.
Anthony Theofanidis SSE alum
Resilience is everything. If you fail, you are only better positioned to capitalise on the next opportunity out there
What problem in our society can we help solve together?
I think a large problem in our community is encouraging people to follow through with their passions and startup ideas. All together, we need to get more involved in the different stages of launching a new business.
One great first step: discovering old friends, university students or people who are your match on a professional, mental and physical level to encourage them to participate and support your concept. The most special thing about starting your own venture is getting people to share the same dream as you.
What is your best piece of advice for young people interested in starting their own venture?
Our experiences in life define who we can become. Resilience is everything. If you fail, you are only better positioned to capitalise on the next opportunity out there, whatever that looks like for you.
What is the key to a successful transition to online learning and working remotely?
You can get really creative with engaging people and building a culture in your office. My startup did a property auction with virtual money (given on performance) to the sales team. This had really strong uptake. The online learning experience needs to be made fun. I think there should be a mandatory 'camera on' rule where you can see people on the other side.
And finally, how are you feeling about the current crisis? What advice would you give young people in the face of this global challenge?
My view is optimistic, however people handle things differently and it is important to acknowledge how people are feeling.
Young people should know that these times of crisis are the best times for disruption; just look at some of the amazing companies founded in the doom and gloom years of the global financial crisis. It’s about turning the threats of a bleak economy into opportunities.