5 questions with... Madi Sharma
Lorries, surviving abuse and no excuses.
Madi Sharma | Photo credit: Office of Madi Sharma
1. Which person you have worked with has most inspired you in your career, and how?
My mentor Mich Stevenson OBE DL, property entrepreneur and inventor. He shared his knowledge, networks and experience with me for no reward, just asking me to pass forward what I learn on the way and always help others. I have never questioned what I do nor why, because he has never questioned me, he supports me in doing what is right and what needs doing.
2. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result?
I was taught how to listen properly by Michael Massey, author, and now I listen, understand and then support. Listening to understand, instead of listening to reply or worse, not listening at all like our EU politicians, is a skill that has to be practiced because it does not come naturally. By listening to understand, it is possible to find real solutions to address challenges and not just short-term sticking plasters.
3. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
It always surprises people that I have no qualifications, I am a survivor of domestic violence, a single parent and I was in poverty when I started my first business. Oh, plus I can stand on my head. The only qualification I have is a CPC - certificate of professional competence - which means I can run a fleet of lorries. I surprised myself by branding my own name to make sure I always put my neck on the line first – no excuses.
4. What was the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
Maggie Brankitse - Burundi. 75 adults beheaded in front of her and she raised the 250 orphaned children plus another few thousand through her own determination to help and protect others. I taught entrepreneurship in her centre, Maison Shalom, Ruyigi, and understood I have a responsibility to speak out against injustice, no matter who tries to stop me.
5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have ever read and why?
The book I love and give to all my mentees around the world is Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich. It is about having a purpose in life and knowing where you are going, having the strength and belief in yourself to never deviate from that path you have set for yourself . It is about some of the most successful businessmen in history. Time for one on businesswomen I think.