At the recent Vistage International Chair Conference, Carlos Fox received the prestigious Robert Nourse Award. Presented by TEC Canada on an annual basis, this award is named for the founder of Vistage/TEC and recognizes the achievements of TEC Canada’s top Chairs.
A nine-year Ottawa Chair, Carlos took the time to share pieces of his journey as a leader of leaders in the Canadian business community.
Why did you choose to become a Chair? What do you find the most rewarding aspect?
In 2002, I began my own consulting practice after a very successful career in the high technology sector. I’d just been through a divorce and I decided to create working conditions that would allow me to be around my kids without the travel my old positions required.
It took a couple of years for me to realize that my clients valued me much more as their confidant/coach than as a project consultant. When I came across TEC, what immediately caught my attention was the ‘increasing the effectiveness AND enhancing the lives of chief executives’ mission; it immediately struck me as a possible fit for my life experience, my own journey and the belief that great good can come from helping leaders be better at the office and at home.
The most rewarding aspect has been the intimate and special relationships I have developed with my members, seeing them develop and grow, and in particular how the process lifts them all to a better place.
What has been your main strength or focus as a Chair? Has that changed as your groups have evolved over the years?
I believe my main strength has been the creation of a very safe place for my members to engage in “deep end of the pool” conversations, which lead to a unique value for their own development as leaders of their businesses and their lives.
Over the years, the groups and I have changed and grown together. Along the way we have lost some members who did not align well and over time we have become much better together at inviting in new members who more readily fit in and contribute to the whole experience.
Which piece of advice/learning have you seen have the most benefit for your members?
The concept of being the CEO of their WHOLE lives, not just their businesses.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Canadian business leaders at the moment?
I think that generally our Canadian business leaders do not have enough confidence that we could build great, global companies, headquartered here. Too many leaders are focused on growing the business to sell it, in particular in the high technology sector, our largest sector in the capital region outside Government.
How do you keep your work-life balance? How you spend your ‘life’ time?
For the first time in my career, the work/personal lines are very blurry. It’s very hard to tell when something is strictly work or pleasure. Many of my members – and even alumni – have become friends. My groups also spend social time together because they enjoy each other’s company.
Time with my wife Joanne and my daughters – Victoria & Francesca – is precious and I do my best to ensure we all get from each other the time we need: a big part of my “life”.
- 2012 TEC Canada Chair Award Recipients (tec-canada.com)