Goal setting and giving back: Alan Horn CA

Speaker and audience
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

28 September 2016

Giving back to the community should be ingrained in company culture, according to Rogers Telecommunications President and CEO, Alan Horn CA.

Head of one of Canada’s leading businesses, Alan will be leading a breakout session at the One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Canada on how leaders of the future can bring about change for the better.

“Giving back to the community was important to our founder, Ted Rogers. In his early days, even as a student, he always set aside small amounts to give to charity and, at every session he had with young people, he encouraged others to start the process of giving back as early as possible,” he said.

“That kind of family ethos has flowed through to the company. With the business we’re in, we connect with the community a lot.”

Rogers Telecommunications is the controlling shareholder of Rogers Communications, Canada's largest wireless company, largest cable company and one of its largest media and sports companies.

Alan Horn CAAlan has served as both President and CEO of Rogers Telecom and Chairman of Rogers Communications since 2006. Previously, he was Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of the umbrella company for 10 years. He is also a Director of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, Fairfax India Holdings Corporation and CCL Industries Inc.

Alan speaks highly of the business leaders he has worked with over the years, describing it as an 'honour' to be their trusted advisor.

“Fairfax Financial Holdings is run by a great entrepreneur called Prem Watsa. He has this phrase that he keeps using: ‘Doing good by doing well.’

“If your company is doing well, that gives you the opportunity to do good. That’s part of your responsibility as a business.”

Alan also places a lot of emphasis on the part that personal responsibility plays in the decisions you implement in your business.

"It’s always important to feel you are making a contribution. Those rewards aren’t monetary ones but they’re the job satisfaction you can get. You can see where you have made a difference."

Making a positive change is the focus of the breakout session ‘Global Goals: Global Leaders’ due to be hosted by Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW) at the One Young World Summit.

Making a commitment to change

‘Global Goals: Global Leaders’ will kick-start a discussion about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and how the young leaders of today have a responsibility to help realise them for the future.

Alan will share his experiences of promoting sustainability in business over the span of his career in the hope of inspiring realistic plans for change.

“Any situation where people can come together to discuss things, look at things and make progress on solving things is important.

“People always say that the greatest progress is made when you have diversity of views so the people who are lucky enough to attend One Young World will have a fantastic experience.

“I hope that they come out of it with thoughts that then turn into plans on how to make progress with the things that are important to them.”

Prioritising the things that resonate on a personal level seems to be a theme of Alan's advice.

“I agree with the view that you measure what you treasure and if it gets measured, it gets done," he commented.

“What that essentially means, in terms of goals, is that you should have an idea of what your starting point is, what the end goal is and how you’re going to measure progress.

“Having a goal without a measurable definition is difficult. It can generate apathy if it’s too big of an issue. But cut up into little pieces, where you can see progress being made, it seems a lot more achievable.”

Collectively, the UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to tackle poverty, hunger, injustice and economic uncertainty by 2030.

Rogers Communications is an award-winning champion of corporate social responsibility, featured in the FTSE4Good Index Series and the Jantzi Social Index. It has a history of investing in employees, the community, economy and reducing its environmental footprint.

People are at the heart of the company and providing a secure working environment is key to making progress.

“I think having decent employment is something everyone should aspire to and everyone who is in a position to do so should create those opportunities,” said Alan.

“My view is that self-worth is more important than net-worth. Knowing you are making a contribution is an important career goal.”

‘Hard work, persistence and being able to work with people’

Meeting your goals and furthering your career are not easy but, according to Alan, a few simple things help.

“Hard work, persistence and being able to work with people. That’s how most things in life are achieved. And, of course, a little bit of luck is useful.

“In many ways, you have to be lucky in terms of who you meet, what opportunities come your way and to be in a position to take them. But there’s no ‘one size fits all’ for success.”

There is a lot to be said for putting your best foot forward at all times and having a positive mindset.

“Showing an aptitude, a willingness and an enthusiasm to work hard and be involved in things does get noticed and is rewarded in terms of career progression in the long run.

“Be active and involved. And remember it is amazing what can be achieved when you do not worry about who gets the credit.”

The ICAS Sustainability Committee is supporting the UN’s sustainable development goals and encouraging CAs to make a difference.


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