CEO Insights – Interview Series with Special Guest Lion Shirdan

Dec 18, 2023 | Careers, CEO Best Practices, CEO Insights

As part of CEO Insights series, the Chief Executives Council recently interviewed Lion Shirdan. Lion Shirdan is an accomplished entrepreneur, creative director, strategic business advisor, and marketing expert. With over 20Lion Shirdan years of experience across diverse sectors, he is the founder and CEO of UPRISE Management and UPRISE Media, agencies at the vanguard of marketing and public relations. His strategic direction and expertise have steered multiple companies to billion-dollar acquisitions and sales. As a committed professional, Lion continues to reshape the digital marketing sphere, managing international clients, and advising leading startups and Fortune 500 companies. Despite personal adversity, having bravely fought and overcome severe cancer, Lion’s passion for his work and positive impact on others remains unwavering. Guided by his faith and a desire to uplift those around him, he weaves a thread of positivity and inspiration into every endeavor he undertakes, exemplifying the resilience of the human spirit.

1. What inspired you to pursue a C-Suite career?

A: My journey towards a C-Suite career was driven by a blend of passion and pragmatism. From a young age, being raised in diverse cultural environments, I developed a keen interest in how businesses operate globally. My academic background in finance and economics, coupled with a minor in marketing, provided a solid foundation. But it was my early entrepreneurial ventures that ignited a deeper interest. The challenge of steering a company towards success and the impact a leader can have on its trajectory and culture were key motivators. My career path, while diverse, has always been fueled by a desire to innovate and lead, shaping the future of the industries I’ve been involved in. 

2. What are the roles and responsibilities of a CEO and how has that changed over time?

A: The role of a CEO is multifaceted, involving setting strategic direction, building a strong corporate culture, and making critical decisions that affect the company’s future. Historically, CEOs focused more on financial performance and shareholder value. However, today’s CEOs are increasingly tasked with balancing profitability with social responsibility, employee well-being, and sustainable practices. Technology has also significantly changed the role, requiring adaptability and a forward-thinking mindset to stay ahead in rapidly evolving markets.

3. Please share some of the most interesting aspects of your job?

A: One of the most fascinating aspects of my job is the opportunity to work with a diverse range of talents and ideas. Whether it’s advising startups or collaborating with Fortune 500 companies, each experience brings new challenges and learnings. Additionally, being at the forefront of digital marketing and public relations allows me to witness and contribute to cutting-edge strategies and innovations. The dynamic nature of the industries I’m involved in keeps the work exciting and constantly evolving. 

4. What have been the most significant keys to your success?

A: Resilience, adaptability, and a strong ethical foundation have been crucial to my success. Overcoming personal adversity, such as my battle with cancer, has instilled a sense of resilience and perspective that permeates my professional decisions. Staying adaptable in the face of industry changes and technological advancements has been key. Additionally, maintaining integrity and a commitment to positive impact, especially in sustainability and green initiatives, has guided my career path and decisions.

5. What advice would you give to others that seek a CEO career?

A: For those aspiring to a CEO position, I’d advise focusing on developing a broad skill set and a deep understanding of various business functions. Cultivate a mindset of continuous learning and be open to diverse experiences. Building strong relationships and a supportive network is invaluable. It’s also important to remain true to your values and vision, as these will be your guiding stars in challenging times. Lastly, embrace resilience; every setback is an opportunity to learn and grow stronger.

The CEO Interview Series features experienced executives from a variety of organizations and industries. The fast-paced interview format focuses on “secrets to success” and will bring valuable learning, career advice and big ideas to both aspiring and seasoned corporate executives. Learn more here.


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