From growing up in a humble background in Bosnia to becoming the only other student to attend Cambridge University from her local state school to serving as a member of Forbes Technology Council to leading Global Transform, Dax Grant’s journey is nothing but extraordinary.
Dax is an award-winning CEO, COO, CIO, entrepreneur, portfolio non-executive director, keynote speaker, author, and philanthropist. She helps global and international businesses attain top quartile performance, societal impact, and staff advocacy, impacting the world positively for shareholders, regulators, and society through purpose beyond profit values.
As the daughter of a Bosnian coal miner and a shepherdess, Dax grew up in a humble background. Her parents had lived a tough life, but their love and support for Dax were unconditional. “What I inherited from my parents was hard work ethics and a huge thirst for learning, and for some reason, an inner voice kept telling me that I was going to accomplish something amazing with my life,” shares Dax.
Dax was an academically bright student. Her GCSE grades are proof of her intelligence. But as they say, geniuses don’t know they are geniuses. She, too, had no idea about the depth of her capabilities, nor did she know what life had in store for her. But she was confident that she would have a meaningful global job.
Later on, during her A-level studies, Dax found a very influential person enter her life. Her economic teacher was an ex-RAF pilot who had attended Cambridge. She was intrigued by economics and loved all the different elements that create the world, be it learning about small businesses or economic theories such as Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand. It fascinated her to know how all these things were connected together. Blessed with a good mentor, her economics teacher was actually the one who explored the idea of applying to Cambridge University with Dax. She, however, had no clue what Cambridge was. But after doing a bit of research, Dax began prepping for her Cambridge entrance interview. At that moment, Dax felt extremely privileged to have the opportunity to apply to Cambridge that she didn’t even consider the possibility of getting accepted at such a prestigious place. “However, I passed the interview and became one of only two students from my local state school that had ever attended Cambridge University – from then on, my journey had begun,” shares Dax.
People Who Played Influential Roles in Shaping Career Path
Like her prolific academic journey, Dax has had an equally exceptional career. Along the way, there have been a few people who came into Dax’s life and remained as excellent mentors. Be it Tom Blomfield (former CEO of Monzo) or Dan Schulman (CEO at PayPal), or Sir Terry Leahy (former CEO of Tesco), all these amazing and influential people enabled fascinating conversations with Dax that created pivotal moments in her life and enlightened her personal journey.
Dax also remembers striking instances such as getting a direct sponsorship for her MBA dissertation from Antony Jenkins (former CEO of Barclays), whose business trusted her to take on a new leadership position whilst supporting her as a new mother. Another instance was when her son questioned her about how they could help the helpless people in the community. At that time, Dax was offered a choice of jobs in three organisations within three different sectors, but she accepted the role of Director of Operations at Macmillan Cancer Support.
Today, Dax brings this acquired wisdom from her mentors and early life experiences to her role as the CEO of Global Transform. She believes that organisations are currently looking for a new leadership style – seeking people, not just recognised for their awards and accolades, but those who can influence, empower and champion their teams and functions. “My mission is to bring forward the value of the societal c-suite executive and CEO to the world stage,” shares Dax.
What Sets Global Transform Apart?
Global Transform specialises in enabling CEOs and executives in leadership to catalyse business results through exceptional enterprise leadership, entrepreneurialism, and harnessing the technology advantage. Operating for more than 15 years now, the company has access to a suite of industry experts that bring business acumen and entrepreneurship together with a greater social purpose.
There have been numerous times when Dax and her team are asked to step into discreet matters working with selective boards, leadership teams, and well-recognized organisations. For them, the most remembered compliment from their clients is respecting Global Transform’s strategic approach cutting through organisation and industry issues and opportunities that alternative organisations have grappled with for years. “I am delighted that our client base is aligned to our organisational values and delighted to have the opportunity and flexibility to tackle the key areas boards require to attain top quartile performance by adopting a purpose-centred approach,” adds Dax.
Getting Involved with the Team is Important
“I am a great believer in authenticity and genuine conversations,” states Dax. “We have all heard the phrase ‘Lean In’, but I say ‘Get Involved’—once you do that as an organisational leader, the rest is history.” This leadership approach of Dax has proved successful with the teams she has led in global multinationals and national not-for-profit organisations. People are often left surprised with how this happens, but there will always be some non-believers or sceptics that require the world to build trust. In such situations, Dax suggests offering help when they are ready.
Embracing Challenges as Opportunities & Paying Gratitude
Dax is someone who looks at challenges as opportunities to grow. She enjoys collaborating across the industry and is known for creating cut-through insights in today’s VUCA world. Most people find it scary, but for Dax, it is her home turf.
“I know I carry the responsibility of legacy for all those who support me daily around the world,” asserts Dax. “These are the people I pay daily gratitude to and revisit the understanding of how I serve their voices with the global influence that I am fortunate enough to have.” With this mindset, Dax continues to work irrespective of the situation. Likewise, she also remains appreciative of her position and devotes time to reflect on her purpose daily. Dax also loves balancing this with the joys of being a mum to her amazing children, who in turn take the time to reflect and give her advice.
A Day in the Life of a Multi-faceted Leader
As a courageous entrepreneur, CEO, wife, and mother, Dax’s day is anything but typical. Even on hectic days, Dax ensures to hit the gym, followed by a deep meditation session and a healthy breakfast. At work, she compartmentalises her time between clients and direct teams. She also smartly and meticulously plans and navigates through her other roles and responsibilities as a board advisor, executive leader, and member of the Forbes Technology Council.
When she is not travelling or visiting her teams in the UK or abroad, Dax works from her home office. These are her cherished days as a mum when she spends time with her kids by playing and chatting. Dax is finding her days to be less chaotic post-pandemic. However, during lockdowns, she remembers the home-schooling days whilst running a global function. “There was one day that I remember moving from back-to-back meets (staggered to last 50 minutes), while in the background I was supporting my son to collect leaves in the garden to make a collage and then preparing ingredients for him to cook on a virtual lesson at home,” shares Dax with a smile.
Dax also loves learning about the client businesses, enjoys working with her strategic partners, listening to customers and clients, and connecting with peers. Besides these, Dax finds working within different companies, not-for-profit and foundations enjoyable and shows the highest commitment to a variety of causes that are close to her heart. Being a sports enthusiast, Dax enjoys watching all types of sports, from tennis to rugby. Whether taking a leisurely stroll, exploring a new place, or playing with her kids, Dax loves every bit of the outdoor activities. Alongside her three degrees, Dax has a very artistic, linguistic, and literary side to her. In autumn 2022, Dax is releasing a book that captures the next stage of her personal journey as a c-suite executive and influencer in society.
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