13: John Zendano (APAC CIO Daiwa Capital Markets – Questions on life lessons / career)

Totally humbled and privileged to be talking to the APAC CIO and Managing Director of Daiwa Capital Markets John Zendano today. He started his career with the United States Air Force loading C130 cargo planes and got his first taste of finance and Investment Banking by working for Nomura as an Operations Clerk in 1983. He has since been making solid progress in his career and as mentioned, today he is in an MD and CIO for Daiwa Capital Markets. He has volunteered for different causes including teaching English to severely handicapped children. As his Linked In profile says: “[It is] Good for all kids to learn that although handicapped, all kids are equal”. Such empathy, care and approachability despite his various achievements speaks to John’s character.

Today on the podcast, we will trace the success of his career and have him share with us some of the lessons he has learnt in life and his career so far. So let me extend a warm welcome to John and thank him for agreeing to do this!

Questions:

  1. If you were to introduce yourself in three sentences or less, what would you say?
  2. Let’s go back to the beginning of your career. Why did you want to join the USAF? And what was your family’s reaction to your decision when you expressed it?
  3. Loading C130 aircraft for the military, what was that experience like? Sounds like a scene right out of an action movie!
  4. If someone were to ask you about the top 3 things you learnt from your military experience what might that be and why was it important for you to learn it?
  5. Why did you decide to leave the air force and how did that first job in finance come about?
  6. Was knowing and being able to speak Japanese a unique advantage to your getting the job?
  7. Head of Operations for Prudential in Japan in 1986 to Chief Admin Officer for Lehman Brothers in 2001, your career seemed to have taken off since your time in as the. What comes to the top of your mind when asked what you would attribute your success to?
  8. If you were to compare the challenges in your career to the challenges back in military, how would they compare?
  9. What role in your career so far has been the most memorable for you?
  10. As CIO of Daiwa, what has been your biggest accomplishment and what’s been the biggest challenge?
  11. What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the evolution of technology in your career so far?
  12. How do you think technology will continue to change if we look 5-10 years into the future?

Personality:

  1. You’ve been working for a while now and have achieved quite a bit in your career. Do you still have the same drive to learn and grow as you did during the start of your career?
  2. You have a caring and charitable side to you. As mentioned in the intro, you volunteered in Japan by teaching English to severely handicapped kids. As mentioned in the intro, your believe that “Good for all kids to learn that although handicapped, all kids are equal”. Your Linked In recommendations also talk about how you treat everyone fairly and give everyone the same chance to progress. How did these beliefs and such empathy get instilled in you?
  3. How ambitious and determined were you to rise to the top of your profession?
  4. How do you maintain a humble and approachable personality despite all your achievements so far?

Questions:

  1. What career advice would you give to young ambitious IT professionals who want to be CIO one day?
  2. Do you have a special routine that you follow that has enabled you to achieve success in your career?
  3. What books do you read? Is there a pattern and what are some of the top books you’d recommend?
  4. Has there been a key mentor or a significant person in your life that has enabled you to achieve the success you have had in your career?
  5. Knowing what you know now, if you could travel back to when you were 25 years old, what advice would you give yourself?
  6. Is there anything else you would like to say that we haven’t asked you?

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