A journey from placement student to CEO. We present to you an Q&A with Kelvin Chaffer, Lifecycle CEO, as featured in last month's issue of Northern African Wireless Communications.
Who was your hero when you were growing up?
I am - and have always been - a huge sports fan. Growing up, my hero was Bryan Robson - a phenomenal English football player. Bryan was an absolute powerhouse who embodied leadership and resilience. His will to win, perseverance, and his dedication to his team certainly shaped my approach and commitment to the teams I’ve had the pleasure to lead over the years.
What was your big career break?
22 years ago, I entered a work placement opportunity with Lifecycle Software as part of my university course - and I have never looked back. As I Initially wanted to be an accountant, I walked the path of a software developer. I fell in love with making the products and that processes to create solutions that made the user’s life easier. Following on from this I then joined Lifecycle Software. Starting in 2001 as a software developer, I worked hard and climbed the ranks, embracing various roles within the company including development director, chief operating officer and today, I’m humbled and proud to say that I’ve become the CEO of this amazing company that has been my professional home for so long.
“The joy of creating, the satisfaction derived from bringing something tangible to life, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it align with my
passion for creating things. The satisfaction of creating something is key”
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I was extremely sport-focused growing up and at school, and played football and boxing at a high level. I always had an ambition of pursuing boxing and dreamed of being in the Olympics, but due to some injuries and challenges I had to pull back and go focus on my education and look for other career paths. I fostered a love of statistics and R&D and decided to explore this path. Life takes unexpected turns, and I’m grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have brought me to where I am today.
If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would you choose?
The decision to dine with any famous person would undoubtedly be difficult as there are so many remarkable individuals to choose from. However, three figures that stand out prominently in my mind are Elon Musk, Nelson Mandela, and Mohammed Ali. Elon Musk, a visionary entrepreneur and innovator, has made groundbreaking contributions to various industries always looking to be on the edge of innovation he inspires me to take this mindset within my own business. Nelson Mandela, a symbol of resilience and peace, played a pivotal role in the fight against apartheid and promoting reconciliation in South Africa. As for Mohammed Ali, I love boxing and his determination inside and outside the ring was inspiring.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Be curious, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I want to learn and enable others to learn. There are no stupid questions, and not being afraid to ask opens up the conversation to both yourself and others in the room. Encouraging open discussions through questioning contributes to a collaborative and supportive environment, where individuals feel empowered to share their knowledge and perspectives. In order to be on the edge of innovation you need to be open-minded and explore all ideas no matter how small or how out there they seem at first. All ideas are good ideas as they speak conversion, debate and in the end support innovation.
If you had to work in a different industry, which would you choose?
If I were to transition to a different industry, I would probably gravitate towards manufacturing. The joy of creating, the satisfaction derived from bringing something tangible to life, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it align with my passion for creating things. The satisfaction of creating something is key.
“The mobile phone is the greatest technological advancement in my lifetime. Witnessing the evolution from basic cell phones to our powerful smartphones demonstrates how far we’ve come.”
The Rolling Stones or the Beatles?
The Beatles! The Beatles hold a special place in music history. They were pioneers of various musical styles, constantly pushing boundaries and experimenting with new sounds. Their message of love, peace, and social change resonated with millions around the world. Even today, their music is like a time machine that takes us back to the good old days. It’s incredible how their songs still resonate with people of all ages.
What would you do with £1 million?
I’d share it with those closest to me, and we’d enjoy it all together! Together, we’d make the most of the unexpected windfall, cherishing the experiences and moments money can never buy. I’d also allocate a portion to support meaningful charitable causes.
What’s the greatest technological advancement in your lifetime?
The mobile phone is the greatest technological advancement in my lifetime. Witnessing the evolution from basic cell phones to our powerful smartphones demonstrates how far we’ve come. The shift from bulky personal computers to handheld devices with more processing power than the technology that once took humans to the moon is a remarkable testament to progress. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I don’t know what I would do without my phone.