Get to Know Your NSW Branch Executive Committee - Nikesh Lalchandani MACS CP
25th Aug 2020
- Nikesh is a Financial Technologist, Innovator, and Author and was elected as Chair of the NSW Branch Executive Committee
- Nikesh has extensive experience in all the Australian Big Four banks, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, where he held executive and head-of positions in emerging technology, innovation and payments.
1. As recently elected Chair, what do you hope to achieve for the ACS NSW Branch?
We all say these times are unprecedented; because it is the truth. I know many members need support. At the same time I think this moment will be a great technology driven transformation of our generation. The BEC and I would like to have online and (if permissible and safe) in person meetings where members can network and meet colleagues, and develop their skills. A two-way flow of information, so we can all learn from each other and develop networks and discover opportunities is what we need. We, as ICT professionals also need to take a leadership role in the transformation that is happening, and I wish to support members in their goals. I am thrilled that the BEC members are keen to make this possible.
2. Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
I was born in Australia, and my heritage is Indian. Mahatma Gandhi was a tremendous world leader that inspired many from Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King Jr, and I really respect him - he had so many facets and continues to impact the world long after his death. I think we will not see someone like him in our lifetime. Something readers may not know is that he had a close friend and confidant, an engineer by the name of Maurice Frydman - a polish gentleman who if you researched him, had a major impact on India's independence, democracy and early development, and to a great extent, powered Mahatma Gandhi himself. Maurice was a catalyst of change who went to enormous efforts to remain anonymous, I write about him in a LinkedIn article. He did what he did by just being a good engineer, and inspires the technologist in me, every day. Many of the great developments in ICT are from silent achievers like Maurice and our members, and I am proud to be part of this community.
3. How has ACS membership supported your career journey in tech and what advice would you give to others looking to advance their career in ICT?
Before I was chair I recognised the "Certified" track of the ACS as a real attempt to recognise experts (like Maurice, expertise is a personal passion of mine, and a subject of a number of articles I have written). I wear the (electronic) MACS CP badge with pride, and there is a lot of benefit with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) benchmark. I would say now I can't separate ACS from my career - it really has been that helpful, and I am deeply grateful to current and former members, staff and others for making ACS what it is today.
4. Considering the number of ACS initiatives that have been announced in response to COVID-19, how do you think ACS is staying current in these challenging times?
I need to be honest here. I think there has been a lot of positive responses to COVID-19 following a challenging period for the ACS, such as the membership extension, access to the EAP, and learning accelerators. I would like to help alleviate any concerns as we do more and we magnify our impact. There was the court action at the beginning of this year, that followed what must be recognised as unhappiness in the ranks around what/how quickly we were moving away from our previous structure, and there was a fear that some members saw as a move away from our values. We need to acknowledge this. I want to reach out to all members - and unite in our commonality - for there is so much we share. COVID is another aspect of this fear, and the resignation of our CEO has taken from many of us someone who had our back. We all need to work together to not just stay current but to have a meaningful impact and I urge all members to participate when they can - we need you.
5. Looking forward, past the crisis, what changes for the good do you hope to see for businesses and employees in our community?
I think the ICT revolution, including the Internet and countless other innovations is a journey to develop a shared field of human experience that extends each individual's reach beyond the limited physical contact of our ancestors. We have progressed leaps and bounds, but there is so much more that can be done, that we have barely scratched. The impedance is not technology but human behaviour, and I for one was a "work from home sceptic" and thought the practice was inefficient, but now can say I have never worked so hard in my life (which is not so good either) and many of you repeat the same thing, I am sure. I would like to see a world where everyone has a voice, where employees are empowered with the means of production so they themselves are the businesses, where technology delivers what it was meant to deliver - and makes our lives happier because of that empowerment.
'Get to Know Your ACS NSW BEC' series aims to shed the spotlight on your NSW BEC members and get their insights on key topics related to your ACS membership and the IT sector. This week we continue our ‘Get to Know Your ACS NSW BEC’ series, with Nikesh Lalchandani MACS CP, providing insights into keeping your skills updated and how to make the most of your ACS Membership.