What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was buying sugar from Nigeria for Mars Foods. I got into IT by taking a role as a sales and marketing manager at an IT training company.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Planes. It's all about speed.
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever experienced?
To St Petersburg one January. It was a veritable winter wonderland.
If you had to choose just one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
Art. I love sport but have a need to be creative.
Oranges or bananas?
Bananas. They are more versatile.
What never fails to make you laugh?
My dog. Such a huge character in such a small creature.
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve the situation?
Making people redundant. I could only be genuinely sorry and hope they forgave me.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
I'd like to go to Vietnam or Burma. I find those cultures fascinating, and would like to visit before they become too commercialised.
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
Magazines? No. Books? Yes. Magazines are made to be consumed and discarded. Beautiful books are made to be cherished.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
I would rather draw them up - but I wouldn't draw up anything I wasn't personally prepared to carry out.
What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)?
My three sons. They have always made me proud.
Can politicians ever be trusted when it comes to IT?
No. They don't really understand its impact, and that the cheapest solution is not always the best one.
Your closest near-death experience?
On a flight over the Khyber Pass, between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in a violent electrical storm. I didn't know planes could shake so much and not fall apart.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education (such as at a university)?
Both. Theory is important, but real-world situations teach so much more. I have seen a bartender turn himself into a brilliant engineer, but only because he was prepared to absorb as much as he could from both environments.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
A foreign correspondent for the BBC. It would combine my love of travel with my love of meeting new people - and they seem to have a better survival rate than some.
Sally Reade is EMEA channel director at Whiptail
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