In our special column this month, we are glad to host an interview with Mr. Clinton John Evans, Managing Director Area Oceania – Hapag-Lloyd, who highlights the importance of working in an environment that suits to one’s personal values and interests and advises us to daily treat others with respect in every case; even when ordering a coffee or engaging with colleagues.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Clinton Evans: I grew up in a then small industrial town called Richards Bay on the North Coast of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa that, by virtue of the majority of the industries catering for foreign markets, relied heavily on the local port. At the age of 16 I, in order to earn pocket money over the holidays, secured a job as a laborer onboard commercial vessels. From the first day I stepped foot onboard a vessel, and started to see the flow of cargoes to and from around the world, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career wherein I was actively involved in the shipping industry. After completing my studies, which included initial qualifications through the South African Maritime Institute, and the Institute of Chartered Ship Brokers, I secured an internship with John T Rennie & Sons Ships Agency where I started as a trainee Shipping Agent. Over the course of the subsequent 16 Years I held various management roles within agency, liner and logistics organizations in the Middle East (Bahrain, Qatar & Dubai), India and more recently Australia.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
Cl.E.: My current role is Area Managing Director for Hapag-Lloyd within Area Oceania. The current wave of exponential change and evolution within our Industry, and consequent need to continually adapt, improvise and innovate is really exciting.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
Cl.E.: Having first hand experienced the transition from Apartheid South Africa into a fully Democratic country, and witnessing the way in which strong Leadership can influence even the most challenging situations, I would have to say Nelson Mandela. His focus on the ultimate goal above all else, stakeholder management an approach to me represent the true success.
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why ?
Cl.E.: I am fortunate enough to have had the benefit of interacting with many wonderful mentors and people, from whom I was able to learn and who influenced me in different ways. From a personal perspective my values and outlook was greatly influenced by my father, and farther in law ( whom I was fortunate be interact with from the age of 16). From a business perspective I would say that one of my first managers, Grant Stevenson, who taught me the importance of setting tough targets for myself and people around me and been tenacious in pursuit of achieving them, and Gordon Boyle, the joint venture company CEO during my time in Bahrain, who taught me the importance of prioritizing staff and team development and Growth as a means by which to achieve results, would be the people that I would say have most influenced me.
S4S: What is the best and what was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
Cl.E.: The best piece of advice I have been given is to focus on the big things or things that are most impactful and not getting distracted by the smaller or less impactful things. The worst advice would probably be when I was advised that “success is all about perception management”.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
Cl.E.: I would say that my best career investment has been my willingness to be flexible in terms of taking on tasks and responsibility either outside of my immediate role or in support of colleagues and or the organization within which I was employed.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why?
Cl.E.: Learn from your mistakes and move on. The younger me would really spend a lot of time and energy beating myself up over making mistakes instead of focusing on the lessons learnt.
S4S: What piece of advice should you ignore?
Cl.E.: Success it all about perception management.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
Cl.E.: My belief in the importance of working in an environment that aligns with your personal values and interests, and actively seeking out or creating that environment has been by far had the greatest impact in terms of improving my business life.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
Cl.E.: I would greatly like to see a shift in the general understanding and appreciation for the value that our industry provides, and inherent challenges that doing so entails.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
Cl.E.: My personal motto is “ Treat others the way you would like to be treated. This motto serves as a guide whether I am ordering a cup of coffee at my favourite coffee shop or engaging with staff and or customers.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.