Hiam Sakakini, Lead Mentor for Xceptional, shares her Remarkable experience

Hiam Sakakini is a corporate veteran having spent 14+ years in Fortune 500 companies, most recently 10 years at Google. She started out there building large sales teams on the business development side and from there moved into the heart of the organisation designing and executing the leadership development strategy for the Asia Pacific region within the People & Culture team. Hiam is the Co-Founder of Think Change Grow and sits on the board of Cerebral Palsy Alliance. This is the third year that Hiam has been a mentor for Remarkable. This year, she is the lead mentor for Xceptional.

Hiam Sakakini, Mentor and Co-Founder of Think Change Grow
Hiam Sakakini, Mentor and Co-Founder of Think Change Grow

What are your core areas of expertise, particularly when it comes to mentoring for Remarkable?

Since leaving Google 2 years ago with a colleague and great friend, Monika Gisler, who is also a Remarkable Mentor we have taken our core areas of expertise like Leadership & Team development, and helped organisations to design their People & Culture strategy in order to attract the best possible talent. We know that people are every organisations biggest asset and that it is people that will create the narrative of your organisation, which in itself attracts more top talent. We specialise in consulting, coaching, facilitation and have a leadership program that is now backed by Deakin University.

What inspired you become a mentor for Remarkable?

Having a daughter who has CP has made me look at the world somewhat differently. My goal is to use my time, expertise and network more wisely to support organisations who will in some way have a positive impact on her life and the lives of those like her.

I also feel that innovation, particularly where technology is concerned has not been applied to its full potential in the disability sector. In a way, this makes the sector incredibly exciting as there are huge leaps that can be made to impact the lives of the 1 in 5 people living with a disability in Australia.

Remarkable is the only Disability focused tech accelerator program in Australia (to my knowledge). This is its unique differentiator. It is backed by The Cerebral Palsy Alliance and has powerful alliances with large corporates and government as well as Impact investors. Startups that are truly strong on their ‘why’, have a good team and a customer centric product or service will thrive in this program. I have been a mentor from their first program and still keep in touch with mentee teams like AbilityMate, Home Care Heroes and others that reach out for support.

what parts of the accelerator program do you enjoy most?

I look forward to forming long lasting relationships with teams that take the time with us as mentors seriously. You know immediately if a team value your time and prepare well for each session. I enjoy working with teams where I can see true fire in the belly!

What are your top tools, blogs, books or podcasts that you recommend?

Podcast – A friend of mine has just launched a podcast called ‘Don’t stop me now!’ featuring some of the world’s most innovative, pioneering and original thinking women. I’m hooked!
Books – Im currently reading When by Dan Pink which turns timing into a science. Everything from finding the most optimum time to start a business to scheduling a medical procedure – there is scientific research behind when these should be done to get optimal outcomes! Quite fascinating.
Blog – Love the MWAH blog (Make Work Absolutely Human), I find myself nodding in violent agreement to their blog posts and articles.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in your work life that you would like to pass on to the startups?

During my time at Google I was lucky enough to be in an audience with Ray Kurzweil who talked about how invention was all about timing. Watching trends and aiming your invention at the world of the future not at the world that exists at the time of your launch.


Find out about our other Remarkable mentors.

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