Alex Szepietowski, Alexander James

Alex Szepietowski, Alexander James
Over the Christmas and New Year period, Director is profiling the winners of the IoD Director of The Year Awards. Today we meet Alex Szepietowski, founder, Alexander James, who won the Student Director Award…

While studying at the University of York, Alex Szepietowski set up a property business – without any capital. He built a £3.2m portfolio of 24 houses. Passionate about inspiring young entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams, he also does a lot of advisory work. He discusses the merits of mentors and collaborative leadership.

What’s been your most pivotal moment in business so far? Working or interning in banking, accountancy, law, PR, sales, cricket coaching and IT, I finally realised it wasn’t any particular industry or company I wasn’t fitting in with – it was the fact I was working for someone else, full stop, that was the problem.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever had? Work smart, not hard. You can get where you want to go 10 times quicker by getting a mentor, adviser or coach who has already done what you are trying to do.

What has been your biggest challenge and how have you overcome it? My biggest challenge has been myself – overcoming the negative, limiting, self-doubting and fearful thoughts in my head. I love Marianne Williamson’s quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Each one of us is powerful beyond measure – we just need to realise it.

What makes a great leader? Integrity, authenticity and empowering others to help themselves – and ‘you’ in the process.

Where do you get your ideas from? Not all industries require you to revolutionise the market to be successful. I‘ve learnt from those who have had huge success, while putting my own slant on it.

What’s your leadership style? Leading by example and working with, not at the expense of, others.
Alex Szepietowski is an associate member of IoD Hertfordshire

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Director magazine

Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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