Director of the Year Awards 2018 – Tamara Sakovska CDir, Non-executive director

Tamara Sakovska - Director of the Year Award

Every day over the Christmas period, we’ll speak to winners from the recent IoD Director of the Year Awards. Today it’s Tamara Sakovska CDir, Non-executive director of JPMorgan Russian Securities, who won the Chartered Director award in partnership with St James’s Place

‘Turbulence ultimately creates new opportunities’

Sakovska’s award is for achieving the best exam scores of all this year’s qualifying Chartered Directors. With nearly two decades’ experience as an investment professional, she also holds an MBA with distinction from London Business School.

What’s the secret of great leadership? “The leaders whom I respect the most are forward-looking and empathetic – communication and people skills are key. Unfortunately, there are many leaders – including those of major companies – who are brilliant and ambitious yet seem to be completely unaware of their deficient social skills.  ”

What advice would you give people about navigating turbulent times? “I’ve lived through Soviet hyperinflation and worked on Wall Street during the  dot-com bust and the financial crisis. While it may be hard to embrace negative change, I believe that such turbulence ultimately creates new opportunities.”

How do you solve a creative problem? “My best ideas come to me while I’m away from my desk. Creative breakthroughs often happen when I’m physically active – swimming, running or walking in the park.”

The best business book you’ve read? “I have recently read The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right in one sitting. The book is written by Atul Gawande, a renowned US surgeon and writer. It focuses on managing ambiguity and complexity in a variety of sectors, from medicine and aviation to finance, by using a simple checklist.”

How have you used tech to support your leadership? “I found it useful to streamline my electronic calendar by removing all reminders and placing them in a separate app, so that my calendar only shows meetings, appointments and scheduled calls. A separate app now reminds me of everything else, such as birthdays and anniversaries, or what I need to do ­ such as follow-ups with my colleagues or family, reading or errands. This approach removes electronic clutter and helps create clear workstreams. Many of my friends and colleagues have followed suit.”

Which other person in the business world do you admire? “Howard Marks, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital – for his incredible discipline and his remarkable clarity in conveying new ideas. I also have great respect for Jason Fried, a tech entrepreneur and founder of Basecamp, who has introduced novel work practices at his company promoting collaboration, productivity and living a full life while being successful at work.”

What are your own professional development priorities in 2019? “Digital strategy has been coming up quite often on our boardroom agenda lately, so I want to gain a deeper understanding of best practice in this area.”


Simon Monks, partnership director, St James’s Place Wealth Management: “We were delighted to sponsor this year’s award for best Chartered Director. This category resonated with us, because promoting professionalism and encouraging our employees and partners to achieve the quality mark of Chartered Director status is at the forefront of our strategy to continuously improve on the already high standards of service that our clients receive.”

 Entries are now open for the 2019 IoD Director of the Year Awards – click here for more info and to nominate

Click here for more winners’ interviews

Click here for more information on the IoD Chartered Director qualification


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Director magazine

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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