Xplorer Stefano Hawkins on fighting fires, aiming high and enjoying the ride
Stefano Hawkins is here to help. Throughout his career, he’s garnered mentors, advice, knowledge and practice, and is always looking for ways to share what he’s learned to help others progress in their own careers. Stefano graduated with a degree in Forensic and Crime Scene Science, worked as a project coordinator, account manager, sales rep, and even a retained firefighter for the West Sussex Fire and Rescue service in the United Kingdom. Now, he’s an Xplorer, working as a key account manager, and continues his mission to do his best so that others can do their best too. Given the promise Xplor makes to every Xplorer; Reach your full potential, power others to reach their own, maybe it’s no surprise that Stefano has found his way to Xplor!
Learning from one another has been a theme throughout Stefano’s career. He’s had great role models that encouraged him to push himself to where he is today. Because of this he sees tremendous value in having someone to turn to for advice. “The key to being a great boss or mentor is being able to constructively criticize without causing offense, because of mutual respect and friendship,” he said. “The best leaders I have experienced are those who believe in you, but at the same time will always step in when help is needed.”
Stefano said that, like the mentors he’s had, he also wants his fellow Xplorers to reach their full potential. “I want to ensure that if I have any valuable advice, help or skills, I am on hand to offer this in any task or to help with progression in their development,” he said. Not only does Stefano bring his offering hand to the table, he’s also seen how his team does the same. One such event? The pandemic. “I saw a unity, team spirit, grit and determination that I have never seen before from my fellow Xplorers,” he said. “We all pulled together and worked extremely hard to get the business and our customers through the most difficult of times.”
When asked what piece of advice he has for younger people with similar career aspirations, Stefano has four pieces of advice: listen intently, work hard, give generously, and aim high but enjoy the ride. While we’ve all heard various forms of these truisms, Stefano provided a point of view informing each.
Listening intently, he says, is important because those around you have more knowledge, experience and skills. “These people will be pivotal in helping you gain the overall toolkit you need to become the person who can go places,” he said. When it comes to his second piece of advice, working hard, Stefano explained that no one gets anywhere in life without putting in the time. “Hard work builds the basis to put the skills you have listened and learned from mentors/bosses/colleagues into practice, consistently, until you yourself have honed these skills,” he said. His third principle, giving generously, is about offering to help, paying good deeds forward, and building rapport with your network and colleagues. “Some of the best friends I have ever made have been from work, and we work better when we make the time and effort to get to know the people behind the machine,” he said. Finally, last but by no means least, aiming high but enjoying the ride. “It is absolutely paramount you do not put pressure on yourself to get somewhere in a certain time frame; expectations can be so detrimental to our self belief and mental health; you will get there, in your own time!”
But Stefano’s wisdom doesn’t stop there. Two quotes also come to mind that have been guiding lights in his career. The first: A job well done is a job worth doing. “I am a staunch believer in this quote; if you are going to do something, give it your all and do it to the best of your ability,” he said. The second relates more to Stefano’s personal relationship to stress and anxiety: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. “For someone who is open about having spouts of anxiety issues through my 20’s, I have used this motto as a crutch and a guide, when some tasks seem too much to tackle at first,” he said. “This is something I now live by, and it is a great thing to remember for all people who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety.”
At Xplor, being a supportive and motivating Xplorer is an indispensable quality; and Stefano’s no exception. Outside of work, if he’s not fighting fires, you can find him cheering on his favorite team West Ham United or playing golf, football or skiing. No matter what he’s doing, however, we’re sure he’s enjoying the ride.