The Corporate Andrew Tiernan
Why I write about what I write about.
Sometimes I think the most successful thing I ever did in life was secure the Andrew.Tiernan@gmail.com address before any other Andrew Tiernan did.
Sometimes I also think my threshold of personal achievement is set too low.
The guy who probably should have got it, and probably deserves it more, is the British Actor-Director Andrew_Tiernan. But he’s so famous now that he would probably not want anyone to know how to get in touch with him directly anyway.
The reason I thought it pertinent to explain who I am, is that I’ve firmly pivoted my life in the past few years, and I'm increasingly sharing publically why.
It began long before COVID, taking bigger and more adventurous risks with life in general, but has definitely been accelerated by the restrictions placed upon us all no matter where we live in the world.
The main result has been following two clearly divergent career paths. Doubling down, as it were, in both respects.
There is a part of me that is super excited by the type of work I’ve always done. But there is another side of me that I always kept inside, rightly or wrongly, worried that if I followed that path it would destroy, or at least greatly curtail, the success of my primary career.
This new path is what I mostly write about, or am asked to talk about.
The only reason I’m now confident enough to do this is that I’ve worked out how to reconcile it with my personal and professional past.
My historic career centered firmly on business growth, strategy, and finance. My main corporate successes have been in the form of (big) business transformation and corporate development work. I’ve got 25+ years’ experience within banking, wealth management, and insurance organizations across Asia, Australia, and Canada. And another 8 years working the counters of supermarkets and customer service phone centers while at school. I’ve been working since I was legally allowed to be employed in Australia as a teenager.
I’ve had a fantastic career to date, with a solid track record of implementing multi-country strategic plans.
I’ve been fortunate to have been often tapped on the shoulder to do something more demanding, more of a stretch, when the time was right. Just as importantly, I’ve been given a rest, been allowed to sit on the bench at those times when I’ve clearly run too hard, too fast. The times when I’ve burned out.
I’ve had a lot of fun along the way ranging, from leading new country expansions to driving global corporate programs, building new banking platforms, opening overseas offices, and being on point in identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks and running at opportunities.
If I’m asked to finger any specific areas of expertise, I’d say I’m pretty good at communication and building things.
Companies, platforms, networks, strategies, or teams — you can’t build something special unless you have the ability to galvanize people behind a common vision of success. You can’t do that without effective communication.
Right now, I’m the Chief Commercial Officer at a budding FinTech. I report to the CEO, and am effectively a mix of company Product Owner, Customer Champion, and Investor Champion within the global executive team. I’m the architect of both the take-to-market and investor process, as well as having responsibility for platform readiness and customer development.
It’s a great gig. It’s fun. It’s new. I’m building stuff! But this time I’m trying to build the company differently. I’m focusing more on humanity rather than economics. And the outcome (so far) is so much more rewarding for it.
So while my previous “life” gave me opportunities that honed my business abilities in strategy development, business implementation, capability assessment, market entries, and governance blah blah blah (you can read that on LinkedIn), this new life has well and truly emerged.
This less corporate Andrew Tiernan has more humanity, is less interested in my own economics, but still has a passion for building things, making things easier for people, and communicating. He’s no longer a banker, and definitely not an Actor.
The dual-path that I always suspected could have been my alternate career is now becoming a reality in tandem with the path I have been on since leaving University.
Where people used to introduce me as a banker, a strategist, a veteran of cross-border financial services in Asia, now people are more likely to talk about my advocacy for emerging leaders, education, the creative arts, or my support of the LGBTQ+ community (particularly in Asia).
In the past, I would have been proud of their initial assessment, while now, I know what really “presses my buttons” and I’m not shy about it anymore.
In my “downtime” I’ve applied my skills in helping my friends with their emerging small businesses. I’ve helped them build new capabilities like an Executive Education program, or helped market a cosmeceuticals lines. I’ve even helped produce an independent film.
I like the new Andrew Tiernan much better than the old one. Life is hard enough without us making it unnecessarily harder for ourselves. My new self, the one that thinks more deeply about simplicity, about humanity, has also made the building of things much more exciting.
Why else would a 50+ guy who had already retired (twice), jump into a start-up based on the other side of the planet?