Elisée Sezan is an energy and finance executive with over 20 years of experience in finance, business and market development in the financial services and energy sectors. Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer, for GE-Gas Power for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Elisée was GE’s Managing Director for Power Services in SSA. Born and raised in Côte d’Ivoire, he obtained a Bachelor of Science in International Finance from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
This interview was originally published in African Power & Energy Elites 2021.
WHAT INDUSTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE POWER AND ENERGY SECTOR ARE YOU LOOKING AT FOR INSPIRATION?
Today, I draw a lot of inspiration from the sports industry. I played football a lot as a child and currently, I play a lot of golf. I’m particularly interested in sports where you must work as a team to be successful. I love the industry because of the way it’s set up. Every weekend, whether its football, soccer or other sports that operate as seasons, you are able to see your performance on a weekly basis and quickly reflect on what needs to change or what new strategies to adopt.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH UNCERTAINTY AS A LEADER IN A TIME WHERE LEADERSHIP IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER?
2020 has been an unusual year and one that has been a year of learning, of discovery and of thriving or surviving in uncertainty depending on one’s circumstances. As a leader, the first step during uncertain times is to actively listen with intent and purpose and get closer to the team as much as possible. Next, you have to communicate more, possibly as much as twice or thrice the regular frequency and using several media from informal check-ins to planned meetings. This will also help you keep your finger on the pulse of the team.
You also have to be transparent in your communication and be open about what you do or don’t know. Lastly, you have to be vulnerable. You are sharing the same feelings and emotions that they are experiencing but in addition, you also have to be the face of positivity and optimism because that is part of the leader’s job.