S1 Ep 1 Careering with Jayson Williams


Welcome to the first episode of our special Seldon Rosser podcast series called Careering.

In this series we speak with experienced leaders about the unexpected detours in their career journey. Speaking candidly about their experiences, our guest will inspire and motivate, offering advice and suggestions for how to re-route your career when it comes off the rails.

About our guest, Jayson Williams

Jayson Williams is the Asia Head of BD & Marketing for global law firm DLA Piper, based in Hong Kong, where he has lived and worked six years. The past eight years of his résumé show an impressive career trajectory:

  • BD Manager at a boutique law firm in Melbourne
  • Senior BD Manager, Corporate for Clifford Chance
  • Head of BD for Hong Kong’s oldest law firm, Deacons

It looks like a flawless career. But what many people don’t know is before working in BD for law firms, he founded and ran a multi-million dollar business in Australia, managing a workforce of one hundred across many different sectors and industries. He was a self-made man by the age of 35…until it went off the rails. The global financial crisis (and other factors) devastated his business. And within 18 months he had lost or sold on almost everything. How did he get his career back on track? This is his story.


City-of-MelbourneThanks to the City of Melbourne for funding this podcast series through their COVID-19 business grants.


Graham Seldon: [00:00:03]

Welcome to the special Seldon Rosser podcast series called Careering. We’re your hosts, Katie Rosser and Graham Seldon, and we specialize in the recruitment of senior level candidates to professional services.

Katie Rosser: [00:00:16]

In this series, we interview experienced leaders about the unexpected detours in their career journey and dive into how they got back on track. Speaking candidly about their experiences, our guests will inspire and motivate offering advice and suggestions for how to re-re-route your career when it comes off the rails.

Graham Seldon: [00:00:36]

And thanks to the City of Melbourne for funding this podcast series, which is produced by Michelle Le Cornu at Brainbox Marketing.

Graham Seldon: [00:00:47]

Jayson Williams is currently the Asia Head of BD and Marketing for global law firm DLA Piper, based in Hong Kong, where he has lived and worked since moving there six years ago to develop his legal marketing career. The past eight years of his résumé show an impressive career trajectory from BD Manager at a boutique law firm in Melbourne, Senior BD manager, Corporate for Clifford Chance, Head of BD for Hong Kong’s oldest law firm, Deacons. And now his recent appointment, heading up a large team across Asia for DLA Piper. It sounds like a flawless career so far. But what many people don’t know is that before working in BD for law firms, he founded and ran a multi-million dollar business in Australia, managing a workforce of one hundred across many different sectors and industries. He was a self-made man by the age of 35, until it all went horribly wrong. The global financial crisis (and other factors) devastated his business. And within 18 months he had lost or sold on almost everything. How did he get his career back on track? This is his story.

Katie Rosser: [00:02:01]

Welcome to the podcast, Jayson. Thank you so much for joining us.

Jayson Williams: [00:02:05]

Well, hello. It’s nice to be on. Finally, I’ve hit the lights and made it onto your podcast.

Katie Rosser: [00:02:12]

Thanks for that.

Katie Rosser: [00:02:14]

Look, it is great to get the intro there from Graham. It’s obviously been a really interesting career journey, and we’re really grateful that you are going to share that with our listeners and with us today. So could you start off by describing what life was like for you running your business before it all did go wrong?

Jayson Williams: [00:02:33]

Sure. And I suppose I should explain the parts that did go wrong, which were quite life changing for me and there are  many elements that were in there also were incredibly amazing for me as well. I’ll talk a little bit more about what that means as we go through.

Jayson Williams: [00:02:55]

So what was life like? It sounds funny to hear how you said you sort of said that. It was absolutely an incredible experience. I started the business just as me sitting in an office that I’d rented. And I remember it had a snail above the door. I don’t know why the snail was ever above the door, there was a painted snail. I thought, well, this is good. This is going to be my life and this is how it’s going to be. I’m going to take it nice and calm. And it was right on the beach and about two minutes from home. So, I thought great lifestyle.

Jayson Williams: [00:03:33]

Then what actually happened, though, was it grew phenomenally large and in quite a fast timeframe. I started up an export business in grocery and supermarket exporting across, that stage just to Singapore. And it exponentially grew to be exporting across 21 countries. The business expanded into retail in Australia. I ended up being a part of a group, a franchise group, which is called Pet Stock. And I imported a whole lot of product lines from the States, which end up being the first ever launch of natural pet food across Australia, competing with all the big, big players like Nestlé, etc..

Jayson Williams: [00:04:21]

So what was supposed to have been quite a nice, simple working lifestyle back then became very, very large business wise and grew over, I think it’s about 16, 17 years, to be quite substantial.

Jayson Williams: [00:04:39]

It was interesting because my personal life as well, certainly over that time, made a lot of money. And at that stage, especially in the second part of my career, I was quite focused on that thinking, oh, you know, being in business, that’s what it was all about. And my lifestyle was was quite different to what it is now in that, you know, we had country places and, you know, I sort of go into work as I as saw fit. And it was very different.

Jayson Williams: [00:05:13]

So it was. Yeah, it was, tt was a little bit different, as I see here in Hong Kong.

Katie Rosser: [00:05:21]

Absolutely. Very different to picturing you on that beach or the snail above your door.

Jayson Williams: [00:05:25]


Katie Rosser: [00:05:26]

So it sounds like, you know, the ultimate success story is Graham said in the intro, sir. So what happened?

Jayson Williams: [00:05:33]

There’s actually and I thought about this for many, many years, because when it when all this happened, it was quite traumatic for me. It was quite a few things. So the business itself was incredibly strong but then a whole lot of things happened for the business.

Jayson Williams: [00:05:51]

So one thing that happened was called the exchange rate crisis. We, I say we all the time that I was the sole founder and owner of the business, which at that stage was probably a good idea. But I look back now and I think I could have done things a little bit different and had other investors, etc. So the exchange rates literally killed the export business. The export business had my name in it. So I was quite proud and I just kept on pouring money and money. At one stage I was putting in millions almost every month, just propping it up. And I did that for a couple of years.

Jayson Williams: [00:06:32]

Then the import business, which was the pet food, I’d grown that to be it was becoming one of the fastest brands certainly in the pet retail and independent market. The manufacturer said one day. Oh, my goodness. We’re struggling in the US. I think we might take over this market. So, and challenged me on the contracts that we had. And then, of course, that ended up, you know, just going into a big battle with them, all time consuming.

Jayson Williams: [00:07:03]

The other thing, though, which I never realized at this time was I was in I was in a relationship. It was not a good relationship. And I been in it for some time. And that came to an end. And I just felt like at that stage, everything became just too hard for me emotionally. I didn’t have any support. A crack, a crack papoose, so to speak. I was if you know what? I’ve had enough of this. I felt like I was working for everyone except for me. Decided to call it a day and sell down where I could. And I administered one business, which was a good decision. So it was traumatic at that time because at the time, you know, everything so going. But the business that you’re sort of closing, you’ve got my my confidence. I had just I was just totally shot, not only from the relationship, but I was just tired.

Jayson Williams: [00:08:03]

And at that stage, breaking up in a relationship, you also well, you sort of lose some friends as well. So you support friendship group I always thought would be there disappeared. And all of that happened and I was just incredibly alone. And it was a good decision. I had a very long and exciting time in the business. But when it all happened, I was a little bit devastated, thinking what is my self-worth and what can I do? Now, I look back at it, though, and I think it’s potentially one of the best things I could have done. I would have probably done a few things on the business side if I had known about, well, the crisis that hit and the exchange rate, I could have hedged a bit better. But, you know, I wouldn’t be where I am now. So I’m not going to be regretful on that.

Graham Seldon: [00:08:54]

And how did you start to rebuild? I mean, you spoke very honestly there about feeling sort of very alone and very isolated. Your confidence has been knocked. So at what point did you start to make plans for the future? And how did you start your progress back  into the place of work?

Jayson Williams: [00:09:18]

Well, my personal plan was to retire in my 40s. So, when all this happened and I looked at my bank account, my bank account said, you’re not going to be doing this. I’m sorry. But I was lucky enough that I you know, I sort of came out comfortably with it.

Jayson Williams: [00:09:36]

But I realized I had to work again. And I was too young to not work. But because my confidence was quite gone, I was very worried about what that would be. So to put it in perspective, I had one job as a merchant banker. I’d gone to work for an export business after that, which was working for the Consulate of Mexico and Peru. But I was exporting through Asia and Pacific. But then I literally went straight into my own business. So I did it quite young and I was very worried after all this happened about what on earth was I good at? What was my skill set? And could I ever work for anyone again? Because I’d worked for myself and my own business for such a long time.

Jayson Williams: [00:10:28]

So, I decided to, interestingly, I remember sitting down going, okay, what’s what place could I ever work at and actually show everyone that I can work with someone else? Why not local government? Now, I look back at this now and I think why on earth would I have done that?

Jayson Williams: [00:10:50]

But I had an opportunity came up – it was actually through a friend who said he was on leadership at local government in the City of Melbourne, said, look, there’s just a contract on leadership. Would you come in? It was in the events department for the City of Melbourne.

Jayson Williams: [00:11:04]

So I went and did that for around about six, seven months. Had an amazing experience, I’ve got to say, because there were some highs on that. One is a regular paycheck where I didn’t have to worry about paying out one hundred of my staff. That was really nice. But the other thing was I met some amazing people. I met some what you would classify in the old terms as real local council workers, ones that just knew how to move a piece of paper (this is a number of years ago) move a piece of paper from one side of the desk to the other. So I did meet them and I worked for them. But I also met some great, incredible people. In fact, I met one of my best friends who we ended up studying together just recently. And we really did bond. But what I realised was at the end of that, I can if you can work for local council, you can work absolutely for anybody and thrive and prosper. But it was only a short term thing but I don’t know, it just got my confidence back. And it gave me a lot of time to think about what I really wanted to do.

Katie Rosser: [00:12:18]

Fantastic. And we’re going to come back to your career journey from there in just a moment. But before we do, I’d love to just sit back in that moment when you were trying to work out what next? And you’d finished with the business first and just talk about how you felt about your identity and your purpose in that period before you joined the Council. That can be the challenging time when you don’t know what next. How do you feel about that? And how did you handle it?

Jayson Williams: [00:12:43]

Well, I knew it was going to be a challenge. So the first thing I actually did do was put myself out on some recruiters. But back then, I was putting myself onto the recruiters list that were in the FMCG or the export side. They were recruiters I didn’t really know that. My relationship was also involved with a recruiting firm and when that all went apart, that was the firm that I used to do all my recruitment. So I didn’t really have the connections. And I was, very honestly, told by recruiters saying, wow, you know, fantastic. But you’re a business owner and CEO. I can’t see how we can, why would you step into a management position? So I remember just being that’s probably what sparked how I felt. I remember just really worried about what value I could I could bring to anyone. And I didn’t even know what stream I was in. So I was in management. But management? That’s just such a weird, well it’s not really an industry as I was across so many industries. It wasn’t really a job function. Well, it was it was a job function, but it was a very difficult one. I felt that you could just step into.

Jayson Williams: [00:14:01]

So I remember being quite worried. And I remember at that stage just lacking in confidence. I remember saying to some people many times, I don’t know what I’m good at. I really have no idea about where I can actually deliver any value. So if I remember then that was just before I took this Council thing. I remember it very, very strongly, just thinking…I may not be employable. And what on earth does that mean? And that’s why I was looking at my bank account, just going, okay, if I’m not employable. What does it mean?  Do I have to live off what I’ve got for the rest of my life? Do I have to go on Social Security? These are questions. I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine who is CFO of a large law firm. And I did sort of say, do I need to go on to Social Security? How do I do any of this? And he was laughing. Is that why you won’t get on Social Security? But, you know, you won’t have enough financially to live the lifestyle that you were living. So you’ve got to make changes.

Graham Seldon: [00:15:12]

I’m interested to know that because we often say to the candidates who leave a permanent job and, you know, why don’t you try and secure a contract in the first instance? And there is often resistance to getting a contract. People think that it’s not going to be permanent enough and they can’t plan. But it sounds from your experience that that contract actually built rebuilt your confidence. Is that fair to say?

Jayson Williams: [00:15:38]

Without a doubt. I remember very much thinking about, you know, local council and working for someone. But also taking that contract was like a decision for me to sort of help me, really, because I didn’t think twice about a contract. Of course, I wanted, in my mind, I was used to having stability in a role. So that would have been ideal. But yeah, absolutely that contract, And I always knew it was never going to be a long term contract. So I didn’t want it to turn into a permanent role. I knew I wanted to get certain things out of it. And one thing that I wanted to get out of it was to show, perhaps that I then, that I was good. You know, I really wanted to work hard and show my peers and people that, hey, I can jump industry and do something different. Yes. It’s only a contract. But it was also a glamorous contract for me because it was, you know, events department for the City of Melbourne. You know, we had Spring Fashion Week. We had what else was there? I think there was Moomba in there. And, you know, was it was a bit of fun as well. But, yeah, the contract was really important at that stage for me.

Katie Rosser: [00:17:01]

So how did you then go from that contract to where you are now, Director, DLA for Asian, sat there in Hong Kong. So, tell us how that all eventuated.

Jayson Williams: [00:17:13]

So, the day after the contract finished was forty seven or forty eight degrees in Melbourne. And I was in my apartment in St Kilda and it was sweltering and I had a phone call. At this stage it was a surprise phone call and I remember contemplating my navel going, oh, what is what was my navel think? What am I going to do with my life? And now what does this mean?

Jayson Williams: [00:17:42]

But I my fear factor had gone because I think I’d done it. I think I’d done it quite an okay role. I realised I could work for local government and my fear had gone. So I remember not being nervous or worried about that. But I remember I had a bit of excitement by thinking, what am I going to do? Oh, my goodness, where on earth am I going to start? And my phone rang and it was a reputational call. It was basically through a friend of mine who was it was the CFO at a law firm and it was the CMO at that stage of Herbert, Geer & Rundle, which is a mid-tier law firm in Melbourne. And she said, ‘Oh, Jason, my name is Anthea. (Anthea is the most amazing person I’ve ever met). Back then, I also I don’t know who you are, Anthea, but this is an exciting to get. What do you want? As you said, I heard you’re available on the market. We have a Marketing Managers role at the law firm. And would you be interested? I said, oh, absolutely. Yeah, that sounds fantastic. So I remember hanging up and bringing back my friend and saying, how on earth do you market a law firm? And he said, well, I don’t know. I’m the CFO. I don’t think about things like that. You just go in and be yourself. And I said, all right, well, I’m going to be myself. Now, remember, Anthea had said, look, it’s 47 degrees, don’t worry about dressing up. Just, you know, just come in shorts it’s really hot. It’s all fine. I remember not feeling that comfortable so I did put it on a suit and sort of went to impress. That coffee meeting went for almost three hours and involved the Director of HR, the HR Manager, and Anthea, the current CMO and the previous CMO. And afterwards, I reflect on that because I had zero experience in a law firm.

Jayson Williams: [00:19:35]

And I think we all know with law firms, it’s quite often difficult to recruit outside of law firms. Now, normally, partners and partnerships will want someone that can work with a law firm and certainly CMOs business BD and Marketing. You’ve got to be relatively gutsy when you’re taking a bit of a chance on someone outside the industry because you could end up with someone that goes into a law firm and has challenges such as working for a whole lot of different owners in the business.

Jayson Williams: [00:20:03]

Anyway, I think Anthea was quite insightful and afterwards her and the HR Manager at the time who became friends because I worked with them quite closely, said Jayson, we had no idea what you were talking about. Sounded like you knew exactly what you were doing with marketing.

Jayson Williams: [00:20:25]

Certainly from a business perspective, though, you knew what you were talking about. So when it came to the marketing side they say, well, we wanted your experience in business. And this was a bit of a light bulb moment for me, because when I started working in a law firm, I realized without sounding arrogant, I was very comfortable. And I realized I really could add value because everything I look at, I reflect back to what I did in my business. And what would a customer think? What would a client think? And I think that was quite for the law firm, and as I progressed in my career, I think that’s become fairly valuable because many people working in BD and Marketing quite often that is their life. And quite often a lot of people don’t think about what’s the client really after. And so it was quite an interesting moment. I never, ever thought about working in a law firm. And once I got in there, I realized I absolutely loved it and that the things that I had from my business, I could I could bring to that law firm.

Katie Rosser: [00:21:36]

In many ways your story is one of saying yes to opportunities, isn’t it?

Jayson Williams: [00:21:42]

Yeah, it was. And at that stage, too, I had got some of my confidence back. And I remember, you know, I was very comfortable in meetings saying, well, you know, I may not know how a law firms works, but you know what? I know how this should function. And this is my experience. And that sort of resonated with them.

Jayson Williams: [00:22:03]

So I had no I just literally fell into a law firm. What I what I did realize, though, certainly when we’re going into a full service law firm, was I had this I did have skills through the business that I had not realized were transferable. And, you know, certainly I had experience in private equity in Cap Markets, in ECM. I had DCM experience we lent to the business. There was private wealth and tax that I had to handle. There was IP. I was actually involved in a very interesting case where Nestle was trying to sue for the colour purple. And I was a chief I was a witness within that because I had a purple coloured petfood brand. I had technology. And of course, towards the end I had potential litigation because as you’re closing things down, everyone’s doing a scramble for money and employee challenges.

Jayson Williams: [00:22:59]

So I learned that twith my confidence, I learned that I had skills that I could sort of put into to a law firm. Then I think after these things happened, I loved working at this firm. The firm merged with another firm and I realized I was actually up for a bit more of a challenge. I thought I was really wanting to step out of my comfort zone. I think I was confident in what I was doing. And that’s actually when I met you, Katie and Graham, very early on. I remember going into meet Graham and saying, right, I want. I want to go to New York and I want this and I want to do this. And I remember very clearly Graham saying, yes, Jayson, that’s great, but you’re just not ready yet. And that was fantastic advice for me, because I was mentally still, you know, getting through, working for this law firm, developing my reputation again, etcetera. And I think it was I you know, about six or twelve months later that Graham and I spoke and Graham said, Jayson, I’m just phoning to let you know you’re ready. And I said, oh, okay, this is great! What I have to do?

Jayson Williams: [00:24:13]

And so I was very well, I’m going to say I was very lucky because I got an interview with Clifford Chance. I now don’t say that because I can honestly say I’ve worked really hard to get where I am now. So I think, yes, maybe there are some luck elements, but it wasn’t luck that drove this. So Clifford Chance brought me to Hong Kong. I loved Hong Kong, thought I’d be here for one or two years (as many people who come to Hong Kong think you might just be here for a contract). Fell in love with the city. Fell in love with working at Clifford Chance. Then, after a number of years, an opportunity came up as a Head of position. I felt that I was ready for that. So I went to become head of Hong Kong’s oldest, largest law firm, which is Deacons. I was there for a few years. And now DLA Piper actually approached me and and were fantastic. As I said, we can we can see who you are in the market, your reputation and your drive. And basically said ‘we want it’. And I was quite resistant then as well, because I was comfortable at Deacons and I wasn’t out on the look out, to be honest. But yeah, they won me over.

Graham Seldon: [00:25:34]

I’m interested that you used to say that you were lucky and then you realized that you’ve worked very hard. I do remember that time when we first started exploring opportunities with Clifford Chance in Hong Kong. And I also remember there was a quite a gruelling process. I mean, you may have omitted it from your memory, but I think you had something like 16 interviews.

Jayson Williams: [00:25:55]

I think it was 18. It was 18. I have not cut that out of my memory. That’s fundamentally built me.

Graham Seldon: [00:26:03]

What I think is so fascinating about your story is that at the time when I met you, I didn’t really know the back story that you’ve told us today. I mean, obviously, I interviewed you and I got snippets, but you I didn’t really understand the full back story of the success that you’ve had before. I’m interested to know what kept you going through a rigorous interview process for a job which was Senior BD manager, Corporate. So, yes, a responsible job, but nowhere near as responsible as the career you’ve had in the past. What kept you going through 16, 18 rounds of interviews?

Jayson Williams: [00:26:38]

Do you know, I think I think the certainly the contract role at the City of Melbourne gave me confidence that was good. So that that made me realize, yeah, I know what I’m doing. I think the the Herbert Gear role, I mean, the people there were absolutely incredible. So supportive. I think that gave me the hunger for something more. So, I remember I was really determined with Clifford Chance. You know, one of the Magic Circle firms, of course, it was, as someone said to me today, ooh, you’ve had such a blue chip experience. You know, you’ve worked with some great firms as well. So I was actually really quite driven. I have to admit, the 18th interview almost didn’t get the job because of the 18th interview, because I was so exhausted. And I’ve heard this from the global director that I was sitting way back in my chair. I was so tired from meeting all these people and saying similar things. I had met the Head of Litigation because even though I was interviewing for the regional senior role for corporate for Asia Pacific, I still had to be approved by the Head of Litigation, you know, the head of all the other different areas. And so I was sitting apparently I was sitting back and her comments back were I looked very arrogant. So I’ve gone from, I think, being well, in my mind, being fairly humble (and I don’t I definitely never saw myself really as arrogant) but I was just so tired of that almost didn’t get me over the line.

Graham Seldon: [00:28:23]

I remember that.

Jayson Williams: [00:28:24]

And I remember you giving me feedback on my. Oh, my God. And I think you actually went into battle for me saying I’m pretty sure he’s just exhausted.

Jayson Williams: [00:28:35]

And also, you know,  I can’t talk Hong Kong up enough. A Hong Kong or Singapore or an Asia placement. I wasn’t sold on it at all. I think you had to do convincing for me, but I was very –  once I experienced Hong Kong and once I could see what it was about, I really did want it. I wanted to be on the gateway of, you know, at the gateway of China, which is just so interesting, even though it’s been challenging recently it’s still so much incredibly interesting work. And I wanted that. So I think that pushed me through.

Katie Rosser: [00:29:11]

And so, you know, when you were out of work back in that moment, then, is there any way in the world you could have imagined where you are today?

Jayson Williams: [00:29:21]

Well, I can 100 percent say I never would have dreamed I’d be working for a law firm. That’s one thing. I mean, I don’t think I envisaged this at all. But I can just say one thing. I was at some very low moments in my career, then. Losing confidence is is something that’s really difficult. And getting that back is a good thing. But I, also had gone through a very life changing experience where, you know, I had everything I ever dreamt of in terms of assets and finance. But I actually didn’t realize I was actually quite unhappy. And I never dreamt, at the moment, looking out here now I’m looking at the right at the city in Hong Kong. I’ve got the most beautiful office. It’s got an art gallery out the side. I’m engaged to be married. I’ve fallen in love about five years ago. And so, we’re waiting for COVID to lift so I can actually get married. And I’m actually the happiest I have ever been. And I’ve been like this now for a number of years. So if you asked me back then that I would be in this state of mind, I would absolutely say you’re completely bonkers.

Graham Seldon: [00:30:39]

When you had your own business, everything else, there would have been a status attached to that, which a lot of people would say that, you know, owning your own business, earning a lot of money, having houses in the country, all the rest of it is, the absolute idle of where people want to be, of success. Now that you’ve got the chance to compare both both your lives, both your career journeys, which one would you choose?

Jayson Williams: [00:31:08]

There’s no question that I would never choose that life. There were elements of having my own business that I really loved and I’d recommend that to people. When you’ve got that feeling, if you’ve got an entrepreneurial drive,  there elements in there that you get some amazing gratification back on. But when it comes to the you know, to the money side of it, I’m fundamentally changed from from that. I would never, never go and choose that. Money is always gonna be important. I mean, we sit in a I sit in Hong Kong where, you know, money is of course, always important. I sit in an industry, I sit in a business where, you know, all the time I’m looking at the business itself, making sure that we’re generating a long lasting business. So I think it’s always important in that side. But when it came to me personally, I realized, I as long as I’ve got enough and as long as I plan for future, which I am, then I’m more than happy. So I would never I would never opt to go back to that lifestyle.

Jayson Williams: [00:32:16]

The status thing’s interesting Graham because I never thought about it much. You don’t think about it much when you’re in there. Of course when I was closing one of the businesses which had my name in it, the status I was it was linking to me and, oh, my God, what if people thought I was a failure? What if people who didn’t know what was happening just thought, oh, I’m you know, I’m forced to close this or whatever, because if this was a voluntary thing, this wasn’t a forced one. So I think a lot of that then linked to my confidence. So, yeah, I think I learnt a lot back then, especially on the status side.

Katie Rosser: [00:32:58]

A lot of people that we talk to when they’re between roles can sometimes get the sense of feeling a bit embarrassed or feeling like there’s some sort of stigma, particularly when you get more senior and it lasts a little longer. And former colleagues, friends, family are constantly asking also, what are you doing on the job hunt? And what’s happening? So what advice would you give to anybody in that situation right now about how to handle that and those feelings of embarrassment?

Jayson Williams: [00:33:26]

Well, I think I mean, I think  moving into this region, I think I realize things like redundancy is absolutely not the end of the world. Redundancy, and, you know, I think I had that stigma many years ago. Redundancy is generally the business just taking a change of direction. It’s got nothing to do with you as an individual. That’s how I feel now. And I can see that in the marketplace. And then what I realize is that I meet and counsel a lot of people who either go through this process or know a lot of people come to me now saying, how do I get my career on track? How do I do what you’ve done?

Jayson Williams: [00:34:07]

What I realize is that I always look at them and I look at back where I come from is generally, 99% of the time you should be very confident, you shouldn’t lose your confidence in your ability. And also a career change is not a bad thing. So, you know, a lot of people say, oh, you know, I’ve worked and I’ve become this BD person here and and now that’s gone. That means I’ve got to look for another BD position or whatever. I’ve got to look in that building over there. Asia, and the world, is such a big place. You don’t have to stay in that industry. Even you can cross sell out of an industry. And you don’t even need to stay in the country if you if you’re up to it. You know, there are challenges to moving a country that’s a whole other series.

Jayson Williams: [00:34:58]

But I would absolutely say be confident in your ability, look for opportunity, which I think you should always do, and open your mind and go into it. In my mind, go into it as a really positive, exciting experience, because when you’re in it, you might be thinking, oh, my God, my world is tumbling down. Take the experience I’ve just spoken about. You just don’t know what’s around the corner. And the most happiest, best time of your life is literally sitting there.

Jayson Williams: [00:35:32]

That sounds a bit ‘ookey’. That sounds a little bit like, oh, my God, the happiest most amazing life. But seriously, when you’re in it, you don’t think that you can come out of it. And you also don’t think it’s an opportunity. And it is.

Katie Rosser: [00:35:48]

That’s fantastic advice. So what does the future hold for Jayson Williams?

Jayson Williams: [00:35:54]

Okay, well, I joined DLA Piper one week before COVID hit. So, I haven’t met 60 percent of my team across Asia yet. I haven’t met my stakeholders across Asia or around the world. So I’ve got a fair bit of work to do in here, and I am quite excited by that. I have actually just completed my MBA in Entrepreneurship.

Graham Seldon: [00:36:22]

Of course you have!

Jayson Williams: [00:36:23]

Of course. Why not? Absolutely.

Jayson Williams: [00:36:30]

I just realized that I wanted to keep my brain moving on. And I wanted to keep progressing on things. And I really I didn’t have an MBA and I really wanted to. So I did it on a part time basis. I have, as of last week, been accepted into my doctorship. So I’m going to begin study of DBA part time. And I think that’s important because tt’s gonna take a long time, but I’ll be able to apply those skills to whatever the future’s going to hold as well. I think I’m really excited. I’m actually very excited because I joined DLA as well, because it’s been a really difficult time to start. And probably not an ideal time to start. But in saying that, I realize there’s so much opportunity, there’s so much opportunity in this region. And I feel like I’m just starting to knock on the door. I feel like I’m, even after this, you know, six years in Hong Kong, I feel like I’m just starting to really understand what’s making it tick. So I just want to throw myself into this region and just keep pushing this out. It’s going to be exciting.

Katie Rosser: [00:37:46]

It’s such an inspiring story. Thanks so much for sharing all of that Jayson.

Graham Seldon: [00:37:51]

Thank you. We will look forward to being on your coattails for the remainder.

Jayson Williams: [00:37:58]

Thank you. Thanks for having me on. This is a fantastic series. Anyone who is facing a change – just keep looking at it as the opportunity because it’s just so much fun stuff to be had out there.

Graham Seldon: [00:38:16]


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