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An interview with Jeton Sadiku on Achieving Balance with Personal Endeavors and Professional Work



Jeton Sadiku

With more than 20 years of experience, Jeton Sadiku of London, England, has made a name for himself in the steel trading industry. Throughout his career, he has gained the confidence to negotiate with clients, senior managers, and directors from all over the world and to perform many international business transactions.

Jeton Sadiku attended the University of Westminster, England, where he earned a BA in Business Management.

Working for Bel & Steel Ltd., Jeton Sadiku began his career as a senior steel trader. He was also responsible for steel sales for the Belon Group, Novosibirsk and introduced a new customer supply base for the company. Since 2001, Sadiku has worked for the Core Group of Companies, acting as the global head of steel trading, managing volumes of two million tonnes per year with annual sales of $800 million USD.

When he isn’t working, Jeton Sadiku enjoys skiing and listening to music. He also appreciates good food and wine.

Why did you decide to create your own business?

Immediately after I graduated from university, I got into the steel industry. After working in the industry for so many years, gaining a lot of knowledge, and building so many connections from all over the world, opening my own trading house was the natural next step. It has allowed me the autonomy to conduct operations as I see fit and to test my leadership abilities. While it wasn’t an easy decision to go out on my own, I knew it was the only way for me to continue to progress in my career.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

A lot of my regular customers have been with me for the past 25 years. I have built such strong connections with them and they are loyal. Over time, you learn more about their businesses and families and really become a part of them, which is really powerful. Essentially, these are customers for life. Being able to build those sustainable connections with others is something I really enjoy.

What does a typical day consist of for you?

My day starts as early as 5 a.m. I make sure I go for a run every morning to get me set for the day. I’m at my desk by 6:30 a.m. My mornings in the office typically start with calls with Asia and the Middle East and around lunchtime my focus shifts to South America. My workday doesn’t usually end until after 7 p.m., but at a certain point in the evening, I make it a point to switch off to eat a healthy meal, enjoy some wine, and listen to some music. I also like to make sure I enjoy some time with my family, even on the busiest days. While it might be hard to do so, it is important to achieve balance in life.

What keeps you motivated?

The people on my team keep me motivated to achieve our goals. My team is loyal and they work hard and are very committed to our mission. There is an old saying that you’re only as strong as the people around you and it’s very true.

How do you motivate others?

I work hard to lead my team by example, expressing complete loyalty and rewarding successes. It helps everyone stay focused.

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

Like any other business, we started small. Luckily a lot of contacts that I have built throughout my career have stuck by me, no matter where I’m working. While it was challenging, we built it up and I’m so proud that the company is now at a point where I always hoped it would be. We are recognized worldwide and well-respected.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My parents and my family inspire me to do the best I can. I love making them proud.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

One person that I have always looked up to is Winston Churchill. Even when the odds were stacked against him, he never gave up. Persistence, dedication, and hard work are values that I can get behind.

How do you maintain a solid work-life balance?

I think that achieving a good work-life balance is difficult for any professional. I myself work seven days a week usually, but I do take time out during the summer to spend time sailing with my wife and our children.

What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?

Where others might see situations that are impossible to overcome, I see opportunities to create and grow. My team members recognize this and support my vision. That shows me that I am an effective leader.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

It might sound cheesy or obvious, but never give up. While some situations might seem difficult, it is important to keep going.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

The great recession of 2008 was a difficult time. Like many other businesses, we reinvented ourselves and essentially had to start over. While it took time, we came out the other side.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

It is important to believe that anything is possible and it is also important to take risks.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

I am very proud to be recognized as a leader by peers in the steel trading industry.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

Keep your circle small and always choose your friends wisely. It’s more important to have a small group of friends that you trust rather than being really popular without necessarily having any true friends that you know have your back through thick and thin.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

My family and my close friends. It means a lot to me to be able to show them my loyalty.

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