Advice from a CEO whisperer — Dinner with Lale Kesebi, TED speaker and CEO advisor

1lsbBFRyC8ncaz6QR4tXp A scaled
Dinner with Lale has raised 127 volunteer hours

Sometimes the most meaningful and inspiring conversations happen over casual meals. The Time Auction Blog is a snippet of our meetings with people who have found passion in their life and career, where we get a glimpse into their mentality behind their ventures.

Many of us expect CEOs to be masters at problem solving and strategizing for their businesses. But when problems become too hard or the situation too bleak for even them, who can they turn to for advice? Enter Lale Kesebi, professional TED speaker and CEO whisperer.

With over 2 decades of experience under her belt, Lale has worked in over 40 countries and with top-level management in various organizations (including Li & Fung, the world’s largest supply chain management company) to drive organizational transformation. She now uses this valuable insight and experience to advise CEOs in their time of need.

In addition to giving advice to CEOs and doing TED talks, she’s also on the board of The Women’s Foundation and as trustee of the Asian University for Women.

Over dinner, Lale shared some of the advice she gives CEOs and talked about the key events that brought her where she is today.

Is there a habit that has improved your life greatly?

Sleeping 7–8 hours and eating breakfast. I think the craziest thing about Hong Kong people is the amount of sleep they get: 5–6 hours is not enough. I guess that’s why everyone sleeps on the MTR. I believe in prioritizing sleeping a bit more.

Although I do sleep 7–8 hours, it does mean I will be able concentrate more and be far more efficient when I am working in the day.

15UAv2d609TiCW2Ui6eb1pQ scaled
1jeim5bNnkfpZDFZkibPHkw scaled

Is there any advice you have for college students who are heading into society?

Ignore anything that runs counter to your personal values. Be it your values integrity, trust, honesty or helping other people.

If a choice appears that runs against these values, it isn’t a choice at all.

Never be untrue or unkind to yourself, stand by your principles.

What has been the hardest life lesson for you to learn?


You might not believe it, but I was a very impatient person in my youth. Perhaps it was the energy I once had; it made me want to make things happen right away. But my children taught me patience and being able to learn patience was a huge gift to my life.

1EpQguDyrRmn8DYTDxFBTGA scaled
1D3UFmB3s319Dx q4WLV9Rg scaled
1 G3woWFThnKZR6Cr8 tKbg scaled
1q6wtwb1bOqGnbgNIvSJR5A scaled
1EpQguDyrRmn8DYTDxFBTGA scaled

What is one action you want everyone here to take away?

Go change the world. And don’t wait for five years later, a year later or even tomorrow.

Go out now and change the world.

You are all beautiful, competent, talented and compassionate people. Go out there unleash your gift and don’t wait ‘til tomorrow to do it and make this world a better place.

12Hc9uyqcYuwFx9bcvSilqQ scaled

Thank you Lale for donating dinner and raising 127 volunteer hours to Food Angel, ImpactHK and more!

These awesome photos are brought to you by Steve Hung from Kachick and hats off to The Hive Studios for the wonderful venue.

For more amazing opportunities, visit Time Auction to volunteer and meet inspiring mentors!

This article originally appeared on our blog on Medium:

Updated on 8 April, 2021
Share on

Volunteer Your Skills for Worthy Causes

Ever thought you could volunteer with your skills?

Discover volunteer projects where you can use your skills to support causes – all while building your resume, gaining references and making a difference!
Discover Projects