Alya Hidayatallah

Cues and Views

Two roles, one leader: CFO/COO Alya Hidayatallah, in brief.

Alya Hidayatallah

Home: Santa Monica, CA.  Age: Old enough.  Birthplace: New York, NY.  Profession: Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.  Alma mater: UCLA (B.A., Business Economics and French Literature); Harvard Business School (Program for Management Development).

Recent recognition: Joined CHIEF, “a private network for the most powerful women in leadership”.  What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Embracing the role of Chief Operating Officer while continuing my role as Chief Financial Officer.  Hobbies: Walking by the beach in the morning, downhill skiing in the afternoon.  Recent travel or adventure: Never enough visits to Paris and London and always room for more cruises.  Recent unique acquisition: A huge whiteboard to track (and definitely color code) all my ongoing projects.

How do you define a perfect friendship? Reciprocal and non-judgmental.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? Collaborative and transparent partnerships which benefit all parties involved.  What is your greatest joy? My daughter.  What is your guilty pleasure? Game shows.  What word or phrase do you use far too often? Life is good.  What is at the top of your bucket list? Running my next marathon.  Would be my first since 2006.  

What three emojis best describe you? 😜❤️💯.

What was your first paying job? Salesperson at The Gap, quickly promoted to youngest assistant manager.  What was your favorite childhood toy or game? Clue.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? Pictures of my daughter and me on various “adventures”.  What’s the best advice you received growing up? Remember that you are the best, and the second best isn’t even close.  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? E-mail, definitely.  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and going into remission in 2017.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Expanding the focus on ESG initiatives.  What message do you want to send out into the world? We are resilient and, with the right outlook, we can, and will, thrive - no matter what life throws our way.  What mega-trend most concerns you? The obsession with social media.

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Up, Down and Sideways: Life is Good.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Laila Taha, a close friend who succumbed to the cruel disease I beat.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? My laptop.  And my whiteboard, of course!  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? Cuddling on the couch with my daughter while we binge watch her favorite Netflix show.  What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? The period during which I was privileged to be with the love of my life.

Personal motto: Carpe diem.  Desired epitaph: She broke through The Bell Jar.

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