Hanif Lalani

Cues and Views

Telecom executive Hanif Lalani, in brief.

Hanif Lalani

Home: United Kingdom.  Age: 60.  Birthplace: Uganda.  Profession: Telecommunications; Turnaround specialist.  Title: Telecoms Entrepreneur and Executive.  Alma mater: University of Essex.

Current project: I am currently helping mobile operators around the world deliver affordable data to their customers.  Recent recognition: I’ve been told that what I do changes lives.  Latest accomplishment: Building fibre in Central Asia.  What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? Launching 5G and launching fibre to the home in Central Asia.  Hobbies: I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Leeds United Football Club Fan!  Recent travel or adventure: I have been in various countries across the Asia and Africa for my job which has introduced me to cultures and experiences unlike any I’ve had before.  Last book read: Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek.  Recently viewed and recommended: The TED Talk "The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding" by the basketball coach John Wooden.  Recent unique acquisition: An ancient Fatimid coin.  Little known fact about you?  I’ve visited 100 countries and attended ten World Cup matches.

Personality profile: Determined, decisive, spirited.  What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Jocular.  Moral compass: Does this contribute in a positive way to the world at large?  How do you define a perfect friendship? One which you can pick up right where you left off, even after many years.  How do you define an ideal business relationship? Willing to sacrifice for the long-term gain.  Flight or fight? Fight, for what you believe.  Play or watch?  I enjoy both, but I’d rather play sports than watch them.  What is your greatest joy? Any time spent with my family, whether that be a long vacation somewhere amazing or a quick catch-up over dinner.  What is your greatest fear? Being forced to eat broccoli.  What is your guilty pleasure? Bollywood cinema! The pageantry and glamour of the masala film is unrivalled.  What word or phrase do you use far too often? Making a difference.  What natural talent have you neglected? My ability to play most any sport.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Chief innovation Officer.  What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? A lovely meal out with good company.  What is at the top of your bucket list? Inca Trail.  How do you relieve stress? I find long walks in the evening to be incredibly relaxing.  What is your go-to workout? I admit I don’t make time for exercise as often as I should, but I do stretch every day and I find that helps alleviate the daily stress, aches and pains.  What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Sleep, sun, books.   

What was your first paying job? Accounts consolidation.  What was your favorite college course? The entry level economics course my first year in university.  My professor was passionate about the subject and he inspired me to feel the same.  What was your favorite childhood toy or game? Obviously, football.  Whether watching or playing with my school friends, it’s been an obsession since I was young.  What book have you repeatedly read? Lord of the Rings.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? The Godfather.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? Photos of both me with my family and the people I admired most.  Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Gandhi and Mandela.  What’s the best advice you received growing up? Assimilation when I moved from Uganda to the UK as a child was difficult, but my parents told me to see the challenges as an opportunity to grow, while sport gave me the opportunity where there are no barriers.  What’s the best advice you received in your career? Work hard and deliver results; people will take notice.  What modern technology innovation do you most appreciate? The internet.  What is your favorite app? Pac-Man to Lingo.  What is your go-to source of news and information? The Financial Times.  I’m old school, so I read the print version every morning.  What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? Late at night silence and mellow music.  What company or organization do you most admire? Google.  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? My parents’ flight with my family from the dictatorial regime in Uganda in my childhood.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? 

Disparities in high-speed internet access are widening poverty gaps across the globe.  I am working on a number of projects to correct this.

What change would you like to see in the world? A move toward sustainable business practices.  Efforts to consider our stakeholders (the human race) in our decision-making will not only better the planet, but also strengthen organizations.  What message do you want to send out into the world? The world and the people in it are beautiful.  We must work to protect that beauty.  What widely held belief do you reject? That not all of us can be successful.  Give everyone the same opportunity and watch!  What mega-trend most excites you? 5G technology is going to change the world for the better.  What mega-trend most concerns you? The hyper-polarisation of almost all news media these days. 

What title would you choose for the movie about your life? Puppet Master.  What actor would you choose to play you in the movie about your life? Aamir Khan in a Bollywood film with some singing and dancing.  Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? King George VI.  As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? I dreamed of becoming a football star like King Billy Bremner.  After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? The small box containing family heirlooms that we have had since before our move to the UK.  What advice would you give your younger self? Keep working hard, but stop to smell the roses a little bit, too.  What day in your life would you choose to re-live? A day at Wembley with my father.  What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? Too many to mention! 

Personal mission: Bringing innovation and prosperity to new areas of the globe. Personal motto: You have to work hard to get what you need and work even harder to get what you want.  Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (Gandhi).

Create your own Cues and Views profile here!
Learn more
Other platforms for your story
whats happening now
In-Depth Personal Portraiture
Setting the Record straight