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Lessons In Leadership: Interview with CEO Global Network Member Robyn Armstrong, Vice President, Armstrong Fine Art Services

August 16th, 2017

Armstrong Fine Art Services is part of the Armstrong Group of Companies. Armstrong Fine Art Services offers a complete suite of professional transportation and logistic support services designed to meet or exceed the highest museum and gallery standards. They have been packing, crating, storing and shipping fine art, antiques and antiquities across Canada and around the world for over 40 years. 

Are there any unique challenges involved with (a woman) running a division of a successful family business?

Firstly, I changed the question! I work in an industry that has historically been dominated by men, and so I believe this is an opportunity for me. Most of the major challenges involved in running a family business have been eliminated for me since I work closely with non-family employees and have little business interaction with my Dad. However; it is always challenging to follow in the footsteps of a successful leader/owner.

What is the #1 question you would ask someone you were considering for a leadership position?

There is no single question that would serve as an indicator for a leadership position!

If I had to pick just one it would be:
“What changes would you make to the organization and why?”

Other questions would include:
“Are you versatile and prepared to execute changes?”
“Do you have a sense of urgency?”

What is one characteristic that you think every leader should possess? 

Direction. A leader needs to have a vision and take calculated risks to execute on their vision.

Great leaders should also be good listeners, have the ability to prospect, and possess time management skills. 

What is the one biggest mistake you think a leader can make?

Not understanding the emotional wake they leave behind.

What is the greatest leadership challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

I can be hard on people who don’t meet my expectations and standards. I’m overcoming this by working with CEO Global Network and becoming more aware of my personality characteristics.

What advice would you give to someone undertaking a leadership position for the first time?

  • Join CEO Global Network
  • Work closely with a mentor
  • Read leadership books (especially in the beginning)
  • Observe other successful leaders and adopt some of their techniques that fit your personality

Can you name someone who has had significant impact on you as a leader? How did this person impact your ability to lead others?

Rod Speers. He impacts me positively because of his ability to get things done through the people around him. Rod is well liked by all, savvy, and has operated successful companies based on his great “people skills.”

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David Garton

A senior global executive; David comes to CEO Global Network with extensive general management and board leadership experience in banking, logistics, and the not-for-profit sector. David’s impressive career has seen him lead businesses in Canada, the United States and Asia Pacific, as well as heading worldwide strategic planning and organizational development for Brink’s, Incorporated, the […] Learn more.

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As a Member of CEO Global Network, I am exposed to a “brain trust” beyond that of myself and my management team alone. Because of this, I am able to look at challenges from multiple angles that would likely not have been considered prior to being a Member. Dale Armstrong – CEO, Armstrong International Movers

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