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

Time Auction
4 min readMar 20, 2019


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.

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.

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.

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!



Time Auction

Time Auction is a charity that advocates volunteerism. We encourage volunteering with inspiring experiences, while connecting skilled-volunteers with NGOs.