31 Aug Lessons in Leadership: Camille Landau, CEO of OmniSparx
“In my view, anyone who asks, ‘why not?’ is an entrepreneur”
Camille Landau, CEO at OmniSparx, grew up in a bi-lingual household. That ability to absorb differences in interpretation and meaning developed a strong entrepreneurial spirit, comfortable around ambiguity, always looking for ways to improve and do things differently.
A highly strategic leader, Camille has a background in marketing, product development and enjoys building enterprise communities, as well as brands.
At OmniSparx, she is leading the charge to build a platform to support authenticated, incentivized collaboration for the Crypto/Blockchain ecosystem. OmniSparx’s products support the direct sharing of information and the forging of productive communication.
A dual French American citizen, educated at Harvard in the U.S. and the London School of Economics in the U.K., Camille runs a global business out of California.
C.O.I.’s Rowena McAllister had the opportunity to chat with Camille and learn more about what drives her, her business and what she views as important leadership traits to inspire others.
Q: As a CEO, how do you truly inspire people to go above and beyond?
A: For me, the two most important things to do to inspire people are to lead by example and secondly, take the time to discover what truly motivates each individual. For many, including myself, it is curiosity, for others it’s the sense of personal challenge and making a difference, money is of course a factor but often not the driver. Once you identify the motivation, then supply the opportunity to bring that to their role.
Q: What would you say are the most important character traits to have to be successful as an entrepreneur and do you think entrepreneurs are born or can you ‘learn’ how to become one?
A: In my view, anyone who asks, “why not?” is an entrepreneur. You do not have to create or invent something huge, incremental change is as important and is by far the most prevalent way that transformation occurs. Even the smallest of changes leads to greater things. An entrepreneur needs to have a creative spark coupled with confidence and/or resilience. Society favors the status quo so the ability to keep pushing change is crucial.
As an entrepreneur, it is vital to be able to empathize as you need to relate to your customers to recognize what could be better or different. Some traits can certainly be learned, others may be difficult to adopt, but everyone I believe has the capacity to be entrepreneurial to some degree.
Q: How has your global perspective helped you develop and grow businesses?
A: Having a global perspective has been deeply influential. My parents spoke different languages when they met (my mother French, father English). Because of this, I have always grown up recognizing that there are differences in meaning, nuance and interpretation in even the simplest of things. I grew up with this ambiguity and complexity.
I spent three years working for the Portuguese government, supporting start-ups that had benefited from their venture program. As Portugal is a small market, these companies thrived by recognizing the limitations of the market volume and instead adopted the entrepreneurial characteristics of learning, moving fast and decisively. I helped them identify the differences between the Portuguese, other European and North American consumer habits, taught them the process of understanding and forming solutions accordingly.
Q: Can you explain what the Crypto/Blockchain ecosystem is and how this will impact transfer of data and business processes in the future?
A: Blockchain technology will change existing business processes. Crypto projects typically use a Distributed Ledger, in which a shared series of transactions that can’t be manipulated or erased. These concepts can be applied to any business where a charge is imposed by a middleman to keep records of transactions. Blockchain is a new way for a business to create a decentralized organization and is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to unleash new ideas as well as new ways to interact as teams. The implications for how we transact business and interact with one another are transformational, in a similar way to how the internet changed everything.
Q: What do you foresee as the biggest challenges to business in the next 5 years and how will successful companies handle these challenges do you think?
A: The greatest challenge in my view is for business leaders to look at their organizations and ask themselves, how would these be different if I had the chance to create them from scratch harnessing blockchain structure and strategies. Some will find great cost efficiencies in utilizing the technology, and it will redefine how they interact with investors and stakeholders.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received in a professional context, and how did it impact your life?
A: I can recall two pieces of advice that have stuck with me through the years. The first; creativity and problem solving are twins, so closely entwined in fact they could be the same thing and can be applied to just about any situation to create value.
The second piece of advice that has influenced me was that strategy is the art of knowing what to do, next. Discovering what critical steps make everything else possible, is often the hardest part but worth being thoughtful about.