Self-Taught and Ever-Learning
Everledger CEO and Founder Leanne Kemp on running an organization with purpose
Image by Mark Lehn
By Rebecca Lubecki01/02/2020
Throughout the past 20 years, Leanne Kemp, CEO and founder of Everledger, has built her career by being a self-taught engineer. Her background consists of mostly working around accounting software systems and enterprise-level grade systems. Kemp says one thing led to another and her “patchwork quilt of experience” brought her to a jewelry business in 2007. From there, an idea transformed over time to provide technology that brings together supply chains, traceability and transparency.
“It was all of those experiences within my career I was able to combine together and enable the idea of Everledger to be born,” Kemp says. “How do we enable the traceability of objects from a source of its mine through to the retail network?”
Today, Everledger (everledger.io) is an independent technology company that helps businesses discover asset information with secure technologies such as blockchain, AI and the Internet of Things. The idea is to provide clarity and confidence in marketplaces where transparency is imperative. The solutions offered by Everledger's team of 90 employees in five countries help combat the issues of blood diamonds or counterfeit wines.
Career in Transition
With this idea, essentially, diamonds became the transition of Kemp’s career. “I studied commerce and accounting, so I have a background when it comes to ledger enablement and I could see the transition that technology was making to supply chains in the world and decided to apply it to one of the most precious commodities or precious objects on the planet.”
Kemp attributes much of what Everledger is today, not to a single moment, but to the various experiences her background has brought her over the years. “Encompassing someone’s life journey doesn’t exist in single pages that are printed. It’s clear that life evolves in chapters and so do companies.” In other words, it’s simply Kemp’s accumulating knowledge that helped create Everledger.
“I wish there was a standout moment, a lightning bolt factor that enabled me to wake up one morning with this magical idea, but like anything, it’s not about overnight success.”
Diversity in Leadership
Kemp has a strong belief that diversity demonstrates a company’s willingness to value people for themselves. “If that’s who I am as a person, how I’m built and my strong belief system is in diversity, then it becomes a reflective nature of the collective,” she says. “So, as an organization, these things are very important to everyone who joins the company. It’s not necessarily maintaining a mentality. It’s who we are as people.”
Making Forbes’ List for both Europe and the World’s Top 50 Women in Tech 2018, Kemp says she’s often asked why it’s important to her to engage with more women in tech. However, she adds that it’s not a matter of sitting down and saying she must seek out more women. It’s about engaging people that are purposed, driven and have certain talents.
“We have huge diversity both culturally and within gender roles, including our leadership,” Kemp says. “Women are attracted to the organization because we can point to many executives within the company because they’re truly an example of who they are. They’re the most amplified version of themselves with their role at Everledger.”
Rebecca Lubecki is an associate editor for IBM Systems magazine.
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