Meet Leanne Kemp, a female tech CEO proving that “the future is female”

Did you know that roughly 4 in 10 women continue to experience gender bias, sexual harassment, and unequal pay in the professional sphere?

That despite creating huge strides towards gender equality, modern women still face gender discrimination in the workplace every single day?

Moreover, there is barely any women representation in leadership positions. Statistics show that across various industries, fewer than 50% women hold managerial positions or higher.

So it comes as a surprise when you encounter a woman who not only creates industry headlines, but breaks barriers, too.

Leanne Kemp is doing both. With only 20% of women holding positions in the tech industry, she is the perfect epitome of the sentiment, “the future is female.”

I don’t know about you, but I think we need to hear more about women like her.

So how exactly is this Australian “serial entrepreneur” changing the world?

Let’s get to know a little bit more about her.

1. She is the CEO and founder of Everledger, a startup using blockchain technology to verify the diamond industry.

Have you ever heard of blockchain?

Well, it’s time you familiarize yourself with it now. In layman’s terms, blockchain is a decentralized system of ledgers in the form of blocks, tied together and distributed among its users. Once you log anything in these ledgers, you can no longer change the information.

The keyword there is “decentralized.” This means that blockchain does not rely on any external authority for verification and validation.

Leanne is applying this same technology to build an efficient and reliable system to hold out records for the diamond industry. Everledger provides a clear audit trail not only for authentication, but also to prevent theft, fraud, and trafficking.

And she’s moving on to apply it for any type of goods that hold value such as wine, art and luxury goods.

Currently, Everledger holds the records for approximately 1 million diamonds. Last year, the startup managed to raise a whopping $10 million in funding. It is now worth more than $50 million and houses more than 70 staff across the world.

2. She is an authority figure in the tech industry.

In a male-dominated industry, Leanne Kemp not only flourishes – she leads.

Currently, the Queensland native is seated as the state’s newest, and first female, Chief Entrepreneur.

And when is she is not inspiring Queensland’s young and aspiring business owners, she also sits in authority tech and financial boards across the world.

Leanne is a board member for the IBM Blockchain Board of Advisors, the World Trade Board, and the World Economic Forum’s blockchain council.

With those credentials, it’s hard to imagine someone mansplaining her.

3. She walks the talk.

Leanne didn’t reach all this worldwide renown and success by doing nothing. She worked hard for it – through blood, sweat and tears. It’s something we can all relate to.

Like many of us, she went through hurdles, gone broke, and even had to use her family home’s garage as her first office.

Sounds familiar, right?

Leanne recalls these trying times, saying”

“No one would ever give me a ‘real job’ because I think about things differently. I ask the question ‘why’ rather than ‘what’ or ‘how’ first.

“When I was starting my first business, the only thing that was afforded to me was borrowing some money off my Dad’s credit card and moving the car out of our garage which became my first office.”

So if you’re feeling hopeless about your current career track, know that this millionaire CEO started just the same way you did.

4. She wants to instill values for entrepreneurship to the youth.

Leanne takes her position as Chief Entrepreneur of Queensland seriously.

These days, with many millennials growing up with feelings of entitlement, she wants to instill values for hard work when it comes to innovation:

“When Dad won’t lend you any more money, you have to make it work.

“That’s an important set of learnings that we should instill in our entrepreneurs and founders. That the run to revenue, the proof in the market, the ability to field the product fast and iterate with customer centricity, all of this should not be lost in the spoils that have been created in today’s working environments.”

5. She understands that it’s important to have a good work-life balance.

Our society shows a rather one-sided impression about female CEOs. In movies, they are portrayed as cut-throat, ambitious, and are willing to sacrifice personal life for career advancement.

But that’s not always the case. And it’s definitely not how Leanne lives her life.

In a charming and candid interview with the Financial Times, Leanne gives us a look at how she likes to spend her time outside of work.

When she’s not coming up with ideas for modern innovation, she’s spending time with family and friends in her hometown of Brisbane, where a gorgeous six-acre estate is waiting for her.

“This is an oasis for me. I get to regenerate all the cells in my body and detox in this beautiful environment. It really is something special.

“The property here is all run on solar energy and is fully sustainable. If you sit out here this is God’s country.”

For her, this place is a haven compared to the “vileness” of her big city life in London, United Kingdom.

So what’s next for this barrier-breaking female CEO?

Right now, Leanne is busy with her duties as CEO of Everledger, as well as her responsibilities as Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and her positions at various authority boards.

What’s next for her?

Apart from inspiring women all over the world to succeed in the future, Kemp is keynote speaking at Emergence 2019. Emergence is a conference hosted by Wholesale Investor and runs in Brisbane from 25-26 February and in Sydney from 28 February-1 March, 2019.

It’s Australasia’s flagship conference for investment and capital raising and is attended by world leading investors, professional bodies, entrepreneurs and other participants in the emerging technology and innovation ecosystem.

Wholesale Investor were good enough to provide Ideapod community members with a range of discounts as well as free entry to the conference if you’re in Brisbane or Sydney. Click the links below and the discount code will be automatically applied:

Notable replies

  1. Fascinating to learn about Leanne Kemp. She seems to have really struck a balance between thinking big and keeping pretty grounded in her life. If I was in Sydney or Brisbane I would definitely be checking out Emergence 2019.

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