“Community, leadership, culture, and education are all critical conversations within the topic of innovation. As A Director of Communications I focus on people and being a voice and bridge for them within the space of innovation. Delivering a powerful brand story requires me to keep up with each action in the company, and make decisions to help define our culture and brand. Being aware of community sentiment and knowing what type of content to deliver and when is essential in this role and I work very closely with our CMO to deliver quality content.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Cherie Aimée, Director of Communications at ShipChain and ranked #6 of the top 100 women in blockchain. ShipChain raised $30MM in private sale and is building a blockchain-based solution to unify the global freight and logistics industry. Cherie’s one simple mission is to impact 1 billion lives through community and innovation. She’s been featured by Forbes, ABC, Thrive Global, and Influencive.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
My story begins 10 years ago, when I flatlined in my husband’s arms. I was at the height of my career as a tech CEO in digital advertising and marketing and had recently launched my tech firm. I was a newlywed with over a decade of experience in tech startups, corporate, and advertising firms. Overnight, on one near-fatal day, I lost it all.
I started my career after graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. I became a self-taught programmer. Eventually, I built a business which allowed me to live in different parts of the United States working for various tech startups. My later work in digital branding and advertising provided me the opportunity to work with Fortune 500 companies and some of the largest corporate brands in the world. Years of experience and learning from the best in my industry inspired me to start my own successful tech company, with a team of twenty.
Fast forward 12 months and life had other plans. I soon found myself fighting for my life due to a near-death tragedy.
I ended up surviving on life-support for five years on a mechanical device, similar to a bionic heart, until I finally received the gift of life through heart transplantation. Ironically, my biggest tragedy also gave me the biggest opportunity to become a walking disruption in the field of medical technology.
I closed down my tech business and focused on recovery. It’s now been three years since my heart transplant.
Creating a thought leadership platform connected me to a network of successful startup entrepreneurs where I was later introduced to the exciting world of the blockchain.
I share all of this with you because I talk quite often about ethics, integrity, culture, and showing up fully in leadership for humanity. For me, this means sharing with you my own personal struggles, what I have overcome, and what made me be who I am today. In a world where the truth is often masked and hidden from plain site, I believe in transparency.
I’m now on the executive team of ShipChain and an integral part of disruptive and innovative conversations, helping to drive humanity and culture forward.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
My work with ShipChain is extremely fascinating for me, as blockchain technology is set to have a massive impact on major industries such as the banking sector and supply chain. These industries are in need of more transparency, security, accountability, and responsibility — the exact benefits the blockchain has to offer.
When most people hear the words supply chain, they probably can’t fully understand what it means, how it relates to them, or why they should care.
I love the example of the lemonade stand supply chain. When you were younger, did you ever want to make money starting a lemonade stand in your neighborhood? I used to do this with my brother and some friends during our family summer getaways in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. First we’d set up our little store front, or retail shop, then we’d create our delicious freshly squeezed lemonade drinks, and sell them to our customers in the neighborhood. Of course, we couldn’t forget our large handmade sign which read, “Lemonade $0.25.”
Sounds simple, but in actuality, there’s a lot more behind the scenes that took place to allow for us to even think about running a successful lemonade stand.
There is the water, which had to be shipped to its original warehouse to be bottled, then packaged, and then delivered to the grocery store. The fresh lemons needed to be picked, shipped from across the seas, sent to a warehouse, and then delivered to the grocery store. The same process occurred for the sugar used for the lemonade recipe, as well as the sign and marker used to finally open the lemonade stand for business.
All of these processes occurring simultaneously every single day, make up this hypothetical and simplified version of the lemonade stand supply chain. Now imagine as a consumer, this process has to take place around the world everyday for every single product you use or consume such as your clothes, makeup, computers, cars, food, and so on.
Freight and supply chain logistics could very well be the oldest and largest industry on the planet. It is a multi-trillion dollar market and the process of moving goods throughout the entire global economy. ShipChain provides a solution which will integrate this severely fragmented industry, help reduce the cargo theft rate already estimated at over $30 billion, and bring more transparency, accountability, and incentivized solutions to help revolutionize the entire ecosystem.
Being apart of ShipChain challenges me and inspires me to think outside the box. I always say innovation and disruption must be in my blood, because I’m always asking myself, how can I bring innovation to every area to this project. How can I expand myself and those around me to create impact on a global scale through brand awareness, storytelling, and cutting-edge conversations.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
For me, that person is Brian D. Evans, CEO/Founder of Influencive, CMO of ShipChain, and Inc. 500 entrepreneur who built the 25th fastest growth marketing and advertising agency in America.
Brian gave me my first opportunity and belief in myself to share my story on a global level through writing. His media publication, Influencive, which reaches over a million readers each month, became the place I could open up and share my wisdom and knowledge with a larger audience. Over 15 years of business experience and personal triumph over adversity now had a place to educate others. Brian continues to be that support reminding me to push through my fears and execute.
He truly cares about people. I see it in his actions everyday. Brian’s humble and non-judgemental demeanor allows those around him to learn from their mistakes and keep going. And for me, in a world where, women in business, can often be dismissed, ignored, or disrespected, it’s nice to have someone in my corner who supports the value I have to offer. Brian and I now work together at ShipChain.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
What excites me the most about blockchain is the conversation, culture, and community growing around it. It tells me that people are coming together to make massive changes to systems in our society which are long outdated and in need of disruption. It’s critical if we want to evolve and move humanity forward.
If I were to name 5 things that excite me the most about the blockchain technology itself:
- Greater access to money around the world. Accessibility is a critical benefit to blockchain technology. It will allow greater access to banking for poorer regions around the world which currently have no access. The world is desperate for solutions to distribute financial wealth amongst those in less technically advanced regions. The time has come to make this happen.
- Increased transparency and tracking. In a world filled with so much corruption, the idea that business transactions can be made more transparent fascinates me. Imagine being able to trace exactly where your food, clothes, or natural resources comes from — or where your shipments are in transit.
- Higher accountability and responsibility. The blockchain forces people to be honest in their actions, knowing certain transaction information will be accessible on a distributed public ledger. People are tired of being told to believe things blindly. With blockchain, there’s an opportunity for the world to see what’s really going on behind the curtain.
- Faster business processing and transactions. Industry processes can be time consuming and inefficient. The blockchain can speed up untimely delays, saving both time and money — the bottom line to any business around the world.
- Bringing power back to the people. It’s exciting to see movement in the blockchain. It means people are tired of being complacent and being told what they can and cannot control — especially when it affects their money and daily lives. The ability for the consumer to make ethical buying choices and brands to ensure they do not perpetuate human rights issues will be critical in our future. Blockchain technology has the opportunity to revolutionize every single industry and humanity is ready for change.
Blockchain technology is changing the way the entire world operates. It’s more than a technology, it’s a movement.
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
Of course, there are always concerns that are raised but I think part of being innovative is knowing there are going to be risks, obstacles, and many trials along the way.
With that in mind, the 5 things that concern me about blockchain, or any other disruptive technology:
- Unethical people in business. There are so many unethical business practices currently plaguing industries, which could definitely use blockchain solutions to provide greater accessibility, transparency, efficiencies, and accountability. Just as with any business, product, or innovation, ethical consideration and practices should be of highest priority as we expand the usage of blockchain technology.
- Mass adoption taking another 5–10 years. Let’s face it, the blockchain is a massive disruption for humanity. Think about when the internet was first being used by the public. No one knew what it was or what to do with it. There were some who thought it was a temporary fad that would disappear and have no relevance to society and yet look at where we are now. The blockchain has hurdles and obstacles still to overcome but at this stage, the technology is here and advancing everyday. It may take another 5–10 years for the world to reach mass adoption, but it’s still faster than ever before in history.
- The technology not being used to help the people who need it most. We must ensure the blockchain continues to grow and focus its intended uses to provide a greater distribution of wealth, especially for poorer regions around the globe. Greed and temptation are traits which still permeate throughout civilization and we must work to oversee that everyone around the world benefits from this innovation.
- The government stalling innovation. What we’re witnessing at this time is governments pushing back and stalling innovation. Any disruptive ideas, thoughts, or products entering an outdated industry is going to create fear of losing control. In the case of blockchain, the disruption will affect just about every industry on the planet. It will take time for government officials, regulators, and businesses to learn the benefits and impact of the blockchain. At ShipChain, we aim to work in partnership to help initiate change.
- Day traders hurting the movement for instant gains. While it’s inspiring to see so many day traders actively moving cryptocurrencies throughout the markets, I encourage everyone to equally support the longer-term projects. These solutions, such as ShipChain’s Track & Trace global solution take time to build, test, adjust the product to market demand, and scale to market. Community education on the power of the blockchain to create global change that can benefit everyone — from large businesses to individual consumers — can help spread awareness to address this issue.
Disruption can occur when we as a people decide enough is enough and take our power back. Let us create a common vision, a common mission for the good of the whole. Let us be a walking example of leadership for humanity.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Community, leadership, culture, and education are all critical conversations within the topic of innovation. As Director of Communications at ShipChain, I focus on people and being a voice and bridge for them within the space of innovation. Delivering a powerful brand story requires me to keep up with each action in the company, and make decisions to help define our culture and brand. Being aware of community sentiment and knowing what type of content to deliver and when is essential in this role and I work very closely with our CMO to deliver quality content.
I travel frequently between LA and NYC and have visited Indonesia, Italy, and London to educate about blockchain technology and the impact it’s going to have on freight and logistics, including the global economy. Later this year I’ll be traveling to Greece to speak at Decentralized 2018. I’m also currently in talks to present in Dubai, Singapore, and Iran.
Recently, I spoke alongside Brown University President, Christina Paxson, keynote by former Chief Marketing Officer of Popsugar, Anna Fieler, at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. I shared how to harness your strengths as a woman in business, to inspire our next generation of female leaders, especially in the field of tech and innovation.
I also do a lot of work with New York/Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, sitting on the Executive Advisory Board of the Board of Directors and being apart of the conversation of breakthroughs in medical innovation.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
There’s the obvious of studying, reading, listening to podcasts, and asking as many questions as you can to learn about blockchain technologies or any subject you aspire to learn more about. I used to stay up until 4am every night for about 6 months just reading every article, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube, and streaming video conferences in the middle of the night from Thailand and other countries around the world. It wasn’t easy but look where I am today within the field blockchain technology. I was passionate and followed through.
If I were to share 3 additional key tips for anyone wanting to emulate my path, these are the most critical.
- Build a personal brand/share your story. Genuine connections, community, and engagement can all be created through vulnerably sharing your story and heart with others. It’s one of the most healing and rewarding acts of courage you can do for yourself and others. Personal branding is a way for you to share who you are and allow others to get to know, like, and trust you.
- Create a world-class network. Surrounding yourself with a high quality network that resonates with who you are is one of the fastest ways to challenge yourself to push past your fears, advance your influence, and serve on a larger platform. Who you know is everything and the saying is true, your network is your net worth.
- Be authentically you and never compromise your core values. As you build your personal brand and world-class network, opportunities are going to start opening up for you on a more frequent basis. Your time will be in a higher demand and your ability to thoroughly bet your surroundings and not lose your sense of self will become critical to your success. Stay true to who you are and continuously assess whether each decision and action you take is aligned with your core values.
Each of these allowed me to create a leadership platform that stands out, connects me to others on a similar global mission, and fulfills my heart and passion to help move humanity forward. If you want to do anything great in the world, you can’t do it alone.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
I get asked a lot who my role models are and it’s always an interesting topic for me. Sure, there are my favorites who inspire me along my path. Oprah Winfrey is a huge inspiration to me, ever since I was little. Grant Cardone, lifted me out of a very bad place after all of my open heart surgeries, and of course Brian D. Evans guided and continues to guide me into the full expression of who I know myself to be today in the world of business.
I’m not like most people. I have very few every day role models and I think part of that is because I do recognize my own light. It’s taken years and a near-death tragedy, but I do finally recognize it in me. Which of course, also allows me to see the light in others. Innovative leadership is a tricky because no one is really doing what you’re doing — which is why it’s innovative.
If I were to have the opportunity to have lunch with one person right now, I would have to say Bozoma Saint John because she just gets it. Her story, her family, the struggles, and the successes as woman of color in business. It’s no small accomplishment and I love how she celebrates all of who she is unapologetically, especially in the world of tech where there are very few female leaders, let alone women of color. And I don’t often bring this conversation up, in fact, I’m realizing that I’ve never brought this topic up before in an interview. Bozoma is that mirror for me to ask to myself, “why not?”
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Originally published at medium.com