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7 Questions with Omar Todd
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7 Questions with Omar Todd
Name: Omar Todd
Current title: Chief Information Officer
Current organisation: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Sea Shepherd Chief Information Officer (CIO), Director of Sea Shepherd UK, Certified Cyber Risk Officer (CCRO) & Special Advisor to Captain Paul Watson
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Getting the Board to take cyber security seriously, to be proactive rather than reactive is the most challenging part.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I met Captain Paul Watson in 2007 at a speech given by Paul. Despite being a committed entrepreneur, I always had a love of our planet and was moved by Captain Paul Watson's talk about the plight of Whales and our Oceans.
Over the next few years I became more involved with Sea Shepherd. Initially donating my skills, eventually I was hired as the Cyber Director (Communications & Social Media Director) by Captain Paul Watson. I served from 2007 to 2012. In 2012 I became the Global Chief Technical Officer/Chief Information Officer (CIO/CTO), in 2019 I also became a Director of Sea Shepherd UK and special advisor to Captain Paul Watson.
While the amazing Sea Shepherd ship crews had an important role, I saw that back on shore the administration, technology and logistics areas were critical parts of the movement. I wanted to work to greatly improve those areas of the organization.
Since joining back in 2007 I have seen Sea Shepherd go from one registered US based NGO with one ship, to now a global movement with many Sea Shepherd country-based NGOs and over 12 ships. In 2019 Sea Shepherd had 28 campaigns around the world and continues to grow.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I have to work with a Australian, European and USA time zones, so I do juggle my time and schedules extensively. I'm known to have very little sleep and to be contacted 24/7.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
To never take your position for granted and to seize any opportunities you can to improve yourself, and the organization and not worry so much of the risk to your position plus communication and networking is always the most important thing in any organization.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
2 Books really, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson and 12 Rules of Life by Jordan Peterson. Both give you some insights how to look at things in a bigger picture and in my case has enabled me to listen more, and think about decisions I make, be more disciplined on my principles and plow through towards goals I think are important no matter who tries to critique because there are always critics.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
You find good passionate people, and enable them and support them and the rest will take care of itself. Leaders will emerge naturally.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
When I started in 2007 in my role, I had to struggle a lot to convince anyone that social media was the future for outreach for our organization. I was sure there were some amused reactions and possibly even laughing behind the scenes who knows, but no one, but me, could anticipate in 10 years we would do almost all our marketing, announcements tout our activities all via social media, along with fundraising. I do not think anyone would be laughing anymore.