In an interview with Insights Success Leticia Latino van – Splunteren shares about her jouney and her contribution as a CEO through Neptuno USA, Corp. Leticia is a recipient of the 2018 Women in IoT award by ConnectedMagazine and has been featured as one of the prominent women in Telecom by TowerXchange, the Wireless Industry Association, NATE and AGL magazine. Besides, she also plays a role of an active member for the SmartCity Council TaskForce, WIA City Networks Task Force and was recently appointed to the FCC Broadband Advisory Committee. She is a mentor with the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) where she helps young women that want to start a career in Telecom. Neptuno, her company, was also a finalist in the 2019 WeInnovate! Program promoted by WBENCCertified Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) to showcase their company’s expertise in areas of innovation that are critical to WBENC’s Corporate Members. In addition, Leticia is a big advocate of nurturing “Human Connections” through her Back2Basics Podcast and through the #Time2Reconnect movement, which she created.
Below are highlights of the interview between Leticia Latino-van Splunteren and Insights Success:
Kindly elaborate your journey in becoming the business leader.
I am a believer that Leadership comes in our DNA, we obviously grow into it during our leadership journey, but the chip has to be there somewhere. From a very young age I was usually trying to lead something, call it the student movement, a fundraiser or a group vacation. As I started my professional career, that was no exception, I was always looking for opportunities to lead an initiative and usually it involved creating something from scratch, that’s what I enjoy the most. After several years in Merrill Lynch and then at Nortel Networks, I decided to join the family business which my father founded in 1972. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that I felt the timing was right to capitalize on the experience I had gained and that I realized Neptuno was a great platform to do just that.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal the target audience?
We had always been very Latin America focus because our largest factory is in Venezuela. Unfortunately, the political situation that the country has been into for the past two decades, have called for a change of focus, both in terms of market and offering. They say that you can have good things as a result of a bad situation, and in our case is true. We were prompted by circumstances to re-invent ourselves as a company. We went from an engineering and steel manufacturing company, to a technology company. We made it our priority to implement technological advances in our industry, and we now have added services such as 3D Reality Capture Site Surveys, IoT Asset Tracking and Smart City related infrastructure to our portfolio. We also started to get involved in artifical intelligence.
What attributes are required to sustain in the cutting-edge competition?
In my opinion Curiosity to never stop exploring, humbleness to never believe that what you have is the best, genuine relationships and Integrity to ensure the Industry’s trust.
What are your intakes on roles of a leader with regards to achieve success?
I know it sounds cliché, but I think Leading by Example is what ensures success. I believe in inspiring by actions rather than words because unfortunately among the many good things that the digital era has brought, it has also brought a lot of unverified information and companies and people portraying to be things that they are not. Social Media personas can be misleading, so I personally take what I read with a grain of salt, I am more attuned with getting to know the person, or even asking about them to get a sense of how the person is perceived by others. I think a true leader has its reputation as its greatest asset.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle the competition in the market?
I usually worry more about what WE are doing than about what others are doing. I think is disrespectful to the customer to fill their heads with depositioning arguments about a competitor. I normally ask questions to address the customer’s pain points and try to differentiate from competitors from that angle. I just provide all the info for thorough analysis; customers are smart enough to make the comparison themselves.
As per your opinion, what roadblocks or challenges are faced by leaders in a corporate business? And what is your advice to overcome them?
I believe that we are focusing too much in growth, we all want to grow so much and when I talk to sales people they usually complain that their quotas are impossible to reach, and every year it gets worse. We need to listen to the market and to the customer, and understand what’s really going on, because at some point or the other bubbles burst.
What will be your future endeavors and/or where do you see yourself in the near future?
We are committed to become a key player in the Smart City movement, not only as an infrastructure provider but also to help create citizen and community awareness about the changes that our infrastructure has to undergo for our cities to transition into this new era.