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The Hands-On Guru Who Makes Things Happen – Ginny

July 8, 2022

Today, we caught up with the inspiring Ginny Eckblad, Business Development (BD) Head of Financial Services and Future of Work who is always looking for new opportunities that add value to our stakeholders.  

Behind Ginny’s endless fun facts and intellectual jokes is an entrepreneur who is always ready to roll up her sleeves to positively impact all those around her.  So, who is Ginny really and what does she like to do outside of work?  Clue: She loves putting together a type of book that closely binds her family.

Read on to find out!

What excites you about Affinidi?

The most exciting part is enabling Affinidi’s technology in employment and financial services vertical as we support people during critical, key, and sometimes life-changing stages of their lives. Currently, I’m focused on growing the opportunities in employment for consumers.  When people find the right gainful employment, they get more fulfilment in their work and have access to financial services that can impact their lives positively.  

What’s the most fulfilling project you’ve worked on?

I joined Affinidi about six months ago. Immediately after joining, we participated in the 2021 Singapore Fintech Festival, where we showcased a new Web 3.0 wallet with edge technology. This was very exciting because participants who successfully completed a Web 3.0 course could obtain proof of their learning with a Verifiable Credential, which is portable, interoperable, tamper-proof, and authentic. I was able to draw on my previous experience in marketing, product, and business development to create awareness for Affinidi and our technology, and generate leads. It was fulfilling to be able to contribute from Day One.  

Awesome! So, what’s the best part about being the Head of Business Development?

There are so many good things about business development! Firstly, it’s a very creative and an expansive role. It’s a Venn-diagram of customers, markets, relationships, product, and technology. We get to create opportunities that may have otherwise been undiscovered, using cutting edge technology, pushing boundaries, and bringing benefits.

It’s exciting being at Affinidi because of our mission – to enable individuals and organisations to have ownership and control of their own data to unlock opportunities.  As Head of BD, my impact can be very big in the segment that we’re looking at, as well as the team culture, promoting high performance teams for example. And the Finnovate squad – it's one of the best squads to work in! Of course, I know I might be a tiny bit biased here.  

Also, having a sovereign fund backing takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. I have the freedom to explore the verticals and businesses that will have the greatest impact in the future. I know how critical funding is because I used to be a startup founder, who was constantly thinking of how-to best use our funding to grow the business, attract and retain talent, generate revenue, etc. And to do all of these during the Covid pandemic amidst lockdowns!  

At Affinidi, I have the best of both worlds where we can explore new opportunities, grow businesses with strong financial support and a high performing team.  

And the misunderstood part?

Most people think BD is Sales.  

Business development is about finding a match between product, solution, services, and a segment in the market and creating value in a sustainable way. It’s finding win-win solutions for everyone. There’s also the misconception that BD is all about wining and dining with clients.  

So, what sparked your interest in identity technology in the first place?

I didn’t really see it as an isolated identity technology, rather as a more encompassing Web 3.0. Many people tend to see Web 3.0 only as blockchains, NFTs, and cryptocurrency; there’s more to Web 3.0.

Web 2.0 brought us many benefits that are so ubiquitous and integrated into our lives – the variety of media, beautiful sites, ease of use, connectivity to the internet from our mobile phones anytime, anywhere.  But it’s also “broken” in many ways such as sucking the attention of customers, manipulating data, lack of privacy, being walled gardens for example.  

Web 3.0 is the cumulative result of what we would also like to have such as privacy, security, data control and ownership to access the same kinds of or better services and benefits. Remember when we had to show proof of age to enter a bar or a club?  What if I could show that I’m over 18 years old, without showing my identity card which gives more information than I need to, like my exact birthday, race, religion, gender, blood type and even my exact address? Today, with Affinidi’s technology, one can show proof of vaccination without revealing any of our personal data when boarding a flight.

It takes a certain dose of courage, audacity, and optimism to believe we can build a better world for ourselves, our children, and for generations to come. Affinidi has this big audacious goal to empower each of us to own, protect and share data and digital assets - to a billion people. I'm up for it!

In your opinion, what’s the one thing that everyone should know about data ownership?

Having access to your own data is like having access to the internet or health care.  If we think we can really park our data with another entity and believe that everything will be ok, we should also think about having plan B. What if there was a glitch in the system and we got our accounts and access to our data cut off?

Having access to our data means we have the control and flexibility to use it the way we want. Knowing the power of this data ownership can bring more people into the fold of decentralised identity.  

People may think that it can be tedious to have control over their data, and hence, may not even want it.  I mean, who wants to do more work, right?  But what if there is no additional effort to own your data?  What if you owned all your data and platforms now have to log in to you? Can this be a game-changer?

These are some of the questions that we should start thinking about as a society.  

Moving on to some personal questions now. Name a person you feel inspired by and why.

My Godmother inspires me. She is 70+ years old, looks 50, and has the energy of a 30-year-old. She is optimistic, kind, generous and fun-loving. She has done a ton of memorable things in her life like climbing Mount Kinabalu thrice in platform shoes as she won’t be able to reach the tow ropes to reach the peak without height enhancement. She won’t let anything deter here and will find all sorts of ways to make things happen. She is running her travel business even in the most difficult times like when Covid struck. As soon as the borders opened, she arranged a trip for a football club of 80 people to Europe. I really look up to her though she is shorter than me! 😊

Wow! And if there’s one thing that people don’t know about you, it would be...?

Lots (laughs). I’m a very private person. I take a long time to open up. I also don’t really like people touching my stuff and putting them back in the wrong place. I like having my own space. I’m also one of those people who can go to the movies by myself.

What’s your favourite activity outside of work?

Cooking & baking! We cook most meals at home because I think home-cooked meals will help my children remember home better. I’m also putting together a cookbook with family recipes from our travels. I’m optimistic that my kids can rely on the family cookbook when they go off to college and perhaps think of the family from time to time.  

Editor’s Note: This is the answer to the question we asked right at the beginning.

Your wish for a superpower would be...

The gift of speaking many languages.  Having this superpower means I can chat with many cultures and communities and build bridges among people.  

Written by
Team Affinidi

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