The founder and CEO at Event Protect is a seasoned entrepreneur who admires people for their kindness, integrity and passion. Raised by a single mother, James says family is the most important thing in his life and drives him to work hard. During his rare spare time, James like to relax with family and friends or hit the gym. Here, he reflects on his favorite place to visit, a random song he loves and how INTIX is a community of great people and hugs.
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Whom do you admire most and why?
My mother. She raised me, my brother and my sister as a single parent, which in itself is an incredible task. She provided for us all and gave us as much support as possible. I have big respect for that.
What is the quality you most like in a person?
I like people who are very kind and want to help others for no reason other than to make their life better.
What is the quality you most like in a colleague?
Integrity. Someone with a strong moral compass who looks to do the right thing regardless of the situation and doesn’t just do it when everyone is watching.
What qualities are important to you in a leader?
Leaders whom I’ve respected have always been people who not only have a love for their colleagues, but also are incredibly passionate about their business, their clients, their customers and what they are looking to achieve. If you are going to inspire others to do something, you also need to be very passionate and clear about your vision.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My family. As you can gather, I’m very family oriented. They drive me to work as hard as I do, [and] my dream is to give them the best life they deserve.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The journey that I’ve created for myself. This is the fourth company I’ve founded, and I love the industries I’ve entered. Every business has been a different challenge, so it has taught me an incredible amount about not only the business world, but also about developing as a person. The great thing about the ticketing industry and insurance is being able to help those who have had bad luck get through their circumstance as quickly and easily as possible. When I can do this for the entire world, that will be my greatest achievement.
Where would you most like to live?
If I had to change where I am now, I’d probably move somewhere like Vietnam. I really like Southeast Asia. I like the culture and the people. It’s a bit more of a relaxed pace of life, but you can see things moving forward quite nicely.
What do you value most in your friends?
Probably similar to some of the aspects I’ve described already. My friends are incredibly supportive people, and I feel incredibly lucky to have a group of people who care about each other so much.
What’s the best live event you’ve ever seen and why?
It has to be a music festival. The best one was probably Ultra Music Festival in 2013 where I saw the “farewell” performance by Swedish House Mafia before they split as a group, even though they did just reunite for a performance at the same festival a few months ago. The whole audience was going crazy for a good hour and the atmosphere was once in a lifetime!
What is your favorite song?
“Sunshine” by Gabrielle. It’s a bit surprising, as it’s kind of a random song, but it has its deep meaning to me.
What is your favorite place to visit or place you’d love to visit and why?
I often go to Ljubljana, Slovenia. It feels quite homey and is really pretty in terms of architecture. It’s a more relaxed pace of life, like a haven in Europe, really. If you ever get chance to go somewhere different, I’d highly recommend it. It’s like a hidden gem.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
To listen more, talk less, spend more time watching and take my own advice.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I try to relax, even though I don’t get too much spare time. I work and travel a lot. Last year, I traveled for 250 days, so time for me is a precious commodity. I also like seeing my family and friends and get to the gym when I can.
If you were granted three wishes today, what would they be?
The first would be to see my late grandmother again. She was always a very special person to me and had a big influence on my life. The second would be to give my family their dream life and the third, maybe to find someone special.
Why are you a member of INTIX?
I became a member of INTIX when I was working at AudienceView. Jeff Koets told me about it. I think it’s great for the industry, and I’ve been to most of the conferences, but what I like about INTIX is that the people are much more of a community than others. It’s less salesy, more about people getting to know each other. Plus, there are plenty of hugs all around, as most people there I’ve been working with for years.
Who is your mentor?
My mentor is my main investor. He’s someone who is very supportive of me and who pushes me hard, forcing me to challenge how I naturally think about things and to think about situations in a different way. He’s a great individual.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m probably most inspired by people and their achievements. I’m inspired by people at a global leadership level like Elon Musk, as he’s someone who has faced huge adversity. People thought he had crazy ideas, yet he’s done it. He’s living his dream. Even with all the doubters and naysayers, he throws everything he’s got into what he believes in and takes that risk.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the freedom that I’ve created through it, and every minute I know it’s what I want to do. You’re talking about a product that you’re passionate about to people all over the world with whom you end up becoming friends, so it becomes quite an enjoyable experience. Also, people generally don’t see insurance as a necessity, but when you see a client hit by a cancellation and in a sticky situation, it’s an amazing feeling being able to take it off their hands and help.
What do you love most about our industry?
That it’s a people industry. People who come into the ticketing industry tend to stay. Every event feels like a reunion of old friends, and everyone is always so welcoming to new faces. It’s never a chore meeting such great people.