Confessions from our founder's grand-daughter: "We had a responsibility to contribute to the world"
Helena Wasserman, grand-daughter of our company founder René Wasserman and successful businesswoman, remembers the values instilled to her as a child in an interview for Rebelhead Entrepreneurs at the end of June 2016. Road-opener, Helena is a founding team member herself at Big Data for Humans, an advanced automated customer insights engine that supports travel and retail businesses unearth new customers. Precisely 110 years ago, in 1906, René Wasserman started his business with the development, production and sales of brazing fluxes. In the following years, Castolin Eutectic was formed and began to develop new low temperature and eutectic brazing alloys.
The company was not only revolutionary in terms of its developments, in patents and in manufacturing processes, but also in the technical training of salesmen and customers on the brazing and soldering methods. Castolin Eutectic developed the first non-corrosive aluminium fluxes in the 60’s, the first aluminium pastes in the 70’s and the first nickel pastes in the late 70’s. These products were 15 to 20 years before their time. Having patented over 200 products in its history and still developing new products and processes today, Castolin Eutectic celebrates 110 years of welding, brazing and coating tradition in 2016.
What values were instilled in you as a child?
Helena Wasserman: Growing up we hung out with artists, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, people from all walks of life. We never felt like we belonged to any group at the same time we felt comfortable almost everywhere. My parents also instilled in us that we had a responsibility to contribute to the world, to make it better. And because we never fitted into a group, we grew determined to do things differently. My grandfather, Rene Wasserman, founded Castolin Eutectic, the global leader in welding and metallurgy which was sold to Messer Group in 2000. My father is also a visionary – he founded the Zermatt Summit to harness the power of business for the common good as well as Terolab Surface, one of the first European B corporations. Eager to leave a strong legacy behind me, I also intend to do things differently.
What habits and mindsets have you adopted in light of entrepreneurship?
Helena Wasserman: In terms of habits, two things. I meditate every morning and set intentions for the day. It helps me gain perspective and stay focused. Entrepreneurship is difficult and without a resilient mindset, you will give up. People will tell you you’re doing it wrong and that it won’t work. Your high energy and confidence will be your best allies.
What advice would you give others on the journey of entrepreneurship?
Helena Wasserman: Find out what it is that you want to do, to me that is the hardest part. Find out what makes you tick, what you are the most passionate about. It doesn’t mean it will be the same for the rest of your life but what are you excited about today? Have a clear vision in your head of where you want to go and break it down in milestones. At the end of the day, being an entrepreneur is a lot about persistence. Most people give up along the way. For me it’s also about lateral thinking. Thinking differently about a product, a service, a field. To think differently you need to read a lot, engage in creative activities and hang out with people from different disciplines that think outside the box. My best ideas usually come when I’m attending a concert, walking in the streets or talking to an artist not when I’m sitting at my desk.