From a successful career in the oil, gas and energy industry, Ross Campbell decided to pursue his passion and fulfil his dream of opening his own gym.
What’s your story?
After studying Neuroscience at university, I found myself strangely in events and media. After cutting my teeth creating CEO-level conferences, I co-founded ‘Oil & Gas Council’, the world’s largest business network of energy executives. We built the company to connect 6,000 executives a year, across 5 continents with 5 offices worldwide. After selling my interests in the company I invested in health, fitness and wellness, opening an MMA and HIIT gym and founding ‘FIT Summit’, Asia’s largest business network for health, fitness and wellness executives/companies.
What excites you most about your industry?
The energy in health, fitness and wellness is unbelievable. Hundreds of brands and entrepreneurs passionate about changing the lives of people – ensuring they are healthier, happier and more able to achieve their goals. The industry in Asia, as a business, is still young but it is moving at an exponential pace and opportunities exist across the region for entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes, across multiple verticals.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I moved to Singapore to expand ‘Oil & Gas Council’ across the APAC region. It was a very successful move and the business continues to thrive here. My roots were planted in Singapore after meeting and marrying my wife Evelyn, who is Singaporean-Chinese and being blessed with our baby daughter Isla. Scotland is still my True North but Singapore is now home.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. Aside from its amazing business landscape, community and close ties to accessing China, the compact nature of its’ CBD mean it is the most productive city for business development. You can arrange 6-10 meetings a day and still wrap up your day with food at some of Asia’s best restaurants and street stalls.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
A very wise CEO once told me that “you are the CEO your company needs today but you might not be the one they need tomorrow.” There always comes a time when you must pass your business onto someone else, someone who can take it the next level, with or without you.
Who inspires you?
Arnold Schwarzenegger. A successful athlete, then a businessman, actor and politician. I am inspired by those who are continually pushing themselves, reinventing themselves, to walk along unknown paths and to delve into new areas of passion. Life is a book of many chapters, but we must write each one, no one else.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Fatherhood and with that a greater appreciation for everything my parents (especially my mum) did for me and sacrificed for me. Success in life is not measured in numbers, it is not in how much you make, it is in how much you give.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
When I co-founded ‘Oil & Gas Council’ we brought in a majority shareholder to help underwrite our initial costs and rapid expansion. They were a great partner for us but in reflection, we gave away too much equity and our buy-out multiple agreements with them was set too low. With more patience and seeking advice from seasoned advisors before we penned the deal, our exit would have been significantly more lucrative.
How do you unwind?
Exercise for me is the single biggest release of stress, frustration and aggression. Want to feel better? Go to the gym/park/track and lay it all out there. A short run is not a release, a true release comes after you leave something behind.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bali. Amazing and diverse culture, food, weather, beaches and people. You can explore, you can get lost. It has it all.
Everyone in business should read this book:
“How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. A classic, for some, old news, but I believe in the fundamentals, they are the basis for any good business idea and any strong relationship.
Shameless plug for your business:
On 20 March we host the FIT Summit in Singapore, now recognised as Asia’s must-attend event for health, fitness and wellness entrepreneurs and executives. Interested to know more? You can read more here: www.thefitsummit.com
How can people connect with you?
I am always happy to connect with energetic people, anyone can reach me at [email protected]
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.