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Ctrl+A Blockchain - Building Inclusive Networks

By Sarah Lee

I recently made a career pivot from a global investment bank with over 200k+ employees, to a 38 person (and counting) blockchain startup.

Before I can elaborate on my experience at Symbiont, I will briefly guide you through my path to get here. I am the ultimate generalist and tend to have way too many interests for my own good. This made it incredibly difficult to decipher on what industry, type of company, size of company, and role would be next for me. Additionally, my security, compensation, and fear of the unknown daunted on me. As you can imagine this led to a long process...In the 2–3 year course, many of my friends and family became dizzy with the cyclical conversations I’d have about leaving my job. After countless hackathons, meetup groups, courses, workshops, and speaking to literally anyone that would agree to have coffee with me — I finally clarified the types of jobs and workplace culture I wanted to move into. After several interactions with the team at Symbiont, I mustered the courage to take a leap of faith. I am excited to share that I work in the hot and super sexy blockchain space, and have not looked back!  

Even with nearly 8 years of experience working on a trading floor, at times I can’t help but feel like a fresh college graduate starting their first full-time job. Despite these bouts of anxiety, working at Symbiont has been a positive shift. It’s an intimate and inclusive environment that is staffed by a group of intellectual, enthusiastic techies like me!

Within a few months, I was asked by the C-suite to join a meeting to discuss our company’s strategy on how to increase gender diversity in the blockchain community. Although at my previous job I had been to several massive Diversity & Inclusion working groups, I didn’t know what to expect from an early stage company like Symbiont. In this meeting, we didn’t just have a conversation, but made actionable goals and targets we expect to meet in the next coming months. I feel empowered by the proactive stance taken by Symbiont. Since our meeting, we have added Andrea Tinianow and Yu-Ri Gordon to the team. Also, Symbiont will be attending the Benzinga Women's Wealth Forum in Boston on March 21st and will be a silver sponsor at WomenHack NYC on April 19th. I look forward to meeting many of you there!

Unfortunately, I recognize that Symbiont’s approach to gender diversity is not the status quo. The general tech sector has acknowledged this gender gap for years, but the time is now, to take action and narrow this gap. The time is now, to ensure we build the best possible products that are inclusive of all ideas and voices.

As a millennial having just begun my road into the Blockchain community, I am grateful to have strong women like Andrea Tinianow, Lisa Yin, Caitlin Long, Elizabeth Stark, Laura Shin, Linda Xie, Sandra Ro (to name a few), but I know there are many more women, like me, who are early in their journey or debating on pursuing the possibility. To all those women on the outside looking in, I write to you as a fellow tech lady, sending a message of hope and progress. The industry is changing, but the light is still too faint at the end of the tunnel. Breaking into blockchain will not be easy. The tech sector is notoriously competitive for anyone, but ladies, the industry needs you. Yes, YOU, to break the imbalanced ratio. We need your collaboration and your leadership. Come on in, the water is warm!

To all those trailblazing women out there who’ve laid down the foundation, to the men who have advocated, thank you for all the progress we’ve seen! Let’s keep up the momentum — I can’t wait to see how we transform blockchain together!

Happy International Women’s day!

Thank you Andrea, Ben, and Lisa for reviewing this post.

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