Speaker: Jackie Bona, CEO, Valora
Happy Women’s History Month/International Women's Day - How are you celebrating?
Jackie Bona: I'm celebrating International Women's Day by celebrating some of the incredible women building in frontier industries like crypto, which is the industry that I'm currently building in. I'm celebrating by not only telling my own story, but also featuring other women that are building in the space. And I think it's important to shine a light on women who are building these new industries simply to show the world that we're here that we're building and making an impact and hopefully to inspire other talented women to join and shape an early industry.
2023's International Women's Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. How do you think (the collective) we can work together to impact positive change?
Jackie Bona: I think one powerful way of promoting equity, especially when it comes to industries and tech is to educate yourself on what the current state of diversity looks like. And whether that's in your workforce or in your user base, it's important to know. As a founder in the Blockchain industry, I'll actually take this opportunity to share some stats that were recently surfaced to me that were pretty shocking. So let me just pull them up. Only 5% of founders in the Blockchain industry are women. Only 29% of NFT artists are women. And it's estimated that less than 20% of all crypto owners globally are women. Pretty shocking. So if crypto is supposed to be this, you know, future, right? Future of finance, the next generation of the internet, these stats are actually pretty alarming and that there's a massive opportunity for more women and especially more women of color to participate in the crypto economy. And so it's important for women to take risks and to join these industries so they can share their perspectives, have their voices heard and shape and influence how technology is being built. So it's equitable for all. Just by, by participating in this industry is enough to create change. So why wouldn't we want a seat at the table to shape the future? I know that's one of the reasons why I joined and started building a company in crypto.
What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they begin their careers?
Jackie Bona: Hm, what would my advice be to women that are just starting their careers? Um, mine would be to take calculated risks and to work on something that you believe in, even though it might still be early and the outcome unknown. Um, I think this is important because you'll learn a ton by being early to something. And the upside of this is your access to opportunities to really build expertise, learn skills and advance your career are oftentimes accelerated in fast moving and, uh, fast growing early stage industries and companies. Um, I can tell a little bit about my own story where I took a risk myself. Um, you know, very early in my career where I left a high paying stable finance job, um, really to find a career that was more impactful and global in nature. Um, luckily the opportunity to work at Google came into the picture in 2005 and while it might not seem risky today, um, it was a risky move for me because tech wasn't, you know, established or as established as an industry back then. And I knew that this new role at Google would be far less glamorous than this high paying finance job that I was in. When I started at Google, I answered customer service calls, approved ads manually and even sold Google ads, door to door. Um, here in San Francisco, it's one of my first jobs. And so, um definitely a fun and exciting um opportunity, but it was very different than my previous job working in a high rise for a big finance company. And it was so great to learn about this new technology and also be part of this very fast growing global business. I'm really glad that I took that opportunity early in my career because this is really what led to not only you know, obviously a booming career in tech over the last 15 years, but it's also allowed me to live and work abroad in, in various markets around the world. I got to learn about new technologies, shape them as they were being built and it really placed me in the environment of where I can constantly learn and work with really smart people. And I, I really could say that I wouldn't be where I am at today had I not taken this risk or this step for myself. And so, um I think one thing I'd just say is that, you know, sometimes you may not know uh that you'll be getting, what, what you will get out of this kind of, uh, less traveled path from a career perspective. Um, but it's an opportunity, it, you know, and if it's an opportunity that excites you and there are smart people you can learn from, um, I, I genuinely believe that, you know, this unknown could actually lead to more opportunities. And so I would just encourage you to take some calculated risks sometimes and may that they, they may not be, uh necessarily on, on, uh you know, the path that everyone else is going on, but it could actually pay off a lot uh just as long as you believe in it. So, thanks.