Tell us about what you do. What does it mean to be the Program Manager for Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity (BID) at Coinbase?
My day to day varies (which I absolutely love), but it always starts with coffee and organizing/prioritizing my workday.
As the Program Manager for Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity (BID), my goal is to make sure that Coinbase is a place where people of all walks of life can see themselves thriving and growing. I consider myself a master connector, an empathetic listener, and someone who uses creativity and emotional intelligence to achieve my program’s goals. I partner closely with our phenomenal Employee Resource Groups, People and Marketing & Comms teams on projects around recruiting, mentorship, retention and community building within Coinbase.
How did you first get interested in crypto?
I got interested in crypto through my husband. He used to trade in the stock exchange years ago and became fascinated with crypto’s ability to change the game. We bought some bitcoin back in 2015 at the whopping price of $280 a coin and held on to it. When the bull run came in 2017, we cashed out and bought our first house! Quite a feat in the San Francisco Bay Area, where real estate is shall we say, not the most affordable. Then, we bought back in at the bottom — held — and in 2020, we did it AGAIN!
What’s the story of how you started working at Coinbase?
In early 2019, I got laid off from my dream job while I was six months pregnant, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got to spend six months with my baby girl and reevaluate my priorities. I wanted a role with work-life balance, the ability to grow in my career, and a really great team.
When I was ready to return to work, a recruiter introduced me to the opportunity at Coinbase. Once I heard the company name, I WAS IN! I mean, crypto was kinda my thing because of my earlier success investing in crypto, but funny enough, I never actually considered working in the industry.
You came in as an executive assistant, so how did you make the switch to a new career path? Any advice for others who would like to do the same?
Being an executive assistant for 10+ years absolutely prepared me for this role. Organization, people skills, project management — those are all things EAs have in spades. I was open about my aspirations with my manager, and around the one year mark, I started getting more serious about what internal mobility might look like for me. I also have an amazing mentor through our Growth, Empowerment and Mentorship, aka GEM program, who suggested — given my passion for BID — that I look into the program manager role.
My advice: first of all, make sure you are killing it in your current role — document and share your wins and be proactive in asking for feedback. Second, meet as many people in the company that you can — have informal coffee chats and informational interviews. Those relationships may turn into formal mentorships or they may alert you when they know a role in their org is going to open. And last, when you apply, make sure you are competitive — Coinbase hires top talent for every seat — make sure you’re clear about the value you will bring to the team.
What inspires you to log on every day? Do you ever fear burning out, given the somewhat emotional nature of your role?
My team is super supportive and collaborative. I get energy from the intellectual side of my work — when I am writing, reading, and researching. I also thrive on the partnerships we are building right now.
Burnout is real, so yes, I can for sure get afraid of that. One thing I have learned is to not let myself become siloed. My BID team may be small, but we have allies and champions at all levels and in varied orgs within the company. I am not in this alone.
What are you most proud of (can be little things or a major moment)?
I am most proud of an internal talk I gave during Black History Month called, “Authentic Leadership in the Black Community.” I shared vulnerably the pros and cons of growing up in a predominantly white community; my early years of addiction and how I approached the deep work required to bring out my authentic self. It was so powerful and real. I remember feeling so supported by everyone’s comments in the chat and Slack messages afterwards.
I am also incredibly proud of the work I do to spread the message about our BID work. I love challenging narratives and misconceptions folks may have about Coinbase. I am a deep believer in face to face conversation and being candid. When we recently acquired a company, I hosted a “Keepin’ it Real” session so we could answer any questions or address any concerns they may have had from an employee experience standpoint. This is one reason why we created this “Coinbase Voices” series. I want our voices to be heard.
What are you currently excited about in the crypto ecosystem?
I recently started learning about staking and earning yield on our holdings and wow — that’s been an awesome passive income stream. I’m a creative so I absolutely love the intersection of art and crypto: a great example is the real adrenaline rush I got from watching “Love is in the Air” by Bansky get auctioned off at Sotheby’s. Not only was it a Banksy (I was waiting to see if it would ), but it was also the first time the auction house would accept crypto (BTC and ETH) as a form of payment.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
Family is everything! Super grateful for mine!