Dec 04, 2020
Crypto and Coffee Q&A with Gemini: Genesis Whitlock
Welcome back to Crypto & Coffee with Team Gemini! In this series we interview members of our incredible team, who are on a mission to empower the individual through crypto. In this episode we chatted with our Principal in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — Genesis Whitlock. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) and learn about Genesis’s incredible career at Gemini and path into her DEI role. Enjoy!
You started as an Associate at Winklevoss Capital and are now leading the DEI program at Gemini. What was that path like for you and what do you think contributed the most to your success? I started working primarily in the office of the CEOs when I joined Gemini. My main focus then was on learning more about crypto and being agile in a startup environment; it was a great opportunity to directly observe the fundamentals of Gemini’s mission from founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. We were a much smaller company when I joined and my role also stretched into recruiting, so I eventually made the full-time leap into Talent Acquisition management.
Even in my early days, I noticed that we had the advantage of being an early startup that could actively build diversity and inclusion as a natural alignment with our core values, and I think being vocal about my desire to carve out this niche in my work helped contribute to my growth. As I focused on initiatives related directly to growing our teams, I also had the support of my manager, my team, and Leadership to build the broader scope of my current role.
The crypto industry is becoming more diverse but we still have a long way to go. How do you think crypto-native companies can contribute to increasing industry diversity? If a general goal in the space is to create as much crypto adoption and financial empowerment as possible, there definitely needs to be more diversity in the user ecosystem. I think Gemini and other crypto-native companies should work hard to internally foster the growth of teams who reflect what a truly diverse ecosystem should look like. Building diverse teams is an additional bridge to creating the kind of products and entry points that will bring more education and trust to more people and encourage wider adoption.
How do you think the crypto landscape has changed in the last 5 years? I’ve been really inspired by how women in countries like South Africa and Nigeria are distinguishing themselves as champions and leaders in the crypto communities and using that to promote a practical interest in crypto adoption. There are women and people of color in crypto here in the United States doing great work to encourage adoption as well, and I hope that the key players in our general crypto landscape do more to amplify them so that there’s more visible leadership equity over the next five years.
What is the most exciting part of your role? The most exciting part of my role is getting to understand what motivates each person I work with at Gemini. Building inclusion is a challenging but exciting task of putting puzzle pieces of unique drivers together in a way that helps us grow successfully.
What is something you learned from working in the crypto industry? I’ve learned more about and have become interested in nonfungible tokens (NFTs). I read a lot of fashion news, so my interest was first piqued when reading about luxury brands potentially using NFTs to verify authenticity and ownership for physical items. I also am a big fan of nifty collectibles in gaming, fashion, art, etc. (I’ve been occasionally known to chase after stuff like limited edition sneakers and Funko Pops, so this is right up my alley.)
How do you see crypto benefitting people globally? Simply put, I think crypto can remove barriers to traditional financial entry and create a more inclusive global marketplace.
What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained while you’re WFH? Regular workouts primarily keep me sane; I alternate between boxing, resistance training, spinning, and virtual dance classes. I also love cocktail culture, so I’ve built up a pretty robust spirits collection and occasionally try to recreate favorites from bars I’ve visited in my travels. And I’m currently doing rewatches of 1930s-1960s Hollywood movies and foreign films that I grew up with. (My favorites: Rear Window and Black Orpheus.)
What motivates you in this time period? Seeing the positive effects of racial equity activism, and looking forward to safer and more manageable Covid conditions so that I can use my passport again and be on a dance floor that’s not in my living room.
Thank you for reading. Our team is always growing! If you’re interested in joining us — check out our careers page!
Onward and Upward,
Genesis Whitlock, Principal in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion