To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, we turned to our community for advice and inspiration on finding mentors, creating an inclusive office culture, and encouraging the women in crypto.

We heard from a diverse cast of 8 teammates in a range of departments across Finoa — from tech and security to business, customer support, and the people team. It’s great to have access to such varied insights and we thank everyone for contributing with thoughtful advice.

If you’re just preparing to enter the industry, we hope these tips will be valuable for you. We believe that we can only drive change as a united community that is inclusive not just for women, but for all minorities, regardless of gender, identification, physical ability, or ethnic background.

How can we encourage other women to take the lead and grow in the space?

Vidhya (she/her): In my opinion, we need to have attributions for developing women leaders on an individual level that could encourage more people to step up and take on leadership positions. This could be done in the form of targeted training, guidance for on-the-job learning, coaching opportunities, and mentoring at work. This in my eyes will help the individual to be more prepared.

We should recognize and applaud the initiatives and success of our Female powerhouses within the organization, especially in the tech space.

The hiring plans could also be a direct reflection of what we are doing to promote Female powerhouses within the tech organization. We should recruit, retain and develop women leaders.

One way to do it is by offering perks (training benefits, mentoring & coaching opportunities). I also think we need to have more voices in the major decisions we take in our day-to-day work and strategic decision-making. The most important thing we can do at Finoa is to give thoughtful attention to creating a gender-neutral environment. The first step is to truly understand what women in the organization want and need from their employers, as well as what they value the most.

Michaela (she/her): Over the years I also had to face the impact of the gender gap in my career in financial services, so I now feel that it is even more important to encourage women to pursue a career in the crypto space.

In general, every woman in a leadership position can lead by example, promote inclusion and equality within her organization, and show how diversity can be integral to the successful growth of the company. This will raise awareness at all organizational levels and, most importantly, empower other women to move up the career ladder.

(Female) talents need to be actively supported with coaching, mentoring, and appropriate training to meet the challenges. We also need to enable lateral entrants and young professionals to access the crypto and blockchain space. Offers like the Frankfurt School Blockchain Center’s DLT Talent Program are a great way to start a career in this field and build a strong network. Furthermore, female managers and executives need to share their career stories as well as be relatable, collaborative, and open to help overcome barriers.

Dimitra (she/her): I think as a first attempt we need to tell more stories about the achievements of women in the space and promote women that are doing a great job in the industry. Those women can become mentors and role models and spread the message that women are succeeding. Women must become more visible.

We can also give women the opportunity to ask questions and show their true interest in the field with a view to creating a less exclusive environment. It’s also essential to be aware of the potential social biases we hold. One of those is that women are not as capable technically as men. We should always remind ourselves that this is not the case and try to change those stereotypes by increasing the opportunities that are given to women. Being aware of the stereotypes is the first step to dealing with them.

Vix (she/her): I agree with Dimitra. I believe that empowering women to lead begins by including them in discussions and allowing them to influence decisions (whether that be within a company or in their larger community). It’s important for women to be both heard and amplified by their colleagues in the space. It’s fantastic that we now have more programs focusing on getting young girls into tech, encouraging them to join the field from a young age while they are still considering their options at school. It’s a huge positive stride towards representation and leadership in this space.

How important is it to have a mentor to grow as a leader? 

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Marisol (she/her): In my opinion, having a great mentor early on is crucial when growing as a leader. My mentors have helped me in developing self-leadership, getting clarity on my beliefs and my path ahead, and my expectations of myself.

I have learned that only once this is very clearly defined, I am able to grow as a leader. Especially in a very male-dominated environment, female mentors have helped me feel more empowered in the workplace by having them as role models. Building a female network has also been one of the best and most supportive things I have experienced: GIRL power!

Thu (she/her): It’s essential — this person provides you with various kinds of leadership methods, connects you with others, AND gives you feedback on your “blind spot”. A good mentor helps you to overtake him/her and grow more than him/her. To all women: go and get this “shine-like-a-diamond” attitude!

Vidhya: Benefits of mentorship programs within any organization cannot be overlooked. It helps in shaping up the emerging leaders and boosts confidence for the existing ones. However, mentorship can have many forms — Functional mentorship, crossfunctional mentorship, and can extend to everybody within the organization.

In many cases, Coaching and Business leadership programs help to build a very strong foundation, give a holistic approach for equipping our leaders to be business-ready, and help promote a genuine interest in personal development.

Do you think it’s important to have female leaders in the crypto industry?

Vidhya: I think having women spearhead the development of the industry at the early stages is a positive indicator for a future where the vested interest is in bringing all resources for women under one umbrella and encourages more female powerhouses to join this new crypto club. 

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Vix: Another way I battle imposter syndrome is to connect with other women in tech and discuss our shared experiences. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone in feeling this way and that everyone can experience it even if they are very successful in their field.

What is your advice for individuals affected by gender inequality who want to break into the crypto space?

Valery (she/her): The diversity gap in the crypto space is enormous and this is also underlined by the under-representation of women in finance and tech. I believe education is essential for accomplishing an egalitarian blockchain community and driving adoption.

Beyond online and offline resources, I would suggest stepping into blockchain communities and mentorship programs. This is where women help other women grow, learn, and develop their potential through engaging and insightful discussions.

I would also encourage women to start their learning journey by investing and transferring crypto worldwide to watch the magic of blockchain happen first-hand.