Work is changing rapidly. A study by Freelancing in America (“FIA”) finds that due to the impacts of automation, freelancers are better equipped for the future due to more frequent reskilling. Freelancers think more proactively about market trends and refresh their skills more often than traditional employees, thus helping advance the economy. However, the majority of freelancers would prefer to take home more pay and purchase benefits on their own rather than receive benefits from an employer or client. FIA also finds that “Freelancers are predicted to become the US workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing”. Taking these facts and figures into consideration, an avid leader, Alexandra Levin, the CEO of Womin.io, is promoting diversity efforts among this workforce. Womin.io is a decentralized employment marketplace powered by blockchain technology that provides a platform for employers and freelancers to engage directly on a peer to peer basis, meeting the needs of both in a growing freelancer economy.
An interview conducted between Alexandra Levin and CIO LOOK helps us navigate her work and management at Womin.io. She is also currently a practicing attorney, advising clients in the blockchain technology and digital currency industry, based in New York.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Alexandra Levin and CIO LOOK:
Kindly take us through your journey to become a proficient leader
Being the eldest of four daughters gave me my first taste of being a leader and empowering other women. Because my parents were political refugees to the United States, I was raised to never take for granted the opportunities I was lucky enough to receive thanks to the sacrifices of my family. As a result, I’ve often taken leadership roles to pave the way for others.
In your opinion, what roadblocks or challenges are faced by women in a corporate business? And what is your advice in overcoming them?
Women in corporate America have come a long way in the last few generations. Opportunities are open to anyone regardless of gender, while there are certainly challenges. However, in my opinion, the biggest challenge women often face is themselves – having a lack of confidence that they have the skills and experience to succeed and lead or an unwillingness to take risks, particularly in industries or careers that have been traditionally male-oriented. My advice is to seek out mentors, both female and male, for guidance and advocacy.
Have you in any ways contributed towards the cause of women empowerment?
Yes, in every step of my career. In addition to what I described above, I built a “Parents Network” to support working parents (mainly mothers) at a Magic Circle law firm in London which recruited me out of law school. I continued by voluntarily mentoring students at my alma mater, Barnard College (the women’s college at Columbia University), offering internships and shadowing to young women, as well as mentoring female founders of blockchain startups.
I believe that efforts are required to drive greater diversity across the ecosystem of blockchain, as it evolves and permeates multiple industry sectors around the world. Women and members of underrepresented groups should be provided a voice, a place at the table, and recognition of their revolutionary efforts in this industry to date, which at its core, is also good for business. As such, I created Women on the Block (the first all-female speaker blockchain conference which took place on Mother’s Day, 2018 as part of New York Blockchain Week 2018) and the Womin’s Lounge at Consensus 2019 (the largest blockchain conference globally, during New York Blockchain Week 2019). At both events, we provided speaking opportunities to women to showcase the extraordinary talent and leadership of women already in the blockchain industry who don’t often get attention in the press. This, in turn, allows female newcomers to the industry to recognize and feel comfortable that there is room for everyone at the table.
Additionally, I serve as Chief Diversity Officer for the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and most recently ran a workshop on raising capital and sponsored female teenagers at a fantastic Youth Hackathon in the Bahamas organized by Harness All Possibilities and CryptoChicks. It was honestly one of the highlights of my career, particularly as many of the students endured Hurricane Dorian within days of the Hackathon.
What are your insights on developing a better environment for women to evolve? And how it could help grow business?
My startup, Womin.io, was created to solve the crisis of female freelancers not getting paid for work completed or losing the bulk of their wages to recruiters and other intermediaries. On the Womin.io platform, personal information is kept anonymous so that all freelancers, irrespective of gender, race, disability, and age, will be judged solely on skill, expertise, and professionalism. We focus on female freelancers because I believe that while corporate America and Wall Street may have adopted diversity policies, their number of diverse employees simply doesn’t match the rhetoric. Therefore, by focusing on female freelancers, we help employers meet their own diversity goals by providing them access to our diverse freelancers.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle the competition in the market?
It’s always important to know who your competition is and not see them as enemies. In my industry, blockchain technology, there is plenty of room for everyone as well, as we are still a nascent industry. Therefore, I often collaborate with my competitors for the greater benefit and growth of the industry, while being careful to protect my intellectual property and strategies.
How do you upgrade yourself with volatile technological or business trends to boost your personal growth?
It’s important for everyone, regardless of their age, to continue to grow and learn. Blockchain technology is evolving constantly. I spend hours every day reading and learning to keep up to date. I network with and attend lectures by experts so that we can all share our knowledge with each other.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every business person should possess.
There are many but the basics include professionalism, curiosity, respect for oneself and others, selfcontrol, integrity, and hard work.
What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
I am currently focused on developing the Womin.io platform & am considering outside investment and further partnerships. I also hope to launch an accelerator on campus for female university students where they will be empowered to find co-founders, mentors, investors and learn how to build successful businesses.