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 chapter we talked to our Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Genesis Whitlock. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea!) And learn about Genesis’ incredible Gemini career and a path into his DEI role. Enjoy!
You started as an Associate at Winklevoss Capital and now lead the DEI program at Gemini. How was that path for you and what do you think contributed most to your success?
I started working mainly in the Chief Executives office when I joined Gemini. My main focus at that time was learning more about crypto and being agile in a startup environment; it was a great opportunity to observe the basics of Gemini’s mission first hand from founders Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. We were a much smaller company when I joined and my role also extended to recruitment, so eventually I made the full time jump to manage Talent Acquisition.
Even in my early days, I realized that we had the advantage of being an early starter who could actively build diversity and inclusion as a natural alignment with our core values, and I think being vocal about my desire to carve this niche in my work. helped to contribute to my growth. As I focused on initiatives directly related to growing our teams, I also received the support of my manager, my team and Leadership to build the wider 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 the diversity of the industry? If the overall goal in the space is to create as much crypto adoption and financial empowerment as possible, then more diversity in the user ecosystem is definitely needed. I think Gemini and other crypto-native companies should work hard to foster the growth of teams that reflect what a truly diverse ecosystem should look like. Building diverse teams is an additional bridge to create the kind of products and access 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 have been deeply inspired by how women in countries like South Africa and Nigeria differentiate themselves as champions and leaders in the crypto communities and use that to promote a practical interest in crypto adoption. Women and people of color in crypto here in the US are doing a great job of encouraging adoption as well, and hopefully the key players in our overall crypto landscape do more to inflate it so that leadership equity is more visible over the next five years.
What is the most exciting part of your role?
The most exciting part of my role is getting to know what motivates every person I work with at Gemini. Inclusive inclusion is a challenging but exciting task of putting together puzzle pieces of unique drivers in a way that helps us grow successfully.
What is something you learned from working in the crypto industry?
I have learned more about and become interested in irrevocable tickets (NFTs). I read a lot of fashion news, so piqued my first interest in reading about luxury brands that could use NFTs to verify authenticity and ownership for physical items. I’m also a big fan of nifty collectibles in games, fashion, art, etc. (I’ve sometimes been known to go after things like limited edition sneakers and Funko Pops, so this is right up my alley.)
How do you see crypto benefiting people globally?
Simply put, I think crypto can remove barriers to traditional financial access and create a more inclusive global market.
What have you been doing to entertain yourself while you are WFH?
Regular workouts keep me mostly safe; I switch between boxing, resistance training, spinning and virtual dance classes. I also really like cocktail culture, so I’ve built a pretty solid spirits collection and tried to recreate favorites from bars I’ve visited during my travels. And I am currently doing repeats of Hollywood films from the 1930s-1960s and foreign films that I grew up with. (My favorites: Rear Window and Black Orpheus.)
What motivates you in this period?
Seeing the positive effects of racial equity activism, and looking forward to safer and more manageable Covid conditions so I can use my passport again and be on a dance floor that is not in my living room.
Thanks for reading. Our team is always growing! If you are interested in joining us – check out our careers page!
Onwards and upwards,
Genesis Whitlock, Head of Diversity, Fairness and Inclusion