Amanda Gutterman is Chief Marketing Officer at ConsenSys, the largest and fastest growing blockchain company focused on building the Ethereum ecosystem.
Amanda is also a creator of Ethereal, a technology event series including a Summit that has been dubbed the “SXSW of blockchain”. In 2016, Forbes Magazine listed Amanda on its 30 Under 30 in Media list, and Inc. Magazine as one of 30 Under 30 Movers and Shakers in the Content Industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
My role is CMO at ConsenSys and Co-Creator of Ethereal. ConsenSys has emerged over the past few years as a leader in blockchain technology. We build tools and applications that are built on the blockchain, which means they’re highly secure, decentralized, peer-to-peer, and work automatically using smart contracts. Our software is built on the Ethereum blockchain, which is the most advanced blockchain platform in terms of its capabilities, as well as the largest developer community. Ethereum has become the blockchain of choice for governments and enterprises, which we work with closely.
Ethereal has become one of the best known blockchain events. It features a flagship Ethereal Summit kicking off New York Blockchain Week in May each year, as well as events throughout the world, from Ethereal San Francisco to Ethereal Middle East in Riyadh and Ethereal London. Whether I’m working on ConsenSys or an Ethereal event, my goal is always to catalyze adoption of blockchain technology and help users reach products. Adopting blockchain comes with adopting a new way of thinking about the global financial system and the Web. I think we can do better than what we have today, and with blockchain available, we finally have the tools to make change possible. But change will only happen if users insist on it.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Absolutely not! I navigated myself into situations where I’d be exposed to a lot of opportunities, then I seized the ones that looked interesting. I see my work as an adventure and ideally, as play. When I graduated from college or high school, I couldn’t have predicted any of this. Actually, it would’ve been impossible to plan my career from a certain point, because both components of what I do – digital marketing and blockchain – didn’t exist yet.
Have you faced any particular challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
In this role and in every role, we all face lots of stressors. Long hours, new skills we need to learn, looming deadlines, increasing expectations from colleagues or the market. It’s challenging because if you love what you do, your identity gets caught up in your work. This is true for me, and I think it’s a positive thing. But at the same time, I’ve had to figure out how to take good care of myself in the face of stress. To that end, I truly get 8 hours of sleep a night, exercise regularly, eat healthy food, and block off personal time when I won’t be on calls. This drastically improves the quality of my work.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
Probably the most important thing is equal pay. Women should get equal pay for equal work. Also, I encourage the men I know who are investors to bring women investors into deals. The more financially empowered women are, the more say they have in how everything works, from workplaces to governments.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I mentor several women at ConsenSys and one from a previous company. Whether it’s formal or informal, I make sure people in the company know I’m available to help them navigate tricky situations. This is particularly true for women. Quite a few members of ConsenSys are fresh out of college, so it’s very helpful to have someone guiding them through their first professional environment, especially considering how non-traditional our company is.
How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?
Strong role models make girls and women feel like STEM is “for them”. If they don’t know any other girls or women in STEM, they can think it’s not for them. That’s why we make sure to highlight our amazing women technologists at ConsenSys and across the blockchain space. Our last Ethereal Summit had 60% women speakers, a majority of whom were technical. We did this without calling it a women’s conference or making a big fuss. I really think efforts like this go far.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
When I joined ConsenSys, not that many people had heard of blockchain, even fewer had heard of Ethereum, and practically no one outside our space had heard of ConsenSys. In my interview, I told our founder that I wanted to make ConsenSys and Ethereum “like Starbucks and the MLB” in terms of how recognizable I wanted them to be. While we’re not 100% there yet, I think my team and I have been able to make a real difference in terms of how many people know about blockchain and how many people are using blockchain-based software products of various kinds.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
A 100-person company is different from a 1,000-person company. That’s where I started, and this is where we are now. I’m going to have to learn and scale our marketing and messaging and teams to fit where we are in the market today, which is really different from a couple years ago.