Women 2.0 interviews Liana Guzman, SVP of Marketing and Growth at Blockchain.
W2: Blockchain technology is revolutionizing the FinTech industry. Give us an overview for folks who are not yet familiar with Blockchain.
Nearly every major industry has been turned on its head in the last hundred years. The one exception is the Financial Services space which underpins every aspect of both our personal lives and our global community. And block chain technology is the first credible candidate to revolutionize financial systems as we know them today. At it’s core, block chain is a transaction network. Unlike a legacy deployment, a block chain is a globally replicated, secure database. You can think of it as an immutable, permanent and secure spreadsheet in the cloud which de-risks liability thanks to its distributed nature. If one of these nodes goes offline, the rest of the network can continue to confirm transactions without skipping a beat. In fact, the bitcoin blockchain has now been running for 8 years, 365 days a year, without major interruption — a feat no backend banking system can claim. Nearly every major institution – from finance to healthcare, government to consumer product goods – is exploring what that means for them. These big institutions stand to benefit a great deal from the efficiency and transparency and privacy that this technology offers but so does the woman in Afghanistan who for the first time can hold value independent of her father, husband or brother, or the doctor in Venezuela who is watching her bolivar become worthless and worth less every day and can use Bitcoin to store value or the landowner in Cambodia who is one of 70% of people in this world whose land title is flaky and can use this technology to protect his land. This technology can do all of these things and I get to help let people know about that which is a dream.
W2: How did your past experience lead to your role at Blockchain? Any tips for women looking to advance in the FinTech space?
Interestingly, I came to this role with no previous FinTech experience. I spent the previous decade helping build Axiom which ushered in a new era for legal services. During my tenure there, I was able to help disrupt a precedent-bound profession and make nuanced ideas digestible and identifiable. Ultimately, that experience has given me a great foundation from which to help bring block chain technology to the masses.
W2: I heard that you’re also involved in philanthropy. What are some initiatives that you’re currently excited about?
I am – I had the great fortune to co-found The Pink Agenda when I was 23. I wanted to make a difference but I found that there weren’t many organizations focused on young professionals. We set out to change that, proving that fun and philanthropy aren’t mutually exclusive and raising millions for breast cancer research and awareness along the way. I remain involved in TPA’s work but, these days, I also find myself really focused on and committed to issues that I believe will create a better world for my 2 year old son as he grows. Those issues range from helping Syrian refugees to supporting organizations, like Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Defense Fund, that align with my principles domestically.
W2: What’s your morning routine and how do you prepare for a busy day?
I like to know what’s on deck and be sure I’m prepped before turning in for the night so prepping for me starts the night before when I do a quick review of my calendar for the following day and plan what I’m going to wear (which I’ve learned saves me tons of time in the morning). In the morning, I have a 2 year old who acts as a very effective alarm clock. We’re usually up at 7 and, after a quick peek at my phone to make sure there’s nothing urgent going on, my wife and I focus on family time for the next hour. I find that being really present with him in the morning helps me be much more focused on work once I walk out the door. We have breakfast and play or read. Then, at 8, our sitter arrives and I get ready. Luckily, it doesn’t take me long so I’m usually kissing everyone goodbye by 8:15.
W2: What’s next for you and how can the Women 2.0 community support your work?
I’m always on the hunt for great women in tech to join our team. If that’s you and you’re interested in what we’re building, please reach out. And, of course, please keep telling your stories and supporting one another: ask for what you need, give whatever you can. We have a long way to go in creating greater equity in tech but a collaborative approach to building a better future will make all the difference.
Liana Guzman is SVP of Marketing and Growth at Blockchain. At Blockchain she is playing a critical role in the company’s success. She is responsible for helping to develop corporate strategy, and oversees strategy, marketing, communications and talent. Notably, she is a member of the Executive Team and was newly appointed to the role of SVP, Growth. Before joining the ranks at Blockchain, Liana headed up Branding and Communications at Axiom, a professional services firm, and helped them grow to a $250 million dollar industry leader with 2000 people in 17 offices globally. Liana is an active philanthropist, raising funds and awareness for breast cancer research — not to mention, she’s a working mother to a toddler!