Women Leading The Blockchain Revolution: “Education is key right now”

With Beth Farnham, Operations Manager at GoodBlock.io

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I think education is key right now, with solid mentorship programs. Connecting with and reaching out to young women, supporting STEM programs that feature blockchain, or developing new programs at all levels. I’m also a big fan of the STEAM over STEM concept. I think “arts” needs to be included because creativity is truly important in a field with so many possibilities. Also, I’d encourage women to seek out non-traditional job title roles for women in tech: learn to code, or do security systems, etc.

I had the pleasure of interviewing, Beth Farnham, Senior Producer and Operations Manager at GoodBlock.io. Beth Farnham has over 20 years in production, project management, event management, digital marketing, safety training, financial oversight, media communications, business and organizational development for a wide variety of organizations. An international working professional, Beth is currently based on the West Coast of the US.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?

Of course, thank you for wanting to share our stories. I recently decided to jump deeper into the tech industry after a long career focusing on production and business management roles for many small to medium size organizations. There was just something about the opportunities that blockchain technology could offer to almost every community around the globe, and all the possibilities for information sharing, that really spoke to the part of me that has always strived to support a bigger picture. I initially got involved when I went to visit a colleague and their new puppies around the holidays, and we started talking about what the new year could bring. The crypto space was something we’d already been talking about, and within just a couple weeks we were putting the foundation in place to start a tech company focusing on Dapp development. The lesson? Always be willing to try something new, especially if it excites you.

Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?

Telos! GoodBlock is the genesis team for the Telos Foundation and the Telos Blockchain Network. We are a code fork of the EOSIO system. We saw opportunities to improve some issues with the EOS launch that many in the blockchain community had concerns about, and have been working with over 100 members worldwide to develop Telos to be truly decentralized and “the peoples blockchain”. The project has been an amazingly gratifying experience of collaboration within the Blockchain community.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Great question! There have been many people in my professional world that have made a strong impact, both men and women. I’m grateful for them all, and truly lucky. One professional colleague along the way that has been a friend and mentor to me is Simone Nelson, a Creative Executive in California. Simone has constantly gone above & beyond to create a space for women in all her opportunities working within entertainments arts, technology and education. She is a change maker for sure, and has been an influence for her tireless approach, her genuine savvy and her “take no BS” approach. I’ve always been able to count on her for solid support and insight.

What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

Only 5?! Haha. Sure.

  1. The ability to share information in a way that is secure. I’m hopeful this will create a universal system for sharing personal health records and will increase the quality of care.
  2. Creating a trustworthy system for donations to nonprofits to reduce the need for a middleperson. I believe this will enable more direct value and support for microeconomies and humanitarian needs. UNICEF is working on this right now, for example.
  3. I think if people can get smart about the pros & cons of ICO’s, and develop responsible plans, there may be a value to token development being able to support more small companies that need a non-traditional boost to get stabilized.
  4. I’m exploring some ideas around using geospatial technology and blockchain to help agricultural regions in remote areas for storing and sharing information.
  5. I’m tracking a few projects right now that are looking to use blockchain to improve the energy market. I think some are tough cases, but I’m eager to see what can be done, especially if there is added value for environmental resources.

What are the 5 things that worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

I’m a planner, and that also means looking at all the potential variables and planning for worst case scenario or backups. One thing I worry about is unstable infrastructure in certain underdeveloped regions to support the computer systems safely and consistently, since you can’t always count on the satellite systems alone. Many countries still need stronger internet systems and consistent power grids or sources. One great benefit of a decentralized blockchain network is the ability to create geographic redundancy in the system, which ideally maintains ability to support the networks during major natural disasters, if the plan is in place.

Overcontrol or structural domination by certain regional governments or power players is a concern as well, since it risks losing the value of a decentralized system for the people.

Oversaturation of the market for crypto, with so many ICO’s being generated and tokens with no significant market. I think we risk oversaturation having a negative impact on the crypto market.

I worry about the false perception of the crypto industry in public platforms. I think we’re still doing damage control from events of the past, or false info being distributed in social media. I’d like to believe people want to become better educated about the crypto and blockchain industry, but that’s just the idealist in me speaking. I know when I talk with my non-tech friends and family about, they get really excited about it! I think we as a blockchain community need to remember that we are all advocates, and help with this.

That’s just 4, but I’ll stop. There are so many great things to focus on!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?

I don’t think I would measure my actions to consider myself an individual success. I’m more of the type to diligently work to with a lead team to make the project a success for everyone that worked towards a goal, and the recipients of the goal or project are where the success lies.

As you know there are not that many women in your industry. Can you share 3 things that you would you advise to other women in the blockchain space to thrive?

Yes, of course. I’m grateful to have been able to ensure more women can be involved in my projects, and this is something we discuss often. First, use your voice and use it often. It can be intimidating to be one of a few, or sometimes only, women in the room. There is no expectation to know everything, so speak up and share your knowledge, and also don’t be afraid to ask questions to learn more. The blockchain world is so new, and moving so fast, I truly believe we are all learning together.

Lift each other up, don’t treat it like a competition, especially if that’s the dynamic the men you work with are creating. Let’s be each others best allies.

It may seem small, but don’t offer to get coffee or take notes. Seriously. Unless you have been hired specifically to do these tasks, just don’t. Women tend to be caregivers or fixers, looking out for everyone. I’ve had to stop myself numerous times early in my career from doing this, it was my nature to just be helpful. It gets easier to not be the person that makes these offers. Trust me.

Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the blockchain industry?

I think education is key right now, with solid mentorship programs. Connecting with and reaching out to young women, supporting STEM programs that feature blockchain, or developing new programs at all levels. I’m also a big fan of the STEAM over STEM concept. I think “arts” needs to be included because creativity is truly important in a field with so many possibilities. Also, I’d encourage women to seek out non-traditional job title roles for women in tech: learn to code, or do security systems, etc.

What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?

I believe it is by Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I’ve been both lucky and challenged with getting pigeonholed in career choices. I think avoiding that trap is extra difficult for many women because we get in a comfort zone, and are juggling so many layers of life, that this quote often reminds me to embrace change and try new directions, get outside my comfort zone and create opportunities. I’ve shifted major career choices at least 4 times, and each time it’s like an amazing, challenging roller coaster of fresh starts, but I wouldn’t trade it for any of the good and bad experiences it has brought me.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Tough one, there are so many things I think are important and could be mandated globally with the help of blockchain. I’d say that anything that helps create a better quality of life, primarily when it comes to natural resources and micro economies, would be something I’d love to shake out a movement for. I’m spending a fair amount of time looking at how blockchain can actually be a value to these, above and beyond the current majority of use cases that drive the usual business, gaming and personal finance worlds that seem like an obvious fit for blockchain. At the risk of sounding cliché, I’m hopeful we can all take this incredible technology and really change the world for the better.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can catch me on my personal Twitter @bethfarnham

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