In the wild west of the future economy, some say bitcoin is the gold of the future. It is cryptocurrency in the blockchain ecosystem that was recently traded at a high of $11,599, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. Trading volume was recently at $7.28 billion in a 24-hour period, according to Coin Desk.
“This is the most important technology since the commercialization of the Internet and we have a chance to make an impact,” says Sheri Kaiserman, at the forefront of the future’s financial universe as Principal Advisor & Co-Founder at Maco.la, a two-month old entry into the new financing system..@SheriKaiserman, co-founder of Maco.la, says #cryptocurrency #blockchain is the future of the economy. #womeninfinance Click To Tweet
And it is a place where women leaders in finance are welcome—and thriving.
“We all came together because blockchain solutions will change every aspect of the economy,” says Kaiserman, who has close to 30 years experience in securities, equity sales, research and trading.
“We also feel a great need to be a white hat player,” she says. “We are regulatory compliant and that differentiates us.”
Kaiserman writes in LinkedIn, “Simply put, the Internet allows computers to exchange information; Blockchain allows computers to record information. With Blockchain technology we will be able to utilize the Internet at a new level, bringing greater security, less fraud, significantly streamlined processes, increased digitization possibilities, and most importantly, enabling new business models that will bring a democratization of wealth participation opportunities on a global scale. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, are part of the protocol layer that enable Blockchains.”
This new landscape of financing and investing is seeing more women in leadership and more women in significant numbers in sales and trading.The new landscape of financing and investing is seeing more #womeninleadership and more women in significant numbers in sales and trading.#blockchain Click To Tweet
“More women are helping each other to mentor and foster relationships, as well as form groups, “ Kaiserman says.
At a recent summit in New York of women in cryptocurrency, Erin Griffith wrote in Wired: ‘“I’m tired of hearing there aren’t enough women in blockchain,’declared Emma Channing, CEO Satis Group, an advisory firm for initial coin offerings, as part of her introduction. Another attendee illustrated the stakes: ‘We need to make sure this phase of technology doesn’t go the way of the internet, with everything happening in one place, one demographic deciding how this stuff gets built out and how we use it.’”
Still, “I have been very fortunate to work with a lot of people who never made me feel I had to be aware of my gender,” says Kaiserman, who was most recently head of Advanced Securities at Wedbush, a role that was created for her to build a new division for the firm, focused on products and services related to private companies and the bitcoin/blockchain ecosystem. She joined Wedbush in 1999 as Director of Equity Sales.
“There is more of a woman’s movement in the blockchain world,” says Kaiserman, who until 2015, Kaiserman led over 140 professionals as Head of Equities, managing all of equity research, sales, and trading at Wedbush. She received the “Excellence in Leadership” award from Trader Magazine in 2012.
Born and raised in New York, Kasierman says her mother died when she was 13 and because she had much older siblings, she was often alone throughout high school as her father worked.
“I think my experiences then helped me in the business world because I was a self-starter,” she says. After graduating with a BA in History from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1988, she knew eventually “wanted to have my own company.”
Kaiserman moved to California in 1989, where she still lives, now with her husband and three children. She began working in equity sales and research in 1989 for Oppenheimer & Co.
“In 2013, I looked at blockchain technology and said this is for real,” says Kaiserman. By 2016, she was fully focused on blockchain. She has known her co-founding colleagues at Maco.la for many years, she says.
With virtual headquarters everywhere, the company is based in the Los Angeles area, but there are cryptocapitols all over the world, including Silicon Beach in LA, New York and Switzerland.
“We are taking a longterm approach to the sector,” Kaiserman says.
While Kaiserman is hopeful that cryptocurrency is on its way to parity in leadership, others are waiting to see how it develops.
“The field of cryptocurrency is still in its infancy and does not need to mirror the broader tech industry’s sexism and lack of diversity,” Griffith writes in Wired. “There’s no lack of interest in the field from women—a Meetup group in New York City called Women in Blockchain boasts more than 1,400 members, for example.”
She adds, “Yet signs of disparity, at least when it comes to digital currency ownership, are already abundant. Cryptocurrency wealth is highly concentrated, with an estimated 40 percent of bitcoin held by just 1,000 people. Some surveys show 71 percent of digital currency is owned by men; one digital wallet company says fewer than 6 percent of its customers are women.”
She adds, “The fact that this is a burgeoning technology means it is an opportunity for women to come together.”
To help women network and support each other, Kaiserman offers 10 tips on making the most as a leader and a support system for other women– in all fields, not just cryptocurrency and finance.
- Go to meetups and figure out who to meet in the area and find opportunities.
- Be yourself, and know your strengths and weaknesses so you can surround yourself with others who have complementary skill sets.
- Be resilient. When something happens that doesn’t go the way you hoped, keep your eye toward how to move forward to improve things from there. Be resilient. When something happens that doesn’t go the way you hoped, keep your eye toward how to move forward to improve things from there. #womeninfinance Click To Tweet
- Focus on what you can control and the things you should appreciate. For instance, work as hard as you need to produce great results. Hard work doesn’t pay the bills, executing does. You have a much greater chance at advancing your career if you can execute.
- Help other women.
- Work on teams that don’t make you feel like being a women is an issue.
- Respect isn’t given with a title, it’s earned. Earn everyone’s respect by leading by example.
- Communicate respectfully and honestly – regardless of anyone’s position.
- Take time to point out something someone is doing well (especially if you are delivering more difficult, constructive feedback.)
- Don’t go to your boss to complain unless you have a solution you can suggest.
While this venture is brand new, Kaiserman says she is loving every minute.
“This is taking me back to the old days with the excitement and energizing feeling that every day there is something new to learn, and that you make a difference.” Kaiserman says, “I can see this feeling lasting for a while.”