You don’t need to be an IT whizz to pursue a career in blockchain technology.
Four months after joining Wachsman in early 2016, Emma Walker was named one of FinanceFeeds’ ’30 Under 30: the Industry’s Future Leaders’ and rapidly became a globally-acknowledged expert in blockchain public relations.
In 2017, Emma launched Wachsman’s European office in Dublin, growing the team to more than 30 employees. Today, Wachsman’s Dublin office is the fastest-growing PR agency in Ireland and one of the largest blockchain companies in the country.
Emma has provided counsel to many of the world’s most high-profile blockchain organisations, including Lisk, Dash, Bitfinex, Streamr, aeternity, and the Crypto Valley Association.
Emma holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Sociology from Trinity College, Dublin, and a postgraduate diploma in Public Relations and Event Management from Fitzwilliam Institute.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
Wachsman was founded in 2015 by David Wachsman as a fintech public relations agency but, having spotted a gap in the market, quickly specialised in providing support to companies utilizing blockchain technology as the industry grew rapidly from 2016. Today, Wachsman is a global professional services firm with offices in New York, Dublin, and Singapore, providing strategic advisory, public relations consulting, events management and production, and corporate development services to many of the most indispensable companies in the blockchain and crypto-asset sectors.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As Managing Director, my remit is expansive and no two days are ever the same, which is what I love about my job. In my role, I divide my time between guiding our PR teams, supporting and brainstorming with the events division, and working closely with our Operations team.
On a typical day, I could be working closely with a client on a specific PR campaign, reviewing potential candidates for any of our open roles with our Talent Acquisition team, discussing training and development plans with HR, or introducing Wachsman to potential new clients with our strategy team. I have 101 things going on at any one time, so in order to stay productive and on top of things, I write daily lists which allow me to clearly see what I need to prioritise to keep me on track. Lists of lists even!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Wachsman is a particularly young and creative office, and I am surrounded by people who are full of innovative, inspiring, and new ideas. Our office is proud to have people from a variety of different backgrounds who each bring their own unique skills and expertise to the table. We run a tight ship, and in order to ensure that ideas come to fruition, deadlines are essential. Setting deadlines at the beginning of a project creates urgency and ensures that everyone is working on the same timeline. By seeing ideas come to life, it ultimately inspires future ideas to be brought to the table.
What’s one trend that excites you?
A big trend that excites me is how blockchain is being used alongside other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) or Augmented Reality (AR). I believe this approach will fundamentally drive the evolution of a number of industries such as supply chain management.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think understanding when you are most productive is very important. I find I’m at my most productive in the morning and I’m a big believer in seizing the day and getting up early. Therefore, I prioritise my own tasks in the morning and then use the afternoons for meetings or brainstorming sessions, thus using my energy and time wisely. This level of organisation is crucial to succeeding in this role.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I think I would tell my younger self to put myself out there more for professional advice or mentorship.
I would also be suggesting to my younger self, to buy bitcoin in the early days!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You don’t need to be an IT whizz to pursue a career in blockchain technology.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
A lot of entrepreneurs are obsessed with getting things over the line, but more often than not they forget to reflect on how they got there and why they did it in the first place. After completing a campaign, project, or event, it’s important to reflect and discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and look at where improvements can be made. This is something I do often and I find it really helps moving forward.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Since the beginning of the Dublin office, I have hired individuals who are huge believers in the company and the industry itself. Therefore, the importance of buy-in is crucial. We are focused on building a company culture which provides each team member the opportunity to feel a part of the bigger picture. This has been, and will be, fundamental to our growth as we prioritise retaining talent and building on top of our core foundation.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wouldn’t consider it a failure, but more of a surprise. We’re a predominantly female office at the moment, but it’s important that neither women nor men are greatly outnumbered as it may affect collective success. Many studies show that gender balance and diversity are just some of the factors that contribute to stronger results. Diversity is hugely important and crucial to our success as a company, and as we continue to grow, that’s something that we’re looking to close the gap on.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It isn’t a specific business idea, but I believe some of the best business ideas come off the back of existing ones. All ideas are made of other ideas. Innovation can come from a unique implementation of a solution. Steve Jobs didn’t create the mobile phone or the laptop, but he’s known as an innovator for his improvements.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently purchased cordless Airpods and they have completely changed the way I work! I spend a lot of my day on conference calls liaising with colleagues in our other offices and checking in with clients, and having Airpods has made taking calls much simpler.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
A software that I rely on is Wunderlist. It is a task management application that allows me to plan, create to-do lists, and set reminders. It keeps me on track, helps me prioritise, and increases my productivity.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Internet of Money by Andreas M. Antonopoulos for anyone who is fascinated about crypto and blockchain is a must-read. Comprising a compilation of talks over the years, Antonopoulos brilliantly explains what the hype around bitcoin is about and the potential impact this new industry will have on society.
What is your favorite quote?
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent” — Eleanor Roosevelt
- You have to take risks to be successful — it’s all about trial and error. Through hard work, gumption and perseverance, there is no limit to your success.
- Surrounding yourself with the right people is vital for sustaining a business. The best companies are built on great teams, so choosing individuals with different backgrounds, good work ethic, and drive is so important.
- The early bird catches the worm!
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