Rocio.jpg

Jane Thomason

Co-Founder

British Blockchain and Frontier Technology Association

And - Adviser to Multiple Startups

,,

Embrace technology, it is your future.

,,

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a social innovator, with a focus on emerging economies and an advocate for digital transformation to reduce inequality and vulnerability and a move to a human centred digital economy where we measure value based on people and the planet; we use data to measure and report on impact and we collaborate to reduce social and economic disparity. Immediately prior to COVID, I ran a global events company, Fintech Worldwide which was known for London Blockchain Week and London Fintech week and multiple global conferences.

 

I hold multiple roles:
Industry Associate: University College London, Centre for Blockchain, London, UK
Co-Founder: British Blockchain and Frontier Technology Association, UK
Contributer: Corporate Investment Times; Coin Intelligence, Coruzant Technologies
Advisor: Kerala Blockchain Association; Africa Blockchain Centre of Excellence; GovBlocks; Secure Health Chain; Novum Insights
Section Chief Editor: Frontiers in Blockchain
Editorial Board: Frontiers in Blockchain
Member: Findexable Data Governance Council

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I had a long career that was in public health and international development. In 2016, my son insisted that I learn about Blockchain and told me it was going to change everything. I took him seriously and realised the transformational potential of Blockchain and other Frontier Technologies for social impact. I immersed myself in learning, writing and speaking on this subject. In 2018, I left my job as CEO of on international development company to follow this path. Mobile technology penetration is opening opportunities to reach the poor and vulnerable and connect them to the global economy and services. The potential for impact at scale is immense.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

Life is a series of roadblocks! You need agility and resiliance to tackle them. My approach is to keep your eye on the long term goal, and not be stopped. Climb over them, move around them, change your strategy - there is always a way. Don't give up. Always look at the future with optimism and you will find a way.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

1. You have one life and it passes fast – don’t waste it - find your passion and follow it

 

2. Live each day as if it could be your last - make every day count

 

3. Every job is a promotion job - do a good job and opportunities will come

 

4. It actually doesn’t matter what other people think – be clear who you are and be true to yourself

 

5. Choose your business partners carefully

 

6. Don’t be afraid to fail - we all learn from failure

 

7. Take a risk or you’ll never know…

 

8. Keep your eye on the prize – don’t let small things distract you - never give up

 

9. Overcome your fears – we all have them

 

10. And as for fortune and as for fame – they are illusions – don’t forget to say I love you to those who matter

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

Unbelievable and exciting potential every day! New ideas and inventions and breakthroughs, learning about what is happening on the ground. Speaking to clever and inspired people. Digital is the future and we need to embrace and harness it. That’s exciting!

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

I say to young women

“Embrace technology, it is your future.”

Women everywhere can be ‘change-makers’. Women nurture their children, look after households, and influence decisions in their communities. We are 50% of humanity - the planet is full of women who can change the world.

The rapid emergence of new use cases using Blockchain technology provides ample opportunity for new players in the market every day. Collectively I want to encourage women and girls across the world to create their own future by educating them and giving them access to technology. It is not a question of if we can do it, we must do it. The future for the next generation of women can be written by them and not dictated as it has been for so many years.

Governments need to embrace the fourth industrial revolution with new thinking to accelerate the education process in these rapidly developing technologies. Coding must become a ubiquitous language that all children learn when they start their formal schooling. School curricula have to change from the archaic model it follows in most countries. The techniques of analytical thinking, problem-solving and global awareness, including digital technologies and coding, have to be introduced from day one at all schools for boys and girls. If it is gender-neutral it will end gender bias and be fully inclusive for the girls who have been excluded in the past.

So what can we do today to create inclusion?

The challenges that women face in the tech industry today can be eliminated by creating some new stereotypes for women in tech who are smart and managing both tech and motherhood. There are some awesome ‘Women in Blockchain’ role models already. We must find female tech entrepreneurs across the globe and profile them. Women need more positive role models; schools need to encourage girls into STEM and entrepreneurship. Women need to be more resilient and less concerned about what others think. Successful women need to give time to mentor younger women and help them succeed. Women need flexible working conditions and access to child care.

The tech industry needs to be made aware of the available pool of women in the Blockchain community across the world and even more so, those who want to enter this industry. They need access to funding and a support structure that encourages women with great ideas to initiate a project and raise money. Crypto and other venture funds targeted at female founders are needed.

Women will design and develop tech products and services which will benefit women; creating new markets, boosting innovation and economic growth. The move is on to create this new collective environment as the ‘Global Women in Blockchain’ and other groups are doing. Women in Blockchain events have been successful in engaging women. I have been part of several of them and found them to be a great platform to craft this connected, supportive community where there is a genuine and warm desire to share and learn. They create the opportunity to showcase the depth of talent involved already across the spectrum of regulation, real estate, media, government, social good and more.

The women have cultivated a Blockchain culture to shepherd compassion through the application in their projects. I am pleased to say that the movement is cloaked in diversity, inclusion, connection, supporting, encouraging and enabling women to work in the industry to empower a new generation of girls in tech.

INSPIRATION

For the first time in human history, we have the technological tools that will enable us to connect the bottom billion unbanked to the global economy, to provide digital identity to stateless people, to direct benefits to women and girls. We must harness these digital tools, and our collective ambition to transform lives of women and girls across the globe.