FinTech Female Fridays: Head of Communications, Carolyn Vadino
This confident and driven communications leader prioritizes empowering people by offering resources to better understand investing in cryptocurrencies. With the explosion of interest in cryptocurrency in the market, Carolyn Vadino aspires to create brand awareness and educate people about digital assets through her platform. Continuing to elevate the brand and working on that top-of-funnel awareness is crucial for Carolyn and her team. They are focused on executing programs that combine earned media, owned content, and paid content, all underpinned by strategic social media which includes supporting Gemini and promoting educational resources, including Cryptopedia, for all things crypto.
Full name: Carolyn Vadino
Current job title: Head of Communications
Current company: Gemini
Current location: Brooklyn, New York
“Our mission is to empower the individual through crypto, and my goal is to make as many people aware of this asset class as possible so that they have the knowledge and access to get involved.”
Starting out in PR at an agency at the height of the dot-com bubble and working in corporate/tech PR, Carolyn has worked for both startups and big brands like Deloitte. She has created communications programs for a company that eventually was sold to a Fortune 500 and has also served as a spokesperson for the U.S. Government, including Ambassador Susan Rice at the State Department.
Currently leading communications for Gemini, Carolyn helps tell the Gemini story by creating content, activating communications programs that raise brand awareness, and educating the crypto-curious about the value of digital assets. She aims to promote the purpose of the company and make efforts to drive measurable business impact.
Gemini is a crypto platform that is changing the way people interact with money and is helping people build crypto portfolios. The company recently released a survey that examined the current profile of crypto users and the crypto-curious in the United States. Although only 26% of crypto holders in the U.S. were women, they made up 53% of “crypto-curious” consumers who reported interest in investing in the asset class. Carolyn believes that women are poised to make up a larger portion of the next wave of crypto buyers which also represents a huge opportunity for the crypto industry to engage this well-positioned demographic and broaden its appeal.
Crypto moves very quickly and therefore education is critical to the understanding and adoption of the asset class. Through Cryptopedia, an open-access educational resource for digital currency, Carolyn is focused on distributing the content and is working with her team to keep it fresh because she believes it's a treasure trove of crypto investing information.
Carolyn has always been driven by work that not only allows her to flex her technical skills as a communicator but also has a bigger purpose.“Part of what makes communications exciting is that there is typically a challenge no matter the organization or brand you work for. I spent some time working for the Army Corps of Engineers running communications for one of its largest civil works projects in the U.S., during which I deployed on missions overseas to Iraq, Afghanistan, and to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. What I learned is that communications is never one-size-fits-all; you have to meet your audience where they are and tailor your distribution channels accordingly.”
More on Carolyn
Family at home: Husband Tre, and two kids, Ava and Celia.
Favorite hobby: Exercise. I have become a reluctant runner during the pandemic. I also love to read and enjoy stoop wine with my friends.
Favorite part of your day: Dinner time with my family.
Favorite show to binge: I only binge when I am watching something new. I just finished Shadows and Bones, which was fun. If I need something light I’ll rewatch Schitt’s Creek or Grace and Frankie.
6:00 am: I wake up early and kick off the morning with a half cup of black coffee and a scan of emails and Slack.
8:20 am: I drop my 1st grader off at school. Walking my oldest is fun, we get rare time alone.
9:00 am: I don’t have any scheduled calls until 11 am, so I get a morning walk-in before I pick work back up around 9:30. Once home, I log back on (with another cup of coffee!), clear out my inbox, scan news headlines, and focus on some of the tasks for the week, including a blend of internal communications and finalizing materials for a launch on Tuesday. We are announcing Mastercard as the network provider for the Gemini Credit Card, so in between calls I am pitching, tweaking talking points, and Slacking the team to coordinate everything for Tuesday.
11:00 to 1:30 pm: I go into a block of calls that includes candidate interviews, my daily comms standing, and a sync with our security team and my counterpart in marketing.
2:00 to 2:30 pm: My husband Tre has meetings so I pick up both girls on Monday, dropping my oldest off at home and then getting my youngest. I get them settled with a snack and activities until Tre takes over.
3:00 to 6:00 pm: I have another block of calls that includes more coordination ahead of tomorrow’s launch, media prep for a spokesperson for a TV interview in support of the launch, and a planning session for a conference in a few months.
6:30 pm: I have dinner with the family and catch up on our days. My husband is fasting for Ramadan so he sits with us but doesn’t eat. I help get the kids ready for bed and they join him for nightly prayer and we sit back down and breakfast with him. After a few books, they go to sleep.
8:30 pm: I log back on, work on some internal communications, answer some media questions, Slack, and complete some administrative tasks.
6:00 to 9:00 am: Today we are announcing Mastercard as our network partner for the Gemini Credit Card, so I start a bit earlier and dive right into emails. Our release crosses the wire at 7:00 am and we have a plethora of coverage. I pour a cup of coffee and join our launch Google Hangouts around 6:50 to check in with the product team and others. The next few hours are spent coordinating coverage with the PR team. One of our founders is also speaking on a separate webinar at 8:00 am, so I log onto that to try and listen in while I get the girls ready. My husband and I switch off on getting the girls fed and dressed and he takes Ava, our oldest, to school so I can get some work done. My youngest Celia watches a bit of the webinar with me while I finish her hair and get her dressed.
10:00 to 11:00 am: More calls that involve a new hire screen with the team and diving deeper into a speaking opportunity with a media outlet.
11:00 to 12:00 pm: I use my work block to review the media messaging and monitor again for coverage.
12:00 pm: At our comms daily standing, we check in on the progression of today’s launch and align on the activities for the week. It’s a busy week, so making sure all our deliverables are on track is important.
12:30 to 1:00 pm: I have a quick lunch and then hop on our weekly Marketing + Comms meeting. This includes comms, marketing design tech, and PM to ensure alignment on all the work streams for the week and month ahead.
1:00 to 5:30 pm: I am essentially in back-to-back meetings with very few breaks for the remainder of the day. This includes an introduction with our new head of Ireland, a catch-up with a reporter about a survey we launched the week prior, and a few internal communications-focused calls. I am also speaking at two events this week: a fireside chat with Ladies Get Paid to talk about how we can get more women investing in crypto, and part of a panel with Bronx Community College. I had a great prep call with the Electric Coin Company to get ready for the BCC event on Saturday.
5:30 pm: I tune in to Bloomberg TV to watch the live hit with Emily Chang. Noah Perlman, Gemini’s COO, does a great job answering questions about the Gemini Credit Card and Bloomberg runs great shots of our card art, which is super fun to see.
6:30 pm to 9:30 pm: I pop into the kitchen and check in with the family. My husband has been doing most of the dinners and getting the kids settled after school. I couldn’t do this job at this pace without him. I eat leftovers and give the girls a bath and try to spend whatever time they are awake to focus just on them. I help them to bed at 8:30 pm and log back on for an hour or so to get some writing done and catch up on emails.
Reach out to Carolyn on LinkedIn.