FinTech Female Fridays: Meet the Senior Director of Communications at Ripple, Chenni Xu
“Be humble and tap into your inner Lover, thinker, warrior and dreamer when communicating with others.” Chenni Xu shares the most important lesson in the strategic communications field she has learned in the past.
Now at Ripple, Chenni is currently working on RippleX's story. She is passionate about what the team is working on, how the XRPLedger is differentiated from other chains, i.e. no fees to use the ledger (though there are minimal fees to transact on the ledger), and XRPL's performance advantages like speed, low cost, sustainability and scalability. "That it’s purpose built for payment first, but has other use cases [[such as NFT functionality and CBDC applications!]]” Chenni says, “All very exciting and I’ll have more to report soon.”
Chenni’s career started out in market sizing and go-to-market strategy. During the past decade, Chenni was in strategic communications, most notably at Brunswick Group, the leading strat comms advisory firm which formed and shaped how Chenni advises the C-suite. Then Chenni was recruited into Ant Group for her first in-house role where she eventually rose to Head of Comms for the Americas region, working closely with the business team and leadership in the region as well as in HQ for the Ant story. She first joined Ant because of her belief in the mission of financial inclusion. She wants to help those at the very bottom gain access to credit, for instance, so that they can begin a virtuous cycle of helping their families. Chenni still believes in that mission, and in reducing fees in transactions overall.
"The most difficult part of my job at Ant was realizing I was working in two languages", but Chenni grew from it and learned to communicate and influence one another in a different working culture. During her almost a decade in China, she found the Chinese working culture quite challenging though they are very close like family. But she got used to the cultural working habits, and also improved her business Chinese a lot. Now at Ripple, the job environment is again different but very pleasant. The culture is very much start-up, scrappy, and Californian (Silicon Valley) and yet global as much of the business is in Asia and other regions especially for RippleNet. Ripple has a strong Singapore presence as well. Chenni is used to a globalized culture and she is glad the company is becoming more and more global where she feels like she can add value in a globalized world.
More on Chenni
Where you currently live: New York, near Lincoln Center
Living arrangement: currently we’re in a 2bdrm
Family at home: with my husband
Hometown: New York, NY! I grew up here and am so pleased to be back after almost a decade in China during the 2010s (which were a hoot in and of itself).
Favorite hobby: does drinking wine count? Playing scrabble and taking advantage of our proximity to Lincoln Center
Favorite part of your day: The mornings and evenings when it is (relatively) quiet
Favorite show to binge: Bravo’s Below Deck
Media Recommendation: Pivot podcast. Kara and Scott not only have the hot takes news-wise but also morally and ethically show a leadership way forward in how to react in a wider manner to current events.
Quote that inspires you: Madeleine Albright’s quote: “Opportunities for leadership are all around us. The capacity of leadership is deep within us.” It’s about bringing the inside and outside together to form a leadership aura.
7:00 am: Wake up and take 5-10 minutes to meditate and clear the mind for the day. I use the Insight Timer app. Choose someone whose voice doesn’t annoy you; or set your own timer once you have the basics down.
8:00 am: Shower and breakfast. Breakfast consists of cereal / oatmeal and fruit and a couple of nespresso with Oat Milk. I also make a bottle of hot water tempered with cold water to sip throughout the day. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, warm water is good for digestion.
9:00 am: I am sitting at my WFH setup and scrolling through Twitter and traditional news media as well as our media monitoring flags we get 24/7 of news concerning the crypto, payments, fintech industries.
9:00-11:00 is when I can have focus time and I block off this time to brainstorm big ideas; write; or establish or maintain relationships with my East Coast media friends.
11:00 am: I go out for a brief walk to clear my mind. Breaks in the day are essential to WFH malaise and unease in the lower back and traps.
12:00 pm: I’ll grab some lunch, usually some leftovers and a cup of Brodo bone broth to warm my body. My meetings start about now.
12:00-6:00 pm: I’ll have had back-to-back meetings with comms, marketing, product and engineering as well as with the leadership team to learn more about our RippleX initiatives and how we want to get our story out there.
7:00 pm: I am making dinner, reheating dinner, or we order in once or twice a week. Dinner is usually Asian or Italian inspired food that’s quick to make. I’ve mastered a Mapo Tofu recipe my husband and I like. FYI, he takes on all cooking duties on the weekend and helps with cleanup on weeknights and will also cook with me at times.
9:00 pm: I do check slack after dinner until about 9 pm or perhaps a bit later as many of my counterparts are on the West Coast.
10:00 pm: My husband and I are deep in Bravo, or other TV mode.
11:30 pm: Pick up a book (preferably fiction) near my bed and drift off to sleep, positive that I made a little bit of a contribution to the world today.