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The latest candidate in our series of Q&As with influential women in the technology business in Canada is Emma Todd, CEO, MMH Blockchain Group
Name: Emma Todd
Job Title: CEO of MMH Blockchain Group
Years in the Industry: 5 Years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it.”
What drew you to a career in the consumer and/or business technology industry?
The people. They were so smart and so determined to create something that they believed could change the world. Also, they didn’t really care who you were or what you looked like. If you were interested in helping them make blockchain and cryptocurrency mainstream, then they were happy to talk to you and work with you.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
Not so much in the early days because the community was smaller and everyone was just happy that you were helping to foster blockchain adoption. However, as my circle grows wider, I do occasionally encounter people who are a little surprised to see me seated at the table. They try to put up roadblocks until they are advised of my capabilities and my various successes over the years.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
While I feel I bring the same characteristics and capabilities as a man, I do also think that I demonstrate that it is possible to do things efficiently and that you can be successful at multitasking.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs in order to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
I’ve spent some time researching this as one of my mandates is to encourage more women in technology. [The] Technology [industry] needs to be more inclusive and make allowances for people to take their kids or parents to appointments. Management in technology needs to understand that people may not be able to work 12-hour days, but that does not make them any less capable of doing a good job and can make workers more efficient.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
This varies depending on what industry you are in. If you are in the blockchain industry, and are looking to genuinely make a difference, the people in the industry are very welcoming. However, in the general tech world, this is different. They are not as welcoming and are quick to judge. As a result, it is imperative to show them who you are, and why you belong there.
Are there other women in the tech industry who inspire you?
Yes, most definitely – there are quite a few. The top people are: Amber Scott, CEO of Outlier Solutions Inc.; Iliana Oris Valiente, Managing Director at Accenture; Lucia Gallardo, CEO of Emerge; and Natasha Bansgopaul, White House Presidential Innovation Fellow
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you’d like to dispel?
We are not risk takers. We don’t know what we are talking about. We don’t have as much experience compared to men. We are not able to make tough decisions.
What’s one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I wish that the early adopters of blockchain had focused on how the technology could be transformative as opposed to the intricacies of how the technology works. Explaining the ins and outs of technology confuses most people and, as a result, I think we lost some potential champions who could have helped us along the way.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Most definitely! Every year, I am encouraged by the steps forward that blockchain is taking. The macro-environment and democratization of finance are accelerating adoption trends towards blockchain technology and the continued digitization of assets and financial products and services. That’s why I’m thrilled to have recently joined the board of directors at Tokens.com, a Toronto-based company that is exposing investors to opportunities within the leading use cases today: Decentralized Finance and NFTs.