Coinbase Voices: Why I decided on a career in crypto

Coinbase Voices is a collection of employee stories that highlight the expertise of our Coinbase team and share their journeys to crypto. In this post, Carolina Verdelho, Senior Recruiting Manager, discusses her experience as an international recruiter and how she’s using it to help shape the future of Coinbase.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a Sr. Recruiting Manager. What does your job entail?

I’ve been in Recruiting for more than 15 years now, and have always worked with tech companies. I started my career in Brazil, working in traditional tech like Dell and Oracle, hiring people across all of Latin America in technical, sales and business positions.

My first language is Portuguese, but because I had exposure to other countries from the start, I also learned to speak Spanish and English. I didn’t expect to get into Recruiting at first — in fact, it was my last choice of careers. Now, don’t even think about taking me away from it! It’s what I love.

What made you want to work at Coinbase?

I had worked for almost nine years at Facebook when I decided I needed something new. One day, I was talking with a friend and shared that I wanted to do something different, but didn’t know what that was. He pointed out that when I joined Dell, the company was going to Retail, and when I joined Oracle, it was launching software as a service. When I joined Facebook, no one knew what social media would turn out to be. I joined at a pivotal time in those companies’ journeys. He said, “I think you should do that again.” He works for a blockchain company and suggested that I try the crypto environment. I wasn’t sure, but I started doing some homework and changed my status to Open on LinkedIn. To my surprise, someone from Coinbase reached out to me, along with five other crypto companies. I thought, maybe my friend is right — maybe it is for me. From there, I started talking to people at Coinbase and learning more about what the company had to offer.

Candidates often ask me during interviews: Why did you decide to leave Facebook and join Coinbase? I find myself giving the same answer that I gave when I joined Facebook nine years ago. At that time, it was a company of 4,000 global employees. I remember the VP of Engineering asked me why I wanted to join, and what I thought the company would be in five years. I told her, “I don’t know what this company is going to be in the next five years — and that’s exactly why I want to join. I want to help build it.” It’s the same for Coinbase — I don’t know where we’ll be in five years, but I want to help us get there.

What project are you working on over the next 60 days?

My role has changed quite a bit since I joined Coinbase in May of this year. I wear three different hats: I manage a Recruiting team hiring engineering managers in the United States; I’m helping to stand up recruiting efforts in Latin America, including Brazil and others; and, I’m doing the same for EMEA, in the UK, Ireland, Israel and more.

Internationally, we are starting everything from scratch — hiring recruiters, finding agencies who will help us, and establishing a system for how to hire in each country. We’re in hyper-growth mode, and it’s an exciting time to be here — especially on the Recruiting team.

What’s it like working for a remote-first company? What advice would you give to someone considering it?

I was at Facebook when the pandemic hit and everyone went remote, and was later offered the opportunity to work from home full-time. When I was looking to join another company, that was one of the mandatory requirements for me.

Remote work allows me to balance managing a family — a husband, kids and a dog — while also working and being as available as I can be. It doesn’t make sense for me to commute 30–40 minutes in the car when I could be doing something productive, like supporting my team or finding a solution to a problem. Working remotely is the best use of my time.

I also love that we have a lot of tools that help us interact with each other. We use Slack and Google Meet to connect, so I don’t miss out on meeting people. I think I know people better now in this virtual environment than I did face-to-face. I get to know more about them and really talk to them instead of just seeing each other in passing.

The one piece of advice I would give to people is to set boundaries. I make sure I have a dedicated workspace where I can be 100% focused on what I’m doing. When I’m there, my brain recognizes that I’m working. Then, when I’m done and it’s time to be with my family, I can close the door and detach from work.

Finally, just because I can be at the computer at any time doesn’t mean I’m available at any time. If you don’t set boundaries upfront, things will be difficult. Use your ‘me’ time to be with your family, take care of yourself, exercise, read a book, go for a walk — get fresh air. It’s important to set aside time in your day to recharge, then hit the ground running when it’s time to work.

What’s it like onboarding remotely?

I really had a hard time the first two days at Coinbase — it was difficult for me to understand what was going on. I told my husband, “What have I done?” He reminded me that I was at a company for nine years and things would be different now. In the days following, people were very open to supporting me, explaining things, and helping me understand why we do things the way we do here.

I think onboarding remotely is a bit of a challenge because you’re essentially opening a different computer in the same place you were working the day before, for a different company. After a few days, I started to catch on — I think giving time to acclimate to the culture and providing access to resources makes a huge difference. I had an amazing buddy who helped me onboard and was always available and checking on me. That was a total game-changer.

What do you value most about Coinbase’s culture? What do you think sets it apart?

I took a leadership course a few years back, where the teacher said that we should hire people not only by their skills or experience, but by their values, and that the values of the person should match the values of the company. Before I interviewed with Coinbase, I read the values and asked myself if I could work and operate following them. The answer is a huge yes.

There’s a cultural value here that’s very important to me: Act Like an Owner. It might be because I’m driving a lot of things for international expansion, but I strongly believe that I shouldn’t expect or wait around for others to take care of something for me. I should own it and ensure its successful completion.

I think what sets Coinbase apart for me is the winning combination of a solid business foundation, a very strong leadership team, and the excitement of hyper-growth. You don’t find this often. Being able to join this company and put your fingerprint on this growth and say, “Hey, I was the one who did this, who moved this needle or helped jumpstart that initiative,” that’s such a rare and exciting opportunity. Coinbase also gives people the responsibility and accountability to push the company forward — everyone feels like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, and that’s something that I love.

Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t know from your LinkedIn profile.

Something not many people know is that my first job was working at the video rental store, Blockbuster. I was watching a documentary about the company a few weeks ago and thinking back on all that I learned in that experience: How to listen to people, how to approach people that I don’t know, how to offer my help and manage expectations. I learned a lot from that experience, and I’m very thankful.

I can also say that I learned a lot from my recruiting experience there. I walked away thinking, how can I do better for people? How can I be respectful of their time and feelings? Maybe being a part of that process helped shape the Recruiting professional I am today.

Coinbase Voices: Why I decided on a career in crypto was originally published in The Coinbase Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

14 January 2022 15:18

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