Women in Web3: Gianina Skarlett on Creating Inclusive Environments and W3 Learn Academyby@reginadigital
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Women in Web3: Gianina Skarlett on Creating Inclusive Environments and W3 Learn Academy

by Regina December 21st, 2022
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Gigi Skarlett is the founder and CEO of CTW, the company behind Crypto Tech Women and W3 Learn Academy. She is passionate about technology, education, and creating inclusive environments for minorities. Her biggest challenge was being dismissed or doubted because of her gender or appearance.
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The HackerNoon editorial team has launched this interview series with women in tech to celebrate their achievements and share their struggles. We need more women in technology, and by sharing stories, we can encourage many girls to follow their dreams. Share your story today!

Gigi, I Met You at Dcentral Miami, and I Was Incredibly Inspired by Your Speech About Women in Web 3 and by Your Background. Can You Tell More About Yourself, Please?

My name is Gianina Skarlett, and I'm from Venezuela. Most people call me "Gigi." I am the founder and CEO of CTW, the company behind Crypto Tech Women and W3 Learn Academy.

I've always been passionate about technology, education, and creating inclusive environments for minorities, and that's exactly what we're doing at CTW through exciting online and in-real-life experiences, Web3 education, and providing job opportunities to our community.

For my background, I began dabbling in the world of coding when I was 16 years old, but I had no idea this was a career I could pursue until I moved to Los Angeles.

When I realized this was a possibility, I enrolled in a Software Engineering intensive BootCamp, and shortly after graduating, I became the Founding Frontend Engineer at Forethought, a Silicon Valley company that provides customer service solutions that transform the customer experience with human-centered AI.

Why Did You Choose This Field in the First Place?

As corny as it may sound, I was chosen by this field. I became interested in software development as a young girl who was always looking for new ways to learn and be creative after seeing the potential that technology had to make a positive impact on the world.

Learning new skills that I could use to come up with creative solutions to problems kept me motivated to learn them.

By pursuing a career in technology, I knew I could put my skills to good use and make a real difference in the world.

What Tech Are You Most Excited/Passionate About Right Now and Why?

I'm very passionate about Blockchain technology or Web3. Web3 is a new way of using the internet and owning your data; I also love the transparency provided by blockchain technology.

Web3 has the potential to transform the way we interact with data and applications by making them more secure and giving users more control over their data.

What Are You Most Worried About Right Now and Why?

The economic and social consequences of COVID in underdeveloped countries!

This worries me because it highlights the importance of increased investment in healthcare and infrastructure in these countries.

Furthermore, the pandemic has had a significant impact on education in these countries, with many students unable to attend school or have limited educational opportunities as a result of this.

As a result, a generation of students is not receiving the necessary education to reach their full potential, which could have long-term consequences for their lives and the future of their country.

What Are Your Hobbies and Interests Outside of Tech?

My hobbies include learning, creating content, working out, specifically boxing, and creating communities!

Let's talk about breaking the glass ceiling. What were the biggest challenges you faced as a woman in tech, and how did you deal with them?

One of the biggest challenges I faced at the start of my career was being dismissed or doubted because of my gender or appearance. This taught me the importance of standing up for myself and not letting others silence me.

Just because I am a woman or do not conform to certain expectations does not mean I am not knowledgeable or skilled in my field. It is important to speak up and challenge ideas or propose better solutions when necessary.

This is the same challenge that, by defeating it, accelerated my career as I became more vocal about best practices to follow, code enhancements, process enhancements, and encouraged me to take more ownership and lead the development of products from technical documents to development.

Any questionable misogynistic story/situation you faced/handled, and you want to share with the HackerNoon Fam?

I've encountered gender bias and discrimination at networking events.

I've introduced myself as a founder only to be completely ignored or asked if I was an artist or filled roles traditionally filled by women, while the men I was with were given full attention, assumed to be in a romantic relationship with me, or treated with more respect.

This is obvious misogynistic behavior and discrimination based on appearance.

What Was the Biggest Setback/Failure That You Faced, and How Did You Manage It?

One of the most significant setbacks in my life was my own fear of failure. I was always afraid of taking risks, and as a result, I passed up many opportunities.

However, I eventually overcame this fear by focusing on the potential rewards of action rather than the potential risks.

Rather than allowing my fear of failure to hold me back, I began to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Overall, overcoming my fear of failure necessitated a mix of self-compassion, action, and a willingness to embrace the unknown.

By confronting my fears, I was able to overcome them and open myself up to new possibilities.

What’s Your Biggest Achievement That You’re Really Proud Of?

I'm really proud and humbled by the overwhelming support and success of our Crypto Tech Women NFT collection.

It was an incredible feeling to see the collection sell out within 24 hours of its public minting, and I was absolutely blown away by the support from celebrities like Eva Longoria, Reese Witherspoon's company Hello Sunshine, and iJustine.

I initially started this collection as a passion project to bring more education, diversity, and inclusiveness to Web3, and I'm so proud that it was able to make such an impact and reach so many people.

Through W3 Learn Academy and our amazing IRL and online experiences with Crypto Tech Women (CTW), I'm immensely proud of the lives we've been able to touch and the quality Web3 education we've been able to provide.

In Your Opinion, Why Do We See This Huge Gender Gap in the Tech Industry, and How Can We Reduce It?

Let me explain why I believe the reason for this huge gender gap in the tech industry begins as early as your childhood and through the current educational model.

Historically, toys for girls included cooking, cleaning, being a mother, being a nurse, and other similar activities.

Toys for boys, on the other hand, include construction games such as building planes, race car tracks, being an astronaut, and so on.

Girls are encouraged to be caregivers and to have children, whereas boys are encouraged to be interested in problem-solving skills, math, and science from an early age.

Later in life, as we progress through school, the careers that are traditionally recommended for women are not technical ones.

I believe we should begin implementing classes at a young age to expose children to skills they can later use in tech such as coding, finance, and others, as well as create gender-inclusive toys that encourage girls to build and problem-solve through their toys.

Who Is Your Tech Idol? Why?

Grace Hopper is my tech idol because of her innovative spirit and dedication to advancing the field of computer science while advocating for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.

She was a pioneer in the development of early programming languages, and her work laid the foundation for many of the technologies we use today.

Do You Have Any Advice for Aspiring Girls Who Want to Join the Field?

To girls aspiring to join the tech field, my advice is to just start. If you don't know how to begin, please reach out to me and I would be happy to help. The starting point can be intimidating, but preparation is key.

Remember that you are welcome in this industry and you have the skills necessary to succeed. Don't be afraid to take that first step.