Catie Romero FingerCatie is a marketing strategist and leader with over 15 years’ experience in diverse industries.

With a passion for making the complex to understand tangible for all consumers, clients, and buyers she is on a mission to help companies find and craft a story for their products, services or solutions that help them to reach more people and gain greater market adoption.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

CEO of Tecient – PR and communications firm for crypto, blockchain and DeFi start-ups, scales -ups and established companies. There are a lot of PR firms that work in this space, but few that understand the space and that is where we come in. We are narrating the future of tech.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, the closest I ever came to sitting down and “planning” my career was in uni when I thought I would either be a philosophy professor or go to law school. I prepared for the law school entrance exam and then never took it. As the date got closer and I imagined myself siting at a desk all day in a law office the more I realized it was not for me. Other than that, my career has evolved naturally.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Absolutely! I think I struggled for a long-time at understanding what I really wanted to do and what my passion was. I took roles that sounded right but were not really what moved me. I had the occasional boss that was hard to handle, and those challenges made me question where I should be.

First, I had to take a good look at what I wanted long-term and what made me happy. More importantly, I had to understand how to deal with hard bosses, people, and situations. It was about maturing emotionally and professionally.  A quote has stuck with me was one by Warren Buffet (I had it as a screen saver for years to remind myself of it daily) “You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restrain. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.”

As a woman, it is important not to “overreact” but also stand your ground and finding that balance is an act of art.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Starting Tecient and watching it grow as fast as it has. We started it because we had to, we got a client and realized we needed a company so Tecient was born. Now the challenge is how to manage its growth and scale because of how much need is for our services and skill sets.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Gut instinct  and determination. I always lead by my instinct. There are times where my head says one thing, but my gut another, however, I always go with my gut and that has served me well up until now. I can overthink things, but I have learned over the years to jump at opportunities if my gut says do it. I have failed many times, but without failure I think I would not know how to understand and spot potential. It is a lot of A and B testing in every sense!

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Read, read and read! I read a lot and ask a lot of questions. If your objective is to get into tech and you are not “tech native”, then you have to upskill and that takes reading and asking a lot of questions to the right people. When I started my first project in blockchain I was completely lost. But I refused to not understand it. Nothing I hate more than being the only one in the room that doesn’t get it. So I must have read every article, blog and book I could in three months time as well as have hour sessions with the founder of the project I was on. I would read, have a session, ask questions and repeat. Tech is a sector that you need to be willing to be constantly learning. If that is not your thing, I don’t think it is for you. It moves fast and you need to be willing to get up to speed quickly and be super challenged at times. You need to be willing to say, stop I am not sure I understand, please explain and then keep going.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think yes and no. I think that in tech, in crypto specifically being a woman has its advantages because since there are not many women a lot of people want to invite you to the table. But at the same time if you are intimated by being the only, or one of few women, at the table that can be a challenge. I have worked in very male dominated sectors my whole life so that does not bother me, but I can see how it could be challenging for other who have not had that same experience. I think it is about tech companies making an active effort to involve more women and understanding the true value that all diversity brings that needs to be a part of any company’s narrative. Tech can be so engineer led that things like diversity get left forgotten about because they can be seen as less not imperative, when actuality they are.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

More than anything look to actively diversify teams. I know that when we look for new people we first look for women as we want to lead as a company that has more women voices. There are more women studying STEM now than ever so there are great candidates, but companies have to make an active effort to seek them out.

There are currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Probably more money being spent in women-led initiatives. There are a ton of women led tech initiatives, however, there is not much VC money that goes into them, and I think that if there was more active investment in women led start-ups we would see a drastic shift. I am pretty sure that women led start-ups and companies are more successful than others simply because women are used to balancing more. That is not to say that men don’t but let’s be honest – women are more adept at many jobs at once.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

There are so many! It depends on the tech they want to get into. My recommendation is to go down the rabbit hole of whatever tech they want to be in. I was moving from engineering tech to blockchain so I read the following:

The Infinite Machine

Blockchain Revolution

Bubble or Revolution
Lots of Podcasts: The Blockchain Podcast, Marketing in B2B Technology, Metaverse Podcast, Metaverse marketing.

The Economist has a lot, HBR too.

Follow people and connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter, read what they write and interact. Look for a mentor to ask questions and bounce ideas off of. I would say make a plan, but I didn’t and it has worked for me. I really believe that life has it’s own plan, we just have to go with it!