Eight Questions: Village Edition
Each month in our Eight Questions series, we profile individual members of the Anchorage Digital team. This month, we’re doing something different by focusing on four of the many talented women that make up Anchorage Digital. We’ll discuss their careers, what brought them to crypto, and what excites them about the problems they solve at Anchorage.
We’ll stick with the traditional eight total questions because it’s the number of decimal places a bitcoin can be divided into.
By Leslie Ankney
Introducing Courtney Furillo, Risk
Courtney Furillo joined Anchorage Digital in August 2021 as a Credit Risk Lead. She spent her career prior to Anchorage at J.P. Morgan in Global Credit Risk Management, and has experience in corporate finance and financial analysis. Courtney lives in New Jersey, where she enjoys hiking and time at the beach with her family.
- You made the leap from an extensive time at one of the world’s biggest banks to one of the fastest growing crypto companies in the world. What made you take the leap to crypto? Since joining, what have you found different at Anchorage Digital?
I’ve always been drawn to the analytical side of finance, getting to know a client inside and out through their financial statements. The pandemic was an opportunity to reconsider my priorities and what I wanted out of my career — I think many people can relate. With Anchorage, I was eager for the challenge of offering creative, compliant financing solutions to institutions that were left out of the traditional banking world.
What I really enjoy about Anchorage is how nimble the company is to adapt to market and client demands, it keeps everyone flexible. For example, our loan portfolio has expanded and we’ve added several new business verticals from Corporate Treasures to Filecoin mining since I joined. Anchorage places a high value on transparency, and it’s easy to find mentors in different areas of the business. We’re growing so quickly that people get to wear a lot of hats and build things from the ground up, and I’m drawn to that.
2. Can you tell us the differences between how you approach your role in risk at Anchorage, compared with traditional finance? Are there any surprising similarities?
The beauty of crypto and Anchorage in particular is that I can use my skill set from traditional finance every day. Anchorage values people who can creatively apply what they’ve learned from traditional finance to digital assets.
In my time at Anchorage so far, I’ve found many more similarities than differences to risk underwriting between my time in traditional finance and in digital assets. The same rules apply. What’s most important is ensuring we have the proper controls and underwriting procedures in place.
Introducing Jenny Kim, Engineering
Jenny Kim joined Anchorage Digital as a member of our technical staff in September 2021. Based in San Francisco, she focuses on building user interfaces for internal and external clients. Jenny joined Anchorage from sales engagement platform Groove, where she grew to lead an engineering team.
- You had a nontraditional journey to engineering. How did you decide engineering was what you wanted to do, and how did you get into crypto?
I spent most of college studying psychology and working as a direct interventionist. I was almost done with my degree when I realized it was draining me. Remembering a teenage hobby of making MySpace and Neopets profiles, I decided to take a Computer Science class, and to my surprise I ended up loving it. I threw myself into completing my CS degree, staying through the summers and taking an extra year of college. I learned to throw myself into something one hundred percent to do something the right way.
My interest in crypto drew me to Anchorage. I love that working here helps me keep up with industry news because we’re making contributions to that news as a company.
2. Tell us about an engineering challenge you faced. How did you find a solution?
Prior to Anchorage, I built a team to create a realtime syncing product for Salesforce. I had to explore technologies and techniques that were new at the time. My strategy was to frontload our efforts, understand each part of the product, and how it would impact end users. It taught me to develop a thorough roadmap before implementation.
I applied this to one of my first projects at Anchorage, helping revamp our risk dashboard. The stakes were high because our entire team uses this dashboard to assess the risk levels of each operation before approving or rejecting them. But I had tremendous support from the team. They took the time to get to know me personally and this helped us accomplish our goals together. Seeing the new dashboard go live and be used by so many people made for a really exciting start to my career at Anchorage.
Introducing Joana Martins, Engineering
Joana Martins joined Anchorage as a member of our technical staff in April 2020. Based in Portugal, Joana brings a wealth of knowledge about trust and security to Anchorage. Prior to Anchorage, she was a software engineer at Fyde (now Barracuda CloudGen Access), a security company. She has a Master’s in Network and Information Systems Engineering.
- What got you first interested in front end engineering? What makes it interesting to work on it here at Anchorage?
I took a college course in coding and knew right away I wanted to build a career in it. I love the human side of engineering, being a part of something that will directly impact the person using it and I like to make people’s lives easier.
Back end engineering has its own interesting challenges, but on the front end, I get to interact directly with my colleagues to learn how they interact with our products. I get a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that my colleagues are using something I built.
2. Anchorage holds a special weekly time to hear personal life lessons from colleagues called Assembly. You recently shared the story of an incredibly strong-willed cat who passed away during your presentation. What is the big lesson others outside the company should know about this story?
My story is very personal, but I think anyone can relate. Recently, my cat Arya got seriously ill, and the vet strongly recommended I give up on her. I’m not a vet or a doctor, but my heart told me it wasn’t her time. And it wasn’t — she lived on.
It was a difficult, painful time for me and Arya, but I learned an important lesson to go with my gut and be confident in my decision. Now, I don’t say no to things out of fear of failure. My advice to others is: go for what you want and trust yourself.
I love that Anchorage has built a safe space for people to share personal stories like this. Everyone wants to know each other on a personal level here; it’s not just about work.
Introducing Eileen Wong, Product Design
Eileen Wong joined Anchorage as a member of our product team in August 2021 based in the greater Phoenix area. She brings a wealth of experience in product and graphic design. Prior to Anchorage, she was a senior UX/UI designer for American Express.
- You’ve spent many years in design for a variety of companies from financial services to consumer packaging and health and wellness. How did you get into crypto, and what brought you to Anchorage?
A few years ago, I realized the immense potential crypto holds to make the financial system better. I quickly discovered that the crypto community is open and welcoming. There’s always someone willing to help you navigate and learn more.
I actually discovered Anchorage through a prior 8 Questions interview, so I’ve really come full circle! The company has grown so much since I joined, but the best part of being at Anchorage is feeling like I’m contributing to the growth of crypto itself. I hope this inspires anyone reading this to get into crypto, or even throw your hat in the ring for a job at Anchorage.
2. What are some of your personal rules for “good product design”? How do these play into your work on the Anchorage product?
Before joining Anchorage, I studied industrial design and then moved to graphic design for consumer products. Now, I work on digital products for institutional clients. It might sound like industrial, graphic, and digital design require different skills, but the same foundational rules apply: transparency, usability, and reliability.
Transparency means tackling the right problems for the end user. Usability means making sure the product doesn’t require more steps than is necessary. And reliability means dependability and trustworthiness. Along with being responsive to our end users, I apply these rules every day. It’s all about listening to our clients and delivering exactly what they need to have a great experience with the product.
Disclaimer: Holdings of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are speculative and involve a substantial degree of risk, including the risk of complete loss. There can be no assurance that any cryptocurrency, token, coin, or other crypto asset will be viable, liquid, or solvent. Nothing in this communication is intended to imply that any asset held in custody by Anchorage is low-risk or risk-free. Digital assets held in custody are not guaranteed by Anchorage Digital Bank National Association and are not FDIC-insured.