Wisdom From The Women Leading The Blockchain Revolution, With Kelsey McGuire of Shardeum

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readJun 12, 2024

Don’t be afraid to speak up — every industry thrives when it includes a multitude of ideas and opinions from a broad range of participants. Make sure your ideas are heard and keep fighting for them if you receive push-back.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelsey McGuire.

Kelsey McGuire currently serves as the Chief Growth Officer for Shardeum, an EVM based autoscaling blockchain. A web3 native, Kelsey joined Shardeum from her role as CMO at VC, CoinFund, having also previously held senior leadership and marketing roles at Celo and Consensys. She is busy developing new creative campaigns to educate and engage audiences, helping make decentralization accessible to everyone.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story of how you decided to pursue this career path? What lessons can others learn from your story?

I started my career in brand marketing for more lifestyle-focused companies. I was always interested in the tech space but wasn’t sure when or how to make the transition.

When I heard of web3 through acquaintances banking, I was intrigued by the unique aspects of the technology and would it could potentially do to reshape the financial system At the time I was still relatively uninvolved in tech, but with web3 and blockchain on my radar, I was ready to take the plunge. From there I joined Consensys, continued my career with Celo, CoinFund, and now Shardeum.

The rapidly evolving landscape of web3 can be daunting, but we are all still pretty new. You don’t need to be an expert in blockchain to enter the space, as long as you are willing to learn and embrace the ever-moving train that is blockchain.

One thing I hope that people can take from my story and my career path is that it’s never too late to switch gears — whether it’s a completely different field altogether or a different niche. Do your research and jump in.

Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?

I am currently working with Shardeum as their Chief Growth Officer, and my main focus is creative brand direction, community engagement and adoption. I am able to travel around the United States and the globe interacting with our current community members and potential members. In addition to in-person interaction, I focus on community engagement online.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The list of people who have helped me throughout my life and career, to get to this point now, is incredibly extensive. This may come off as cheesy, but the top of that list would be my family. I grew up in an immensely supportive household, with the best support system to fall back on when and if I needed them. I recognize the privilege that comes with such a strong support system and having that safety net. I would also like to recognize my current and former community of colleagues and friends who have made my professional career so enriching and exciting.

What are the 3 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

A new frontier — Despite the fact that crypto has been around for about a decade now, we are still very much at the frontier. The potential of blockchain technology has yet to be fully recognized by the general public and even the industry itself. The excitement of not yet knowing all the amazing projects will be built from this revolution, but being there to watch it unfold is really rewarding.

Gen Z — I find the timing of the blockchain revolution quite exciting. We are seeing the first members of Gen Z enter the adult world, living autonomous lives, and driving the demand for many industries. These young adults are the first generation that have truly been immersed in technology their entire memorable lives. This means that the blockchain industry has access to an entire generation that easily adapts to new technology, who are incredibly quick and smart, and ready to enter the world and take on new challenges. The blockchain ecosystem is primed for this generation, and I can’t wait to see the innovation and progress that takes place over the next 10, 15 years.

Sense of Community — Finally, the most exciting part about blockchain and crypto is something very close to home, and that is the sense of community within the space. At Shardeum I work to manage and engage a broad community of over 600K people, and I am inspired every day by the community support and interaction. You can see this type of activity across the industry, whether it’s DAOs, Telegram groups, Twitter communities, Discord, etc. The level of connection we see within the blockchain ecosystem is, in my opinion, unseen in most other industries.

What are the 3 things that worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?

Crypto’s reputation — Headlines tend to focus on scandals. The thing that worries me is that these sensationalized stories are what the general public sees — much more than the good that blockchain technology is bringing to the table.

Joining the blockchain revolution only for the profit — While I understand the interest in crypto trading and the potential for lucrative returns, I also want people to see blockchain technology for the utility and good that it offers, more so than the profit.

Regulatory speedbumps — I worry that government bodies around the globe are too slow to realize the benefits of crypto, and they will continue to squander momentum in the industry. I think if leading blockchain companies and regulatory bodies manage to facilitate a consistently positive relationship and mutual trust, this issue could be resolved.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?

I have used my success to build a stronger sense of community within the blockchains space, and educate individuals who were/are hesitant to take the leap. With Shardeum I have been able to travel to different colleges and universities and speak with fascinating young minds who are curious about or eager to join the blockchain ecosystem. When speaking to the young women at these events, I use my personal success stories in the space to provide them with the confidence they need to make that jump.

As you know there are not that many women in your industry. Can you share 5 things that you would advise to other women in the blockchain space to thrive?

  • Build a strong network — Create and join communities, host and attend events, and foster strong relationships with other women in this industry. You never know when and how your connections will benefit you, so building those foundational connections from the start is pivotal, also that’s a really fun part of working in web3.
  • Stay curious — Stay updated with the latest industry trends and developments. Take courses, attend workshops and seminars, and regularly read industry publications to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the technology and how it really works. More importantly, gain a solid understanding of how it may change going forward.
  • Keep confident — Imposter syndrome can be a drawback regardless of your industry, but especially in such a new and unpredictable landscape such as blockchain. Have trust in your abilities, practice self-love and confidence, and don’t hesitate to make your views and ideas heard.
  • Push through the noise, but hold others responsible — you may encounter a range of toxic behaviors — if you can safely do so hold those individuals accountable for their actions and words. This will help level the playing field for the future generation of women entering the space.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up — every industry thrives when it includes a multitude of ideas and opinions from a broad range of participants. Make sure your ideas are heard and keep fighting for them if you receive push-back.

Can you advise what is needed to engage more women into the blockchain industry?

That’s a really important question. The disparity in this industry is huge, with only 12% of those involved with blockchain technology being women. Much of this disparity is reflective of the wider demographic issues in STEM fields. I also think it’s important to address that there have been some huge steps in the right direction over the past few years. Although still small, the number of women who take up this industry has risen by 8% in the past few years, and I think the future holds equally promising growth.

On a more immediate note, we need to curb the strange and toxic behavior often overlooked within the blockchain community. You can see on a number of platforms the highly misogynistic “locker room talk” specifically targeting women in the industry. I think companies and organizations need to start having a zero-tolerance for this type of behavior — rather than some of the shoulder shrugging we see now. Regardless of education, if we don’t make this industry feel like a safe space for women, we won’t see the inclusion we are striving for.

What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that had relevance to your own life?

One of my favorite quotes is by Oscar Wilde: “Life is too important to be taken seriously”. Too often we get lost in ourselves and what we do, and begin to lose grip on reality. This quote speaks to maintaining a little levity and balance in our lives.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I like the idea of starting some sort of movement but would start with identifying a key challenge and partnering with those impacted to design functional solutions together. I feel like an initiative focused on financial literacy from a holistic perspective (web3 and traditional finance) with a fun, gamified twist that targets various age ranges would be helpful!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can learn more about our work at Shardeum at https://shardeum.org/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!