Humans of Shyft: Q&A with Beverly Altberg, CMO
Beverly Altberg joined Shyft Network as its Chief Marketing Officer in April. Altberg, whose background includes marketing, merchandising, and general management with multiple Fortune 500 companies, discusses why she decided to join Shyft, and what makes the company truly special.
Q: What attracted you to the opportunity at Shyft?
BA: There are only a few times in your life when you have the chance to be part of something extraordinary. I believe Blockchain is my chance. It’s a transformative technology that will change lives completely, even more so than the internet did years ago. While I don’t have a background in startups or technology, I was excited to get involved with this technology specifically with Shyft because of how they are working on a solution to a problem that urgently needs solving. Our world has a problem with how we use and share data that has major implications for consumers and companies alike. Shyft is working to build a solution that actually solves this very big, very expensive and very global challenge. So to have a chance to work on that is really cool.
Q: So there was no doubt in your mind that it was worth jumping from a traditional corporate environment into a startup?
BA: I had butterflies, but the good kind. I knew I would have to figure out how to thrive in a startup environment and spend a lot of time learning. But there was also the excitement of knowing that I’m really good at building things, and I know how to transform complexity into an understandable story. The ability to learn while making an important contribution is a magical equation for me. It’s the sweet spot where I find I’m the best at my job.
There are only a few times in your life when you have the chance to be part of a seismic shift. I believe this is what Blockchain will be. It’s a transformative technology that will change our lives completely, even more so than the internet did years ago.
Q: Where do you hope Shyft will be in a year or two years?
BA: This company and the ecosystem we’re building both have so much potential. First, I’d really like to see our network being utilized while growing in a way that helps both people and institutions. At the end of the day, we’re building the bridges to allow attested, verified data to be securely shared. This has a multiplicity of important uses — whether it’s around identity, financial services, healthcare, education…the list goes on.
The second is more of an internal goal. I want Shyft to be a company for which people are compelled to come work. And I think at the end of the day if people want to come work for you, it’s because your company is winning while doing good things….for the world and each other.
Q: Is there any area that Shyft is working on that particularly intrigues you?
BA: What we’re doing with identity is intriguing and unique. While many companies are simply working to make identity more secure and private, we’re working to redefine it to make it more usable and inclusive. For example, our network doesn’t define identity simply based on qualifiers from banks because not everyone in the world has access to engage with a bank. We can bring the billions of these “unbanked” consumers into our ecosystem and give them a chance to participate in the global economy by establishing common values of credibility — which everyone has. This fairness and inclusivity that’s created based on these values, what we call “creditability,” while being private and secure is a very powerful proposition.
Q: What’s an example of some aspect of Shyft that’s not getting much obvious attention?
BA: Joseph, our chairman, has spoken about this. The bridges of the Shyft ecosystem transport more than just data; one could say they go so far as to connect ideologies. They come with a very strong set of values about trusting networks, building better technology, peer-to-peer enablement, equal participation, and economic freedom. And we’re connecting that into the infrastructure of the way we do business today. Beyond building bridges for data and people: there’s a lot of other things we, as a society, can do better.
Q: What has it been like in the early days with such a tight team trying to move quickly and get everything off the ground?
BA: It is a team that genuinely wants everyone to be successful. There is an incredible sense of urgency, coupled with a true team spirit. We do not compete with one another. We’re all running in the same direction; sometimes we bump into one another. Someone might fall and we just pick each other up and keep on running.
Q: The fintech and tech industry in general have been criticized for its lack of diversity, especially at the executive level. So in that context, the diversity on Shyft’s executive team is noteworthy. Can you share your thoughts on what that means to you?
BA: It feels really good to be on a team that is more representative of who’s out there — at all levels. We have diversity of background, we have some people from crypto and blockchain and some from other fields. We have diversity of age. There’s a bunch of Canadians on the team, but not everyone. There is diversity in terms of sexual orientation. It’s really across all dimensions. And, if diversity is done right, there’s a business benefit to it. There’s no contest about that.
Q: What’s your motto?
BA: When my three boys were younger, they had a Spiderman doll who would chant “With great power comes great responsibility.” I think that’s true for many things…but most of all, privilege. I’ve been privileged to have the experiences I’ve had, the career I’ve had, the education I’ve had... I feel I have a responsibility to give back. I‘ve recently become the National President of the Board for Lean In Canada, an organization dedicated to empowering women to build purposeful careers. And while I’m excited to do more in a formal setting, I am also passionate that I get to help drive the social purpose behind Shyft at work every day.
Q: Where would we most likely find you outside of work?
BA: Oh man, definitely in a hockey rink. I’m the mom of three competitive hockey players, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I pretty much don’t have a voice from September until April from the embarrassing level of screaming that I do at their games (all positive of course). I also play on Sunday nights with an amazing group of women, though I’m pretty sure my kids could take me down if they wanted to.
Q: What else do you want people to understand about Shyft?
BA: Blockchain startups and companies tackling interoperability and identity are a dime a dozen right now. But very few have the two ingredients needed to make a solid recipe: First, you need a strong product that solves a pressing problem. Second, to break through the noise, the story has to be told in the right way.
Shyft has both. We have an outstanding product that solves a global problem and improves people’s lives. And our story is just being written.
Shyft is building the world’s first modern, secure, multi-stakeholder Blockchain-based digital identity solution that enables KYC/AML attested data transfers. Join our Telegram (https://t.me/joinchat/HhrB_hKGQDQKU7mhpzor_g), follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/shyftnetwork), GitHub (https://github.com/ShyftNetwork) and other channels found on https://www.shyft.network/