The Diversity in Blockchain Blog
An Interview with Diversity in Blockchain Co-Founder Anna Ashurov
September 25, 2018
Anna Ashurov is the Co-Founder, Treasurer and Board Member of the Diversity in Blockchain non-profit organization focused on driving inclusion, education and leadership for diverse people in blockchain and emerging technologies. She is a Vice President in the Financing Group at Goldman Sachs and is involved in portfolio management for Goldman-led bank loans and served as a Chief of Staff for the Financing Group in 2017. Prior to that, Anna worked in Restructuring Advisory at Barclays. She holds an undergraduate degree from Baruch College and a JD from Brooklyn Law School, where she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. Anna is also a member of the legal committee for the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, an advocacy group for Wall Street in the distributed ledger age; and a Board Member of Mazel Day School, an independent Jewish day school in Brooklyn.
How and when did you get involved in blockchain?
I got involved in blockchain about five years ago in 2013 when I started learning more about the technology and its impact across various industries. I was immediately fascinated by various use cases for the technology and have been following the space since then.
Who are your mentors in the space?
I have various mentors in the space, both personally and professionally. My most important advisor is my husband (I would be remiss not to mention his invaluable impact on my career), but there are plenty of other individuals that have guided me in my career throughout the years (you know who you are!).
From your perspective, how is blockchain changing Wall Street at this moment?
At the very least, blockchain is encouraging financial institutions to rethink processes and technologies currently used by the firms in workflow processes. It also spiked a surge of creativity and innovation and helped many to come up with various ideas on how to create efficiencies, as well as develop new products and ways of doing things.
You founded Diversity in Blockchain with five other female founders. Why did you feel compelled to start this organization?
Given I am not involved in blockchain in the regular course of business, I was looking for ways to continue being engaged in the industry, meet new individuals and promote opportunities for other individuals (similar to myself) that are looking to get connected and entrenched in the space. My Co-Founders represent a very diverse group of ideas and come from difference walks of life — I wouldn’t do this with any other group. It is an honor and privilege to move this agenda along with these women by my side.
How can the industry make sure there is equal participation and distribution when it comes to diversity and inclusion?
We need to continue being present in conversations and idea creation — by being at the table as early on as possible, women and other diverse individuals are ensuring their future presence and impact in the space. Industry needs to proactively engage all those interested — having a diverse representation is good for business and idea generation.
What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in breaking into the blockchain space?
Read, get involved, go to conferences, listen to calls and join podcasts. There is a wealth of information out there and because the industry is currently at its infancy, there’s an equal chance for all in shaping the next few years in blockchain.