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Day in the life at UMA | Melissa Quinn, Chief Operating Officer | by Melissa Quinn | UMA Project | May, 2022

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Melissa Quinn is COO at UMA.

There’s a deep sense of gratification that I get the opportunity to help scale up a burgeoning team while curating an organization from among the best and brightest around the world.

I focus on this challenge every day as the Chief Operating Officer at UMA, an optimistic oracle for web3.

(Before you read on, a friendly reminder that UMA is hiring for a variety of positions here).

Embracing team-scaling with flexibility and creativity

Scaling is different for every company. Since joining UMA in 2020, I’ve learned a lot from my team and tried to use that expertise to help grow our team sustainably while building an organization that is diverse, agile, team-oriented, confident and productive as a remote-first decentralized finance (DeFi) company.

In crypto and DeFi, it’s important to think differently about recruiting and retention. This industry is highly specialized and evolving at hyperspeed. That means my team and I need to be open-minded and innovative about hiring and retaining talent. It’s not about being perfect; a little bit of experimentation can unlock wonderful paths and lessons.

We’ve grown from roughly a team of eight to 30+ people in a short period of time and that has been made possible by looking anywhere and everywhere for talent. Developing recruitment incentive programs that mobilized our entire team as recruiters has helped, while we’ve approached our work culture, work environment and compensation thoughtfully and sensitively.

My time at UMA has opened my mind and strategic thinking to try new things. That applies to building relationships, learning from others and reworking our strategy when something isn’t working.

UMA taps into global talent and skills

One of the joys and keys for our recruiting strategy has been to open up our world — literally. What began with a small group of people working together in an office, now has a team of people living in nearly a dozen different countries around the world.

Interviewing candidates from around the world and hearing their enthusiasm for getting to work in crypto is both energizing and educational. The talent pool in crypto is much deeper and diverse than people give it credit for, and I get to see that every day.

The wonderful, hardworking and savvy people I work with keep me inspired to help foster an organizational culture that reflects the values, experiences and needs of a team with a diverse background.

Our people come from different communities, perspectives and experiences.

Embracing remote work due to the pandemic, but also because of our organizational needs, has been a blessing. We are now tapping into a global pipeline of bright people with the right skills, talent and attitudes to succeed at UMA.

Nurturing trust, respect and diversity is essential in a remote work scenario

A remote work environment, with people in different continents and time zones, isn’t easy and must be built on trust and transparency.

More specifically, people trust in other people’s strengths and skill sets, and also trust people to work hard and meet deadlines. One of my roles is to provide the glue that keeps us all sticking together.

That trust, combined with flexibility, really encourages me to be my best self for my team. It might sound cheesy, but as a mom, my personal life and work life can certainly be hard to juggle, but knowing that if I am transparent with my team, and get my job done. There is always support and encouragement.

When telling candidates about our company and our culture, it’s fun to see their eyes light up and say: “that sounds exactly like what I am looking for”. I hope that we are inspiring people to merge their passions with their career, because that’s when people do their best work and succeed.

Bringing fundamental change to global finance

I appreciate and draw energy from working in an industry that is making fundamental, systemic change.

I relate and connect with the ethos of the industry. We’re living in a world where more decentralization of financial services is essential. That means the DeFi tools and services we’re helping to build will have a real impact on the world in a positive way.

Things change and evolve so quickly. Reflecting on what I’ve learned and accomplished in my first two years provides plenty of excitement for the future.

Beyond just DeFi, I think crypto in general is doing so much for inclusion and providing people alternative tools and services to live their lives and conduct their business. Equal opportunity is crucial, and it feels like we’re making strides in that direction in this industry. I’m glad to be a part of that.

****



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