Employee Spotlight: Caitlin Eckvahl

  1. How did you become interested in blockchain?

I first became interested in blockchain in 2017 when I met a man in Amsterdam who told me about Bitcoin. It was at the Van Gogh Museum on Halloween (also the birthday of Bitcoin) and I sort of took all this randomness as a sign that something significant was happening in my life. I ended up reading a bunch of articles about Bitcoin, paid attention to how it behaved, and overall learned what influenced it since it’s quite different than the stock market. It took me a while to separate Bitcoin from blockchain, and when I finally realized their potential between the two, I took a real interest in them. 

  1. Who or what inspires you? 

My dad is my biggest inspiration in my life. He has always had a good work-life balance and showed me the importance of putting family first. He would always make time for my school functions when I was younger, and as an adult I aspire to do the same. He once said “you only get about 18 summers with your kids so you’ve got to make them count.”

  1. What is the last book you read? 

I’m currently reading Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck. I recently became invested in taking control over my personal finances and met Sallie while I was at a conference in Brooklyn. My family never really spoke about how they managed their finances, and so I told myself that the moment I started making money I would figure out how to make that money work for me. I’m also the first in my family to go to college, so it’s important to me to always set career goals for myself and learn from established professionals who are not afraid to share their stories. 

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? 

I’d have dinner with my grandma, Yam. She lives in Monterey Park, California where I grew up and it’s hard for me to be away from her. I get a lot of my quirks from her and when I was little she used to make me go into other peoples’ yards to steal seeds and plant cuttings so she could grow the same plants for free. We used to have a little snow pea patch in a small alleyway and she once grew a plant so tall that it crawled into the powerlines and the city told her to cut it down. She’s getting old, so dinners with her are few and far between and I gotta make every one count. 

  1. What is one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring professional? 

Never stop networking. I think most, if not all, of the greatest advances in my career came from networking. Whether it be a job tip, industry knowledge, or career advice, I can always point to someone in my network who is willing to help point me in the right direction. 

I’m also a strong believer in creating your own opportunities. If you see something that you’re interested in, but there isn’t an immediate opportunity for you to contribute, there is nothing stopping you from reaching out and starting a conversation. 

  1. Where was your first job?

My very first job was at a community center in Oregon called the Wesley Center that was looking for volunteers to decorate and handwrite Christmas cards. I ended up signing more than 400 cards that went out to community and board members, and some of those board members still have those cards in their homes. They later hired me as an intern to help out with communications and event planning, and I really got to know the community very well and documented its growth over the course of four years. I went to weddings, held newborn babies, volunteered at soup kitchens, and picked fruits when it was fruit-picking season. Overall, I get very sentimental about my time at the Wesley Center and I am always so grateful to have met all the good folks I knew in little Eugene, Oregon. 

  1. When you’re not at work, what’re you doing? 

I do all sorts of things, but definitely pilates. I used to have a lot of back pain when I was younger so I got into gymnastics, aerial silks, acroyoga, and pilates which greatly helped with my scoliosis. Can’t miss a week of pilates or my back will get rather crunchy!

I moved to New York about six months ago, so I also make an effort to see something new every weekend if I can. I recently got really into visiting artist collectives and finding unique handmade accessories. I’m also a part of the Ellevate Network and made it a goal to go to one networking event a month. I recently met some really cool career-driven gals at a networking brunch and would highly recommend joining!

I also have a handful of houseplants that require maintenance and care over the weekends, so I try to give them some attention while I’m away from my usual work. 

  1. Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to so far? 

My favorite place that I’ve traveled to so far is probably Verona, Italy. I have a pen pal that lives there and we used to write to each other pretty often. I ended up studying abroad in Italy so I could go visit her and Verona is just such a beautiful city. I went slightly before the holidays and got to see a giant star erected in front of the Colosseum. I also had the best fresh-squeezed orange juice in Verona and met one of the sweetest Airbnb hosts who drove me around and tried to teach me Italian through the Italian versions of iCarly and Storage Wars. The Airbnb host was an absolute gem. She had a dog named Bruno and a boyfriend that she called the “King of Panettone,” and she had no shortage of Christmas cake. She made me a full Italian breakfast buffet and dinner every day and once took me to an exclusive European soccer player spa because the King of Panettone had access. 

  1. What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island? 

I used to watch a lot of Naked and Afraid and from what I’ve learned, duct tape is a must. I’m a practical lady so I’d also bring a chicken and a barrel of hand sanitizer. 

  1. What’s your favorite famous or inspirational quote?

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” 

 

Read Next: February 2020 Book Club