In our monthly “Wachsman Employee Spotlight” series, we aim to highlight one member of our global team to provide you an inside look into the Wachsman family. This week, we’ve chosen Layla Tabatabaie, Account Supervisor and Crisis Manager in the New York City office. Below, we ask Layla a few “getting to know you” questions to give you a sense of who she is, what she loves, and where she comes from.
- How did you become interested in Blockchain?
One of my closest friends, an incredibly sharp entrepreneur with several exits, told me about the ethereum blockchain. I take all his advice seriously so I conducted research on it and within a day I had bought some ether. I tracked its price movement and promptly fell down the rabbit hole. I read absolutely everything, including dozens of white papers and every legal agreement related to blockchain companies I could get my hands on. Later, I would become Senior Writer at a blockchain media firm, and as a lawyer, write contracts and negotiate deals for blockchain companies.
2. Who or what inspires you?
Christiane Amanpour is my biggest role model. She is a Persian-British news anchor with a flagship international news program on CNN, but for decades she has been visiting some of the most dangerous areas on earth to give voices to the marginalized and invisible communities in war-torn regions or under extremely oppressive governance regimes. It would be a major oversight to keep her name out of a list of acknowledgements for people using their spotlight for good. My favorite qualities are intelligence, curiosity, generosity, and a willingness to take risks to make the world better. Other honorable mentions would be Ronan Farrow, Barack Obama, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
3. What is the last book you read?
I’m 30 pages away from finishing Michelle Obama’s Becoming. Prior to this one, I read Ronan Farrow’s War on Peace, and my book club voted against me to choose Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone–you could say my taste is pretty diverse.
4. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Maryam Mirzakhani. Dinner would probably feel more like a journalistic interview for her, but I have so many questions for the first female math genius to win the Fields Medal. Not to mention many regrets about not just playing the Persian Kevin Bacon game to garner a meeting.
5. What is one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring professional?
Read one well-written book a month and ask a lot of questions. You need both. Without a lot of reading, you’ll ask the wrong questions, and without asking questions, you’ll never get a deeper understanding of what you read.
6. Where was your first job?
I was 14 or 15 when I worked as a cashier at Target. I learned a lot from that job, but more importantly, I ended up meeting my oldest best friend who I travel the world with every year to this day. He has been the most important person in my life in terms of personal growth and expression, so I’ll give a shout out to him here.
7. When you’re not at work, what’re you doing?
If it’s a weekday night, meeting up with friends and family, or lounging to Netflix/Hulu/HBO/Amazon Prime programming. On the weekends I try to catch up on personal reading, creative writing, art projects, or community events.
8. Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to so far?
I’ll exclude Tehran for unbiased review purposes and go with a tie between Berlin and Barcelona. They’re both progressive places for women, an educated populus, rich culture, walkable cities, delicious food, and have virtually every activity imaginable.
9. What are three items you’d take with you to a deserted island?
A fully-fueled helicopter with corresponding paper manuel on how to operate (that could get me back to civilization), a solar-powered digital music player filled with the best opera songs (in case I don’t make it off the island), and a wide, weighted fishing net (unlimited sushi buffet, anyone?).
10. What’s your favorite famous or inspirational quote?
It’s almost poetic in how much my favorite fits into what we do here at Wachsman, which is keep people and brands relevant. From Shirley MacLaine and adhered to by Silicon Valley legend, entrepreneur and investor Heidi Roizen “At 20, you are constantly worrying about what other people think of you. At 40 you wake up and say, ‘I’m not going to give a damn what other people think anymore.’ And at 60 you realize no one is thinking about you at all.” The most important piece of information there, Roizen says: “Nobody is thinking about you from the very beginning.”
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