Carly Long refers to herself as women in Web3’s “hype girl”. Having amassed almost 20,000 followers (and counting) on LinkedIn, it’s an apt description. Carly is behind a highly successful newsletter, Women in Web3, which regularly updates readers in the Web3 community on female-led initiatives, women-based roles and other notable efforts that are both leveraging and connecting members within the space.
As part of our ongoing series, we recently sat down with Carly to discuss how she got started with Women in Web3, how she first entered the space as an NFT artist and how she’s risen to the fore as an important connector and mediator for those with technical and creative backgrounds alike.
Entering the space
Carly cites tech recruiting as her day job — while also noting her “passion that she’s trying to mix with her day job” as Web3. As a dedicated tech recruiter for Weld Recruiting, Carly helps position senior software engineers, UI/UX designers, product designers and more.
Also an artist and a painter, Carly also taught herself her “own kind of art therapy”. In January of this year, she encountered some downtime — a period in which she carved out some commissioned pieces for different professional athletes, celebrities and actors.
She was pleased to find that she carved out a niche for herself: “I was like, okay, no — people enjoy my art. And I was starting to see that. There were all these stories of artists making millions on NFTs. And naturally, that piqued my interest. So I was like, ‘what is an NFT? What is Web3? Is this something I could do or not?’ And I just wanted to explore it.”
Carly was pleased to receive ample support from her boss, Matthew. “He knew I was starting to research a lot of this, in my nights and weekends. And he was like, ‘just run with it. He very much understood and knew we were going to be getting more and more blockchain engineer jobs, Web3 developers, that sort of thing — so he let me kind of run that and spearhead that. And I just started having all of these conversations with people in the space. And that was kind of how I learned.”
Kicking off Women in Web3
Carly’s foray into Web3 was furthered by Matthew’s encouragement: “He really encouraged me to start the newsletter and podcasts and just document the journey. And that’s really how Women in Web3 evolved.”
She continues: “I feel like it’s still evolving. I’m not quite sure what it will turn into. But so far, it’s a really awesome community that we have.” At the time of writing, Women in Web3 currently has (x) followers on LinkedIn — and I explain that other colleagues and thought leaders I’ve connected with have shared it.
On whether Women in Web3 has helped leverage more opportunities for women in the space, Carly says: “Absolutely. I don’t think I realised the gap until I was in it. And the further I go into it and the more I build Women in Web3, I’m realising the gaps just kind of almost seem grater, even though we’re doing an incredible job. And we’re closing them.”
With that being said, however, we both note the abject confusion of entering the space — particularly where things like technical jargon or financial talk are at large. “I know a bunch of women who would love to get into it. But we don’t know where to go, we don’t know where to get started. I feel like there’s a lot of that out there — it’s very daunting. I don’t have an original tech background — I have a creative background. So I can totally relate to when I started researching and learning Web3 and NFTs. As I learned more and more and saw how it was blending these worlds of creativity and tech, I really wanted to highlight women artists.”
On making Web3 more accessible
Being an artist and a writer, Carly and I also note the accessibility that her newsletter and podcast have given not just women, but anyone looking to enter the Web3 space: “The news goes on in my tone of voice as a non-technical person to try and make it more accessible. Whereas [with] the podcast, we take those conversations to another level — and really beyond women just making it more accessible for anyone and everyone who wants to get involved.”
“I picked down a lot of people whose projects I could actually support and stand behind,” Carly explains. “So you’ll notice I [also] speak to plenty of men on there. But there’s usually a really cool tie — like Vijay Pravin. He’s the CEO of Bitches Crunch and his company started employing women who have career gaps because they took time off to raise their children. So they started educating them on Web3 — and now one of those women who came in as an intern is almost one of the highest paid in the company.”
Taking a leaf from Pravin’s book, Carly hopes that Women in Web3 will similarly empower other women to find success in the space. “My hope is that these short, bite-sized episodes can spark someone’s interest to like, ‘oh yeah, I want to look up that company. And maybe I can get involved that way.”
Despite us finding our niche, however, we both make note of the prevalent scepticism at entry points of Web3. What can be done to change this? “The first thing I would absolutely want to highlight is the community of the space. Just dip your toe in and you will receive so much love and support. Obviously, there [are] good and bad sides to it — but the good side is very pervasive right now.”
She continues: “On the flip side, I would tell people to absolutely do your research before you invest in anything, before you put your money into anything. It is crucial to be aware of the other side of Web3. And right now that looks like a lot of people trying to take advantage of those who are trying to learn it. I’m very open about that.”
On filling more roles with women
In one of Carly’s most recent Women in Web3 newsletters, she raises that while job openings in Web3 appear to be opening up, women are only filling one-third of them. Being a seasoned recruiter, does she have a special approach to encouraging more women to enter the space?
Again, she cites Matthew’s help as a catalyst for her stance as a Web3 recruiter: “He really pushed me to be like, ‘I know you don’t feel like you know everything — especially about Web3 and NFTs — but just like, put yourself out there.”
She also adds: “I feel that a lot of women in a male-dominated industry might feel as if they can only step up to the table if they know their stuff or if they don’t have any questions. But it’s really okay to just go as you learn — and there are so many male counterparts in this space who want to support and lift women up.”
A valuable connector
Carly is determined to not just be a recruiter or educator, but also a friend and sounding board to everyone in the community. “I wanted to be one of those communities or those sounding boards — like that circle of trust that I mentioned — where I can just be very welcoming to anyone who has questions. And I love connecting people. I don’t look at myself as an expert, I look at myself as a connector — so I can connect them to someone else who might have a job for them or who might be able to help their project.”
Her advice to other women (and just about anyone entering the space)? “I would say to find your niche and your circle of trust and those people who you can rely on. So anytime you have questions, put it out there on LinkedIn or Twitter and you’ll get a billion people outside of that circle who genuinely want to help. But then you’ll also have them to really be a close sounding board.”
What’s next for Women in Web3?
If you ask Carly, the sky’s the limit for Women in Web3. “I know a lot of different projects have started Telegram groups and community WhatsApps. So we might start that with some different offshoots of the newsletters — maybe like a one-on-one with some of the guests on our podcast, those sorts of opportunities.”
She’s also looking into planning more events in Nashville, where she’s currently based. With this initiative, Carly will be partnering with and working with female lead tech groups in the city. “There are some really awesome women in power at different VC firms in Nashville,” she says. “So sharing it with them and opening those doors for people is a very low risk.”
By converging her talents for connecting people, writing and creative problem-solving, Carly stresses the importance of carving out in-person opportunities. “I think creating more of these opportunities and spaces is just another good way to start getting more and more women in the door.”
To subscribe to the Women in Web3 newsletter, be sure to follow her link here. You can also follow the Women in Web3 podcast on Spotify using this link. Carly’s additional handles can also be followed here.