The Forbes 40 under 40 is no perfect ranking of business prestige, but it does bring some interesting people into the spotlight. Smart, ambitious people who have driven forwards in a slightly different way to the majority. One 35 year old who fits this description is Amber Baldet. As described by Forbes: “Baldet is here to smash any preconceptions you might have had about the banking industry. She leads the team at J.P. Morgan that’s developing Quorum, one of the most exciting corporate blockchain projects around…A regular at hacker conferences, Baldet handily bridges the divide between Wall Street and the crypto set.”
Banking remains a male dominated field. The tall towers of Wall Street and The City feel shrouded in masculine energy and attitude. With this context in mind, one of the first things you notice about Amber is her pink dyed hair. It gives her an air of rebellion. I sense of “I’m good enough to colour my hair however I like and still lead the projects”. Go beyond the surface and it’s clear she’s breaking through all sorts of ceilings, successfully bridging the space between the techno-nerds of Blockchain and the traditionalists of the finance world she knows. She’s aware of this strength, saying: “I sit in the middle. I’m a product person who knows about technology. Depending on the community I’m in, I wear different hats,”
Often people wrestle with whether to try and trigger change from within an organisation or step aside and do something different; Amber is proving that it’s possible to do both.
A few words from the lady herself…
“We have an opportunity to either re-create walled gardens of the past or build a next-generation internet of value that changes how we connect in a way we haven’t seen since the rise of social media.”
“I wish I had known that computer science and management information system programs today are like the communications degrees of 40 years ago.”
“Often when I give deeply technical talks, the feedback is, ‘Hilarious, I learned a lot!’ And that’s the goal: to get people not just to listen, but to feel like they get it and are inspired to learn more, and ultimately get involved.”
“It’s not fair to tell people they should accept nothing less than a passion project that makes you thrilled to wake up in the morning.”
“Relationships can’t be built over a networking hour or a 30-minute coffee, but you can learn a lot about someone from the quality of their reaction GIFs.”
For more on Amber, visit her personal website.