We have talked to the president of Alice in Blockchains, Magda Milas, about women in today’s society and the opportunities they need. Alice in Blockchains has been brought into existence by only female leaders who would love to impact women’s lives significantly.
What a wonderful name! How did the idea come about?
Our naming consultant Maja Bencic, who we hired to create a name for us, says thank you.
The idea behind the name was to fuse two different stories into one, carrying associations from both of them: Alice in Wonderland and Alice in Chains band.
Alice in Wonderland associations speak of the Wonderland of crypto and fintech that the founder ladies, or Alices, have fallen into. Just like Alice from this story, they encounter many wondrous adventures in this new world. Alice in Chains comes in communicating their expressive, revolutionary, powerful, and soulful side since all the founders are absolute rock stars in their business fields.
You are an organisation with only women members. How do you try to empower women in today’s world?
For women, it is key to generate a solid community that feels like a safe and supportive space for them to ask questions and gain access to relevant information. It’s essential to educate women about finances, new technologies, fintech, blockchain, and even NFTs to feel they are equipped enough to join the space. Women are typically more risk-aware and cautious about investment than men.
With money more challenging to come by for women (also due to the gender pay gap etc.), it makes sense that women are more careful about how and where they invest it. Thus, it is necessary to provide women with information and answers to relevant questions to feel more comfortable. Financial literacy, access to accurate information, and creating a safer space for women to join the conversation, in general, can make women feel less intimidated by how to get involved in the space, and that’s also one of the reasons Alice in Blockchains was founded.
How do you evaluate the situation of women in today’s society? Please tell us a little bit about the history of Alice in Blockchains.
An art manager, a fintech expert, a lawyer, a digital product development consultant, and a development engineer entered a bar… this is not a beginning of a joke. During a friendly gathering, we realised that there were not many other female colleagues. Women are only 25% of employees in engineering and technical positions, and in the blockchain industry, this figure is even significantly lower. By organising ourselves and working together, we can make a difference. And that is how Alice in Blockchains started.
What is your vision for the future?
Blockchain technology has brought the promise of decentralisation, accessibility, and inclusivity, and the figure on the representation of women in the industry is devastating. We want to give every woman education and access to information about the latest global financial technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
They plan to do this through education, financial literacy, networking and mentoring, and generally encouraging women to understand blockchain technologies and create new financial and business opportunities for them. Everyone must be involved in the development of new technologies.
The vision is to erase the borders between the genders, from acceptance to literacy to equal income, and that everyone is recognised by their expertise, not by gender. Global authenticity, get this movement to an international level and connect to other similar associations worldwide.
What are your business model and your main activity? Can you tell us more about your education and financial literacy activities, networking and events, and mentoring?
We are a non-profit organisation with our main focus on the following activities: supporting women in their ongoing journey towards professional and personal growth, establishing a strong community of support and building women’s confidence in the (fin)tech/ blockchain field. Our main goal is to encourage women through education, mentorship, and innovative projects.
What are your ambitions for the future?
We have a lot of exciting things planned. Generally speaking, as an organisation, we will mainly focus on education, mentorship, and networking to encourage women to get into the fintech, crypto, and blockchain space and create new opportunities for them. We will organise lectures and similar educational programs geared toward women, including a larger-scale academy focusing on financial literacy. We are also co-organisers of a fintech conference in November in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb. We will participate in this year’s Art Zagreb, an annual contemporary art fair focusing only on contemporary art and living artists. We also want to build long-term partnerships with existing companies and organisations in the space and bring the topic of women in NFTs into the spotlight.
What achievements are you most proud of?
The amount of positive energy and proactivity that appeared and unexpectedly popped when we announced the foundation of our association. It’s amazing what vision, proactivity, and teamwork can create! Especially when women join, that’s actually the whole point. We are proud that we gathered more than 50 members just two months after Alices were founded, and so far, in the process of creating great projects, cooperations, workshops, and educational classes.
Our members and founders
Magda Milas – President – One of the founders and president of the “Alice in Blockchains” association. She graduated in marketing from the Faculty of Economics of the University of Zagreb, after which she gained experience working at Erste Bank in the economic sector, cash management, working with European development banks and financing exports and trade, as well as working with international non-resident corporate clients, especially with Chinese corporate clients.
After working in a bank, she continued her work experience in one of the largest Croatian fintechs – Electrocoin. At Electrocoin, she was in charge of business development. She participated in projects integrating cryptocurrencies as a payment method through a number of online stores, a chain of gas stations throughout Croatia – Tifon, and through the webshop of the Croatian retail chain, Konzum. She is currently developing the fintech area in one of the largest Croatian telecoms – A1. In her free time, she does scuba diving and freediving and has a sports pilot’s license for flying single-engine pistons. She is the mother of a 5-year-old girl.
Belma Gutlic – Vice President – Belma has a master’s degree in software engineering, a passion for new technologies, and an ambitious spirit. Even during her college days, she was involved in creating several startups. She gained experience with full-stack development during her university internship, and after she graduated in 2017, she decided to pave her way in building a company. Right out of college, she co-founded NodeFactory, a blockchain research and development company that successfully offered the development of decentralized web 3.0 applications, infrastructure, protocols, and tools. In July 2021, Belma made its first exit when ChainSafe acquired NodeFactory. She now works as a Solutions Manager, leading R&D at one of the largest blockchain companies in the World – ChainSafe.
Petra Horvatovic – Member of the Board – brings the blockchain industry together with art through a platform that promotes contemporary art. She is the co-founder of the Shpigl agency, which combines classic art and new technologies, represents multidisciplinary visual artists innovatively and creatively, and creates projects as polygons of collaboration between artists, institutions, and brands to generate added value through art for all parties involved, as well as those who use art. consume.
Within the organization Alice in Blockchains, Petra is focused on promoting culture and contemporary art through creative pop-up projects and digital technologies. With an education in the field of art and economics with a focus on art management, Petra built a successful career and gained international experience in managing projects within contemporary art galleries, especially in the French art market, and consulting in the field of building relationships between artists, art institutions and collectors.
Anamaria Zuvanic – Member of the Board – in her previous career, she worked in two renowned law firms in Croatia, where she was also a partner in one of them, after which she founded her own law office in 2021. She has many years of experience advising clients in all aspects of business law and related legal issues in the financial services and information technologies industry. She regularly advises financial institutions in cross-border financing and project financing transactions, as well as clients in general financial and banking matters, including regulating financial services. In this connection, she has been following the development and advising parties in numerous legal issues related to financial technologies and blockchain for a long time.
Iva Kvakic – Member of the Board – is a consultant with many years of experience developing digital products and managing projects in various industries such as IT, eCommerce, event management, and blockchain. She currently works as an operations manager in a renowned web development agency specializing in purpose-driven projects and campaigns in cooperation with international institutional clients.