All Systems Go: Amplifying Diversity in Web3

When you build your roadmap around making an important impact, there’s little time to talk, you just start hammering – creating, building, promoting, and investing in opportunities that help others join the change.

We speak to Catie-Romero Finger, co-founder and CEO of BABs Labs, a full-service Web3 communication and marketing agency, who’s on a mission to drive diversity and inclusion in the nascent sector.

How would you boil down BABs Labs to a one-word brand story?

Intention. That’s the one word that touches on everything that we do at BABs, telling you exactly how we do what we do. How we came up with Unsung Heroes was very intentional – putting a spotlight not on famous women, but on those not yet seen. The way we choose our name was very intentional. BABs is short for Bad Ass Bitches – because that is what we are, unapologetic about being strong women. Intention tells the story of how we started BABs Labs – to search for those women and those diverse projects that need to come to light. If we are not intentional about diversity in Web3, it will never happen! With intention is how we are building websh3. Who we have there and what they represent is all done with intention. We hire with intention. We look for knowledgeable but diverse candidates, because as we say: “Diversity Breeds Creativity.”

You mentioned that it all started with Unsung Heroes.

In December of 2021, BABs co-founder Nastya Adamova and I came up with an idea for a women-led NFT project. At the time, there were several women-focused NFT projects coming out, but we felt that for the most part they were all offering the same thing – a small give-back mission and generative art that had something to do with women. We wanted our mission to be deeper, something that would move the dial. Created by artists from all around the globe, the art-forward NFTs celebrate stories of women throughout history who made massive contributions in their field but were not recognised. The intention behind Unsung Heroes was to create a platform for highlighting the potential of those who have to climb unjust barriers to find recognition, which, as history teaches us, rarely happens. The art was to be bold, different, and not generative. When we started to do artist outreach, we were flooded with women from all over the world who wanted to participate. It seemed like such a simple mission yet so many women connected to it because they had never been given a platform to share their art and their story. One artist was selling out her collections, yet she didn’t have enough money to do any community building because she was putting it all back into her project. No one saw her and said – “your art is amazing, let me invest and help you build this!” It seemed crazy to us. All of this amazing potential yet no one had thought to try and tap into it.

Is that when you decided to start your own agency?

Yes. During this process, it became abundantly clear to us that there was a massive hole in the market for Web3 marketers who actually understood the space and who could give real business advice to help this untapped potential grow. Ultimately, Unsung Heroes was put on pause and BABS was born. It just felt urgent to us to support this onboarding and help bring more amazing women into Web3.

Due to the fact that significantly less funding is put into women-led projects, many are without resources to put towards outside counsel for strategy and growth.

What does BABs’ client roster look like?

We are dedicated to helping projects that are going to truly change the landscape of Web3 with founders who connect with that mission. We help them stand out in the market and make their mark. Until now, unfortunately, we have had very few women-led projects that came to us. My belief is that this is a chain reaction. Due to the fact that significantly less funding is put into women-led projects, many are without resources to put towards outside counsel for strategy and growth.

What’s the intention behind websh3? 

Since our core mission is to get more women who are truly building into Web3 and since we know that if you don’t take action nothing will happen, we have built yet another brand. websh3 is a community and IRL event series that is focused on highlighting diversity – both projects that are about moving the needle as well as projects that have diverse leaders. A friend once said that in order for us to get more women into Web3, we literally have to give them a place to speak and share their experiences and insights. Otherwise, it is just talk and no action. This is what BABs is doing with websh3 – intentionally creating action.

Does this also help women-led projects to find funding?

Yes, but still only to a certain extent, and we want to do more. Our next step, hopefully by the end of the year, is to start a VC fund that makes the mission holistic. Websh3 creates the platform, the VC gives the funding and BABs promotes the project. There is a lot of discussions that surround supporting women in Web3, but talking won’t get us where we need to be. We have to have actionable items that will actually get women in. And it is not only about the same profile of women. We need to look to emerging markets, where the promise of Web3 is something that can truly alter the life of a woman and her family. That’s why we are intentionally looking to partner with other women in the space that are dedicating their time to these communities to bring about change.

Speaking of emerging markets, which role is BABs playing there?  

BABs has a special place for Latam, as I am half Colombian. Due to strong historic and economic barriers in these cultures, your opportunities there are limited by where and in which family you were born. This traditional struggle to move between classes is breeding a natural fighting spirit for change. Latam has dealt with economic instability for years, banks are not trusted by most people and the population is ripe for change. Web3 promises this with no conditions attached. Once this is realised by large populations mass adoption is inevitable. Our role as women leaders in this space is to make sure that we are moving forward with a mission that is going to support what Web3 is meant to do – change how people can participate in the world economy. Since we intentionally chose this role for BABs, it’s all systems go! Whether we are doing that by pushing our clients to consider emerging markets instead of APAC, looking for more amazing women to join our websh3 panels and meet-ups to share their knowledge, actively helping fund projects that are in their unique way helping propel inclusion in the space, or purposely searching for diverse profiles as we build our team – we must practice what we preach and make it intentional and actionable. Otherwise, we’re not creating any movement – it’s all just talk.

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