Meet the Yappers: Gemma Lo, Account Manager

Find out more about the day in the life of an Account Manager at YAP Global! From catching up on Crypto Twitter to working with teammates across multiple timezones, Gemma Lo has done it all. More here, in our second #MeetTheYappers blog post.

Can you tell us the story about your journey into this space – tell us about your career background and what brought you into the wild world of blockchain?

Ever since I graduated with a politics with economics degree, I’ve been in the PR and communications industry on the agency side, serving B2B and B2C clients, working on campaigns, and assisting crisis communications. 

This is definitely not the most inspirational story about how people get into the wild world of blockchain, but it did affect why I wanted to join the front. Starting back in 2017, most of the headlines about Bitcoin were about frauds and scams, but that caught my attention to know more about what exactly Bitcoin is and the technology behind it. The more I read the more I found it fascinating, especially when I realised how it could change the current social and financial system. As a PR professional, I think the public needs to know more about the potential of blockchain, and not only the isolated cases of fraud/scams using blockchain and crypto. Therefore, I quit my job at an international agency.

Voilà, here I am at YAP Global for this wild ride!

What does a day in the life of an Account Manager at YAP Global look like? 

With the everchanging decentralised finance (DeFi) and cryptocurrency space that runs 24/7, it’s important for account managers to be aware of what’s going on and to be on top of current news trends. I cannot start my day without a quick check on what I have missed in my sleep! That being said, Twitter is always my go to social media channel to keep up with updates of the space and some good laughs to start my morning! Then, I will be scanning news sites for breaking news stories and trending topics. If there is any relevant news or sensitive happenings that require flagging to my clients, these are typically taken care of first thing in the morning. 

With the team at YAP Global being truly global, the first thing I do when I’m at my desk is checking internal and external chats to catch up with the teammates in other time zones for handovers and media opportunities. While email is not the main communication medium in the space (Telegram is!), I also check my mailbox for messages and newsletters from some of the major Crypto/ Defi publications, such as Bankless, Decrypt, The Block, and CoinDesk. 

Throughout the day, I will be attending internal and external meetings. In between the meetings, I will be mostly delving into strategy planning and supervising juniors.

What is your favourite part of being a part of this industry?

I love the fact that there is always something new to learn in the crypto world. I am quite enthusiastic about learning new things, and consider myself very fortunate to work in a field that is always evolving with new technology, and concepts and ideas. It never gets boring!

It is also very different transitioning from an international agency setting, to a boutique agency where I have the opportunity to work closely with project leads and co-founders.

YAP Global has been operating through remote working since before the pandemic and the team is spread globally. How do you manage your daily schedule to communicate with the team and clients? 

You might be wondering, how am I going to keep up with my teammates and clients when they are in different cities and time zones?  Everyone who has been in a remote working environment would agree overcommunication is the key, and this goes without saying since we are in the communication industry. It’s important to let your team know what you’re up to since they are no longer a few seats away from you in the office. We are all on chats and will be jumping on and off virtual meetings for brainstorms, knowledge sharing, training and even wine down on Fridays! It’s my role as an account manager to check in with juniors on a daily basis to connect on daily tasks, upcoming projects and also their career objectives. Don’t be afraid to bring things up! 

Time management is another common challenge even in a normal workplace! You need to figure out your own working style to maximise productivity, whether it’s adjusting your working space, setting to-do list, prioritising tasks etc.

What personal qualities would you say are important to be a good fit for the YAP family? 

With the team being global in a remote working environment, you can imagine that everyone is busy and we would much rather spend our time on quality tasks than micro-management. Anyone who takes initiative, works autonomously and is proactive would be qualified as a YAPPER. 

What do you love about working in PR and communications, especially in such a fast-paced, constantly evolving industry? 

PR is all about storytelling. As a professional storyteller, you are presenting compelling information and translating often complicated crypto language. Being part of the industry, I have the opportunity of receiving and sharing knowledge with different people every day. With the changing media landscape, including the rise of social media platforms as well as the downsizing of newsrooms, keeping up with how, where and when stories can be communicated is one I enjoy. 

Plus, I get to know what I don’t know! The world is big and is always changing as a result of various innovations. You meet and connect with a lot of people who come from different backgrounds, professions and perspectives. You get to keep up with the world, learn a lot while broadening your horizon, not just in terms of knowledge but also in terms of how you see things. This piques my interest and intrigues me!

How do you keep your pulse on what’s going on in the blockchain/crypto space given it moves at a lightning speed?

Read and be around with people who are also passionate about blockchain and crypto! There are different learning styles but something that works well for me is learning from participating in discussion.

Any tips for those looking to work in PR and communications for emerging tech projects? 

Always be curious and learn how to tell a story. As a successful PR professional, you need to learn quickly about new ideas or technologies, digest them and present them in more easily understood ways that are relevant to your audience whether it’s journalists or the public. But remember not to go too deep down the rabbit hole with all the complicated tech information!

Understand the value of your voice. You are presenting clients and educating them about a revolutionary technology which is gaining attention and steadily becoming mainstream. As it could be controversial to some, the responsibility to create well written and fact checked copies lies with PR professionals.

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