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Marina Guryeva Leads Neon EVM to New Heights

Published March 11, 2024 12:48 PM
Teuta Franjkovic
Published March 11, 2024 12:48 PM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

Hai Key Takeaways

  • Marina Guryeva aims to pioneer diversity and innovation in the blockchain industry.
  • Neon EVM, led by Guryeva, overcame global issues to launch its mainnet, proving its flexibility and strength.
  • Guryeva champions diversity at Neon EVM, which has a staff which is 35.6%.

In a sector with predominantly male leadership roles, Neon EVM CEO Marina Guryeva is carving out new paths and setting precedents.

As the woman leading an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) platform, Guryeva is not just at the forefront of a thriving enterprise. She is also trying to alter the global developer landscape.

Pioneering Diversity and Innovation in Blockchain with Neon EVM

Under Guryeva’s leadership, Neon EVM’s accomplishments underscore positive growth, and also highlight her strategic acumen, propelling the company forward in blockchain.

Beyond her business achievements, Guryeva’s commitment to diversity and innovation is reshaping the industry. With 35.6% female representation within Neon EVM’s staff, including 24% in technical and development roles, her efforts are not just about breaking glass ceilings. They are also about creating a new narrative for what’s achievable in blockchain.

CCN spoke to Guryeva about challenging traditional industry dynamics and fostering a more inclusive technological world.

CCN: Can you share your journey to becoming the CEO of Neon EVM? What inspired you to take on a leadership role in the blockchain industry?

Marina Guryeva: I heard about Bitcoin in 2013 and encountered it for the first time in real life in 2014 in Singapore where I did my MBA at INSEAD. While I was there, I was offered the chance to pay in bitcoins at a cafe. Having read Buterin’s paper on Ethereum in the summer of 2014, I was very impressed by the endless possibilities of decentralization.

I have been in the blockchain space since 2015. I have an engineering background and have been in managerial positions since my early 20s. Since 2017 I have been leading the blockchain tech teams. Before Neon EVM I led a team working on commun.com , a blockchain-based Reddit. We launched the solution but failed to find a product-market fit. Therefore, we moved forward looking for new opportunities, talked to Anatoly Yakovenko among others, and came up with the idea of the EVM on top of Solana. 

Overcoming Adversity: Launch of Neon EVM Amid Global Challenges

CCN: What were the biggest challenges you faced in launching Neon EVM’s mainnet on Solana? How did you overcome them?

Marina Guryeva: Unforeseeable events, I would say, were the major issue. In the beginning, we aimed to launch Neon EVM on Solana mainnet in 2022. However, the Russian-Ukrainian war broke out in February which heavily affected the team as people had to relocate. Despite that, we managed to launch Neon EVM on Solana’s devnet in April 2022.

This devnet launch helped us to identify the weak spots of the system and fix them which was quite challenging. Later, in November, when we were preparing for the mainnet launch in December, the FTX crash happened. That put Solana’s existence in doubt. We started 2023 in a gloomy mood, frankly speaking. However, technically, we were ready for the launch, and once Solana rebounded Neon EVM came out in July 2023.  

CCN: As the first woman leading an EVM chain, what do you think your leadership signifies for gender diversity in the tech and blockchain sectors?

Marina Guryeva: I believe it signifies a lot. There is a lack of women in leadership positions in IT in general. I know how tricky it is sometimes for girls to be accepted as equals within engineering teams. Men prefer to hire men as they know how to deal with them. I appreciate diversity not because they say it has to be valued, but because I see and understand the value that it brings in terms of productivity and working environment.  

CCN: How do you prioritize and foster a culture of diversity and innovation within Neon EVM? What impact has this had on the company’s success?

Marina Guryeva: We foster a collaborative environment where diverse perspectives enrich our idea pool. This leads to quicker solutions for complex challenges, driving innovation and success.

Neon EVM’s Strategy for Empowerment and Inclusivity

CCN: Can you elaborate on the importance of empowering women in blockchain and how Neon EVM is actively working towards this goal?

Marina Guryeva: Gender diversity strengthens the industry. We prioritize equality through opportunities at all levels, targeted initiatives, and an inclusive environment. Women in leadership roles showcase our commitment to leveraging diverse talents for innovation in a dynamic space.

CCN: With Neon EVM’s achievement of having 35.6% female staff and 24% in technical roles, what advice would you give to other companies looking to improve gender diversity in their teams?

Marina Guryeva: We recommend prioritizing inclusivity from leadership down, setting clear diversity goals, implementing fair hiring practices, and fostering a supportive work environment.  Diversity creates a valued workforce, leading to long-term success. View diversity as a strategic advantage, not just a goal.

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