5 Questions with Jenn Rosenthal - VP, Communications

Last Update 07/14/2023
1. What brought you to Grayscale?
From an early age, I loved reading and writing. My mom’s side of the family is fluent in Italian, and I always enjoyed sharing what I was learning in school with them. I even had a children’s dictionary that I read cover to cover for fun. I wanted to share that passion with others. I graduated from college as a high school English teacher. While I loved being in a classroom, I wondered if I could have an impact at an even greater scale. Through my undergraduate education, I had become extremely passionate about education equity, so I chose to transition to working at an early literacy educational nonprofit (this was my first foray into Communications!). After a couple of years, I started working at a for-profit multinational education company in a Global Corporate Affairs and Marketing function, then worked as a communications consultant – advising Fortune 500 companies and executives, before eventually moving over to Grayscale two years ago.

It’s an unconventional career journey, but that’s exactly what drew me to the role — Grayscale is a company that challenges the mold. I was excited about the opportunity to build a Communications team and strategic function from the ground up; it was an entrepreneurial opportunity at a perfect point in my career. I was also impressed by the culture and leadership. Grayscale has an incredibly close-knit, hardworking, young team, and it was clear, even in early interviews, that people genuinely enjoyed working at the company. I also became deeply interested in blockchain technology, and appreciated the opportunity to work at an asset manager that provided the opportunity and support to learn about a future-forward industry. I fundamentally believe that crypto has the potential to transform how we live, work, play, and interact, and it’s very cool to be a part of telling the industry’s story. 

2. Given the broad scope of communications, how do you build effective communications strategies, tactics, or scopes?

Grayscale team members probably think I’m a broken record because I repeat these questions constantly, but when building any sort of Communications strategy or plan, I start with two fundamental questions: 

  1. What are we trying to achieve?
  2. Who are we trying to reach?

All too often, I’ve found that companies and individuals are in “broadcast mode” – they’re communicating without doing the important and hard work of listening. I think about it like attending a party… would you join a conversation circle at a party and immediately start shouting your perspective? I hope not. I hope you’d take the time to listen to what’s being said, and then decide if you have something of value to contribute to the conversation. Effective communications strategies are built similarly. You listen, you create, you share, you amplify, you collect feedback, and you recalibrate as necessary. 

3. What’s your morning read look like?

I love this question. My morning reading routine usually goes something like this… 

  1. I scan through my work and personal emails;
  2. I scan the headlines of the major newspapers – stopping to read anything related to the crypto industry and bookmarking stories of interest for leisure reading at a later date; 
  3. I read my AM newsletters – NYT DealBook, Axios AM, Politico MorningMoney, CoinDesk, MorningBrew, and a few others;  
  4. I know this isn’t reading, per se, but I then listen to my morning podcasts – NPR’s UpFirst and NYT The Daily, among others, and will play Wordle (yes, still, and yes, I always start with the same word); 
  5. And, if there’s time or if I’m commuting, I’ll read a few pages of whatever book du jour I’m reading at the moment.
4. How has the communications landscape changed in the last 2 years?

Not to state the obvious, but the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed a bunch of norms, and has impacted how individuals, companies, and media brands communicate at all levels through owned, earned, and paid media and content engagements. I’ve specifically followed a few key shifts over the last couple of years: 

  1. The increased importance of employee communications and corporate transparency; 
  2. The growth of hyper-niche digital communities driving a need for targeted content creation, especially visually-driven content; 
  3. The increased need to broaden the bench of “expert” company spokespeople to build a corporate narrative or position; 
  4. The continued evolution of reporters, influencers, and members of the media developing unique online personas, sometimes distinct from the media brands of their employment (particularly interesting given the popularity of Substack), 
  5. The ongoing embrace of communications as a strategic function that is separate and distinct from marketing.
5. What do you see as the future of crypto/financial media?

Financial media will always be responsive to whatever factors are influencing financial leaders. Today, that means macro trends – like global conflict, political polarization, tech innovation, and evolving regulations – will continue to impact how companies communicate broadly.

Specific to crypto media, I’ve been following the trend of “citizen journalism” – specifically how crypto influencers are driving the crypto news cycle and, in some instances, perpetuating misinformation. I shared my personal opinions about this in-depth on LinkedIn recently (here).

I am also particularly interested in how blockchain-based technologies may alter content creation, content consumption, and media subscription models. For example, instead of paying subscription fees for six different media websites, we – the readers – could pay per piece of content we read, fundamentally shifting the media brands’ revenue generation models within the next decade. A host of new questions will then emerge, like: will we pay the content creator or the media brand for that piece of content? 

Regardless of these technology-driven shifts, though, I fundamentally believe that high-quality journalism is critical and here to stay. How it evolves based on these macro factors, though, is the fun piece that’s yet to be determined.

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