Building anything in Web3 comes with as many challenges as it does rewards, and only the best teams survive. Part of becoming one of the best teams is fostering a vibrant, healthy culture that supports everyone who contributes to a shared vision. The Oasis Foundation holds this component of its success as paramount for long-term growth and development of best-in-class infrastructure for Web3. Better collaboration and communication are key to innovation.
Andreja Cavnik is the Director of Human Resources at the Oasis Foundation. She explains how Oasis is leading Web3 not just with its technology but also with its people. Andreja details how a strong culture for her team is what excites her as much as the privacy and scalability work that the Foundation focuses on supporting.
This post features an abridged transcript from a live event hosted by the Oasis community. Click here to watch a recording of the conversation.
What is your role at Oasis? What did you work on before joining?
Cavnik: I’m the Head of Human Resources and Culture here at the Oasis Foundation. I’ve been a part of the team for two and a half years. 2 1/2 years now. My role is simply to make sure that our team feels supported and to create an environment in which we can all thrive, innovate and create history. Because we are a virtual team, it’s even more important for us to focus on one another and to support one another.
The entire team really looks after one another and does their part to create the culture that we have.
Before Oasis, I’ve always been very passionate about supporting and helping people thrive. I’m an internationally certified executive coach and trainer. Before joining Oasis, I had the amazing privilege to be a part of an extraordinary team of the world-famous business strategist and coach Tony Robbins. And it kind of gave me a very good experience in terms of how a team needs to work together and almost breathe as one.
Supporting high-performing teams and leaders has really been something I’ve been actively engaged with for many years and I’m still very passionate about it now.
What has your journey through Web3 been like? Why did you join the Oasis team?
Cavnik: In school, I studied criminal justice and security. That was kind of the first time that I was alerted to certain aspects of privacy and how important that is not just for our own safety but for the safety of others. So, the topic has always been close to my heart.
Then, later on, I started flirting with crypto and blockchain around 2020. I started investing in crypto and I started reading about different projects and the space and what a ride has it been since. I first met the Oasis team by a mutual acquaintance to work on growth workshops and coaching. But the chemistry with the team was quite instant, and I was very quickly pulled into the incredible mission and vision of Oasis. I was inspired and impressed by the energy the team possesses, and I wanted to help contribute to the greater vision.
What’s the greatest barrier for mainstream acceptance of Web3?
Cavnik: In general, I think it’s the idea that it’s just too complex – the usage of the technology and the cryptography behind it all. A lot of Web3 is kind of still stuck in the old ways and it’s just very natural. It’s human psychology.
On the change curve with new technologies, you always have this group of people that are early adopters and they just dive in and they’re like, “I don’t care if it’s working, I don’t care if it breaks. I want to test it.” It’s a new toy, right? And they’re just all over it.
But just like with everything, there is a stepping point that the market has to reach and tip over for it to reach that mainstream audience.
We need to make sure that using this technology and products is seamless, right? And, it’s very user-friendly. This is where Oasis, again, is pioneering because we currently have the only production-ready confidential EVM in Sapphire. And, with the Eden Mainnet upgrade, everything is only getting more robust and smoother. And that’s key to filling the gap for mainstream Web3 adoption.
What inspires you on a daily basis in Web3? What passions do you have?
Cavnik: Since always, basically, I’ve always been obsessed with personal growth and helping myself and others. And when you love something, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you or how much you do it. Coaching is and has been and always a strong part of my life. So a true passion of mine is definitely coaching and empowering people. And like I said before, it’s helping high-performing teams to be sustainable.
A lot of the time, when teams go fast and build a lot, they can crash and burn very easily. And that needs to be avoided. For me personally, I couldn’t live without physical activity. Making time for hobbies and sports, movement, nature, friends, family, traveling, all of those things really light me up.
What are the core values that the Oasis Foundation culture embraces?
Cavnik: We are a very young team, so it’s very important for us to have that “student for life” mentality and an open growth mindset. I’m incredibly proud of our team and how far we’ve come together. I think the culture as a whole is built on freedom for people to think with their own heads, to take ownership of their own work, and to have agency.
We are a high-performing team so we follow high-performing principles. We reward loyalty, we make sure that we reward commitment, and we put a lot of emphasis on growth and the development of each individual.
Our shared values are not just some words written down somewhere in a document that we never look at. They are like living and breathing characteristics and skills of our team members. For example, when we need to make decisions or when we need to set some firm boundaries or even you know, if something breaks like communication or a relationship. Our shared values definitely act as a glue for us to overcome those difficulties and to grow from them even stronger.
For team-building at Oasis, what is the main goal of these events?
Cavnik: Oasis operates like we’re a family. We’re no longer such a small team, but we still are small enough to be able to really connect. But I think one danger of being a family is that people tend to not take feedback or direction as seriously. So it’s important for us to feel like we’re a part of something amazing as a part of a family. But what I really appreciate and admire about the brains on our team is that there isn’t one person who wouldn’t be like, “Nope, I don’t agree with this.”
We consist of a large portion of engineers. And of course, there are the marketing and community and business development and events and operations teams. So all of these moving parts have a different way of approaching the same thing. And when they come together and we just find this common language, and friendship and respect, these events amplify the power of the team. I think we’re only just starting.
What do Web3 teams get wrong (and right) about team building and culture?
Cavnik: This is a big question. If we look at what Web3 teams are doing well or not, fundamentally it comes down to human psychology. Regardless of how old you are, what level of experience you have, or what title you use, feeling valued and appreciated and seen and heard and respected is of huge importance.
And, there has to be trust. Regardless of whether you’ve ever done a task before or not, you’re trusted that you’re going to handle it. Teams should give the individual the freedom not only over the process of the individual’s work but also the result and the impact of their work.
You can truly have the best technology and the best product you possibly can on this planet. But if you don’t trust or invest in the marketing and the content and the community and the BD and the HR and so on, you’re just going to stay the best-kept secret.