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DRW’s CMCO on Thought Leadership, AI and Why Mentors Matter

Our Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Caroline, shares her thoughts about how DRW tackles today's biggest challenges through market-driven solutions and a multi-stakeholder lens.

Last year, DRW attended the Milken Middle East and Africa Summit, can you tell us about the strategic goals behind that appearance?

Our firm has a genuine desire to understand and contribute our expertise to addressing long-standing global challenges and opportunities. Climate change and AI are two topics that have sparked a lot of interest both inside and outside our firm, and Milken’s agenda centered on some compelling innovations in these areas.

In addition to having Don on stage to talk about “The New Tech Economy: Transforming Challenges into Opportunities," participating in this meeting gave us a chance to meet other experts and regulators in the region who are thinking deeply about these and other issues, including energy transition challenges, structuring successful public-private partnerships, and the role of digital assets in a global economy.

Creating sustainable, positive change (which we think free, fair markets can do) in today’s world requires a wide lens that invites a multi-stakeholder view. I think all of us who attended would agree that engaging with global thought leaders, especially those outside finance and trading, gave us fresh insights and an opportunity to exchange valuable knowledge to advance those objectives.

What sectors do you see DRW growing in the most next year?

During my five years at DRW, I've witnessed our cryptocurrency desk, Cumberland, and our London-based ETF business really leverage two of our core strengths: disciplined risk management and providing deep liquidity. These sectors bring our expertise to counterparties for the first time ever. That move has necessitated developing new muscles as a firm (including new approaches to marketing and communications, which are near and dear to my heart!), which is really energizing.

This expansion in capabilities and offerings is likely to be a huge driver of our growth this year. We expect a lot of activity in both crypto and ETFs in 2024, especially with the SEC’s recent approval of Bitcoin ETFs in the US and the possibility of an Ethereum ETF approval later in the year.

We’re also bringing our deep commodities expertise to the market in a new way through several counterparty-facing energy desks. This gives us an opportunity to interact with a new tranche of counterparties, and to better serve existing counterparties by expanding the asset classes in which we can be their trusted source of deep liquidity.

How do you use AI and how do you see that evolving?

AI is a hot topic in every industry right now. For me, it’s both exciting and challenging. Exciting because of the almost limitless possibilities it offers, but also challenging because of the consideration and discipline required to use it appropriately. It’s important to have a healthy view of both the amazing breakthroughs this new technology will enable and the thoughtfulness required to engage in a way that is additive and appropriate.

Don said he believes AI will solve problems we view as unsolvable, which is inspiring. Looking at this from the firm's standpoint, AI is set to revolutionize the way we share information and make predictions, which is particularly intriguing for trading. We recently hired a Director of AI to spearhead our efforts in this domain and make sure we’re not only using the technology appropriately, but helping to shape it in a way that is responsible and sustainable. It’s fascinating to hear about the conversations he’s having with thought leaders in this space and to learn from his views on the power of this technology. We’re also opportunistically looking for talent in this area – if that’s you, let us know.

My team recognizes AI's ability to produce compelling content, but we’re also aware of its limitations.  We’ve talked about the value that comes from using AI as a starting point rather than considering its output a finished product. I strongly believe that you need human intervention and creativity to capture the subtle, intangible connections that make for genuinely great content. So, when people ask me if I believe AI will replace my job, my answer is no. But I do think AI will improve the efficiency of many aspects of our jobs. And it’s awesome to be at a firm where I know collectively we’re all tasked with thinking about AI in a way that isn’t just “what’s good for DRW” but also accounts for “doing the right thing.”

What advice would you give the next generation of women looking to get into the Fintech space?

I’ve spent most of my career in roles that were directly or tangentially related to finance and tech, and the topic of women in fintech has been an ongoing conversation. My approach has always been to show up as authentically as I can and deliver as much value as I can. So, I gravitate to environments and cultures that reward authenticity and performance regardless of gender.

The women at DRW are top-notch—they're here because they're intelligent, naturally curious and determined to excel as experts in their respective fields. Our leadership constantly emphasizes that if we want to win in the markets, then we better be able to attract and retain the absolute best talent, which obviously is not defined by gender.

I’ve been fortunate along the way to have excellent mentors – both men and women – that helped me understand how to be bold, how to lead from a place of results and how to bring my whole self to my work. I think having those allies is important, especially as you’re growing your career and finding your voice.

Candidly, though, as a mom of two young kiddos, I have to admit there are some differences in perception that persist and can be barriers for women. The smartest companies have put policies in place to enable both women and men to share in managing the load that comes with having a family. At DRW, benefits like flexible work arrangements, parental leave and childcare support are available to everyone, and our Working Parents slack channel is a fairly even split between moms and dads. This shift in shared responsibility is something I’m passionate about. I’ve been able to keep a job I love and feel like I’m raising good, kind humans because my husband is an equal partner and because DRW supports my efforts to (quite imperfectly) juggle these roles.