Q&A with Yanni Turner, Alluvial’s Senior People Manager

We discuss building people programs that scale, advice for those job-hunting in the web3 ecosystem, and building a culture of trust, collaboration, and excellence.

Q&A with Yanni Turner, Alluvial’s Senior People Manager

Hi Yanni! Can you please share your professional background and what initially drew you to the crypto space? Were there any specific experiences or "aha" moments that solidified your interest in decentralized technology?

I had the great opportunity of joining Chainalysis in 2019, when cryptocurrencies were just starting to infiltrate my conversations with friends and family. To be honest, cryptocurrencies were largely an unknown to me, but I was fascinated by the possibilities. Once joining Chainalysis my learning curve was propelled by being surrounded by folks who were deeply passionate about blockchain technology.

The thing that got me hooked to the industry was its collaborative nature. As a web3 business you need to bring in people from a variety of backgrounds so you can collectively solve problems that you’re seeing for the first time, and, as a recruiter... that was music to my ears.

As the Senior People Manager at Alluvial, what are your key responsibilities, and what achievements in this role are you most excited about pursuing?

I’m responsible for ensuring our employees have what they need to be successful—whether that be clarity around benefits or internal processes, that we have a clear plan for how we’re going to recruit and scale the team, or ensuring that everyone at Alluvial has a sense of belonging.

We’re a small but mighty team that has already built an amazing culture around our values of Trust, Collaboration and Excellence. My role is really to keep up this momentum and bridge any gaps that we may experience as we grow.

“As a web3 business you need to bring in people from a variety of backgrounds so you can collectively solve problems that you’re seeing for the first time.”

Your background has focused not only on hiring, but also building out people programs that can support a company’s growth. What are some important considerations for creating a people program that can scale?

Some important considerations for me come down to the core of my position, which is to make sure that employees have what they need to be successful in an environment that promotes collaboration, trust and excellence.

By focusing on employee retention and development we can naturally scale programs because there is buy-in from all levels. It’s important to me to keep investing in our employees, and to keep bringing them in on key decisions around our people programs.

You worked at Chainalysis during a time of exceptional growth for the company. What are some key insights from supporting a team’s growth at that scale?

One of the biggest insights I have from this experience is how to respond when you need to quickly pivot or iterate on a strategy. The pace of change in a scaling company is very quick and requires open communication across teams to be successful.

At Chainalysis, I found that my relationships in the business became my biggest asset. By understanding how to bring teams and leaders together we were able to not only hire talent that raised the bar for the company but also to advise on future growth strategies.

What are some of the key challenges and opportunities you've encountered in People Management within the crypto ecosystem?

For me these definitely sit hand and hand. What I feel are our biggest challenges are our biggest opportunities—the first being transparency, and second being remote work.

Companies in the crypto ecosystem have an increased desire from employees to decentralize decision making and to make information more transparent and accessible. I think this is the best part about the space, but, I’ll admit, at times on the HR / People side it can be difficult to achieve. Alluvial has done a great job since day one of promoting transparency in the organization through public decision making frameworks and retrospectives, which I look forward to continuing.

From a remote work perspective, I’m a big proponent of its advantages, but I also recognize that it places a greater emphasis on creating spaces for relationship development. This takes the form of bi-annual company offsites to meet in person and also activities throughout the month / weeks that give employees a space to relate on topics outside of work.

“The pace of change in a scaling company is very quick and requires open communication across teams to be successful.”

Drawing from your experience in hiring and leading teams, could you highlight the qualities, perspectives, or values that you prioritize when evaluating candidates beyond their resumes?

I have the perspective that you can train skills but can’t train someone’s willingness to learn. So, a great deal of my participation in the interview and recruitment process is evaluating an individual’s intellectual curiosity, and willingness to learn. The best teams are built from folks who compliment, not replicate, each other's experiences and skills.

What advice would you give to potential candidates looking to join a startup in the blockchain industry?

I’ve found that many folks who are successful in joining startups in the blockchain industry have had a personal interest in the space. They may not have had the opportunity to work professionally in the space, but they do stay up-to-date on publications, news, or maybe have taken a certification or two. This goes a long way in the interview process and will help you stand out from other folks.

The second piece of advice I have is to ask questions. To my point above, I’m continuously calibrating with hiring teams on an individual's eagerness and willingness to learn. By asking thoughtful questions in the interview process you can give us a good indication of how you’d approach the role—take the answers to these questions and apply them to your next interview, and you’re off to the races!

Excellent advice. Anything else you’d like to share?

Our team at Alluvial is growing! Check out Alluvial’s open roles at alluvial.finance/careers, and feel free to reach out on X or LinkedIn with any questions.

Thanks, Yanni!

Interview by Melissa Nelson

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