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Alex Ibghi: Binance’s Island of Connectivity

2024-01-19


In the heart of Paris, France, stands a modest beige building.

Its slender, clear floor-to-ceiling windows offer glimpses of ancient Roman columns and bustling streets through a black, half-height fence. Here lies the Paris office of Binance — marked by the black and yellow logo on the wall. Contrary to the lavishness associated with the crypto industry, this office exudes careful thought and intention.

The wooden floors bear the marks of time, and a white wall adorned with 47 team photos captures the joyous moments of the Binance team. A refrigerated vending machine, neatly stocked with seven types of organic meal sets, and a small black bookshelf filled with entries from CZ’s recommended book list (alongside a borrowing record), are testaments to the office’s character.

A slogan nearby reads: “Knowledge is only worthwhile when it’s shared.”

Binance has over 120 employees based in Paris, with around 80 usually present in the office. Many had initially planned to visit the office only weekly or monthly, but have gradually become accustomed to coming in daily.

For most companies in the world, an office is standard, but for a nearly seven-year-old organization like Binance, which still operates with a fully distributed workforce of thousands, the Paris office is one of several global offices, like an oasis in the desert.

This oasis owes its existence to Alex, the Binance Admin Specialist in France, and the rest of the admin team, who silently built it from scratch, connecting people and fostering a sense of belonging among colleagues.

The Unconventional Parisian

Defining Alex as a typical Parisian is challenging, despite her being born and raised in the city.

Fluent in English, with a decade of education and work experience in Israel, she jokes that her Parisian side only emerges when speaking loudly when upset, or reminding tourists to stop blocking the left side of the metro escalator.

Alex embodies enthusiasm, cheerfulness, and high energy, and often brightens the office with smiles and loud greetings. David, the General Manager of Binance France, recalls her interview two years ago: “The moment Alex walked into the room, her energy filled the space. Just five minutes into the interview, I knew she belonged on our team.”

Her love for humanity, curiosity about people of all kinds, and tendency to draw energy from crowds rather than deplete it are evident. Alex recalls feeling down when living in Corsica, an island in France known for its stunning scenery, simply because “there weren’t enough people around.”

Chief Happiness Officer

One of Alex’s favorite cities is Tel Aviv, Israel, where she spent her college days.

It was here, at a major venture capital firm in Tel Aviv, that Alex kick-started her career, focusing on client acquisition and engagement. Six years there introduced her to the world of crypto, sparking a fascination that led her to become a self-taught guru in the field, known among colleagues as a “human version of CoinMarketCap” and an industry expert.

Alex naturally found herself taking on tasks that weren’t initially part of her job description. In a geek-centric work environment, her innate ability to spot and bridge gaps helped her not only bring the team closer but also relish in the joy of growing together.

Her first job title on LinkedIn was “Chief Happiness Officer,” which seemed to foreshadow her career path – dedicated to making everyone work happily and efficiently. This realization led Alex to embrace the role of an admin, a position where she could excel at maintaining and nurturing relationships. Having studied marketing in university, it was akin to ‘internal marketing’ for her.

Before joining Binance, Alex worked at Samsung's strategy and innovation center in France. There, she was exposed to a work culture dominated by Asian values, which differed significantly from the European and North American working cultures she was used to, emphasizing hard work and a results-oriented attitude.

This background, combined with her crypto expertise, ability to create harmonious interpersonal environments, experience in international teams, and resilient and passionate personality, perfectly aligned her with Binance. Alex believes that at Binance, the right fit is essential – you’re either a 0% or a 100% match. For Alex, without a doubt, she was the perfect fit.

Greatness in the Details

Operating behind the scenes, administrative roles often involve quiet dedication and seldom receive accolades. Yet, they form the cornerstone of a company, ensuring that employees can work comfortably and efficiently. Everyday work is usually filled with small, sometimes trivial tasks, but some find purpose and significance in these daily routines.

In May 2022, Binance achieved a significant milestone in France, becoming the first major cryptocurrency trading platform to be registered as a digital asset service provider. Binance’s 5th anniversary celebration in July, particularly the community meet-up at Parc Floral in Paris, was a special moment for Alex, who was thrilled to meet the equally passionate Binance community.

More often than not, Alex and her team’s days are filled with a myriad of routine tasks. From pens and lunches to desks and chairs, not to mention organizing regular team-building events and holiday celebrations, she is always ready to tackle duties and swiftly resolve issues each day.

At Binance, some employees describe their work status as “building a cathedral.” Alex shares this sentiment: “Every small step we take is towards creating a happy and comfortable work environment. These seemingly minor details accumulate to catalyze significant changes. We are building an exciting future.”

No One Is an Island

In the eyes of her Binance colleagues, Alex is the glue that bonds the team together. Whether it’s sending out cold weather alerts to remind colleagues to bundle up or organizing team events like a game-themed party – just because she heard that a recently relocated foreign colleague likes it – she always ensures everyone, new or old, feels the warmth of her kindness.

Every corner of the office bears her mark. Take the vending machine filled with 3.5 Euro organic lunch options, carefully chosen after comparing numerous suppliers – a steal compared to the average 15-20 Euro organic lunch in Paris. She even set up a donation jar during the holidays for the much-loved building cleaning staff as a token of appreciation.

Beyond her administrative duties, Alex is also responsible for working with the Binance France Angels, meeting them weekly. She is affectionately known as the “CryptoMom” for her popularity and deep industry knowledge.

After prolonged periods of working from home, human touch and real-life connections can weaken. In the rainy, cold Parisian winters, Alex’s presence brings warmth and magic to the office, making her a key reason why many employees look forward to coming to the office daily and during all seasons of the year.

Thanks to Alex and the robust Binance admin team, remote Binance employees, once isolated in the digital world, now feel a sense of connection, bonding together as one. In this community they’ve built, the message is clear: you are being cared for, no one is an isolated island, and together, we create.

Further Reading