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Cassie Plunkett
Cassie Plunkett

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Cassie Plunkett — Travel Grant Report


I’m Cassie Plunkett, I am from the US currently based in Los Angeles, and I work for Beats By Girlz - a nonprofit whose mission is to empower the next generation of women and gender expansive people through music and technology. I came to the Summit with very little knowledge of the Interledger Protocol and the world of open payments, but with lots of excitement about the potential this technology has to help empower and connect our global community at Beats By Girlz and beyond. As someone with no real knowledge of tech outside of music production, my most important goal was simply to demystify, contextualize, and understand what any of this could mean for a musician or audio professional.

Key highlights about your participation at the Summit

Coming into the Summit I was very anxious that the other attendees and the summit itself would be too technical for me to understand. I was relieved and overjoyed to find myself amidst a friendly crowd working in a variety of fields and experiences, some of which even overlapped with my own. While some of the panels and discussions I understood more than others, it was incredibly powerful to see all sides of the protocol from extremely technical to community-oriented. Simply put, there was something for everyone. Some of the most eye opening moments for me were during the Broadening Financial Inclusion, Life After the Grant, and Community Building for Innovation and Sustainability discussions.

Highlight your key takeaways from the Summit

Earlier in the day I finally got a grasp on what Interledger really was all about - “sending payments as easy as it is to send an email.” I also learned a lot about the difficulties faced by unbanked communities around the world and why the protocol is so needed. But hearing the experiences of other grantees, both as they pertain to Interledger and their projects and organizations in general, really helped me to contextualize this experience for myself and for Beats By Girlz. I learned that the goals of the foundation extend far beyond technology. Interledger wants to see a more sustainable and equitable future in general. Open payments is the key that can open the door to that future. But that goal cannot be achieved if us as grantees aren’t establishing and maintaining our own sustainable and equitable practices. One of my main takeaways are ideas on how we can implement such practices at Beats By Girlz. I also gained invaluable information on grants and insight on how a grantmaker thinks. That knowledge will help to transform our approach to grants for years to come, helping us to build a healthier and more sustainable framework for our organization.

Let us know how you might be interested in participating in ILPSummit2023.

Beats By Girlz would be honored to participate in the 2023 Summit. There are a few ways we could potentially participate. We could present the results of our initial grant, sharing our experience as “outsiders” jumping into this world, our experience educating ourselves, and our plan for educating our community and implementing the technology. We could invite some of our community members as an immersive way to educate them, similarly to my own experience at the 2022 Summit. We could also share about the unique financial and cultural challenges that exist in the music industry, perhaps in the context of a panel about creative industries, in hopes of finding potential solutions through Interledger.

What have you done post-Summit to showcase your participation in the Summit?

We have not shared our participation publicly, but internally there’s been a lot of excitement. Many members of our team were confused about the protocol, so upon our return we spent a significant amount of time discussing our experience and our own moments of clarity. Most of our sharing of this experience will likely happen in the larger context of our grant, telling the story of how we educated ourselves in the process of educating our community.

Any next steps and/or leads emanating from your participation at the Summit?

Our next steps are to continue that education process internally and plan for our design sprint in the new year where we will invite select community members to collaborate on a plan for wider education and implementation for Beats By Girlz and marginalized music communities throughout the world. At the summit we identified several speakers we’d like to invite to present at our design sprint and will be reaching out to them very soon.

Top comments (1)

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

Great post, thanks @plunki Excited for whats to come from Beats By Girlz