Skandalaris Center

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Skandalaris Spotlight: Pryce Adade-Yebesi

Riley Thompson (BU '25)
February 27, 2023

Leading effectively is an exceptionally daunting task, especially if those you’re managing have placed their livelihood in the hands of your judgment. I had an opportunity to connect with Pryce Adade-Yebesi, COO of Utopia Labs, and he offered his experienced perspective on intentionally cultivating team culture, building trust within your teams, and intelligently empowering your workforce to help soften the pressure of leadership.

Pryce, lover of parrots and Skandalaris Center proponent, co-founded Utopia Labs alongside a crew of Canadians he met over the internet back in 2021. Together they’ve raised $25 million in financing from the likes of Kindred and Coinbase Ventures, which this intercontinental team is using to reinvent crypto operations management. Utopia Labs aids crypo-native companies in payroll and accounting, as well as offering an infrastructure to help scale decentralized autonomous organizations.

When asked what gets him up in the morning, Pryce, without missing a beat, says, “My team.” He loves each of the unique characters he gets to work with each day, and is wholly conscious of the risk they have taken in joining such a young company. Not only does he genuinely enjoy spending time with his team, but he understands how important maintaining a cohesive, creative team is to the successful development of a startup. As a leader, he is mindful of his responsibility in facilitating a strong team dynamic. Pryce notes, “At a certain point you’re not the best person to do it. Success is less about who you are and more about what you can bring people together to do.”

But how does a leader bring people together? According to Pryce, “You have to embody the culture you’re looking for – if you want it to permeate then it has to start with you.” In order to build the culture of trust and productivity that Pryce desires, he leads with empowerment and empathy in mind. When it comes to leadership, Pryce believes, “Your role is to make sure everyone understands how to get to a certain point. To do so you have to both clear roadblocks for them, and make sure they feel safe and valued.” It is in this headspace – where one is empowered by the alleviation of obstacles and valued by an empathetic leader – that trust is strongest, collaboration comes naturally, and teams can find great satisfaction in the proactive pursuit of organizational goals. It is also important to Pryce that he be a leader who takes great accountability for his actions. The word of an authority means a great deal, and as such he is always sure to follow through to the best of his ability and apologizes humbly to his team for any shortcomings. In doing so, he is leading by example and fostering a culture that is understanding of its own humanity. He allows himself and others to learn from failure. Pryce believes that learning from failure is important in fostering the kind of resilience that new ventures must employ to succeed.

With leadership comes a difficult balancing act between adhering to a strict alignment of overarching company goals and making space for creativity and innovation. Pryce says this starts with being highly intentional in creating spaces for abstract thought and creative problem solving as opposed to pervasive systematization. He believes appreciating differences in work style is a key component in achieving this. 

Pryce Adade-Yebesi is currently a Skandalaris Center Expert On Call, making himself available to meet with students, faculty, and staff to connect free of charge. Check out our Expert On Call page for some additional information about Pryce and his areas of expertise.