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NFTs, Crypto and Music Spurred Karisa Winett’s Entrepreneurial Spirit, Set Stage for Level Up Collaboration with Her Father



NFTs, Crypto and Music Spurred Karisa Winett’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Passion for  Brings a Firm Foundation

Karisa Winett has always been passionate about music.

So passionate, in fact, that she pursued a career in the music industry.

But, she said, “Music was a lot of, do what you’re told; you’re an inanimate object; you’re a girl, this is your place; people tell you what to do, what to wear, what to say, what not to say; how to dress; how to act; you’re too fat, you’re too skinny, you’re too good, you’re not good enough, you’re too smart, you’re not smart enough. They basically create your identity and you just act it out.”

All of this triggered a response in Karisa—she had enough of the music  business.

“I’m very headstrong,” she said. “I’m very argumentative. These are not my most endearing qualities and I got tired of it. I said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be told what to do. I want to tell people what I want.’”

Karisa’s pivot away from music left her with little regret. When she closed that door, she opened another that set the stage for entrepreneurial success in the NFT, crypto and job placement worlds. And as she fulfills her passions with career pursuits outside of music, Karisa is working to empower women.

Karisa’s new chapter began to unfold when she realized that understanding the business side of things, far beyond the music industry, was key to achieving success on her terms. Her father explained that success in just about any career pursuit revolves around an understanding of how any business works. He advised her to start with the foundation of her passion—the business side of music and entertainment—and rebuild from there.

Karisa recalled her father saying, “You’ll be older, wiser and you’ll have more power because you’ll understand the room better.”

Karisa’s realization actually led her away from music, to a job as an executive assistant for a tech company CTO .

“Jay Crouch taught me everything I needed to know, without teaching me everything I needed to know, if that makes any sense,” she said. “He was a firm believer of, ‘Go figure it out.’”

And that led Karisa to another realization—“I didn’t know how to think for myself.”

“I’d become so acclimated to the answer being handed to me,” she said. “I wasn’t really sure how to go find the answer, and then question if that was the right answer. And then problem-solving from there was a whole new experience.”

Figuring out Excel spreadsheets and other things with YouTube videos and Google searches, Karisa focused on problem-solving. That led her to multiple solutions for a single problem, which just kicked down the doors as far as establishing a foundation for success.

“I had multiple ways of enacting a solution and I had multiple outcomes,” she said. “If we go with this solution, this could happen. If we go with that solution, that could happen. This could happen if we do this. I understood the bigger picture. And I don’t think I’d be here without Jay basically saying, ‘Go figure it out.’ And once I figured it out, and he saw potential, he kind of just gave me the keys to the kingdom.”

Karisa had turned a very big corner, and falling back on her creative energy propelled her even further.  

“As a musician, you pay attention to people,” she said. “I did as a songwriter—everything was about observing people. I watched people and I wrote songs about them and that skill came in very handy. You watch how people interact. But instead of thinking about song lyrics, you start thinking about strategy. You watch how a person touches somebody’s arm, how someone’s inflection changes when they see someone, or where their eyes go, or how their body language turns when someone enters a conversation, or how their cadence changes when they’re interested or not interested. I became that person who could read the room, ridiculously well.”

Karisa ended up being a “proxy” for that CTO and assuming more and more responsibilities. A friend told her she could run her own company.

Karisa began working in crypto, and while falling into an old pattern of achieving success without the recognition, had yet another realization.

“I had to solidify myself as an expert,” she said. “That’s when I realized that I have to think of this like the music industry—you get a few gigs; you get a few write-ups; people start to talk about you; you start to get bigger gigs; you start to do bigger, better things; you start to book—you’re the opening act for a good band. I realized I had to build it the way I would have built my music career. You start backwards, you start with the little things.”

Karisa focused on building her image and profile, rather than succumbing to the pressures of launching her own company.

“I didn’t have to have a company, I had to have a name,” she recalled. “I had to build a foundation. And then as I’m building that foundation, I can be growing my business idea and talking to investors. Investors are going to search my name and they’re going to see that I’ve done this, I spoke here. Now I bring legitimacy to whatever product I bring them because they have some sort of faith in me.

“I need to be smart because I can’t afford to make the mistakes that everyone else gets the luxury of making. So I decided I would look into getting PR done first, and all the events that I get to speak at, and all the interviews that I get to do, I need to now magnify them somehow.”

This strategy has paid off for Karisa. She can now look back on a career that has established her as a corporate leader in a range of entrepreneurial disciplines.

She is the former vice president of operations at NFT Genius, and the current vice president of operations at, she is the co-founder, with her father, of LVLUP, which allows individuals to ramp up their skills and find new, better-paying jobs in the age of automation.

Karisa has learned a lot from her father, who for three decades has operated his own temporary employment agency.

“He has not come out of 1997 in terms of the way he runs his business, which you would think would be a huge fail,” she said. “But it’s worked for him for 30 years.”

It’s worked for him for the most part, that is.

As she has done consistently throughout her life, and with her careers in music and business, Karisa improved upon her father’s strong foundation.

She was helping her father with Facebook advertising for new hires, and then turned her attention to his company’s Yelp and Google reviews. Then she realized he was not issuing paychecks through direct deposit.

All of this sparked a conversation between father and daughter about automation, and that led them to embark on a collaboration—the founding of LVLUP. Employees phased out of a job because of changing trends or technology are offered an opportunity to build on their skills, through training, in a way that benefits them and future employers. LVLUP covers the education and placement costs, and turns a profit in the process.

“We thought we would call it LVLUP,” Karisa said. “because that’s what we’re doing.”

Fazy is a contributor at Kivo Daily and many more notable publications.