Life at Chainalysis

Executive Corner: Joan Heald, VP of Public Sector, National Security and Defense

Chainalysis is excited to announce that Joan Heald has joined the company as the Vice President, Public Sector – National Security and Defense.

Joan comes to Chainalysis with 25 years of experience supporting the Federal Government and leading teams that build solutions to support mission-critical programs. We sat down with Joan to learn more about her career and her vision for the team’s future.

Question: Let’s start with some background. Where did you work before Chainalysis and what work are you most proud of in your career so far?

I joined Chainalysis from SAPNS2, an entity of SAP (the enterprise software company) dedicated to the Intelligence Community. I was at SAP for about five years, and led Adobe’s national security group before that.  

When I think about my career so far, I am most proud of the teams and caliber of people that I have been able to work with. It’s been incredible to see them provide our customers with solutions that improve the customer’s ability to address national security challenges.  

Question: You’ve been focused on building solutions that support national security for 25+ years at large global companies. What drew you to Chainalysis when you were considering your next step in this mission-driven work?  

Initially, I was first drawn to the technology itself and what Chainalysis was accomplishing with so many customers. Then, when I started conversations with the team, I was consistently  impressed with the people I met in my interview process. The thoughtfulness in which each person put into their role, the customer, and the solution was contagious. 

On the sales side, I saw an obvious passion for what we do at Chainalysis in each person I spoke with. The passion that I saw in my interview process was so impressive that I thought, “I can’t lose being part of an organization that is so thoughtful about what we can do for our customer.” I’ve seen that passion increase tenfold since I’ve joined the team. I could also tell that this was a sales team that approached their mission together, and from my years doing this work I know that teams who really care about each other and work together are the most successful.

Question: During your time talking to Chainalysis before you joined and in your first month here, what has stood out to you most about Chainalysis? 

What really stands out to me is passion. Our people are collectively passionate about our mission, the product, and each other. They really love what they are doing and are always digging deeper to learn more, solve problems and provide exceptional service to the customers. Our customers can feel that passion and it makes a difference.

It’s also clear that people at Chainalysis are very focused on solving big problems together, versus just on the “me.” Their mentality really is customer first, company second, individual third, which you can’t find everywhere. 

Lastly, it’s clear that this is a team that is really driven by their mission to help customers address issues of national security and compliance using blockchain technology. 

Question: How can blockchain products help the intelligence community foresee and address threats?  

The Intelligence Community collects, analyzes, and delivers both foreign intelligence and counterintelligence to protect our country. That intelligence comes from many sources, so  making sense of data and correlating it against other sources is key. Because blockchain data is inherently public-facing, this technology opens up the Intelligence Community’s ability to collect data quickly and make critical decisions with trust.

At Chainalysis, the insights that we can provide our customers are a game changer. The data is a powerful new source of information that customers can use to unveil additional insights. 

This provides them with the broad view of a threat that they need to solve their problem. As we have the largest data set, with the tools and insights to help translate it into real world activity, Chainalysis is in a very powerful place to help our customers assess threats.

Question: What work are you most excited to see the team execute in the next year?

I am fortunate to have a good team in place, so I look forward to growing that team and expanding our footprint. Specifically, I’m excited to build out the teams in market. Beyond that, I’m excited by the wealth of opportunity we have as a team to serve our customers’ mission. There is no lack of passion or drive to do so on this team, and when we can help our customers solve complex problems, there is no more rewarding way to spend your time.  

Question: Let’s talk about your approach to leading large Sales teams. You were an account executive before you moved into leading organizations at multiple companies. How does your experience coming up in Sales influence your philosophy as a leader?

It’s been over a decade since I was an account executive but that never leaves you, and it really helps influence how I lead. I like to think that I take what was great in my experience and try to emulate that. More broadly, my philosophy is that I work for my Sales team. My job is to enable them to have the tools they need to be successful and get things done. 

Question: Like many folks at Chainalysis, you joined with a passion for our mission and experience outside of the blockchain space. What advice would you give to folks who want to get into blockchain technology?  

Blockchain aperture is widening in so many areas beyond national security as the technology evolves. Every day there are new, exciting applications for using blockchains to solve problems, so now is a great time for anyone to get into the space. At Chainalysis, many roles don’t require experience working in this field so if you have interest, go ahead and try!

Interested in learning more about working at Chainalysis? Visit to view our open roles and get a glimpse into our culture.