Over the summer, Marc Basilla, joined Silicon Foundry as the Head of Operations. A leader with experience in implementing strategic, operational, and transformational initiatives, Marc has immersed himself in this role working closely across our internal team, as well as supporting all members operationally. Read on for a Q&A with Marc to learn more about his experience, passions, and the growth opportunities he sees with his role at SiF.
Starting early on in your career, how did you end up in Business Operations?
My first professional role was in core operations with a bank, and I quickly learned that I was, and still am, very process oriented. I find it continually interesting to establish and uphold efficient processes.
In that role, I was curious about the products and services, so I sought out work that allowed me to be engaged from beginning to end; from prospecting, through due diligence and negotiation, wrapping up with fundamental financials. Eventually, I became involved with establishing a new subsidiary in a different country, which entailed focusing on compliance, legal, HR, etc. and I recognized how much I enjoyed seeing the full view of the business cycle.
Due to the fact that Silicon Foundry is a small team, I have the ability to play a part in all aspects of our work, which was a draw for me with this role. I can see both the impact and feedback to the scope of our work right away.
Your professional experience spans various companies within Financial Services such as Silicon Valley Bank and Barclays, and prior to joining SiF, you worked in Product Operations Optimization at Paypal. What from your previous experiences is most valuable to your role at SiF?
During my time at Barclays, my role largely relied on finding creative ways to solve problems. There’s no one-stop solution. I was a Program Manager for a Regulatory project that spanned various teams and global departments. I was tasked with ensuring that we were all aligned to a common goal and agreed upon a common solution, while ensuring that the project was completed within the prescribed regulatory timeframe. Creative problem solving is a takeaway that carries over into varying aspects of my prior roles, and here in my role with SiF.
I have fond memories of working at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) as they were the company that initially relocated me to the Bay Area. During my time there I was first exposed to an environment that wholly embraced innovation. My time at PayPal was a further step in the direction of corporate innovation, which I became fascinated with. I leaned on my experience in Finance, Project Management and Management Consulting to guide and facilitate a potentially large platform-change in the organization.
I knew I was interested in transitioning to a smaller organization so that I would have the opportunity to really see an impact by serving as thought partners across the team. In my role I utilize creative problem solving in an innovative environment, while laying the groundwork for constant dialogue in order to define what operational efficiency means for SiF.
How do you anticipate your relationship with SiF members to evolve?
While I am still learning processes, and my work is more focused on the front or tail end of a partnership, I anticipate that down the road I will better be able to advise our team on the membership cycle and therefore opportunities for both our growth, and for the member experience. In my role I have insight into all of our members, so I will develop an overarching perspective and be able to rely on historical knowledge that carries across members.
What is some fundamental advice you would share for organizations looking to improve efficiency of business operations?
Listen to your team and understand what’s working and what’s broken, but most importantly what is working.
Most people focus on what’s not working, but the opposite can actually guide solutions. Sometimes what is considered to be the problem is not actually the core problem, so creating a space for open dialogue, asking questions, and doing the research is critical before providing solutions. The solution should also be based on the people experience so that it is low-touch, meets specific needs, and provides value. We don’t want to just become “tool happy!”
You shared with us that one of your core strengths is approachability, and this is a trait we’ve observed in how you engage across the team. Tell us about a professional passion in which this strength is reflected.
Mentorship and philanthropy aligned with a mission to give back and make a difference is a passion I have been able to pursue professionally. Most recently at PayPal, I was a mentor for TENT Partnership (an organization which encompasses about 250 global companies with the focus of helping integrate refugees into their host communities). As a mentor, I provided job-related insights (e.g. interview skills, resume critique and as a sounding board) for refugees interested in Business and/or Finance, which was a highly rewarding experience. As I further embed myself in my role, a challenge (and hopefully, a great success) I look to embrace, is finding a way to further connect my colleagues and our members to ensure that sense of community.
To wrap up, tell us about a fun personal passion.
My mom’s side of the family has deep connections to music. My grandfather was a music teacher and instilled an appreciation for music as part of growing up. There was always someone in my family that played a musical instrument or continued to pursue music as part of their vocation, and I learned how to play the violin. For me, music is a way to relax, spur discussions and create connectivity. I don’t have any strong opinions on the genre of music, but when push comes to shove, it would be 80’s Rock & Roll.