The Graide Network Welcomes Chris Marshall, Our New VP of Operations

_SSW5657.JPG

 Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I studied engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and began my career in technology consulting with Accenture. I have worked at the intersection of technology and business ever since. After several years working with Fortune 100 companies, I was hungry for the fast-paced intensity of the startup world.

I joined a prediction market software company, Cultivate Labs, to help large organizations forecast by harnessing the wisdom of crowds. I began as the Head of Product and soon found my passion for operations. I joined Luxe Valet as General Manager of Chicago and built a team of over 200 people providing door-to-door, on-demand parking. I furthered my expertise in the on-demand and gig economies when I joined Shiftgig. I managed their national Experiential Marketing division, providing on-demand staff for creative agencies across the country.

When I met The Graide Network, and learned how they were leveraging technology to connect teachers, students and aspiring educators to improve learning in primary and secondary education at an incredible scale, it felt like the perfect opportunity.

 

You’re an engineer turned tech operator. How has your combination of technical and business skills contributed to your success?

I found that my passion is helping multi-functional teams work together towards common business goals. That means understanding how each team works independently, and how best for everyone to collaborate. With a background in technology, I understand the planning, talent and investment required to build a great product. I appreciate what it’s like to be in a sales role and explain our value proposition to current and potential customers. I also know what it takes to ensure our operations teams can deliver on the goods and services that are sold. Resources for each of these departments are scarce in a startup, and understanding where to invest to maximize the business’s growth is critical. As an operational leader, I can identify the key challenges for our business, and help position our sales, operations and technology teams to give us the best opportunity to succeed.

What drew you to The Graide Network?

There was so much that was compelling to me, but probably the most prominent were the team and the mission. The Graide Network has an incredible product that is solving problems in the challenging industry of primary and secondary education. I was so impressed by what the team has built so far, and my experience felt tailor-made to help The Graide Network accelerate to the next level. Everyone on the team is incredibly smart and driven for great cause - finding that combination of talent and determination in a startup is rare.

What is your role? And what do you in a typical day?

As VP of Operations, it’s my job to make sure we can service our customers efficiently, with great quality, and can continue to do so as we scale our business by several multiples year over year. I need to be able to understand the nitty gritty detail of what makes our processes and customers tick, while also thinking strategically about the steps we need to take to adapt and service our customers when demand grows tenfold. I’m excited to build a team that can grow with us, and take on more responsibility as each individual progresses in their own careers. On an average day, I might check in on the status of our assignments board, work on supply and demand forecasting, and talk to a vendor about how their technology can help us improve our processes and scalability.

What are you most excited to tackle first?

I’m most excited about establishing new tools and processes that will allow the operations team to handle five times the amount of work in the same amount of time. For example, our new skill tagging process will allow us to match the best qualified Graiders with ideal assignments, without requiring our operations team to make a case-by-case evaluation of skills and availability. This single project can drastically improve our efficiency, while also improving the quality of service for our teachers and students.

We have accomplished so much, and yet there is even more to do.  I’m excited to be a part of this team and the incredible journey that lies ahead!