I came to EFL in September of 2011. I joined EFL because I wanted to build the company where I always wanted to work, and EFL had all of the pieces: a smart, hard-working but fun-loving team working on one of society’s biggest challenges, increasing access to financial services to create inclusive growth. I wanted to go big and have fun, and EFL was the chance.
Access to credit matters. There is an “absurd gap” between the supply of financial services and the number of people that are good credit risks. This is a massive societal problem; people that could repay a loan today instead postpone consumption and investment, postponing an opportunity, postponing GDP creation, postponing lives. Credit moves an opportunity available tomorrow up to TODAY. In an all too short life, that matters. Immensely. Most of the world is made up of “Uns”: unbanked, underserved, underground, unsatisfied… ignored. EFL’s unique contribution to the world is our ability to unmask: showing someone for who they really are in terms of credit, allowing people to improve their lives today. Every time someone is scored by EFL, we are warping the future. (Remember, though, that some people are given low scores, and this is also good as not everyone should always get a loan).
The EFL team is the team that is going to have a massive impact in access to credit, but it isn’t for everybody. It is a team of people with enormous passion and smarts, skilled in technology, analytics, big data, business development, operations, finance, administration, entrepreneurship and we’ll-figure-it-outship. The EFL team members have high expectations of each other. You don’t have to ask twice for things. You are expected to pushback (and anyone can dissent) and deliver. There is a lot of trust. There is an absence of office politics. There isn’t someone telling you what to do all the time. The timing of interactions with the global team can be a challenge (the upside is that you manage your own time, so if you want to take a call early then go for a run, that is normal). Our employee survey tells us that the team feels a lot of autonomy, and that on the flip side, those who thrive at EFL are those who can self-manage in an environment with less guidance or ramp-up time as most folks might be used to or prefer. Our survey also tells us that people are really happy with their time off; that we can do a better job encouraging professional training; and that ensuring company-wide communications needs to be a continual priority.
As you can guess, there is no “typical” day for me. I travel ⅓ of the time but when I am at home in Lima I start my day early. At around 6:30am I am planning the day, reviewing the agenda and then talking to team members in Asia or Africa. After that I have breakfast (with STRONG coffee). Then I walk to work, listening to a podcast (public radio or financial news) or audiobook (history or biography). The morning usually has a lot of self-directed work; my alone time is more productive early. Did I mention more coffee? At about 11 or 12 I workout (metabolic circuit training, kind of like a light version of cross-fit) and then meet team members for lunch. The afternoon is packed with meetings with the teams in the Boston, Mexico and Peru offices. At about 7 I stop at the grocery store before heading home to cook dinner with my awesome wife (she grew up in a bakery family business and is tough to please with food, so I am always trying new things). I get the basics ready for the next day and like giving my friends and family a call (I occasionally make an empty commitment to step up my social media game). I always read before bed (fiction at night). That’s a day in the life. I wish that there was some dragon slaying in there to spice it up but there you go. The really good days also have some surfing. There are a lot of really good days.
I personally aspire to become a great manager. I work on it and read about it a lot. I probably have more people give me reviews than most CEOs. I also work on the advice intensely with our Talent Manager. I devour HBR for new ideas in management. Having the privilege to lead a team like the one we have at EFL is amazing, but I have to keep upping my game. I am working on becoming a better listener and communicator; if I am not over-communicating the strategy then I assume that it might not be universally understood. I overflow with energy and passion for the business and want to asymptotically approach management excellence. I feel like this is where I am going to develop a true sense of mastery; my chances here are much better than my chances with surfing.
I love what I do. I love working with people that also love what they do. I feel like I am helping build the company I always wanted to work for. Of course there are problems and disappointments, but we are generally good at avoiding crises and emergencies. We also have a lot of highs; my favorite thing in the world is to see how many people we scored worldwide that day/month/year. It is exhilarating to have our work seen by dozens of people at anyone moment in the day. And to know it really matters – to our clients and our clients’ clients is awesome. That is why I work at EFL.
And it’s morning as I write this so I’m off to the office!