From finance to tech — finding a rewarding career solving an important societal issue

Sebastian Borja
November 24, 2021
  • In my career, I've worked in finance, entertainment, and even agriculture. Over the past two years, I founded a vertically integrated superfood company based out of Miami.
  • When I spoke to Enrique, one of the co-founders of Assemble, I knew the company was committed to solving a larger societal problem of pay equity and diversity that I was really excited about.
  • In this blog, I'll talk about the culture at Assemble, what compelled me to move into a startup role, and a little bit about what day-to-day life is like now.

My journey from finance to tech

I've always found the inner workings of how to run and grow a business exciting. I moved to New York City out of college because I thought it would expose me to a ton of different business models, founders, and companies. During my time working in real estate finance, I developed strategies to analyze new acquisitions, track relevant performance, and break down transformational initiatives into digestible tactical plans. The work was full of interesting problems, but the part I found most rewarding was helping firms drive on-the-ground progress and translate strategy into action.

Though I was being challenged, I wanted to find an operational role that meant a lot more to me from a mission standpoint — something that I could get excited and motivated by.

Making the decision to move into the tech world was an easy one — Assemble's mission is clear and critical. Having spent time with Enrique Esclusa, one of our cofounders, in the past, I knew him to be collaborative and incredibly driven. The prospect of working with him, Lisa Wallace, and the rest of the team excited and inspired me — they're all incredibly committed to creating products that can make a difference in pay equity and diversity across a range of companies.

Here are four more reasons joining Assemble was the right move:

A true customer-first mentality.

As the first business hire, I see firsthand how we really listen to which principles matter most to our clients — and not in a cliche or superficial way. Everything we do is data-driven to make sure our customers are making the best compensation decisions possible, beyond simple optics. There's a reason Assemble is a subscription model — we partner with each individual customer to learn about their unique goals and continually equip them each with the right tools that will help achieve both their current and future goals. After all, each customer's version of success is different based on a variety of factors.

They're solving an important problem.

In a post-pandemic world, we're seeing a huge shift in the way we think about equity and diversity. Assemble helps our customers clearly visualize and put numbers behind their hiring intentions. It's not enough to say that you value pay equity if you're not actually paying people equitably, or analyzing your pay structures with a critical lens. The work we're doing excites me because it creates transparency within companies that may not have the necessary tools or bandwidth to analyze this data in an actionable way.

A balance of creative problem-solving and structure.

When I was a financial analyst, I knew there was a set structure and protocol to how problems were solved and goals accomplished. At Assemble (and startups in general), you have the ability to ask:

  • What do we want this to look like in 3-5 years?
  • How do we shape it?
  • Whose advice/feedback do we want to take?

I know that these are vital learning opportunities that I wouldn't have found in a more bureaucratic environment. Every day feels pivotal, and we’re always striving to be more efficient in our structures and workflows in order to make sure we’re providing the best experience for our customers and ourselves when using our product. Having this structure in place lends room for us to be more creative when it comes to customer strategy, and improving the product.

Right now, I’m only a month into my new role and really enjoying working with the team so far. Day-to-day, I'm working directly with the founders and our customers to deliver a smooth onboarding experience, consult on best practices, set up personalized training sessions, create knowledge base documentation, share market resources (like reports or podcasts), and support their overall success.

For those interested in making the jump into the startup world, I hope you'll consider Assemble in your search. If you have any questions about my experience or more questions about the company, I’d love to connect and hear about your story!

If you’re curious about Assemble, please pay our website a visit.

If you want to contact me, feel free to message me through LinkedIn!

Sebastian Borja
I’m originally from Miami and recently moved back after a decade in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. I spent that time in cross-functional roles in finance, entertainment, and technology, and realized compensation gaps are a persistent inequity among all industries.