“I’m a Texan who loves home (and the Longhorns), but I knew I had to step out of my comfort zone.” Blake Garcia
Blake has served in key roles on projects leading client engagement, program design and operations, as well as developing and managing strategic partnerships and networks. His work has spanned supporting local economic development initiatives in the State of Texas and New York City to building global innovation programs that have collectively engaged more than 20,000 people across more than 100 countries. In today’s blog, we encourage you to get to know Blake and the work he’s doing in New York City and beyond.
What led you to the team at SecondMuse?
I knew that SecondMuse was a fit for me right off the bat. I’d only met two colleagues in person and on my first day I found myself flying halfway around the world, to Doha, for a series of meetings with a new client. I went to college with a desire to become a more dynamic person. I’m a Texan who loves home (and the Longhorns), but I knew I had to step out of my comfort zone. I balanced my time between going to football games or floating the river and diving headfirst into UT’s intensive Arabic program. I constantly seek unfamiliar scenarios and discomfort both in my work and my life outside of work because I believe it leads to learning and growth. I was blown away by what I saw from my SecondMuse colleagues in Doha. Not only were they totally fearless throughout those meetings, but what impressed me most was the level of preparation and care that went into the meetings. That week was my first glimpse at a standard that is embedded in SecondMuse’s culture, and I knew that I wanted to be part of it. Fast-forwarding to today, I couldn’t be happier to be in New York, where I feel like our work and the city is constantly expanding my comfort zone.
You mentioned New York, alluding to your work there with the manufacturing community. Could you tell us more about that experience?
I came to SecondMuse with an interest in global innovation programs and never could have guessed that my journey would take me to NYC, where I’d be working with hardware startups. I’m more interested in people than things. My secret fear was that I would be spending days stuck in some hot warehouse dissecting the design of some pointless gadget. That fear was totally erased when I dove into the work and came to understand the human side of the hardware community.
This may not be as cool the stereotypical image of the gritty team prototyping through the night. Still, what I admired most when I got to know hardware founders was their willingness to admit what they needed or didn’t know, and their willingness to help one another. Over the past three years working in NYC, I’ve seen that culture spread from an initial core of founders to a broader community and play a huge role in driving the development of the broader hardware ecosystem. I’m currently excited for the next evolution of our work, which is an opportunity to hone in on helping startups manufacture, something that is often the difference between a company’s life or death. While the nature of the work is somewhat different, I know that we’ll only do it well if we reciprocate the sincerity and honesty that’s thrown our way by taking time to listen and respond to founder’s and partner’s needs.
One final question for you, Blake: What are your aspirations and ways you hope to make an impact going forward?
I have developed a deep appreciation for the value of good and consistent processes in all aspects of our work. It’s easy to assume that big ideas are the main driver of impact. I’ve been lucky to work with a team that approaches everything from strategic design to the execution of a happy hour in a methodical and collaborative way. I believe that impactful work is never the product of any one person’s grand vision, but rather the result of lots of consistently good small decisions made by individuals on a team. I carry this idea with me to any project I tackle – whether managing an 84-team incubator or making sure I fill out my timesheet on time. We’ve doubled our NYC team this year and I can’t wait to see what we can do with a bigger team.