Daniela Marchesano, Head of Operations & Delivery, BidX1 Spain
Tell us a little bit about you.
I’m Daniela Marchesano, Head of Operations & Delivery for Spain, where BidX1 launched operations in 2019. I’m originally from Buenos Aires but I moved to Spain in 2003 and I currently live in Madrid with my husband Eduardo and our children Nicolás, Luisa and Eduardo Jnr.
Tell us a little bit about your early career in Argentina.
I studied Marketing in Buenos Aires, where I grew up, and while studying I started working as a sales assistant at a clothing store in the capital.
I moved from the shop-floor to the Marketing Department, which allowed me to take on an increasing level of responsibility. Since the company operated across several South American markets, I had the opportunity to travel frequently, which was incredible.
Starting on the shop-floor helped me understand the business from the ground up, and this has been a recurring theme throughout my career; I enjoy understanding things from every angle, in great detail, and using that knowledge to drive improvements and innovation across the business.
You left Argentina in 2003. What prompted that decision, and how did you move from Marketing to Real Estate?
Argentina is a beautiful country, and one that I miss dearly, but there were times when I felt stifled. I wanted to grow faster, seek more opportunities, and expand my horizons. I hold Italian citizenship, so the EU was open to me, and I moved to Madrid in 2003 when I was 27 years old.
I was offered a position with a young company, Grupo Finurte, a loan provider based in Santander with offices in Madrid. This was the beginning of my career in Finance/Real Estate, and it was a steep learning curve. I had very little experience in this area; Argentina did not have a strong financial services sector and the truth is that I hardly knew what a mortgage was. I immersed myself in every aspect of the business, from the property side to the various legal processes, and I worked very closely with the Founder, as we sought to build the business in Spain.
After a year in Madrid, I re-located to Barcelona in order to establish the company’s operations in Catalonia. I spent 4 years there, building the business, with responsibility for operations across the entire region, including Valencia, Aragon, and the Balearic Islands. I travelled a lot, which allowed me to gain a detailed understanding of the property market in Spain.
Your life changed in 2006. What happened?
Three years after I moved to Spain, when I was in the middle of establishing Grupo Finurte in Catalonia, I had some health problems. In those years, work was a blessing for me, a reminder that I was more than simply a ‘sick person.’ Being ill changes your perspective on things; I do not take anything for granted.
After that, I returned to Madrid as Head of Commercial for Grupo Finurte, with responsibility for all of Spain, and I complemented my studies with an Executive MBA and a Masters in Digital Marketing.
In early 2013, I took a position as Investor Portfolio Manager with AKTUA Financial Solutions, managing investor portfolios for large funds. I was the first person hired by the Director of the Department, so once again I was tasked with building something from the ground up. Are you noticing a theme here?!
My next role was with Mars Capital, which was owned by Oaktree at the time. Oaktree wanted to create its own servicing agent, and I took on that project as Head of Real Estate & Property Management. I spent the next few years establishing Redwood...somehow I always end up building things from scratch!
Why did you want to work for BidX1?
It wasn’t something I had planned. They called me about the position and although I wasn’t actively seeking a move at the time, it set off a little spark of interest. I agreed to a meeting, but I didn’t think it would go anywhere. BidX1 was entering the Spanish market for the first time – did I really want to find myself setting up a new venture again? Probably not!
Then I met Steve McCarthy, BidX1’s Founder, and Johnny Horgan, MD for BidX1 Europe, and they explained their vision for BidX1 in Spain. To bring that level of transparency to property transactions, to streamline the sale process and remove points of friction for buyers and sellers, to harness advanced data to improve sale strategies…it’s pretty exciting stuff!
I called my husband after the meeting to assure him that it would be crazy and exhausting to take the job. He later told me that when he heard me say that, he knew I would end up working at BidX1. Maybe crazy and exhausting is my thing?!
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
Developing and maintaining client relationships; establishing strong processes and structures; finding new ways of doing things; and building a first-class team are key aspects of my role.
On a personal level, learning remains a priority for me. I love to teach others, but I also love to learn.
What are some of the challenges you face in your work?
The truth is that I like challenges. I love new projects, and I enjoy finding ways to improve the existing processes. I would prefer to be tired than bored!
What are some of the challenges facing the real estate industry?
The property industry is old-fashioned and lacking innovation. BidX1 is a PropTech leader; so we often find ourselves coming up against traditional mentalities.
What do you like most about working at BidX1?
It’s a very open environment. In many companies, information and knowledge is closely guarded. I think the shared sense of purpose at BidX1 comes partly from the fact that we are all on the same page, with a clear understanding of our goals.
What advice would you give to others starting out in their career?
You will have to work for what you want, and seek opportunities – they will not simply fall into your lap! Be bold. Be ambitious.
You should embrace differences in the workplace; they are crucial not only for achieving the best results, but also for bringing out the best in yourself. I am very process-driven and detail-oriented – I love an excel spreadsheet! – so it helps me to work with people whose strengths are different from my own. I run the Spanish business with Javier de Pablo, our Head of Property, and we complement each other very well.
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