How Patrick Corker of Circle grew his team during a pandemic


Regardless of the size of your company, being able to anticipate and adapt to any situation is key to staying on track and scaling your businesses. However, no one could’ve prepared for the disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic would bring. With many offices across the world being forced to close, businesses had to adapt to a new world of remote work—and they needed to do so fast. For Circle, a global financial technology firm at the center of digital currency innovation and open financial infrastructure, this story was no different. 

As VP of Finance & Treasury at Circle, Patrick Corker spent time strategizing with numerous teams across Circle. But when COVID hit, he quickly needed to reimagine the way Circle managed their day-to-day operations—and the early facetime he got proved invaluable. 

We’ve condensed some of the major themes from our recent conversation with Patrick on the FInOps Today podcast and summarized them below. But to get a full picture of Patrick’s unique journey at Circle, be sure to check out Episode 3, available on all major podcast streaming platforms. Here’s some of what you’ll hear about in this episode: 

Circle’s major strategic initiatives

“There are always daunting things when you're trying to grow a business in crypto. That certainly is going to be true for us and many of our compatriots in this space who are leaning into many of the opportunities that are right there in front of us. In terms of daunting, I think we continue to work towards regulatory clarity, some of which impacts us, some of which just impacts the space. We are working with a lot of regulators around some of the guidance that's come out from the presidential working group: How do you regulate a stablecoin? What should that look like? And I think we've leaned into the idea that we probably need to become a bank or something along those lines...building that repertoire and operating in that fashion is a big challenge for a company that's rooted in entrepreneurship.”

How Circle’s finance team has evolved

"I think we have a lot of the leadership in place to take advantage of both the opportunities that we have and the challenges that we're going to face and I'm excited about that journey. Now it's about filling out the teams underneath them...As we build out the team, we can create tighter swim lanes, so figuring out where people go and giving them an opportunity to really shine within our organization is a big part of what I do.”

How Circle adapted to changes caused by the pandemic 

"I'm a huge believer of in-person time and certainly there were times where that wasn't possible. But over the course of the pandemic, there were windows of opportunity to connect with people, get together and build relationships…as we were growing so much. I mean really, we grew 5-6X across my teams over that period of time and certainly it wasn’t without its challenges. But I think you do things like ratchet up the frequency of communication, even if it's something simple like one-on-ones…”

The value of encouraging employees to ask questions 

"We're very philosophically aligned on the value of having people ask questions and have a chance to learn about what the company's doing. You come in, you're given a job, you do your job. There's a lot of pieces of the business you may not necessarily see and seeing how that all connects is really powerful. I think it sort of distills down to each individual understanding how their work contributes to what the company's doing. That's really, really powerful for people."

The full transcript is available here.

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