How Purpose Drives Results: A Look Inside Forge’s Empowering Team Culture

Leaders from private securities marketplace Forge explored the personal inspirations and shared aspirations that meld into the company’s culture.

Written by Lucas Dean
Published on Dec. 15, 2023
How Purpose Drives Results: A Look Inside Forge’s Empowering Team Culture
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King Arthur’s Round Table is an enigma: a mythological tale that has remained in the public consciousness for centuries. The Round Table — symbolizing a bastion of equality without regard for rank — has fueled historical research and academic debate, as well as proven to be an enduring source of inspiration and idealism across time. 

For Simone Bottecchia, a senior manager of engineering at Forge — a global private securities marketplace offering infrastructure, data services and technology solutions for private market investors — the legend has left a lasting impression. For Bottecchia, the legend of the Round Table serves as an aspirational North Star for equality and open discourse in the 21st century. 

Neither Bottecchia nor his colleagues are knights congregating in a candlelit fortress, but the rank-agnostic collaboration is imprinted on his leadership approach. 

“When talking about feedback, I like to reference that concept, where everyone has equal status and is free to speak their mind without worrying about their rank,” explained Bottecchia. 

“I highly value feedback in private and group sessions with the requirement to respect their teammates and never make others uncomfortable,” he said.

This commitment to leveling the playing field, bucking hierarchy and welcoming feedback is central to the type of team culture he strives to maintain — as well as one present in teams across Forge: “Psychological safety is the number one priority, and I have zero tolerance for those who overpower others.” 

 

“Psychological safety is the number one priority.”

 

Another leader, Senior Vice President of Engineering Henri van den Bulk, pulls inspiration from the company’s founding values when he describes Forge’s team culture. 

“In our relentless pursuit of being bold, humble and accountable, we’ve adopted a fundamental principle that defines our approach: Lean,” explained van den Bulk, explaining what informs and molds the company’s culture. “Each team thrives by being a self-enabled and learning team.”

At Forge, the quest for technological advancement is marked by the challenges of unlocking and deciphering vast treasures of data in the capital markets. His team unites established expertise with new tools in order to create value for clients.  

“As we ride the crest of the generative AI wave, a surge of novel possibilities emerges, promising to elevate innovation and efficiency to unprecedented heights,” said van den Bulk, noting that “we must also pay homage to the timeless techniques that have quietly underpinned the field for over a decade. 

“These venerable methods have been our trusty companions, aiding us in tackling intricate challenges that once seemed insurmountable,” he concluded. 

Propped up by a strong team culture, Forge’s professionals are determined to create tech infrastructure that bolsters clients’ financial futures. 

Bottecchia and van den Bulk spoke to the consequential strands that weave into Forge’s cultural tapestry and shared why this carefully constructed backdrop empowers innovation, efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

 

Forge team members pose for a group photo at a team meal. 
Forge

 

Simone Bottecchia:

On team culture: “Team culture is the backbone on which we build products and deliver value. It’s fundamental to establish trust and psychological safety to be effective. I personally believe highly effective teams have a strong sense of ownership and are proud of their craft.”

On building a strong foundation: “Every engineering team needs a tech leader to kickstart the culture and remind other members of the core ideas. What makes a great team culture is having purpose from day one and being empowered to make decisions and changes over time. Roadmaps, culture and strategies are mostly effective when implemented together at the team’s inception.”

On improvement and learning: “We strongly believe in continuous improvement and sharing successes. Every team does a retrospective at the end of the agile sprints and uses that moment to reflect on what went well, needs improvement or new ideas. To keep learning, we host a DevChat every other week where anyone in the engineering organization can bring a topic or present some interesting discoveries.”

 

“To keep learning, we host a DevChat every other week where anyone in the engineering organization can bring a topic or present some interesting discoveries.”

 

Henri van den Bulk:

On making an impact: “Data is the lifeblood of the capital markets, providing investors with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the complexities of finance. Investors who harness the power of data-driven decision-making can gain a competitive edge, enhance their ability to manage risks and ultimately strive for greater financial success in the ever-evolving world of investing.” 

On AI integration: “AI, an ever-expanding realm within the fascinating world of computer science, is akin to an uncharted universe that constantly unfolds before our eyes. From a strategic standpoint, we continuously embark on a quest to identify the most optimal techniques for resolving our unique conundrums. These groundbreaking developments open doors to uncharted territories, birthing innovative applications that redefine the very essence of what AI can achieve.”

On the unifying goal: “Our mission revolves around a commitment to creating maximum value for our customers, all while fostering a seamless and dynamic flow. Lean thinking is at the core of everything we do, propelling us toward the pinnacle of efficiency and customer satisfaction.”

 

“Lean thinking is at the core of everything we do, propelling us toward the pinnacle of efficiency and customer satisfaction.”

 

Tech team members gather around a table at a work event. 
Forge

 

Forging Ahead

Cementing team culture is a process in which organic contributions meet purposeful leadership.

At Forge, team culture is perhaps best illustrated through imagery that could sit comfortably in tales from centuries ago, even as its professionals train their sights on the horizon.   

Imagine a communal cauldron simmering over a long-burning flame. Every individual drops in their best ingredients to create something where old meets new — a greater whole that becomes better with each unique contribution. From this collective creation springs inspiration, novel possibilities, established values and diverse cultures. As the conversation with Bottecchia and van den Bulk made clear, this true sense of collaboration is alive and well at Forge.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Forge.

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