Le Bazhaar

The professional: Marie F. Schillio

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Marie F. Schillio Photography courtesy of Peter Vidor

Name: Marie F. Schillio

Hometown: Senegal and Congo

Current Residence: New York

Job-Title: Senior Associate Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals

Company: Korn Ferry

Day to Day uniform: Business attire

1) Tell us about your background and current position

I graduated from NJIT with a BS in Business Administration cum laude and previously attended Skema in Sophia Antipolis (formerly known as Ceram) Nice, in France.
I am currently a Senior associate at Korn Ferry based in New York. Korn Ferry is an advisory firm and helps to recruit world-class leadership. Today, we are a single source for leadership and talent consulting services to empower businesses and leaders to reach their goals. Our solutions range from executive recruitment and leadership development programs, to enterprise learning, succession planning and recruitment process outsourcing.
I focus on senior level executive searches for venture-backed and early stage Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals companies.

2) What are the challenges you have been facing while switching your professional orientation?

I had to learn from scratch a new career and developed a passion for it. It was time consuming, frustrating but ultimately fulfilling.

3) Is your modeling career helped you build the professional you are today, if yes in which ways?

Absolutely, I am very proud of my modeling career and it definitely shaped my personality. Fashion is an art form and I am so grateful to have been part of it. Having walked the runway for Givenchy, YSL and Oscar De La Renta, made me realise that the sky is limit and anything is possible as long as you are passionate and driven. That mindset helped me tremendously to make the transition to the corporate world and be successful.

4) Describe a typical day at work

It involves constantly researching and reaching out to high level executives. Some are very content in their current positions, and it requires to develop a trusted relationship in order for them to take a leap of faith in their career.
Most of my days are long and time is never on my side.

5) What would you say are the main skills to have to succeed in your position?

Be a good listener, have strong influence skills and show perseverance (never take “no” for an answer).

6) Since your job is to hire talents for high profile companies, how do you spot the right candidate and make sure you respond to your clients expectations?

There is no set methodology to spot the right candidate as it depends not only on the candidate’s qualifications but timing in their life and most importantly the fit with the company’s culture. it’s almost impossible to find the ideal candidate, therefore managing client’s expectations is a major part of our job.

7) You recently moved from fashion/luxury to the Biotechnology industry, was it an easy move? Do you think it’s necessary today to explore different paths to find the right one?

I am still transitioning, however I was attracted to the Biotechnology practice as I always had a passion for science in general.
It is rewarding to assist high science and entrepreneurial companies to build their executive team with a Chief Medical Officer, Chief Scientific Officer, CEO and CFO among others. Most of those individuals will lead the development of novel therapeutic drugs from discovery to commercialization, which will potentially revolutionize medicine and save lives.

It is necessary to explore different paths as long as “status quo” is not your life’s mantra.

8) If there is one thing you wish you knew 10 years before, what would it be ?

Life is an ongoing search for knowledge and full of surprises.