This is the eighth part of a series titled ‘Up Close and Personal’ covering the career path of several steering committee members of LebNet communities, spread across the US and Canada.
In this part, we feature Walid Khoury, Founder and CEO at Marc Media, member of the LebNet board and leader of the LebNet New York community. Khoury describes himself as a strategic leader and technology innovator; transforming and growing businesses from the ground up.
He has founded three startups and took on several professional and leadership roles, including his work as a Chief Information Security Officer at YAI, where he joined a new Executive Team to lead a $300 million initiative that specializes in innovative medical and long-term services for people with disabilities. His most recent startup, Marc Media, is a marketing tech that uses IoT technology embedded in print to integrate the most compelling features of digital advertising, such as personalization, interactivity and measurement, into every direct mail campaign.
How would you describe your career path and what do you enjoy most about your current job?
My career path has been a series of building blocks. I’ve had a tech career focused on hardware, software, cloud and every component in between. Over time, these experiences formed blocks that I have been able to draw from in each role throughout my career. During my high school years, I started as an IT consultant. I became intimate with hardware and understood its ins and outs. I continued down the technology path and understood its impact to the consumer base, the enterprises, startups, and emerging businesses.
How did you evolve as an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is to continue learning about business. It is useful to be very good at your craft but you also need to learn how to market a technology or find a market for it and tailor it to fit passively with the needs of the ecosystem. It was a fortunate path, I had former leadership roles that helped guide me. The first one was Corporate Director at Serta Mattress which grew into a large business, and it was the first role that introduced me to enterprise technologies. Taking those incredible experiences and being able to step out and start companies was amazing to me. I was able to go back and forth and continue to leverage my knowledge of technology in every way and better understand over time how every business works.
Did you plan on exiting the three companies you founded?
I started my first company in college that I ran for many years. I then transitioned out of it into a senior advisor role. There was no official exit for my first three startups. Some people enter with exit in mind. I always try to have it in mind but I was never able to apply it to the extent that it overruled my passion. With Marc Media, I have an opportunity to connect a print channel to IoT, taking digital experiences outside of our personal devices. Our mission is a very exciting one and I’m dedicated to growing it.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I certainly see myself continuing to innovate in tech and make it more integrated, passive, and assistive in our lives.
How do you maintain a good work/life balance?
You have to be willing to realize that there is a line and be willing to work to the edge of that line. Time management is certainly the most difficult thing. There are phases where I need to be ‘in the mine’, working and making small little progress, not knowing what time of the day it is. But those are sprints. I don’t want to live and work like that, but there are tremendous benefits of being able to accomplish those sprints, work up until that edge and when you come out of it, it’s super important to appreciate everything in the moment. I try to spend time with my kids, prioritize seeing friends and family, and make sure I hit the gym every morning.
What are you looking to achieve or excited about as a New York steering committee member and a LebNet board member?
I’ve been a long-time member of LebNet. It is passion and mission driven. We do things very well as Lebanese, we’ve always been leaders in healthcare and engineering. We really strive for excellence and experience-driven achievements. So having a whole community of that is great! I’m incredibly excited to meet everybody in New York. There is an opportunity to form a global closeness to our community, and I am excited to see what other people are focused on. We need to focus first and foremost on the basics, see who’s out there. I want to know everybody in New York. At this stage, getting to know everybody in the community puts on the table what everybody has to offer. In the last two networking events in New York, we’ve seen a lot of people from different backgrounds and interests form friendships and connections. Our job is to stay organically connected to that, so we can serve each other. Each community ecosystem really serves itself and grows within itself in its capabilities and strength. That’s where we can start to expand and see how we can empower the LebNet programs and bring the services to the members.