Getting to know Yale leaders: Mark Manton

September 19, 2019

Mark Manton has boundless energy. In addition to his job at Yale, he is a volunteer EMT, swims competitively, and, in the winter months, is ski patrolling. His office is chock-full of photos and mementos, and he greets colleagues stopping by with a welcoming smile.

As the ITS lead administrator, Mark manages all aspects of business operations including budgeting, forecasting, and reporting. He oversees many of the financial aspects of the Project Management Office, account and vendor management, purchasing, intern programs, and accounting. Prior to joining Yale over three years ago, Mark served as chief financial officer of the brokerage house Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and spent 13 years at Berkshire Hathaway General Reinsurance in roles that included lead on the Global Budget and Operations team.

Mark grew up in Los Angeles, California, and Long Island, New York. He earned a B.A. in International Finance and Marketing from the University of Denver and has an M.B.A. from Fordham University. He lives in Trumbull with his wife, two college-age children, and two dogs.

What was your very first job?

I was a lifeguard at the YMCA in Los Angeles. I taught swim lessons and was a life guard there. Eventually, I worked my way up to be a beach lifeguard. Most of the time, I administered first aid for sunburns, minor cuts, or bee stings. My favorite part of the job was giving swim lessons at the YMCA pool. It was rewarding because you could see instant results. I watched as the kids learned to get over their fears and began to swim, some even went on to compete.

What brought you to Yale?

When I was working at Arthur Gallagher, I had this vision that I could combine my love of medicine and finance into one job. I started looking at hospitals in the area. Just by chance, I went to Yale’s STARS web page and saw this position and thought: Wow! This is just what I want to do.

Favorite childhood memory?

I started playing water polo in elementary school. When I got to high school, they did not have a water polo team, but they had a swim team. I joined the team and started to swim competitively. I became close friends with the guys on my team and many of us became lifeguards together, spending summers at the pool or beach. For a while, I even swam for the Beverly Hills YMCA swim team, during that time Dara Torres was a teammate—she went on to become an Olympic swimmer and silver medalist.

What are some of your hobbies?

Besides swimming, skiing is probably my biggest hobby. Most people take time off in the summer, I go away in the winter to ski with my family. Also, I love being a volunteer EMT—I’ve been one for 25 years—every Monday from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. I estimate that I’ve helped over 1,000 people. It’s very rewarding.

What is your idea of a great weekend?

Skiing with my family out West, in Utah or Colorado. Being on a chairlift with my kids is my idea of a great weekend. But weekends are short, so during the work week I like to encourage a fun atmosphere.

Favorite quote?

It’s my own—comparing situations to a broken french-fry machine. Sometimes, you visit a restaurant wanting crispy, hot fries. But the machine is broken, and the fries are bad. It’s not the operator’s fault, they are working with faulty equipment. Often, we blame the person when a lot of times the problem is the process or the equipment. Don’t blame people for the deficiencies of the machine or the process.

What is the biggest challenge today of working in IT Finance?

We have an enormous amount of moving parts in IT/Finance, and a complicated budget with hundreds and hundreds of line items to track and understand. Managing that size budget with all those moving parts over a 12-month period is challenging. We have a talented team, and everyone plays a part in working with all the different units to give them the tools and insight to make the best business decisions to stay within their budgets.

If you weren’t working in Finance what other job would you have?

I love medicine and would probably have been a physician’s assistant or something in the medical field.

What was your first car and what happened to it?

My first car was an orange Datsun 210 that had a CB radio. My CB handle was the California Orange. It didn’t have air conditioning, so I stuck a small fan to the window. I even bought a moonroof kit and installed it myself. Unfortunately, I hit a deer and totaled the car!

If there was one world problem you could solve, what would that be?

I want to help stop mass shootings. I believe there is so much that can be done to stop this, including updating some of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations. We’ve got to unite against this issue; it’s got to stop.

Words of wisdom for someone wanting a career in Finance at Yale.

Be patient, do a great job, and good things will come. It just may take some time. With hard work, perseverance, and patience, you will advance in your career and doors will open.