What does the career path and a day in the life look like for a sales manager at one of Boston's fastest growing tech companies?
Where you grew up? What did you parents do for work? What was your first job growing up?
I grew up in Milton, MA, as the youngest of four children. My dad worked as a judge (now retired) and my mother stayed at home to raise us. When I entered kindergarten, she made the decision to go to college, she went part time and graduated when I went to 8th grade. It was her work ethic and dedication to family that helped shape my own path as a working mother of five.
All of my siblings followed in my dad's footsteps and became lawyers - one a real estate lawyer, one a liability lawyer and one a criminal lawyer. I was the “black sheep” who went into sales after college.
Where did you attend college and what did you study?
I went to an all girls high school in Hingham and then went on to Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
I started as a nursing student, but after one year of science and math courses, I knew that it was definitely not for me. My parents were “thrilled” when I called and told them that I was going to take some criminal justice and communication classes. I went on to major in communications and knew that I had found my calling when I got to stand in front of hundreds of students to do my final public speaking exam.
What were some of your first jobs out of college?
I worked all through college scanning cards in the dorms and tended bar over the summer at The Black Rose, The Purple Shamrock and Jose McIntyre's.
When I graduated, I got my first “real job” at ADP in Boston. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was excited to put on my first suit (it definitely had shoulder pads) and couldn’t wait to tell my friends about all of the glamorous business trips I would be going on.
Reality struck on my first day when my boss told me my first glamorous “trip” would be to Watertown and Arlington. I got to go knock on doors and “sling” payroll solutions. Not exactly what I expected, but that’s where my love affair with sales began.
What were some of the foundation skills that you developed from these early jobs that helped you in what you are doing today?
I look back on my early years in sales can’t believe how much things have changed. I actually used to walk up and down the streets, casually ignoring “no soliciting” signs and convincing business owners to buy from me. I was like a storm that blew in, made some noise, and walked out with a signed contract. There were no laptops or cell phones, so I had carbon copy contracts that I had clients sign before I excitedly ran off to a pay phone to call my boss and say “I got another one!”
I grew up in sales, I worked for some of the most amazing leaders who provided me direction, tough love, and recognition of my accomplishments. I also received some of the best career advice back in those early days. I was told that if I ever wanted to be a sales leader, I had to act like I was one already - not just once in awhile, but every day. Following this advice shaped my career and landed me my first promotion when I was the “first pick” to lead the sales office after my manager got promoted into a new role.
How did you land your current position as Manager of Enterprise Sales at Quick Base?
This past February my husband and I were taking the kids up to North Conway for our yearly family ski trip. All seven of us, my husband and 5 kids, were packed into the car when the phone rang. I answered, which I very rarely do when kids are around. It was a recruiter following up on a LinkedIn message she had sent me. She jumped in and started telling me about a position for an “experienced sales leader and a really great company.” I listened and did what every mom of five has to do on a long car trip -- pass out Goldfish, pick up sippy cups and mute the phone multiple times to ask my loved ones to “please be quiet.” At the close of the call, I offered to circulate it across my network and check back in a week. The response was clear - “we don’t want someone in your network, we want you.”
Though I was hesitant to leave my current gig and start over with a new leadership team, I had to stay true to myself, practice what I preach, and go check it out. Why not? I agreed to sit with other leaders at Quick Base. It was evident to me immediately that this was a company that valued their employees and invested in their employees’ success as I have always done with my own teams. I was excited to help shape and grow a sales team, be part of something new and put my mark on a fast-paced and growing organization.
After starting, I know that my instincts were spot on! The team and company have exceeded my expectations and I’ve never been so happy and fulfilled in a role.
Can you share the high-level responsibilities of your current position?
At the end of the day, my number one priority is to make sure that every single person on my team is successful.
Sure, I have to attend the regular leadership meetings, pipeline discussions, client events etc. but I try to structure my day around ensuring my main focus is on the team and individuals success.
Day in the Life
Coffee, tea, or nothing?
Coffee all day, every day.
What time do you get into the office?
Between 7:30 and 8:00...depends on Route 128’s traffic.
Every day is different, but can you outline what a typical day looks like for you?
I am up every day by 5:15 am with the help of an alarm clock or my 2 and/or 3-year old (usually the latter). Next, I head downstairs, pop in my first K-Cup and open the daily sales dashboard to check out how the team is trending for the month.
The next hour can go one of two ways - smooth or chaotic. If all goes accordingly, I can hop in and out of the shower, blow dry hair, put on makeup, get dressed and go. Typically, though, things are a bit more hectic. I often spend this time running around with the kids, searching for binkies, dolls, cars or trucks, passing out waffles and juice....the list goes on and on.
Regardless of how things play out, I am in the car no later than 6:45 am, at Dunkin by 6:50 for my second coffee (this one is extra large) and on my way to the office.
During my drive, I catch up with my husband on the “home life”. I’m lucky to have a husband who manages his work hours so he can be with the kids during the day and coordinates all of the activities - hockey, basketball, LAX, friends houses, camps and the list goes on and on. This is our time to catch up on what’s going on. I also try to chat with my mom at least once or twice a week.
Once I arrive at the office and settle in, I’m typically off to one of my daily meetings. I like to use the mornings to meet one-on-one with my account executives to strategize on deals, role play upcoming meetings or attend calls with their customers.
Around noon I make it a point to go take a 10-minute walk outside to clear my head. I make it a point not to look at email during this time. My guilty pleasure is to do a quick check of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Afterwards, I head back up and most on afternoons I attend meetings with our marketing, customer success, product or finance teams. The culture at Quick Base is one of collaboration and these meetings allow all of us to ensure we are aligned as we all work toward a common goal of building on the success of this amazing company.
It’s time for a coffee, a hunt for any kind of chocolate and an attempt to get through some emails before I head out.
What time do you head out of the office?
I try to leave the office by 5:30 so that I can make it home to kiss my 2-year-old goodnight. On my ride home, I make a few work calls to talk through anything my team needs. I prefer to pick up the phone rather than shoot off an email so we can better connect and strategize.
When I arrive home, I put work out of my mind and enjoy the chaos of my family. I know bedtime is just around the corner so I try to savor every minute of it before I tuck them all in and kiss them good night.
Do you log back in at night or do you shut it down completely?
I log back in between 9-9:30 and work until about 11:30-12:00 doing follow up and preparing for the next day.
I’m also a firm believer in the importance of learning every day so for the past 18 years, I have made a habit of taking 30 minutes each day read or listen to something that will make me smarter.
Afterwards, I head up to bed with my guilty pleasure: M&M’s, Hershey Kisses, and Twizzlers. I shut my eyes and do it all over again.
Any productivity hacks?
Waking up early, having my coffee and enjoying quiet time before the day starts has changed my life.
I live by lists. I make my list for the day the night before. I have to get through the list before I head home for the day. I am flexible with the non-urgent items and I allow myself to move them only if the task does not impact someone else.
I often wake up in the middle of the night with a thought or an idea that I want to share with my family or team so I keep a pad of paper and pen next to me so I don’t forget my thoughts.
Regarding internal meetings, I’m all about delegation. If there is someone else that can relay a message back to me, then make a point of taking turns attending them so we can try and give back time in our days.
What are the 3 apps that you can’t live without?
EasilyDo: it takes my Quick Base calendar, Google calendar and any events in Gmail and compiles it all into one daily schedule. It also sets reminders, consolidates receipts, and so much more. It puts everything in one place.
Outlook groups- for collaborating with my team
Personal: Nordstrom, LittleHoots, and Amazon
Images courtesy of Quick Base and Maureen Morris.