I was born/grew up in: Alberta
I now live in: Vancouver, BC
I completed my training/education at: I did not follow a traditional education program. I developed my skills on the job. I took training sessions to build my skills and knowledge.
What I do at work
I work in sales. I have 25 years’ experience in a variety of industries. In my current role, I may be selling directly to specific customers or I may be sell to others who will sell our technology as part of the services they offer.
Much of what I do in my current role is business development. I meet with prospective clients/customers and channel partners. These meetings can be virtual or face-to-face. When I meet with prospective customers, I learn their challenges and problems they face. I also learn about the strategies they have in place or want to implement. I will analyze this information and identify the ways in which our technology can help them. I don’t lead demonstrations of our technology, but engage a presales engineer as I’m not a computer engineer. Sometimes I feel I know just enough to be dangerous J When the prospective client is interested in learning more I’ll bring in a technology solution engineer. This person will be able to work with their IT people to more fully explain how our technology will work to protect them and enable their business.
We also license our technology to global resellers who sell our technology as part of services they offer. I work to build relationships with prospective resellers. I may also have to educate them about our products. For those who are currently working with us, I help maintain our relationships.
My career path is
When I graduated high school, I went to university. I was planning to do a business degree. I quickly realized I really had no desire to do this. So I quit university and took a job as an office administrator. I was good at this and had a lot of responsibility. However, I did not find it very fulfilling. I noticed that our salespeople came in in the morning, smiling and happy. They made some calls from the office in the mornings and then went out to meetings with customers. This looked a lot more interesting so I moved into inside sales.
In sales, I started out working in the transportation and logistics sector. It was good work and I worked with great people. However, a lot of my work was done in warehouses, docks or shipping terminals. It was often noisy and dirty. I reached out to a recruiter who recommended I look into the telecomm industry. I got a job with Bell selling voice and data network services. Later I was hired by TELUS for a job with more responsibility.
I fell in love with technology and helping people with their technology needs. But I found I was not being challenged. I needed to refocus so I went into cybersecurity. I chose this area because there was a shortage of qualified people. I started selling technology to help people be able to run their businesses with fewer technology and cybersecurity support people. After a while I was recruited into more senior positions with greater responsibilities. Now I’m working with Tanium in a senior leadership role. I love that we help people by providing them with risk-reduction strategies. There is no way of predicting where a career in technology will lead.
I am motivated by
I love helping people. From the time when I was very young, I loved helping people. The difference is that now I am doing it for businesses. Getting that first meeting with a potential customer is key. This is when they tell me their issues and plans. It is a great feeling when I hear the excitement in their voices when I tell them how we can help solve their problems and help with their plans.
How I affect people’s lives
The World Economic Forum ranks threats to cybersecurity very high. It is right up there with wars and pandemics for its potential effects on our society and economy. When I sell our technology and cybersecurity solutions to a large corporation, we help make their systems and networks secure. However, it goes beyond that business. We are also protecting all the people who work for them and their stakeholders (customers, patients, constituents, business partners). For example, if it is a retail business, they will have credit information of their customers on file. By protecting that business from cyber-attacks, we are also protecting their customers.
Outside of work I
I volunteer in my community and serve on several boards including on the SheLeadsTech Global Leadership Council, which is part of One In Tech, an ISACA international. I love to walk and I enjoy speaking at various technology events. I ride horses and am an amateur show jumper.
My advice to others
I think a mistake that many people make is to go through a bunch of tests to find out what interests them. This is ok but don’t put too much weight on it alone. Spend time in the field where you think you want to work. See if it is really something you like doing. Build a network! Follow business networks in areas in which you are interested. LinkedIn is a great place to start. If you can, volunteer with an organization related to your area of interest.
If you are interested in cybersecurity, look at job postings to see what qualifications are required. A good place to start is a cybersecurity career map. If you can, interview a person who does the job that interests you. Ask them “what would you do different?”
Jobs are short term; your career is long term. The decisions you make early in your career may not work out for you. If you don’t like what you are doing, do something else!