I’m a cancer survivor so I’ve learned a lot about perseverance and refusing to give up at the first sign of adversity. I was diagnosed at 21. I had gone to my general practitioner on a Thursday at 3:30 in the afternoon. By the next day I was getting prepped for surgery.
I didn’t have a lot of time to think about whether or not I was going to die. I was either going to get better or not.
That has been a guiding principle that I have carried through my life. You can only control what you can control.
In business, you can’t control the market, but you can control employee morale and how you structure a company based on your industry’s marketplace. You can control the way you position employees to be successful.
I learned that early on.
After college, I worked for an executive search firm for five years in Silicon Valley. It was a small company, and I wore a lot of different hats. It’s where I learned how to cold call, talk to people and learn about technology. It was the foundation for my career.
In recruiting, you don’t get paid until someone accepts a job. You can do a perfect job and ask all the right questions but there are so many variables outside of your control to being successful.
I just wanted more control over my own destiny.
I started selling software at a company called Marimba. They had 240 employees when I joined. It was a pretty big risk for me because I took a 50 percent pay cut when I had a family of four. I just felt like it was the time to take the jump.
I was the first individual on their inside sales team on a three-month contract. It was a natural fit.
The key was that I outworked everyone. The executive vice president of sales would be the first in the building at 7:15 a.m. Our regional vice president was the last one to leave at 7 p.m. So I started cold calling at 6:30 a.m. and worked 12 hours a day. I was the first one in and last one to leave. It is a cliché, but not everyone does it.
Three weeks in, they hired me full time.
I was there for nine months, chomping at the bit, when I had an opportunity at a company called Western Blue. I closed six-figure deals and learned how to make success happen on my own.
When I moved to Kaseya International, I was reminded to focus on the things you can control. In 2009, the company changed the way that the commission plans worked. We started the year with one plan and switched mid-year to another plan. At the time, we were structured in a way that wasn’t as efficient as we could have been. I brought my concerns to the management and made some recommendations. I got turned down a few times but remained persistent. I finally got approval to restructure the U.S. organization, and we agreed to go to market accordingly.
We ended up exceeding our goal by 50 percent. That quarter was the largest single quarter in company history. We took the company from 19 employees to 500.
Now, at outsourceIT, I bring that set of skills as I look to help manage us through a transition of growth.
— Interview with Vanessa Small
Position: Chief operating officer of outsourceIT, an IT services company based in La Plata, Md.
Career highlights: Vice president of channel sales, North America, Kaseya International; senior account executive, Western Blue; lead business development representative, Marimba; lead account executive, Konrad Associates.
Education: BS, agricultural business, California Polytechnic State University.
Personal: Commutes between Carlsbad, Calif., and La Plata, Md.