During the Spring of 2020, PSS began working with BreakLine Education to recruit and hire Client Success Reps. PSS Client Success Reps work with our 2,000 K-12 public schools as partners to create meaningful and effective learning experiences. Perhaps no year has been more challenging for our schools since PSS was founded 26 years ago.
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day, I’m taking time to reflect on stories of the Veterans in my life and the organizations that continue to serve those Veterans. The professional relationship between PSS and BreakLine has been amazing, but if I’m honest, this relationship for me is personal. Below, I explain why.
Boston was a buzz from the day I got there. Maybe even before.
We all must decide what we want to be when we grow up. During the summer of 2013, I moved to Boston to confront that decision. While at business school, I was enthralled by the energy flowing through young, small companies - start-ups. In short order, I aspired to be a salesman at a software start-up, so I began applying to firms in need of enterprising Sales Reps. I was doing what we all must do several times in our career, sell (the vision of) ourselves to employers.
I had a difficult time even getting that first sales interview in which I could pitch my experience. After all, most sales managers wanted to screen applicants based on prior sales experience; they are not open to take a risk on a green salesman. It spells career risk for them. But if I didn’t get a sales role, how could I discuss my prior sales experience? (As it turns out being a combat veteran is great training for sales at a start-up. I admittedly had trouble making those connections.)
In the Spring of 2015, I interviewed at dozens of companies in the months leading up to graduation. Most companies wanted to place me, a Veteran, in other roles within the company. Never sales. As graduation approached in the summer of 2015, I was still struggling with finding that next opportunity. This was a stressful period in life. I had a wife and two kids under 2 years old. Now I was teeing up a major career failure in my first at-bat. (Remember, there was no BreakLine Education yet!)
Fortunately, one of my brothers from the Marines joined nCino as a sale rep after a successful stint at another software company. He knew my (well…our) skills would lead to success in a sales role and, more importantly, that the leadership @nCino would support us and value our skill set.
I joined nCino during the Summer of 2015. Over the next four and a half years, I had an amazing professional journey serving our nation’s Community and Regional Banks. I worked with amazing colleagues. I was well mentored and had the opportunity to develop into a mentor to younger teammates. My time as a sales professional has made all the difference in my career. It led directly to the opportunity to lead PSS. And to think, the path to nCino unfolded by sheer serendipity.
I can share the stories of other very capable veterans who didn’t get an opportunity and point to dozens of companies who would’ve benefited from their talents. There is ample evidence that excellent companies and amazing job candidates have trouble finding each other. Let’s assume that none of us created this world or the forces that create these circumstances. Most of us would agree that opportunity should be evenly distributed. It’s why we love sports and underdog stories. Someone got a shot and made the most of it. If we want to bring more talent to bear on today’s problems, individuals and organizations will have to step in to reshape the current state of play.
BreakLine believes excellence is transferable. They create pathways to opportunity by providing education and coaching for exceptional veterans, women, and people of color who want to pivot into compelling careers in the tech industry. They partner with people who have run hardest and farthest from their starting lines, and with change-makers in standout companies looking for new teammates who are hungry to drive exponential value.
I value Breakline because their “participants find opportunities commiserate with their experience and potential…”. No matter your background, that is all we can really ask for in this life – an opportunity to compete, in short, we want “At Bats”. Thank you Team BreakLine for helping PSS scale our team and support our customers during a most challenging year!