After studying Creative Writing at Cornell University, my aspirations were to work in publishing. That landed me at Pearson Education, one of the largest academic publishing companies in the world. I started out as an Editorial Assistant to the Psychology Editor who advised me to spend time in sales where I could learn about customer needs with boots on the ground. I spent a little over 3 years as a sales representative for Pearson’s Higher Ed division and learned that while I loved talking to people, understanding their needs, and building relationships, direct sales wasn’t for me. A former sales manager brought me over to a late stage tech startup, Knewton, as a Solutions Architect and that was my introduction to presales. I quickly fell in love with building my technical acumen to better solve for the customer and found myself at HubSpot in 2019 as a Senior Solutions Engineer. I’ve found that I’ve been able to artfully combine my storytelling skills from my writing days with my passion for helping others and solving problems in my Solutions Engineering role where I am currently a Principal SE Level 2.
Growing up in Dover, Delaware, a very small town in an even smaller state, I had an overwhelming desire from a young age to see more of the world and experience life on a big scale. I refused to apply to any in-state colleges and chose instead to start over in a brand new environment as far away as I could. I found myself at Cornell University incredibly stimulated by all the bright minds that surrounded me. Ever since I was in second grade, I had the knack for and obsession with telling stories. This led me to study Creative Writing with ambitions to work in publishing after graduation.
Upon graduating, I did find myself in publishing at Pearson Education; academic publishing was a whole new world for me. I started as an editorial assistant to the Psychology editor and was fascinated with the subject matter of the manuscript I was helping with. My first manager gave me the advice to get into sales to lay the foundation for my career at Pearson. I followed this and found myself as a field sales rep based in Raleigh, North Carolina selling Humanities, Social Sciences, and World Language textbooks and technology to colleges throughout the state. What I quickly discovered was that I loved meeting people, learning what mattered to them, and trying to help as best as I could. What I also noticed was that much of being in sales had to do with telling a good story.
Not thrilled with the numbers side of being a rep (the quota, the pipeline management, etc.), I was told by a former sales manager of a new role at a late stage tech startup, Solutions Architect. Reading the description, I knew it was the perfect role for me. It lended me the opportunity to still be involved in sales but instead of being the quota-carrier bearing the responsibility of closing all the sales, I would be able to help the sales reps by being an expert on the product and a strategic deal team partner. Thus my entry into PreSales.
A long time lover of crosswords and any kind of puzzles, I fell in love with the problem-solving aspect of the role and saw quick success based on my skills in storytelling.
This eventually led me to HubSpot where, after honing my skills as a Solutions Engineer, I began to help with onboarding a slew of new hires to the SE and SA teams. I fell in love with helping my new colleagues step into their new role at this new company. This new found passion has inspired me to expand beyond HubSpot and help anyone interested in getting into PreSales with what I’ve learned along the way.