Our “DocuSign UP Career” blog series places the spotlight on employees who tell us about their first job (how they landed it, why they chose it) and key moments in their career that lead to greater learning or career momentum. At DocuSign, we believe in the next generation of leaders and want to help them get on the right career trajectory. That’s why we started DocuSign UP (University Program). This week we sat down with Lauren in Sales based in San Francisco to learn more about her career.
What do you do at DocuSign?
I am a regional VP, managing sales to our small and medium customers.
What was your first job after college?
I was a channel accounts manager for Brocade Communications, a storage area networking company.
Why did you choose that job?
I played D1 soccer at Fresno State, which was very competitive — it was a job within a job, but also a lot of fun. I always knew I wanted to get into sales and contacted one of my soccer coaches, who was a director at Brocade, which led to my interviewing and getting a job there.
Is it related to the type of work you do today? And what did you learn from it?
Yes, it was technology sales. I learned a lot about the sales process and all the necessary steps that go into acquiring a client. I also learned how important it is to sell the right thing for the customer to set them up for success.
Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that helped propel you to another level.
At DocuSign, I first started as an account executive for SMB in 2012, which at the time was a brand new segment. I helped shape and build the team from an AE perspective, was promoted, made club a number of times, and got to a point where I wanted to move into management. I had a good, candid conversation with my manager about my goals. When a position opened up a few months later, I interviewed and got the job, and was tasked with growing the entire SMB team in San Francisco.
Have you had any important mentors in your life?
I haven’t had official mentors, but when I called the director from my first job for career advice, he said, “Make sure you have integrity, that you’re honest and transparent in everything you do, especially in sales. You need to put the customer first, but also remain true to the company.” He also advised me not to take a job based on money alone early in my career, but think about what I could learn from it and how I would be able to grow.
How would you describe your career and the choices you’ve made?
I feel fortunate about the choices I’ve made in my career which has led to my success. I thought about what would make me happy, what skills I needed, what I was trying to get out of my career. Moving from channel to direct sales, for instance, was important to me. I wanted to make an impact, I wanted control over the sale and didn’t want to wait for the reseller or distributor. It was riskier, and I lost deals along the way, but it helped me get where I wanted to be.
Have you taken risks in your career?
I wanted to get into SaaS and leave hardware sales, which I wasn’t passionate about. I took a risk joining a team that didn’t exist when I first joined DocuSign. It was exciting, a little terrifying, but I knew it was the right company with a supportive manager. When I took on the SMB Manager role I had not managed anyone before and started with two people, but in less than one year I grew the team to sixteen people. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Do you feel like you’ve ever had a setback in your career?
When I played soccer in college, I went from being the best on my high school team to being on par with everyone else. I also had an injury at the end of my junior year and could only play the last game of my senior year. It was a setback that I had to overcome, and it was a reminder that when things aren’t going your way, take a step back and find another way around, whether getting healthy again or getting what you need in your job. It’s all about discipline. In my career, that mindset has helped me bounce back if I don’t get a sale.
What advice would you give to a college junior or senior breaking into the job market?
Find an internship if you can. Make sure you research the company and know why you want to work there. State your goals but also show that you can hunker down and work hard. Tap into your college network, leverage college professors and family friends to get your foot in the door. And always make sure you thank the person the same day they help you – good, old-fashioned manners and gratitude. And one last thing, money is important but the people you work with will make a huge difference not only in your happiness but in your career fulfillment and longevity at the company.
Any specific tips on how to actually find a job or organize a job search?
Network, network, network. Look on LinkedIn, Tech Crunch, Venture Beat, and for sure, read Glassdoor reviews. Utilize your network to find out what it’s like to work at the company and don’t be shy about asking for help. If you want something you need to go after it!
What would your ideal job look like?
My job now is great because it allows me to play off different skill sets. I like developing and coaching, seeing people I’ve helped grow and succeed on their own. I also love the creativity and storytelling of my job, because I can tap into what the customer needs and make an impact. That’s the passion part that I need in any job or career. I love getting the strategic view of the business, and eventually want to manage a larger number of people.
If not this job, what would you want to be doing?
I graduated with a degree in business with an emphasis in sports marketing, so maybe if I wasn’t doing this, I’d be a sports agent.
Think DocuSign might be a fit for you? Check out our job openings: [email protected]