“Repotting, that’s how you get new bloom,” remarked Ernie Arbuckle, former Dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. “You should have a plan of accomplishment and when that is achieved you should be willing to start off again.”
Many accomplished professionals across a variety of fields seem to follow Arbuckle’s advice. Take for instance Salesforce Account Executive for Strategic Accounts Reyna Suarez.
In this blog, we’ll share Reyna’s story, which just might inspire your own journey of personal growth and transformation. But first let’s see how she arrived at Salesforce.
Stepping off a Plane and into the Unknown
Reyna was born in Nicaragua. To escape an unstable political climate, she and her mother moved to the United States when she was 10. Upon arriving in Miami, she spoke no English and had no friends. But she was quickly embraced by Miami’s large, close-knit Latin community. When it was time for college, she moved again — this time to the west coast to attend San Francisco State on a full scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
After graduating with degrees in Internal Communications and Latin American Studies, Reyna stayed in the Bay Area. A short internship in event marketing didn’t pan out, so she began looking for a good place to start a career.
Five months after graduating from college, Reyna joined Salesforce. And she’s still here — but she’s continually “repotted” herself.
“Technology wasn’t something that I’d thought of. Salesforce was just the first company that stood out to me. I wasn’t looking at multiple companies. I decided to apply, and it turned out they needed someone to help the Latin America team.”
Evangelizing the Cloud in Latin America
Salesforce needed a bilingual sales rep to evangelize the Cloud for Salesforce in Latin America. Reyna was part of a small sales development team.
“This was 2007. Back then, we were very far away from who we’ve become in 2020. Plus, there was a recession looming. Any job was a good job.”
Preparing for her interview, Reyna asked people in her network about the company. The more she learned, the more she liked what she heard, which made her eager to continue the interview process.
“The one thing I kept hearing was that Salesforce was a great place to learn sales and a great place to work if you wanted to work in sales.”
With experience and a growing network of mentors in the company, Reyna took on the role of Senior Account Executive (AE) covering the U.S., starting with small businesses and progressing to the the mid-market segment.
“Salesforce has always encouraged me to seek mentors, to expand my network, and to continue to learn. This has allowed me to hone my skills and prepare for the next role.”
Becoming a Leader at Salesforce
As a Senior AE, Reyna was an individual contributor responsible for many customers. She was learning every day and enjoyed the challenge, but she was looking for more.
“I knew I wanted to be a leader at Salesforce. I just didn’t know when would be the right time for a transition to management. One of our area vice presidents believed I was ready and suggested I help him lead a team for the Latin American market.
As Reyna recalls, the transition included mentorships from other leaders, training from the Salesforce enablement team, and lots of trial and error.
“The transition was challenging. It took me a while to understand how I wanted to lead, what my values were, and how I would inspire my team to achieve results. But my mentors and sponsors helped me believe in myself and thrive.”
In her new role as vice president (VP) of small-medium business and mid-market for Latin America, Reyna’s customer portfolio grew exponentially. She also had direct reports who were people leaders themselves. That’s some serious repotting.
Back to the Future
As VP of the entire Latin American region, covering small and medium-sized businesses, Reyna might have said, “mission accomplished.” But… she didn’t.
“For Salesforce, mid-market goes from companies with 201 employees to those with 1,000. After that, it’s a different segment. General business, which is larger strategic accounts, starts with companies that have over 1,000 employees.”
Reyna was doing well in SMB. She had a great team. But she didn’t want the SMB/mid-market segment to be the end of line. She wanted to learn how to sell to enterprises — the enterprise “selling motion.”
“To lead in the general business (enterprise) segment, you must first learn how sell to it. You need to have closed deals and led a team across the finish line. And you don’t learn that in mid-market. These are very strategic accounts,” Reyna notes. “As an AE in General Business, I have access to more resources and a huge account team: architects, sales engineers, customer success managers and specialists. ”
The Uncomfortable Comfort Zone
Now, in general business, Reyna is in her sweet spot: challenged, learning every day, and just a little out of her comfort zone.
“If you look at my background, I’ve held different roles covering many segments. From very small and small businesses to medium businesses. And now general business. I’ve supported Latin America and the United States. As soon as I start feeling comfortable, I know it’s time for me to do something else.”
It seems counterintuitive that you could continually repot your career while staying with the same company. But that’s exactly what Reyna has done.
“Salesforce has taken care of me. It’s helped me focus on the skill sets I want to gain and improve on. And, if I can continue to learn and grow while being able to help provide for my family, why would I leave?”
Are you looking for a new place to plant your roots? Salesforce is hiring — explore our open roles and find yourself a new pot today.