How Audrey Changed Careers During a Pandemic

How Audrey Changed Careers During a Pandemic

As a vibrant person with service industry experience and a passion for creating art, a career in tech sales wasn’t something that was initially on Audrey Young’s radar. Now, Audrey, like so many professionals in the tech industry, is on an upward trajectory she never saw coming. 

For years she had gained experience in restaurant management, only to have that path utterly halted by the pandemic in 2020. While navigating the impact of the COVID-19 curveball that left her entire industry facing unemployment, she found herself seeking more stability. 

That search led her to enroll in a 10-week tech sales bootcamp. Here, she learned that she had been building valuable interpersonal skills for years in her prior roles. This rang clear in her strong communication skills, work ethic, coachability, and authenticity in building relationships. 

Today, Audrey is soaring as a Business Development Rep (BDR) at ChartHop. With her personal skills and commitment to training, she was able to break into tech quickly. She graduated from Flockjay during Halloween 2020 and got hired in January 2021!

This Flockjay alumni sat down with us to share more details about her career journey into tech sales, including the challenges she had to overcome to find herself where she is today.

Keep reading to learn how Audrey changed careers during a pandemic. 

Pivoting from College Classes to Restaurant Management 

In college, Audrey was managing a lot of passions while seeking stability. In her own words: 

“I have a lot of passions, including helping others and sugar! The sad part is that I couldn’t make a career out of those things and make the money needed to support me and my family. I felt the only option for stability was to keep pursuing restaurant management because it was convenient and I was good at it. Sometimes we don’t get to have it all, and college doesn’t make it easy to finish and work full time.”

She had already gained experience working as a busser and a server in college, so becoming a Restaurant Manager seemed like a natural next step. 

Audrey eventually got promoted to a position where she was making $55,000 per year, albeit at 65 hours per week and 6 days a week. But things were looking good. This was her career now. 

However, when she returned to work from taking some well-deserved time off, she realized that restaurant management may not be for her. She wasn’t welcomed back with grace, and began to question her opportunities for growth in the industry. 

“When I came back, the restaurant was in complete chaos and I got reamed for it. I saw my manager’s true colors at that moment and realized that she was unethical and selfish. I dealt with it because they offered me a salary and health insurance, which I never had. At that point, I had just convinced myself that the service industry was the only career path for me.” 

For the next year, Audrey went above and beyond at work — doing inventory, payroll, scheduling, hiring, training and running a wine training program — but she still couldn’t get a raise or a transfer. This was especially frustrating since she had been working at the restaurant for six years and her boss wasn’t willing or excited to help with her growth within the company.

This is when she finally hit her breaking point and left the unhealthy work environment she’d been in. Around this time, her partner had got accepted into a music school in San Diego. Soon after, she packed up her bags, moved, and got a restaurant management job in her new city.

Then, COVID-19 shut the entire restaurant industry down.

How were they going to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads? A question that rose to the forefront for hundreds of thousands of Americans forced to face the impact of an industry-halting pandemic. What now?

Navigating Personal and Professional Growth During COVID-19

Audrey was fresh on the heels of an exciting new journey and felt crushed when the pandemic engulfed her industry in uncertainty. Audrey and her partner had no choice but to get creative, remain flexible, and work together to envision and implement a new plan. One that required putting everything they owned in storage. That takes resilience.

“My partner had to leave music school. I got laid off from my job and no one was hiring. We didn’t have enough money and had nowhere to go, so we moved into his parents’ camper, then to our friend’s spare bedroom with our three cats. It was tough.”

During this arduous process, Audrey leaned on her art as a positive creative outlet and had the gift of time to go inward and intentionally think about what she really wanted out of her next role. 

Her restaurant management experience had armed her with tons of incredible skills, but the unstable nature of the industry led her to experience self-doubt and depression.

Eventually, her and her partner were able to secure a temporary Airbnb in San Diego, allowing him to finish up music school. From there, they relocated back to an apartment in Denver to navigate their next steps as the pandemic continued to unfold. 

Finding Flockjay through a Craigslist Hunt for Opportunities

With an increasing awareness of how previous restaurant environments had negatively impacted her mental health, Audrey was eager to feel better. She knew it was time to break up with the restaurant industry if she wanted to prioritize her mental health and grow professionally. Unsure how to execute on this desired career change, she got curious and began researching. 

Audrey was surfing Craigslist for new job opportunities when an ad stopped her in her tracks. It was for Flockjay, a 10-week tech sales bootcamp, on a mission to provide people from diverse backgrounds with the training, confidence, and community they need to break into tech. No fancy college degree was required, and it mentioned a deferred tuition option that allowed students to join for $0 down and repay tuition after they are hired and earning at least $40k annually. This information resonated with her, but it was the first time she’d heard of career bootcamps as a real option for people with her background. Could this opportunity be for her? 

“I was thinking to myself, ‘This is insane. This makes no sense.’ I even told my family about it and they were like, ‘Okay, this sounds scammy.” 

But Audrey’s interest was piqued. She decided to ask her friends who were working in tech sales about their careers and got positive feedback. After conducting more research and realizing that Flockjay was legit, she decided to chat with one of our Admissions Advisors, Mo.

“Once Mo saw that I had studied Human Development in college and recognized that I was super passionate about it, she told me that Flockjay could help me get a job in EdTech or at a company that collaborates with nonprofits. I could pursue a job at a place that aligned with my personal goals, not just your typical tech company. And that’s what sold me. There were way more opportunities out there than what I originally thought coming from the restaurant industry.”

She decided to join our seventh batch of students and become a Flockjay Tech Fellow.

Overcoming Mental Health Obstacles During Class

Shortly after joining Flockjay, Audrey and her partner’s unemployment benefits in Denver ran out. They were on the brink of eviction and had to turn to the weekly food bank for support. Audrey shared that when the food bank provided them with a big turkey, they were able to make the best of it and eat turkey soup every night. 

To make ends meet, Audrey sold her car and watched her dad’s dog for $40 per night. During some earlier hardships in her life, she also resorted to assembling Ikea furniture for cash. 

While working hard to regain financial stability and pursue a new and unfamiliar opportunity, the state of Audrey’s mental health remained an obstacle. Her depression was becoming unmanageable, so to pursue treatment, she flew out to California to get a brain scan. 

Audrey was in the third week of Flockjay’s program during this time, and she personally still planned on attending class. But when she tried to dial in from her phone, she couldn’t get internet access. Feeling unprepared for a breakout session and overwhelmed by the hiccup, she admits having the urge to quit the program right then and there.

“By then, I was just so stressed out and upset. It felt like the final straw.”

However, Audrey decided to do her homework assignments for the week. And they motivated her to soldier on.

“I was in this hotel room by myself, waiting to fly out the next day, when I remembered that I needed to write a LinkedIn post. It had to be about tech, but I didn’t want to say something fake. But I also didn’t want to tell the world what was really going on with me. No one wants to hear that. At the end of the day, though, I just decided to be honest.”

What that honestly looked like:

Audrey Young LinkedIn feedback

After sharing that first LinkedIn post, Audrey continued to authentically thrive in Flockjay’s program, especially when it came to building a community with her other Flockmates. 

Being this open and vulnerable changed Audrey’s perspective on adversity and helped her turn the corner. She felt validated and encouraged by the responses on her post from people who also suffered from depression. Feeling less alone, she persevered and made it to graduation. 

Practicing Authenticity During the Interview Process

After hitting the 10-week mark and graduating from Flockjay, Audrey began the interview process. At this point, graduates work with dedicated Career Services Managers (CSM) for interactive coaching and tips on how to crush their interviews, make lasting impressions, and get hired by companies who support them. Part of this is knowing how to share your story. 

For Audrey, the idea of sharing the various elements of her story with a potential employer initially felt daunting. So at first, she wasn’t forthcoming with sharing those personal details. 

“I was struggling with how much to share and how to share it. So I just didn’t share at all and was like, ‘I am good at these things. I can do this.’ I didn’t really show them why or how I am good at those things, though,” says Audrey.

“Then I did a mock interview with my CSM and he said, ‘I wouldn’t hire you. You didn’t wow me. What happened to your story about being homeless during COVID and having nowhere to go? Don’t you think if you tell me your story that I’m going to believe you’re going to be a badass SDR and make money for my company?’”  

From then on, Audrey felt empowered by her story. When she started practicing sharing it during her various interviews, she could tell she was impressing her interviewers. She felt like she was on the verge of getting hired, and she was right. 

From Flockjay to Hired Sales Development Rep at ChartHop

After interviewing with ten different companies and landing five different final round interviews, Audrey received an offer to join the sales team at ChartHop. It was a full circle moment. 

“I have a video of me dancing. I don’t know if I can even put it into words because it’s such a validating and relieving feeling, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s honestly unbelievable. After such a hard year in the restaurant industry, I almost couldn’t believe it when I got the offer to join ChartHop’s sales team. I felt a weird blend of shock and pride.”

Today, Audrey is entering her fourth month at ChartHop as an SDR, where she has hit or exceeded her quota for three months. 

The collective flock is proudly rooting her on, because graduating and getting hired is not where the Tech Fellow journey ends. It is only where the Flockjay Alumni journey begins.

From Flockmates to Friends, The Career Support Doesn’t End 

Building community and providing mutual support is such an integral part of Flockjay’s program. The power of the connections students make in the first 10 weeks of the program and beyond is something that cannot be understated during such a pivotal time of transformation and growth.

Audrey’s batch was no exception, exuding Flockjay’s value of flying farther and faster together.

“A group of friends I made in the program nicknamed ourselves ‘The Kingdom’ because we were like birds who came together. We would meet after class every Thursday and we could stay on for two, three hours and sometimes into the middle of the night. We would just support each other and talk about our lives and our biggest fears. These people changed my life.

Now, we’re all placed at different jobs and we still meet and have a group text. We’ll share sales tips from time to time, but what we value the most is our bond with each other.  These people are so important to me. And they were my favorite part of Flockjay. Because without any human connection, you’re just getting information thrown at you, not getting reps in and making deep connections with others, which makes you better at sales anyways.”

Audrey’s Flockjay Alumni Journey and Community Involvement 

Audrey has decided to give back to the Flockjay community by working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for a recent batch of students going through the program. She has also been involved with Flockjay Identity Groups (FIGs), which are outlets for connection among diverse alumni groups. Audrey says: 

“I loved the program for the connections I made and the empowerment I got from my trainers and peers. I decided to be as involved as I could and joined as a co-leader for the Womxns FIGS group, and also became a TA for Batch 12! I love to contribute to a positive environment that supports diverse and talented individuals to reach their potential and make money doing it. We all have different stories and I live to hear everyone’s stories. My life is greatly enhanced by the people I encounter through Flockjay.”

Wondering How to Change Careers? You Can Do This

Audrey’s journey from the restaurant industry to unemployment to tech sales took turns she never expected, and believing in herself has yielded results she never dreamed possible. 

“I just feel so lucky,” Audrey says. “And blessed.”

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?

Rukhsana Sher Tech Fellow Spotlight

Rukhsana Sher Tech Fellow Spotlight

Our diverse community of students comes together from various non-traditional backgrounds to learn, reskill, and unite around a shared goal to break into tech sales as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

As Flockjay charts our path forward in the workplace, it is with the utmost pride that we share the stories of our Tech Fellows. We think it’s important for mission-aligned hiring partners seeking to strengthen and diversify their sales teams to learn more about where our elite students come from. They are ready to make an undeniably positive impact.

Meet Rukhsana Sher, a Flockjay Tech Fellow from our eighth class and current SDR for hire. She shared a few details about her journey with us below. Her sales trainers had this to share:

“She makes a strong and constant effort to educate herself. As an educator herself, she understands the importance of having critical thinking skills while being coachable and organized. With her wonderful interpersonal skills, she will be an amazing addition to any team.”

What did life look like before you found Flockjay?

Before joining Flockjay, I was a professor at the University of Colorado, teaching ESL students (individuals with English as a Second Language). I was always interested in sales and saw a close relationship between teaching and selling, as both depend on cultivating a close relationship and offering others something of significant value.

With the increasing proliferation of technology, I saw tremendous opportunity in empowering people with new tools to enhance productivity and efficiency. Flockjay offered me the platform to pursue this endeavor. After spending 200+ hours of intensive learning of software including Salesforce, Salesloft, Zoom, Loom, and using Calendly, Slack, and outreach, I am ready to rock and roll!

What past accomplishments are you proud of?

Earlier in my career, I had the privilege of co-founding an institute of languages. We helped foreign students learn the English language and prepare for the IELTS and TOEFL examinations, and aided them in getting accepted to their dream schools. 

Among the most impactful efforts I have undertaken includes having developed curriculum for teacher training colleges globally, helping teachers to advance their education and learning new pedagogies.

During my time at the Intensive English Program at the University of Colorado, I felt great satisfaction in helping international students adjust to the local culture through creating open dialogue and personalized counseling.

What excites you most about a future SDR role?

I am thrilled about the opportunity to connect with prospects by listening closely to them, finding their pain points, and solving them. In this, I most look forward to being part of the technological push helping to advance society through clever solutions which aim to optimize the problems plaguing us. Bridging the gap between the innovators and consumers feels like a perfect match, and I look forward to being instrumental in this exciting era! 

Advice for someone who wants to break into tech?

Tech sales is a very exciting field, but it is imperative to be prepared with the proper skillset, and there is no better place to not only acquire these tools as well as become part of a vibrant community in tech sales than Flockjay. This boot camp teaches you the ins and outs of the sales world in a demanding but approachable environment. The instructors are masters of their trade, drawing from years of experience and expertise. The curriculum is highly practical, with hands-on assignments, providing real-time feedback.

While the tech world is evolving at a breakneck pace, the breadth and depth of the community you’ll join with Flockjay makes it feel smaller and more intimate, ultimately transforming an otherwise intimidating juggernaut into an approachable family.

Follow Her Journey from Tech Fellow to Elite SDR

We encourage you to connect with Rukhsana on LinkedIn to follow her upward journey. While you’re there, follow Flockjay for more Tech Fellow spotlights and success stories. If you’re someone seeking a new career opportunity, tech sales may be right for you.

Read our FAQ and apply for our next class

Are you a sales leader who is growing your team? If you’d like to connect with more quality SDRs for hire like Aaron, please email partners@flockjay.com or get more info right now. Our graduates are currently working on sales teams such as Zoom, Gong, Gusto, and Airtable.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

Anna Zhirova Tech Fellow Spotlight

Anna Zhirova Tech Fellow Spotlight

Our diverse community of students comes together from various non-traditional backgrounds to learn, reskill, and unite around a shared goal to break into tech sales as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

As Flockjay charts our path forward in the workplace, it is with the utmost pride that we share the stories of our Tech Fellows. We think it’s important for mission-aligned hiring partners seeking to strengthen and diversify their sales teams to learn more about where our elite students come from. They are ready to make an undeniably positive impact.

Meet Anna Zhirova, a Flockjay Tech Fellow from our eighth class and current SDR for hire. She shared a few details about her journey with us below. Her sales trainers had this to share:

“It was an absolute pleasure to have Anna in our program. She is a great team player, very creative. She was able to fusion her great marketing and sales experience and provided support, key insights, ideas, and direction to her team.”

What did life look like before you found Flockjay?

I was born and raised in Yekaterinburg, Russia and moved to the United States three years ago. I learned about B2B sales and marketing by doing it, as I have 10+ years of experience working in tech in Russia. When I moved to the US, it was not easy to find a job. After one year of unsuccessful interviews, I got tired of searching for jobs and working on my own with occasional marketing tasks where I mostly utilized my data analytics skill set.

So, I began working at both the local Whole Foods Market and on the bike station on Pier 40 in San Francisco. I learned how to do repairs and occasionally sold 10 bikes from our 30-bike fleet (not a bad conversion rate, huh?). Then, I joined the sales program called Flockjay. As I was taking my classes in City College of San Francisco, those 10 weeks of class were challenging. 

In Flockjay, I mastered my sales skills related to the industry. I believe that sales are an art and a science. I want to work on the front line of the business bringing more customers on board and working cross-functionally: giving feedback to the product, marketing, and other teams on a regular basis. I see myself as a trusted advisor of disruptive products. I love learning more about MarTech, e-commerce, and e-learning industries. The latter one because of my amazing experience with Flockjay’s online sales training academy. My experience as a Tech Fellow introduced me, a life-long learner, to a powerful equilibrium of human and machine intelligence.

What past accomplishments are you proud of?

1. After 15 years, I married Katya, my wife, and we started our family.

2. I have a master’s degree in philosophy! During my student years, I specialized in one of the most challenging topics: the philosophy and poetry of Martin Heidegger.

3. I dive 33 meters (108.2 feet) deep on a single breath.

4. Back in Russia, I grew the revenue of Allsoft Ecommerce’s solution by a factor of eight, from $4.3 million to $32.3 million annually.

5. I completed 60 units of classes – both the credit and non-credit – at the City College of San Francisco at the same time, working to improve my English skills.

6. I am proud of all certificates that I have. These include Marketo, Hubspot, Salesforce, Google Analytics, and EFSET English Certificate 75/100 (C2 Proficient).

What excites you most about a future SDR role?

I love to work with people and data. When I worked at Softline Group, I grew the number of partners of my e-commerce solution from 3 to 150 partners, and I enjoyed building relationships within my partners. Also, I would love to master my communication skills and learn from the best companies in Silicon Valley.

Advice for someone who wants to break into tech?

Take your cell phone. Choose the app you love. Are you excited to work there? 😉

Follow Her Journey from Tech Fellow to Elite SDR

We encourage you to connect with Anna on LinkedIn to follow her upward journey. While you’re there, follow Flockjay for more Tech Fellow spotlights and success stories.

If you’re someone seeking a new career opportunity, tech sales may be right for you.

Read our FAQ and apply for our next class! No prior tech experience or degree required.

Our graduates are currently excelling on sales teams such as Zoom, Gong, Gusto, and Airtable.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

Casey Armstrong Tech Fellow Spotlight

Casey Armstrong Tech Fellow Spotlight

Our diverse community of students comes together from various non-traditional backgrounds to learn, reskill, and unite around a shared goal to break into tech sales as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

As Flockjay charts our path forward in the workplace, it is with the utmost pride that we share the stories of our Tech Fellows. We think it’s important for mission-aligned hiring partners seeking to strengthen and diversify their sales teams to learn more about where our elite students come from. They are ready to make an undeniably positive impact.

Meet Casey Armstrong, a Flockjay Tech Fellow from our eighth class and current SDR for hire. He shared a few details about his journey with us below. His sales trainers had this to share:

“Casey is a joy to be around. He has an inherent understanding of technology and people. Casey is eager to master skills and support other Tech Fellows in practicing and troubleshooting tech issues.”

What did life look like before you found Flockjay?

The pandemic took everything from me. I had a fantastic career in Live Entertainment and my future was very bright. I was personally requested by countless events and production companies. Turning down clients left and right due to being already booked. I have now been out of work since March 2020. I was in a pit of depression I could not shake. I was running out of unemployment and was losing hope.

Flockjay turned my life around. It gave me hope. It gave me a purpose in such a lost and disrupted year of my life. I now have options. I now have hope for a new career which has endless growth and opportunity. I now have an opportunity to possibly work at some pretty big-name tech companies and the interviews keep rolling in. Since graduating I have had a packed schedule of interview after interview trying to find the perfect company to work for and the best software to sell!

It was as if I did 10 weeks of discovery of myself with the most encouraging people I have ever been blessed to be around. I would have never been able to get out of that pit of despair if it was not for Draxton Amador having me take the leap and committing to the program together. Checking on my progress the whole way and keeping me focused on our end goal of one day being able to be on the same sales team together like the before times. <3

What past accomplishments are you proud of? 

Flockjay gave me the tools to get back out into the workforce. They gave me the strength to hit the ground running and be ready for anything my new career had to throw at me! I am now in the final stage of interviewing with three dream companies and I have my fingers crossed that all three send me offers. 

What excites you most about a future SDR role?

I am most excited about being around like-minded people that are very outgoing and as positive as me. Being able to land my first demo call! Then one day being the AE and is giving the live demos that close the deal!

Advice for someone who wants to break into tech?

Do not wait. Your future is knocking on the door. All you have to do is open the door and embrace your newfound life!

Follow His Journey from Tech Fellow to Elite SDR

We encourage you to connect with Casey on LinkedIn to follow his upward journey. While you’re there, follow Flockjay for more Tech Fellow spotlights and success stories. If you’re someone seeking a new career opportunity, tech sales may be right for you. Read our FAQ and apply!

Are you a sales leader who is growing your team? If you’d like to connect with more quality SDRs for hire like Aaron, please email partners@flockjay.com or get more info right now. Our graduates are currently working on sales teams such as Zoom, Gong, Gusto, and Airtable.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

Celia Camacho-Chann Tech Fellow Spotlight

Celia Camacho-Chann Tech Fellow Spotlight

Our diverse community of students comes together from various non-traditional backgrounds to learn, reskill, and unite around a shared goal to break into tech sales as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

As Flockjay charts our path forward in the workplace, it is with the utmost pride that we share the stories of our Tech Fellows. We think it’s important for mission-aligned hiring partners seeking to strengthen and diversify their sales teams to learn more about where our elite students come from. They are ready to make an undeniably positive impact.

Meet Celia Camacho-Chann, a Flockjay Tech Fellow from our eighth class and current SDR for hire. She shared a few details about her journey with us below. Her sales trainers had this to share:

“Celia has shown a high level of discipline and professionalism during the program. Her listening skills, attention to detail, and optimism made her be an inspirational leader in our program.”

What did life look like before you found Flockjay?

Spending over a decade in hospitality has helped me hone so many soft skills from time-management to teamwork under stress to empathy. Flockjay was instrumental in helping me understand that selling at its core has more similarities across industries than I would have realized. I channeled that same drive and curiosity that led me to juggle three jobs at once for more mobility in hospitality into the Flockjay program.

What past accomplishments are you proud of? 

I’ve seen the support staff I’ve trained become kind, effective servers and bartenders and also develop the confidence to pursue other projects they didn’t think they could. I love seeing teams get into a flow when the hard work of streamlining operations and setting goals have come together. 

What excites you most about a future SDR role?

I’m excited to make an impact across industries and ultimately give back to the mentors and communities who set me up for success.

Advice for someone who wants to break into tech?

Remember that you have already overcome so many struggles and have the inner resources to make it through the next one.

“Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do.” -Brené Brown

Follow Her Journey from Tech Fellow to Elite SDR

We encourage you to connect with Celia on LinkedIn to follow her upward journey. While you’re there, follow Flockjay for more Tech Fellow spotlights and success stories. If you’re someone seeking a new career opportunity, tech sales may be right for you.

Read our FAQ and apply for our next class – it begins 3/15/21! 

Are you a sales leader who is growing your team? If you’d like to connect with more quality SDRs for hire like Aaron, please email partners@flockjay.com or get more info right now. Our graduates are currently working on sales teams such as Zoom, Gong, Gusto, and Airtable.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?

Aaron Belsh Tech Fellow Spotlight

Aaron Belsh Tech Fellow Spotlight

Our diverse community of students comes together from various non-traditional backgrounds to learn, reskill, and unite around a shared goal to break into tech sales as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

As Flockjay charts our path forward in the workplace, it is with the utmost pride that we share the stories of our Tech Fellows. We think it’s important for mission-aligned hiring partners seeking to strengthen and diversify their sales teams to learn more about where our elite students come from. They are ready to make an undeniably positive impact.

Meet Aaron Belsh, a Flockjay Tech Fellow from our eighth class and current SDR for hire. He shared a few details about his journey with us below. His sales trainers had this to share:

“Aaron is analytical and thoughtful in his approach to sales. He is fast on his feet and tests different tactics to see what yields the best results. Aaron has great energy and is a champion for his teammates.”

What did life look like before you found Flockjay?

I worked for BlackLine (SAAS accounting automation software) as a BDR for 19 months before leaving to be the primary caretaker for a close relative. I got back into the job market in June 2020 when Covid was rearing its ugly head. Competition was fierce and hiring managers were put-off by the 1.5 year gap in my resume.

I applied to over 200 jobs in the next 4 months with little success. When I came across an ad for Flockjay, I did my due-diligence and then dove in head-first.

I intended to utilize Flockjay’s resources to hone my craft as an SDR and resharpen the tools in my tool belt. After the intensive 10 week course, involving over 200 hours of arduous training, I’m proficient in Salesforce Lightning, Salesloft, Calendly, Slack, Zoom, LinkedIn and GSuite, along with Outreach, ZoomInfo and MailChimp. Let’s just say I’m now ready to rock and roll.

What past accomplishments are you proud of? 

I’ll talk about three accomplishments I’m particularly proud of. 

1) Graduating UCSB with a BSME (Mechanical Engineering). I struggled mightily through my coursework in Mechanical Engineering so much that I was academically ineligible to continue twice. Once at the end of freshman year and the second time at the beginning of junior year when I failed Thermodynamics. The second time I had to get a job for 2 quarters and attend summer school at UCSD and earn a 3.0 or better to be reconsidered. I took 20 units in 10 weeks, including the Thermo class I had failed, and persevered to earn a 3.0. I was readmitted to the engineering program and went on to complete my BSME.

2) Starting a company and hitting first-revenue. I took an entrepreneurship class in UCSB’s Technology Management Program and it opened my eyes to the world of tech and startups. I ended up starting a company called PhatDeals and hit first revenue within a year. I still have our first dollar, and it is signed by the whole team. I’ve never been more proud of a dollar I’ve earned.

3) Hitting quota at BlackLine. When I worked at BlackLine as a baby BDR I started in Summer 2017. The quota was 6 Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) per month or 18 SQL’s per quarter. In Q1 2018, I only hit 5 SQL’s all quarter. I was unsatisfied by this result. I sought advice from peers and my manager. They advised that I redouble my efforts – make more calls, send more emails, and prospect more. I did just that and hit consistency for 10 months in a row and hit quota for Q2, Q3 and Q4. I’m proud of that accomplishment and can’t wait to hit quota in my next position.

What excites you most about a future SDR role?

I’m excited to learn about my future employer’s tech and how it ticks. I can’t wait to get on the phone with prospects and discover their pain points and qualify them, then connect them with my company’s offerings. I look forward to sitting in on demos with prospects I brought in myself and knowing I’ve contributed to the bottom line of my company, while reaping the rewards of that success both professionally and monetarily. I intend to work my way up to SDR team-lead and then graduate into Account Management or Customer Success. My future is bright. I’d love to shine for your company.

Advice for someone who wants to break into tech?

If you want to break into tech, consider becoming a Flockjay Tech Fellow to help get you to where you want to be. Flockjay is helping ambitious individuals from a variety of “non-traditional” backgrounds become the future leaders in tech sales.

As we move forward into the 2020s, many industries are going away while others sprout and grow. It’s extremely important to retrain the workforce that is coming from industries that are receding to have relevant experience in up and coming industries.

Flockjay has been re-training folks from retail, hospitality, real estate, restaurant, other areas of sales not related to tech, and more to become entry-level salespeople for tech companies. They’re really doing the lord’s work and I appreciate the opportunities Flockjay has afforded me.

Follow His Journey from Tech Fellow to Elite SDR

We encourage you to connect with Aaron on LinkedIn to follow his upward journey. While you’re there, follow Flockjay for more Tech Fellow spotlights and success stories. If you’re someone seeking a new career opportunity, tech sales may be right for you.

Read our FAQ and apply for our next class – it begins 3/15/21! 

Are you a sales leader who is growing your team? If you’d like to connect with more quality SDRs for hire like Aaron, please email partners@flockjay.com or get more info right now. Our graduates are currently working on sales teams such as Zoom, Gong, Gusto, and Airtable.

Partner with Flockjay to Diversify & Strengthen Your Team

Flockjay reps already love to sell. They are trained by the best, onboard faster, perform better, and stay longer. Interested in diversifying your sales team with pre-trained talent?