Written By: Lauren Calucag
It's the first day of Road to Hire, and I walk into a big conference room. I look around at all the faces, try to guess each person’s age and wonder how many more people are showing up. We're warmly welcomed by Road to Hire Director, Chandler Martin, who informs us that we’re the first Sales Academy participants ever! I had no idea what was to come, but I was filled with excitement for the growth and opportunity that would present itself.
Deciding to be a part of the Road to Hire program was a huge step in the right direction for me. At 22 years old, I had no college degree and was working a job that left me feeling miserable after every shift. I was pretty much living paycheck to paycheck so I could keep up with ends meet. When I had been referred to Road to Hire, I learned that it would be an opportunity to boost my professional development, all while getting paid to learn. But it was also going to help me land a job in a position that would double my annual income. I had to take it.
The Road to Hire Sales Academy is a two-month program, and the entire first month is based around professional and personal development. We were taught how to build our brand, how to identify our greatest strengths and cultivate them for the workplace, how to be a better leader and an even better teammate, the value behind a random act of kindness and so much more. We even went to this really beautiful YMCA camp, Camp Thunderbird, for the first five Fridays for team building exercises (because as they say, people are happier at a job where they feel they can trust their coworkers!). I know I certainly had a lot to work on at the beginning of this program, especially when it came to being a better teammate, but my fellow participants are all so awesome that the journey forward was an experience I wouldn't trade for the world.
The second month was centered around sales skills. After graduation, the goal was to interview and (hopefully) get hired as an Inside Sales Agent at Red Ventures. The most challenging part for me was being more natural in my sales approach, but maintaining a polished sales pitch without sounding too much like one of those car salesmans on TV. I had worked in retail for years, so I certainly had some customer service experience, but selling was a whole new experience. I look back and I’m grateful for our instructor, Jamie Benjumea, for always being completely realistic and awfully patient as we navigated through the sales process. Needless to say, Road to Hire can proudly say that one hundred percent of our graduates are still employed by Red Ventures.
Honestly, the participants and volunteers we worked with really changed my perspective of the workplace in general. No longer did I have to worry about being in a place where I felt as though I was being scrutinized for reasons other than my ability to do my job. Sure, there were plenty of coaching sessions, but I'll tell you what — those were the most positive experiences because they actually provided constructive feedback. Everyone's drive to be better versions of themselves gave me even more fuel to keep going for gold. Even our director's passion and warmth was so infectious! We entered into that conference room on the first day as individuals with our own goals in mind. Not only did we graduate as a community that wanted to develop on an individual level, but we also wanted to help each other. Come join our community and discover what growth and opportunities await you!