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A Jungle Gym Not a Ladder feat Daniella Bellaire
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Ep 14: A Jungle Gym Not a Ladder feat Daniella Bellaire
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
A Jungle Gym Not a Ladder feat Daniella Bellaire
But hello everyone and welcome to the revenue collective podcast. I am your launch host, Justin Welsh, member of the Los Angeles chapter a revenue collective. In inside of these episodes we're going to feature ideas and conversations that are inspired by ongoing discussions within the revenue collective community across the globe. In inside of revenue collective there has been a lot of chatter around career navigation, especially around positioning yourself to get ahead inside of your organization or the next company that you join. We're going to cover that in a little bit more inside of this episode with our guest head of sales for point of sale at shopify, Daniella Blair. Before we dive in with Dan Yellow, a few quick notes. If you're out there listening and you want to join revenue collective, visit Revenue Collectivecom and click apply now. I also cannot forget our amazing podcast sponsor, outreach, the number one sales engagement platform. Outreach revolutionizes customer engagement by moving away from siloid conversations to a streamlined, in customer centric journey. Leveraging the next generation of artificial intelligence, the platform allows sales reps to deliver consistent, relevant and responsible communication for each prospect every time, enabling personalization at scale that was previously unthinkable. Okay, let's get the show started with Dan Yellow Blair. Our guest today is Dan Yellow Blair. Dan Yella is a two time head of sales with four years of executive leadership experience. She is currently the head of sales for point of sale at shopify. Shopify, I'm sure you're all familiar, is a one point five billion dollar Revenue Company, in arguably the best multi channel Commerce Company, providing tools like e commerce, pos banking, fulfillment and capital to help businesses of all size grow. Dan Yella, welcome to the show. Thanks so much. Really pumped to chat with you today. Justin I am also pumped a chat with you, and before we do that, you know, I'd love to learn a little bit more about your journey to becoming the head of sales for Pos over at shopify. Yeah, for sure. So currently had a sales for shop by retail, which you know, really is multichannel platform centered around point of sale for retail businesses. Tons of fun in building and scaling in the last little while, especially through covid. But you know, if we take it all the way back. You know, I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, single mom, and you know what happens when you have a single mom, you end up taking your kid to work. So that's really where my sick of my sales career started, and I like to say at the age of twelve, growing up in in a business where I was working at my mom's Ba and I remember toting around a little cart and selling fresh cut soaps to her customers and that like as etched in my mind as my first true like hustle. So, you know, moving along there through high school, worked for my mom and then really got my first taste of sales. After that, you know, realized I wanted to go to business school after graduation. Like so many graduates, I was unsure, what do I do? What's my next step? And at the time, and this was by like over ten years ago, it was like women can do recruitment and hr and that's like a really safe thing to do, and so I thought, okay, you know, I'll I'll try HR and see how that goes. And fast forward. It was a total it was a total bore. It wasn't for me. I really liked in the recruitment piece, the aspect of sales, but I couldn't control my commodity. You can't predict people showing up to interviews, etc. Etc. So I realized I wanted something more. Stumbled and fumbled my way, as most twenty something year olds do, ended up in banking, banking sales, which was also, you know, for those of you banking sales, I apologize, but a little bit of a total bore as well. And so for me it just wasn't the culture that I think I was hungry...
...and looking for at the time. And then, Lo and behold, one of my friends, as it somehow happens, one of my friends was like, yeah, you know, this company they're hiring, like tex s ails, was really popular. Now you can get on, commission, you can make so much money, like you'd be graded at you've such an outgoing personality. And I thought to myself like Oh, you know, that's really interesting, commission they're going to train me. So I ended up at a company called soft choice, and that was, you know, me find my tribe quickly, became top performer. Then mentor, you know, building and scaling enablement. From there, then became a manager. I like to call this the sort of jungle gym approach, and then building and scaling teams and after four years I was leading mid market for Canada. And then I got another sort of friend over wine, as it happens, and you're chatting and this friend said, you know, he'd be really great in the startup world and I was like, Oh, start up, yeah, key, that that sounds really interesting. And it's like, you know, hey, this company just got seed funding their Canadian you know, it's the next toby loot key from shopify. That was literally what how it was pitched to me. And you can really grow your career. And at that point I was hungry for learning, hungry for knowledge and I really wanted to stretch myself and it was super scary, but I took the leap. So ended up joining a company. That's really how I got into exact leadership and I sort of just fell into it and learned a lot along the way. I did two years at a company called seven shifts. So scaled from employeed twenty to employ a hundred and fifty, went up to, you know, zero to eight million, and are are and and then at that point, similarly, you hear from Your Peer Group. Oh, shopifies doing this really cool thing with point of sale retail. Two years had passed and I thought, wow, I really need to invest more in myself and align myself to others. You know, they are smart and building and in the startup community it's really the network that you have and not more so the people that are in the startup that you learned from all the time. and Boom, the rest is history. Here I am, I'm almost a year in the role and it's been in a wild, wild ride building and scaling this team. So we were about three people when I started and were almost at fifty. As an ORC congratulations. I know shopify is such an awesome and awesome brand. I mean when I think of a like really key brands or they're just one that stands out, especially through the COVID crisis. So you know, one thing I hear is you. I heard words like, you know, fell in or you know, took this sort of jungle gym approach in you really have this sort of nonlinear path to leading sales and you know, when I talk to sales leaders sometimes they have a very straight line career growth, AE, manager, director, VP. Now you've been in HR recruiting, finance, enablement sales. Can you talk about the benefits of that particular type of journey as you've made your way into into shopify? Yeah, of course, and I think it's so valuable because, for so many different reasons, you know, you pick up things along each opportunity. In recruitment I realized I wanted to do sales and that was the lightbulb that went off. And in banking I realized I really loved sales, but I didn't love the product and I wasn't passionate about what I was selling. And so now I knew I needed to do sales, I needed to find a product I was passionate about, I needed to work for a company that I believed in, their culture and their vision, and so that led me to tech sales and I was like wow, you know, I love technology. It's, you know, the way we're doing things in the future and I can really get behind and the company invested in one of the big draws was they invest in their new talent. They had a twelve week training program when you join. Those were things that were unheard of to me at the time and I was like wow, I can really benefit from this, and so those are the things that sort of all those little nuggets led me to where I needed to go. And then, you know, with with my role being in sales, a soft choice. It was this interesting path where I was in sales and in order to get into sales leadership, which was interesting, I had to step outside of the sales org to get a bigger, broader Lens. That was sort of how it...
...was position to me and I thought at the time, well, that's really crappy. I just want to be a sales leader. You know, you're twenty something, you're super naive and now, in hindsight, I look back and I think, wow, you know, that opportunity reporting into hr for the time being, that's where enablement lived. I built out, you know, and iterated on this twelve, twelve to sixteen week training program it was one of the biggest Aha moments of my career. Where now I can, you know, I can build out training content, I can facilitate, I can coach my managers better, I can coach my reps better, and I learned so much in that time and it only led me to be a better sales manager and ultimately a better exact leader and a better people leader. So really crazy how those little nuggets along the way lead you to to where you are and it really is built up what I'm able to do now and scaling shopify. I love that. You you know, I heard you say I had to step outside of sales or I had to get a different perspective active and I think when we think about traditional career pathing or growing your career, you know there are some really obvious things that you can do to push your career forward. In one of those is just perform well right, hit your performance benchmarks, especially in sales. But I think when you have this sort of different or non traditional career path, there are things that you have to do outside of that, as you mentioned. So what are some other key areas that you know you focused on, maybe outside of even sales, or stepping outside of sales and into a different department? What did you do outside of work to position yourself to continue growing your career into the executive leadership role where you're at now? Yeah, so, you know, I think earlier on in my career I very much relied on what was being given to me within within my company to be successful and I then saw peers around me really upscaling quite quickly as it related to like leadership and exact leadership, and I thought to myself, okay, I'm missing something here. Like, you know, there's only so many things I'm going to learn of what sort of being fed to me. And I think people who are in bigger companies at times, you know, I've interviewed managers or like I've been, you know, at this x company, this telecom company or whatever it is for eleven years and that's all I know and that's scared me. And so I quickly realized I needed to go out and I needed to learn from people who'd done it before. And I you know, we talked about this a lot as sales leaders, but it's such a simple but true thing. So reading became a big passion of mine, and I'll be honest, you know, I didn't love school, I didn't love the formal education system. So to me to go and buy a bunch of books and make time to read it was like a but I quickly realized if I love the content and I love the topic and I'm passionate about it, I'm going to get into it, and so I just started crushing books. So that was the big thing. I also made a decision to take, you know, additional courses. So I took different types of coaching courses, I took different types of leadership courses. I ended up later in my career, most recently, doing a word in program for exact leadership on data analytics, and so I'm still learning to this day. And then, you know, outside of just going out and seeking knowledge, it's the Peer Group, right, it's finding people who've done it. I started combing my Linkedin I started asking people for introductions and that really lit me up and little fire and the more I built relationships and the more I talked to people, the more I learned and the more opportunities that came to me. So you're consuming information in the form of books, you're taking courses, you know, you're going in, you're doing some classes at Wharton, you're establishing your network outside of work. All those things are are things I love seeing like and when I see someone doing those things, I know they're ready to start to step up and do a leadership roll. But you know, oftentimes other folks at your organization may not see you doing those things. How do you raise your hand like how do you go into your organization and say I'm consuming this, I'm doing this, I'm expanding my network. How do you stand out in an organization and use the things that you're doing to continue to grow that career trajectory forward? Yeah, for sure, you know.
And as a woman in sales, you know, and I hate to throw the woman card, but it's just so true. It's as a woman in sales, eat your and I'll speak for myself as opposed to all women, but you're more inclined to be more humble, your less inclined to brag, your less inclined to be boastful, and I felt like that for a very long time and so it really took something inside. I mean to say, okay, you know, I have. I've been selling since I was twelve years old. Dan Yellow, you know, pull it together and you know, share the knowledge that you're learning and consuming with others and reference that knowledge. And so that's what I started to do. I started to talk about the courses I was in and not just showing up to a meeting saying a yess, guess of courses I'm taking, but you know, when it was socially appropriate, saying yeah, actually I'm enrolling in this program. You know, even to my to my direct manager, this was recently, it's like, Hey, really love this course. Looking for something on the data analytic side, as we're doing financial modeling, and I'm thinking Warton is the way to go. Here's why, you know, here's my take on why I think it could be really valuable one. I wanted him to pay for it to I wanted him to know and also validate that it was the right move. And you did. And and then it became in a conversation, you know, Oh, Danielle's taking this word in program did you know? Or Oh, you know, and so I think just feeling confident enough to say, you know, these are the things I'm doing, are these are the things I'm learning, and then referencing them in your day to day and your job, and I think that's super important to do. You also don't want to take credit for something that you somebody wrote in a book. You want to be honest about it and you want to provide others the same opportunity to learn like you did. So Book Recommendations, Course Recommendation. So it becomes this really great way of, you know, discreetly talking about your accomplishments and what you're doing helping the company, Helping Your Peer Group, helping your team to be better by referencing what you're learning. And Yeah, it doesn't it doesn't hurt at all that people know that you're doing those things. So really important to do that. So I know you mentioned earlier that you know you didn't want to play the woman card and I can appreciate that, but I also heard some really interesting things in there. I heard confidence, I heard boasting and, you know, a as someone who let a relatively large sales team myself, I just see that men are more frequently to approach me and boast or be confident or raise their hand for that, that promotion. And I'm just curious for some of the the the women listeners who are out there, was it just a moment in time where you gained that confidence, where you decided that you wanted to put yourself out there more, or was there something specific that happened that helped drive that forward? Yeah, that's really good question, you know, and I'll be honest. Justin like I'm in my s, my early to mid S, and I would say that it's something I still struggle with you know, transparently, and I tell not just the women that are in my org or in a cross functional Org, but also the men. And you know, there's something that's called Imposter Syndrome. It's real. It's not just something women face, at something men face. But you're right. You're right that, you know, men are are typically more inclined to put their hand up and be a bit more boastful, and so I'm constantly battling that and trying to trying to get a fine line between pumping myself up, you know, believing in myself. And one of the great ways I've found, even just in the last, I would say, four years of my career, is mentorship. And so I thought, you know, after I'd learned to did all the books, you know, took the courses, met the Peer Group, built the network, I was like something still feels like it's missing. And I actually met with a peer he was leading VP sales at a similar sized company in the city and he and I were chatting and I was like, you know, tell me a little bit about how you're growing, how you're devlving, and he mentioned something called an exact coach and I was like wow, and he said, Oh, my CEO recommended an exact coach and I said nobody recommended an exact coach. To me, that that sounds interesting, and so I saw it out. An exact coach and then subsequently a few mentors, and so I've tried to find diverse mentorship, you know, different backgrounds, whether it's fortune, five...
...hundred company, scale up, start up, women, men of all sort of shape, shapes and sizes, and that has been phenomenal. And my last, and I'll wrap this up with my last conversation, and she'll know who she is when she hears this, but my last conversation with one of my mentors was, you know, her asking, tell me a bit about what's going on, tell me a bit about what you're doing, and I said, you know, you know, we overcame covid we did this, we did that, we scaled, we pivoted our business, we did all these things. And I was like yeah, like, wow, it's saying that. Allow, that's a lot. She's like you, she's like you go like high five, like you need to. You need to shout that from the rooftops. This isn't the type of relationship where you need to be muting you know, you need to brag right now, like this is phenomenal work, and I thought to myself, wow, like if this, if I don't feel safe enough to do it with you, I won't feel safe enough to do it with others. And it was a really interesting exercise. So the Tldr here is, you know, seek mendership and don't just paying everyone you know on Linkedin, but be very deliberate about it and what you want to get out of it, and it's been very helpful for me. I love that and as someone who has also suffered from imposter syndrome nearly his whole career, it is very it really resonates with me and I think it's such a challenging syndrome to overcome. And and when you repeated what you had done out loud and heard your accomplishments, I'm sure that helps. That's that's often what I do. I go back and I review my accomplishments and I say, if this didn't have my name on it, what I think that this person did well and that that's always been sort of a way to help me out with with imposter syndrome. So I love the fact that you brought that up that's to me. That's a very relevant topic today. I hear being talked about quite frequently and I'd be curious maybe you know you've had these mentors, you've had executive coaches. I'm going to assume in before I do Daniell, I'm going to assume that you've also mentored some people. Is that correct? Yes, absolutely so. When you get, you know, a mentee and they look at you and they say, wow, you're leading sales, you're an executive leader at what is arguably, you know, one of the greatest companies in the world right now, how do you think about giving them advice? What, or maybe the top two to three things that you try and distill down and pass along from your experience onto folks that you might be mentoring? Yeah, and I think you know some of the things we I've mentioned, but I think it's really important to allow yourself to fail as a big thing. I think you know, Kitty Corner to imposter syndrome and you know, not being someone who braggs is someone who thinks they're just not doing a good job and is afraid to fail or admit failure, which I think is like even worse and sort of tries to brush it under the rug. So the first thing really is, you know, be vulnerable, and I wish somebody had told me that in my twenty S. be vulnerable, admit what you don't know, seek knowledge, seek guidance, seek mentorship for that. The other thing is, you know, an invest in yourself, and it's similar to how I've embodied, you know, practice what I preach and embody what I've done over the last really more so in the last for to, for to five years. But invest in yourself and that could be seeking mentorship, you know, seeking knowledge, it could be mental health. You know, we're living in a world right now where people always feel like they're on and they're in front of a screen, and so maybe maybe investing in yourself means taking on a new activity outside of work to help with your mental health. And I do a lot of things like that outside of work to help with my mental clarity. And so for sure, be vulnerable, for sure. The other the other piece there. And then I would say, lastly, align yourself, and this is a pretty broad one, but align yourself with a company and align yourself with a leader who is going to, you know, invest in you and you believe in and is going to help raise you up. That's also really important, because you can be at a company that may never give you opportunities. You can be, you know, reporting to a manager who may never really deeply invest in you, and that's at every level. You know, one of the big reasons I joined...
...shop five is how many smart people were in this building. Not Anymore, but how many smart people were were at this company and and who I'd be reporting to and who they would be reporting to, and I knew there was a lot to gain from that longer term in my career. So I would say those are the three pretty big things. Those are great. Don't be afraid to fail, so be vulnerable, remember to seek knowledge, guidance and mentorship. Other words, invest in yourself. That's a huge phrase. That, I is one of my favorites, and then aligning yourself with a company and a leader who will invest in you and raise you up. So three excellent pieces of advice from Daniella Belair and Daniella. We are kind of wrapping up our time here and that means we have one more segment left and it's what we call our quick fire five, and it's just five questions where we get top of mind real answers from executive revenue leaders like yourself. Ready to go? That's go. Let's do it cool. What is a book that changed how you think about business? Oh God, so many books. The one that is amazing right now that everybody should check out it's an awsome talent book called antifragile. The summary Is, you know, simple concepts to live an anti fragile life. We know that we're supposed ton of allatility, disorder, stress. How, in an antifragile environment can you thrive? And I love that concept, specially as covid hits. As you know, we're all working from home right now. The concepts in that book, like the one that really sticks with me is make sure that you have your soul in the game of what you're doing and build redundancy and layers. And as an executive, building redundancy and my plan for h two was like the best thing I could have done and a hundred percent recommend this book. Awesome. What's something on heavy rotation in your music playlist today? I mean, I have to be really honest with you, I am not usually a big lady Gaga Fan. I love her as a person, but haven't really been big into the music and I secretly have an obsession with sort of house music, you know, great dance music, and her new album CHROMATICA is absolute fire and it's on heavy rotation my household, my wife and that's all we listen to, just solid beats around the house. I think her neighbor was a really annoyed with us. That's awesome. Her makeup artist is actually quite famous now and she went to my high school in my home room. Little known fact. They're from a very small town, Chesterland, Ohio. That that brings us to number three. You. Why did you join revenue collective? Yeah, so, yeah, going back to like you know, the themes and the narrative of our discussion are just seemlessly kind of flowing together, but it really was the network in the community and I had heard from similarly a peer of mine. We were having a conversation over beer and it was like hey, oh, have you you know I was? I was actually asking asking some some feedback on some marketing stuff we were testing and as like do you have any idea like what we should do here to Dada sales led versus self serve classic question and he said, oh well, why don't you ask the revenue collective? And I thought, Oh, who's the revenue collective? You know, and he's like, okay, we gotta get you hooked up. You got to get a tap into this community. And so that's what it was. It was community. It was even just the trust, because when you're part of a community like revenue collective, it's the trust to be able to sort of freely open up and share your playbook versus, you know, when you hit a people on Linkedin, they're not always willing to go that deep with you, and so it's been a tremendous asset and building new friendship. So I saw a bunch of people that I knew and I'm also making a lot of new friendships all over the world. So shout OUT TO LAURA OUT IN LA at Ringdon. A made a new friend recently with her and that was through revenue collective, and so I'm loving the ability to connect with people outside of my city as well. Lawer's amazing. She's great. I've had a lot of chance to hang out here quite frequently because I'm I've been in La for the last four years and you know, I joined revenue collective as an og when it was just five people going out to lunch and dinner in...
New York, and it's so cool to see how big it's gotten. I think there's on, no, two thousand, three thousand members now, and in the quality of person inside of it and the the network and the relationship you can build is just awesome. So so glad that you are in it. And that's a kind of lead into a next question. would be really interesting to know what is a skill, and this goes back to maybe boasting or being a little arrogant, but like, what's a skill that you believe that you were world classing? Yeah, so it's a good question. And you know, going back to me being not the person, how the person has to push myself to Bragg God, this is terrible. Justin's making me think of what I'm an expert at. Oh, he's such an Asshole, and I really am. And so I thought to myself, a great exercise, Danella. You know, pull it together. You're great at some things, and so I think for me, you know, the two things that really came to mind, especially in what's happening right now, is really just change in execution I'm a huge driver, you know, through and through, I make it happen. Whether it's pandemic or not, we get things done, and so really aligning teams and goals very well. So top down, like aligning teams to broader visions and goals and executing on that, that change, and making sure that everybody's bought in, because that's really important when you're trying to move a ship and and that, I feel, is something that, you know, I'm quite proud of. Awesome. Lastly, give the audience kind of like a life motto or a principle that they can take home with him today. Oh God, life motto or principle, I think you know, in the simplest form, just be a constant learner and be adaptable. I think that so important to be adaptable in any stage of your career, because the only thing you can depend on is constant change, especially if you're in a high growth environment, and that's part of the draw for most people and for me. And and just it be intentional, and I say that you know I'll repeat it, but be intentional about investing in yourself at any level of your career, because learning shouldn't end right so that would be my two cents. Danielle has so much good stuff today. This was a ton of fun. Tell everyone how they can get in contact with you if they'd like to reach you, getting up on Linkedin. I'd love to chat. Love to make more new friends. So the bubble are on Linkedin and we can go from there. Cool and your revenue collective slack handle. It is at Daniella tr for Toronto. Awesome, Daniella. Thank you so much. It was great having you on the show today. Learned a lot x one conversation. Have a great holiday weekend. Yeah, you too. Thanks so much. Just inteers. Thank you.
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