My Path to Leadership

How I learned to apply my personal strengths to become a sales leader at Guerrero.

by Elyse Schultz

Kim Harrington, Sales Director for Profile

When I first started working on the sales team as a content and advertising manager (CAM) at Guerrero, I was entirely new to this type of role. I quickly grew to love it because I was learning about so many different industries and the talented executives that drive them. But it wasn’t until I went through GH’s leadership development program, when I began to learn about leadership from an internal perspective as well, that the value of what we’re doing here really started to click.

Through that program, I not only learned a lot about leadership, but I also got to contribute to creating our company’s customer service vision statement. We ended up running with my suggestion—to make every client feel like our only one—which makes me really proud when I see that vision statement used throughout the company.

The program also gave a me glimpse into being involved in bigger picture ideas and how to build my own skills. It forced me to self-reflect and analyze my strengths. It showed me how I could bring those strengths to the company rather than just going through the motions of a day-to-day job. It really helped provide me with a sense of purpose, which is something that I have noticed is a common theme we hear from the executives we talk to every day; in order to be successful in your role, you have think about how you’re impacting the business as a whole.

During my time in the leadership development program—about five months in—I was promoted from a CAM to the role of sales director. I switched from working on Profile to leading the team on American Healthcare Leader­ (AHL), which was a new publication at the time.

Since AHL was still new, it was challenging to build that brand. It was also challenging to manage people who had just been my peers, but I looked to the other sales directors for guidance and tried to mimic their strategies and success. One of the things that helped me is that I’m a very analytical person; I love data. With the support of our director of sales operations, Phillip, I created a more defined research plan for the CAMs on my team. By the end of my first full quarter with AHL, we were exceeding our goals. I was really proud of our team for that.

Now, I’ve switched back over to Profile to bring that same level of success to that magazine, and our sales team is really hitting our stride and performing consistently. Kyle, our VP of Sales, told me recently that he promoted me was because I was reflective, and that the ability to think, learn, and reflect is key to succeeding as a director. I try to bring that skill to everything I do here.

As cheesy as this is to say, our company’s core value of positivity—which says that we view challenges as opportunities for growth—has really shaped me in my new role. I think that’s an important skill to have if you want to be successful in anything in life, especially when there’s unexpected change.

I am definitely not the same person I was when I started two years ago. Each week I’m like, ‘Oh, okay, learn this,’ or ‘Let’s try this.’ Each week is something that I am improving on, and I’m always getting better.