Welcome to another edition of IntelePeer’s Tech Tuesday series. This week Nawal Khan, Mid-Market Account Manager, talks through her experience, demonstrates how to overcome obstacles, and generously shares her career advice.
1. What first got you interested in working in technology?
I first became interested in technology when I saw that almost everything nowadays is moving towards AI and other technological advances. Whether it’s shopping or education, millennials love to do it online. Using technology every day as a millennial myself has influenced me to pursue a career in technology and be a part of the future.
My first job in the Tech Industry was with Canon Solutions America, Inc. I started off in equipment sales and got promoted to software sales, such as document management and other SaaS products. I absolutely loved it. It was an easy sell due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of companies were looking to do everything online.
2. What technology do you use the most – whether in your personal or professional life?
The technological device I use the most is my phone. I love Apple products and have always preferred iPhones. The reason being is that it’s super easy to use, and it was the first smart phone I got, so I’m used to it. My phone is important in both my personal and professional life. Being in sales, we are constantly speaking with customers and sending out emails on our phones even when we are offline. I couldn’t even imagine making sales back in the day when there were no cell phones.
3. What was the most challenging aspect of your career and how did you overcome it?
The most challenging part of my career was cold calling. I had never done it before, and it was very intimidating to get through gatekeepers. I had great support from my manager, and he guided me through the cold calling process.
It took weeks for me to get my first appointment with a client, and in the beginning, I was very discouraged and felt I could not do such a job. I read some books and watched YouTube videos on cold calling, and I took advantage of any training my job provided.
It took a lot of hard work and drive to become successful on cold calls, but I eventually became the top rep. Within a year, I was promoted to a full cycle sales role.
4. Any advice for women who want to join the Tech Industry?
Technology is awesome and it’s our future. If you’re interested but intimidated, there are a lot of great books out there on women in tech. Another great way of getting your feet wet in technology is to take some classes. Some universities will offer free or low-cost summer classes on basic technology and AI.
5. What advice would you give your younger self who is just starting in the workforce?
Always ask to move up in a company or always ask to be moved to another department that fits your skills better. If you feel that you will do great in a higher position or another department in the company, have that conversation with your manager. Don’t be afraid to take on new responsibilities and opportunities.
Also, if you have a role model at work, don’t be afraid to ask them about their career path and how they got there. People love talking about their passions.
Bonus: Who is your tech role model or what podcast(s) are you currently listening to?
Tech Stuff based in Atlanta, GA is a good tech podcast to listen to.