Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #236: Kayla Trutt

Kayla Trutt
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Graduated in 2019 from BoCo with a major in Contemporary Dance.

Position: Mental Health Counselor at The Academy of Physical and Social Development in Newton, Mass, which does after school programs for children with autism and simlar developmental issues. She plays games with these children designed to help them socialize, though over half of her day involves communicating wtih parents and doing paperwork.

Overview: Weeks into her first year at BoCo, Kayla suffered an injury while dancing, and needed a lot of physical therapy. She got better enough complete BoCo, but sensed that she’d never be at 100%. Kayla went through a lot of counseling, then decided that she’s like to go into that as a profession so that she could help others. During her last two years at BoCo she led instructional programs for autistic children and loved it. She applied to multiple grad schools and was feeling dejected, then a BoCo professor suggested Kayla check out the Counseling Psychology program at Regis College in Newton; Kalya applied immediately after graduation, was accepted, and started this two-year program in September, 2019.

While a grad student she did a couple of internships, including a yearlong unpaid one at her current employer during her second year. She really loved the place and the work that she was doing, though because of the pandemic most of the work had been virtual. She asked to intern through the summer after graduation so as to get more in-person experience. Her employer not only agreed, but told her that they would bring her on as a paid employee starting that September!
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You can see Kalya’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “I love being around kids–I’m the oldest of 4, and have many younger cousins. I babysit on weekends. I really, really enjoy that part of it. And seeing how much kids progress over time is really special as well…and now I get paid to play games with kids, which is awesome! That’s one of the most unique experiences in the field! When I was exploring what I wanted to do I hadn’t heard of this, and couldn’t believe it was real! When they wanted to bring me on after my internship I couldn’t believe that was real either!”

My background and emphasis on pedagogy while at BoCo was incredibly helpful. In many ways, leading a group is similar to teaching. It gave me foundational things I still rely on a lot. Also, the overall emphasis on knowing and listening to your body. So much of what’s going on for kids mentally presents itself physically. Many kids can’t express what’s going on in their heads, but I can put some of how kids may be feeling into words. It makes them feel really seen. Even when I’m wrong they’ll tell me that, which is also super-helpful!”

“If you know what you want to do, just do it! That’s what I did. By all accounts I shouldn’t be where I am. Somehow grad school let me in–I applied to multiple other grad schools and didn’t get in and was feeling dejected. I was maybe going to give up, figuring it wouldn’t happen. Then Regis took a chance on me. We all experience this in the performing arts world–doors that aren’t open. if you really want it, continue to go for it.”

“This job is hard. I talked about the great parts of it, but you’re face to face with people who sometimes will tell you about something horrible that happened to them. It’s not your job to fix it or make it better. But it’s your responsibility to be there for them and help them feel seen.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni


Successful Berklee Alumni #235: Dustin Meadows

Dustin Meadows
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Graduated in 2021 with a major in Music Production (Berklee Online).

Position: Customer Service Team Lead / Administrator at Coastal Waste & Recycling a trash (and recycling) removal company with roughly a thousand employees in Florida. Residential, commercial, temporary dumpsters, etc. Dustin oversees the customer service team (him + 4 people), deals with escalations, billing/service issues as “level 2” support. He helps make sure stuff gets done and everyone stays happy. 46 – 52 hours/week. 99% in-person. Dustin deals with homeowners, commercial accounts, condos/property managers, construction companies.

Overview: Dustin graduated high school in 2010, then “made some bad choices” for a few years. He tried college twice, but dropped out both times. Dustin’s wife suggested he try Berklee Online, which he did and enjoyed, hoping to do music afterward. Then week before he completed the program he and his wife had twins and a reliable paycheck became far more appealing. His old job at an administrative office in a church was going to end at the end of 2021, so Dustin searched Indeed for opportunities. He found a customer service job at his current employer and was hired, starting immediately after his old job ended.

Dustin really enjoyed the work. “There was room to grow, stuff to do. Problems to solve. It was fun! I’d see gaps in systems, would try to figure out solutions to make things more efficient.” After only a few months he was promoted to sales coordinator (point of contract for commercial/industrial customers and responsible for data entry, coordinating with operations side.) Dustin did that for a while, got some side opportunities, such as helping being the contact point for a post-hurricane cleanup, working at corporate levels. They’d throw more stuff at him and he’d do it. They offer him a gig for a new department, but then he got in a car crash, and he didn’t want to be the one remote person, so they offered him this position. In the local office he also has had opportunities to optimize process, such as by turning paper into aps and creating new user solutions.
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You can see Dustin’s LinkedIn profile here.
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Choice Quotes: “Being able to solve a problem is fascinating in a way I can’t fully describe. I find the actual trash industry absolutely fascinating, the amount of pieces that go into it. All the routs and facets of the operation. I had no perspective on how big and complex the industry is. I took the job becuase I needed a job, but there’s so much more going on than I expected. I love the dance of all the different things working together for the operation to succeed. I find it invigorating when every piece is firing on all cylinder, in synch with the others.”

“At Berklee Online there were no multiple choice tests. It was all problem solving. You had to think critically and get to the answer-defining the path that got you to the solution is as important as the answer. Knowing HOW to solve a problem. That has translated directly into my work.”

“Start somewhere! There are so many different options. We pull up InDeed and there’s 4,000+ jobs. Pick something, try it. If it doesn’t work out, try something else. Be willing to fail forward. Eventually you’ll get to where you’re going–those experiences will help point the way.”

“If you enjoy problem-solving and finding abstract ways to get to the finish line, this would be a good career path for you. Customer service has a lot of room for growth. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom, then go your best. Good talent will rise to the top quickly in a sea of mediocrity. So really TRY. You will be noticed.”

“It’s crazy how much money is to be made in the waste industry!”
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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #234: Ananya Tanna

Ananya Tanna
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Graduated in 2019 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument: voice.

Position: Relationship Manager at Gilbert & Cook, a modest-size wealth management company in Des Moines, Iowa. Relationship Manager is the entry-level position on the way to Financial Advisor. A lot of the job involves meeting with clients to get their data and desires, then meeting with Financial Advisors and helping make sure interactions go smoothly. Meanwhile, she’s getting her financial certifications.

Overview: Ananya and her boyfriend–now husband–moved to L.A. after graduation. She got a job at a professional audio equipment distributor and loved it, then lost it when the pandemic hit. With her boyfriend also unemployed, the least bad option was to move in with his parents in Iowa. Ananya’s parents introduced her to a family friend in India whose job involved helping wealthy Indians purchase American real estate, and Ananya worked for him for a year and a half. She enjoyed this field, but her work was mostly on the back end. She wanted a more client-facing role and started applying for other jobs. She found her current position advertised on LinkedIn, applied, and was hired into it.

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You can see Ananya’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “I really enjoy working with people and in a very intimate sort of way–you get to know them, their wishes and what they want as their legacy. It’s very sensitive topics. I enjoy helping people through certain stages of their lives. This is something we’re not really taught in school. So it’s a kind of job where you’re working in the best interest of the client.”

“Berklee was my dream school; while a student there I was living my dream. Finishing, I didn’t know what my dream was anymore. I always thought my job would be so exciting but realized you have to do the work to get there. You have to start again after school, despite all the things you have done. I learned to put my head down and do the hard work.”

“I’ll run the numbers, put in recommendations for clients. The financial advisor has to approve all that, of course.”

“Being in such a diverse, international school you meet people from all around the world. It made me more open-minded and feel like I could have a conversation with anyone!

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #233: Lisa Jeong

Lisa Jeong
Listen to the interview or download it.

Graduated in 2018 with a major in Film Scoring. Principal instrument: voice.

Position: Software Engineer at Apple. During the first two years of employment as an engineer, it’s standard for Apple to rotate the person through a series of teams in different parts of the company, so that one finds their best fit.

Overview: While at Berklee, Lisa decided that she’s be more employable if she got into writing music for video games as well as for film, and that required an interest in video games. She enjoyed playing the game “Overwatch”. Then she got an internship writing music at a video game company the summer before her last year. That internship, at a company where everyone else in development did software, kindled her interest in software coding. She taught herself some coding. Her senior year, she did an audio/tech program that Berklee did in partnership with M.I.T, but already her primary interest was moving in the direction of software, an interest her parents encouraged. After graduation she moved home to Korea, but applied to software engineering programs in the United States. Lisa got into Columbia University for a Bachelors in Computer Science program, and started in the fall of 2019.

In the spring of 2022 Lisa graduated, having spent a lot of time making connections and getting valuable experiences. Fall 2022 she started looking for a job, applying to MANY places, using her conections. She wasn’t hugely optimistic about getting anything good., with only a few years coding under her belt “It was hard, getting so many rejections or not hearing back at all. That was my low point. Then an Apple recruiter came out of nowhere–she hadn’t even applied to Apple. “Initially I really thought it was a scam when I heard from them!” After several rounds of interviews she was hired into her current position.
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You can see Lisa’s LinkedIn profile here.
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Choice Quotes: “I like having clearcut answers on things I’m working on. That wasn’t a thing in music–answers were subjective and people-based. Here the way you get the answer may be different, you have one clear objective and you know if you hit it.”

“Really get to know yourself. Know who you are. It really helped me to constantly self-reflect on my life/behavioral patterns and my real self. And really learn what I like and dislike. That really helped me know what I wanted to do in the future. Don’t just think of what you project to other people.”

“It’s ok to switch paths. It’s OK to fail. It’s OK to take a break.”

“One thing we learned from film scoring is there’s a lot of detail-oriented projects we have to do. We have to manage a lot and do a lot. We learn not to waste any time. When I first attended Columbia folks told me how much work it’d be. TBH I found it easy and told folks that if they thing that’s rigorous they shoudl try going to Berklee and take Intro to Film Scoring!”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #232: Rolla Campbell

Rolla Campbell
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Graduated in 2018 with a major in Electronic Production & Design (EPD). Principal instrument: cello.

Position: Senior Software Engineer at Emergent Space Technologies,. Rolla builds and maintains software code related to satellite data transmission–both civilian and military. “The code I work on mostly writes other code.”

Overview: Initially from Australia, Rolla worked as a classroom support tech while a Berklee student. He gave music a solid go for six months after graduation, but didn’t earn enough money for it to be sustainable. He applied and got a job at Izotope, which does music Software, in early 2019–his experience at Berklee made him a good fit for their customer care team. Then when Covid hit Rolla decided to have his career go in a more remote direction, “I decided to make what had been my commute time into my school time and he enrolled in a remote Bachelors Degree program in Cybersecurity at Western Governors University., earning that degree in the spring of 2021.

With that new degree, Rolla convinced Izotope to switch his role to that of software engineering, which came with a nice raise. He contiued on with online eductaion, earning a Masters Degree in the same field from the same place in 2023. Meanwhile, in 2022 Rolla and his partner decided they wanted to move to Denver, Colorado. He applied and got a job at a consulting firm, but the hours were extremely long and the work stressful, so Rolla applied for jobs with a better balance. He was hired into his current position, without the senior title, then was promoted a year later when his Masters Degree was complete.
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You can see Rolla’s LinkedIn profile here.
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Choice Quotes: “I love being able to think of something and then do it entirely, having the freedom to be creative along the way and have something that solves a problem and really being able to make that happen without a 100-person team or something is quite remarkable and really enjoyable. I like the creative side and flexibility to solve REALLY hard problems. I like being around smart people, mentors who are geniuses and literal rocket scientists.”

“EPD had a class on max-msp which was kind of a visual programming language. That was an entry point and opened my mind to this technical world. Plus creativity and self-motivation are things I had to be good at to succeed at Berklee–you’ve got to go into those practice rooms.”

“If you want to learn software engineering, do projects on whatever you want to learn about. Go do the things you want to be able to learn how to do. You can pay for it in a class, or you can use Codcademy, Youtube, etc. You have the knowledge available to do all of this. If you don’t know what it is you want to do, try everything and see what resonates with you.”

“Doing music for those 6 months after graduation helped. Now I can say I gave it a shot. I’m happy; it’s hard to look back with regrets.”


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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #231: Grace Stephenson

Grace Stephenson
Listen to the interview or download it.

Graduated in 2018 with a major in Performance. Principal instrument: voice, with a minor in Musical Theater.

Position: Associate Producer at Bright AV, an AV productions company that handles all media and technology for large events, conventions, and the like. Grace produces some smaller events herself, but also works as a content manager, “”I’m in charge of handling all PowerPoint and videos that come through. I’ll also help design stuff, and clean stuff up. I’ll make sure we’re putting it together to create a seamless event.”

Overview: While at Berklee Grace edited Berklee City Music videos and directed a show. After graduation, she moved home to New Jersey and taught theater to children, while commuting regularly into NYC to audition. In the second half of 2019 Grade did a musical theater program in China thanks to a Berklee connection who was heading that up. Then she got back, and was working at Starbucks when the pandemic hit. With the future uncertain, Grace felt she needed a new direction.

Grace got a job as a fine dining server at a flyfishing lodge in Montana for the summer of 2021, and she realized she loved the west and didn’t want to go back. Once flyfishing season was over, Grace and a work friend moved to Denver, Colorado, where they worked at a Covid-19 testing site for some months. Then in early 2022 her friend was going back up to Montana but Grace really wanted to stay in Denver, so she started applying to many jobs, particularly those involving marketing or production. She found her current company on LinkedIn. They hired her as an event coordinator, then promoted her a year later.

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You can see Grace’s LinkedIn profile here.
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Choice Quotes: “I love the variety in my day-to-day. I like the balance of a standard 9-5, then being thrown into high octane decision-making moments. It’s not unlike my theater background. But I also like the slow time when I get to create. I also like being a desision maker and leader. I get to make sure everyone is happy. It’s really rewarding to bring these shows to life.”

“I was at Berklee for performance, but a big theme I saw was a push for independence and self-actualization. If you want to sing–you got to do it on your own. You have to be your own marketing, social media, editor, bring a band together. You gotta do your homework. I think it made me very versatile and into a quick learner.”

“I’m a swiss-army knife employee, jumping around a lot of different roles. I do a lot of graphic design work, building mock-ups and renders of what we’ll build. I do some video editing. I’m also our marketing lead and run our LinkedIn and the BrightAV website.”

“Just keep the momentum. Even if it doesn’t feel 100% the right thing, just keep moving forward with the opportunities that come your way. The China job and the Montana jobs I never would’ve planned for myself. They were scary and I wasn’t sure I wanted to do them, but they were among the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #230: Alex Chernik

Alex Chernik
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Graduated in 2021 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument: guitar.

Position: Mercury Finance Advisor (Data Analyst) at Ernst & Young, one of the “Big 4” accounting firms, with over 300,000 employees. He’s on a finance team, one that analyzes internal company data to ensure that they are hitting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Some stuff is technical maintenance, making sure everything is running smoothly. SOMe is meeting with partners in the firm to discuss their “book of business”. making sure anthing needing to be built out is built out and mitigating potential risks. Some of his job involves technical maintenance, making sure everything is running smoothly.

Overview: Before transfering to Berklee in 2018 Alex studied business at a small college that didn’t survive the pandemic, and at one point he had an internship at Ernst & Young. After finishing his degree in late 2021 he looked for music industry jobs, but being from Russia he needed to land a job quickly. For several months he did freelance music for a few months, then applied to jobs. Berklee professor Ralph Jaccodine was extremely helpful in coaching him. He started his job in Boston, then transferred to the Calgary office in early 2023.
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You can see Alex’s LinkedIn profile here.

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Choice Quotes: “I have a really interesting role. I have a lot of contact with people who are very successful and understand business in a way I’d like to understand. Some are apprehensive at first, but being able to show my value and become a trusted business advisor is very satisfying.”

“Find as many opportunites to get real on the job experience. Take an internship even if unpaid, just to get experience and connections. That matters most trying to find a full time job out of college. Those EY internships were a lot of work, but without them I don’t know where I’d be.”

“The Berklee courseload we had and all the projects certainly helped me with my current job, learning to prioritize, figuring out ways to be efficient. The business courses were certainly helpful as well. It’s not directly a finance eductaion, but many people at EY have other backgrounds. Diverse backgrounds are celebrated at EY!”

“If you’re interested in a career in data analysis, first make sure it’s for you. It heavily relies on numbers and analysis. If you like to get deep down in the spreadsheet and figure it out, start by taking some courses online.”

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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #229: Jade Tierney (f. Alvarez-Lauto)

Jade Tierney
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Graduated in 2021 with a major in Violin Performance.

Position: Associate Agent at the Harry Walker Agency, which arranges appearances by high-profile speakers at various events. The agent works one on one with the sponsors in order to work them through to a contract, including guiding them toward a realistic speaker for their price range then helps with the logistics of booking flights, etc. As an associate agent, Jade helps take as many tasks off her boss’s plate as possible.

Overview: Before going to college, Jade wrestled with whether to study music or communications. When the pandemic hit and everything closed down convined that communications would be a more secure career path. While still in her third year at BoCo, Jade applied and was accepted into the Masters in Corporate Communications program at NorthEastern University Thus, Jade did her final year at BoCo knowing she’s be on a different path after graduating.

During the summer of 2022, Jade worked at a music camp, and through that experience met someone who put her in touch with someone at the Harry Walker agency. After finishing her program in December, 2022, Jade applied to various executive assistant jobs, but would lose to internal candidates. Fortunately, someone in HR thought Jade would make a good associate agent, so she was given an interview and hired into her role.
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You can see Jade’s LinkedIn profile here.
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Choice Quotes: “I like being client facing. As my boss says, ‘People know what a pencil costs, but people don’t know what people cost.’ Being a musician prepared me to go in and speak with people. I enjoy it, you build years of relationships. Poeple come back to you, sometimes to expand. You see people at an event and you can say hi. And sometimes they send a new opportunity your way.”

“My experience at BoCo gave me people skills.. Yes you make friends, but it’s also a professional collaboration. It’s being able to talk about various interests and talk about our projects–the interactions get more creative.”

“The biggest hurdle in all this transition was realizing there’s nothing wrong with leaving (music). If you’re donig it and you’re not 110% into it, there’s always giong to be this doubt. As a kid I was always the big fish. It became part of my identity: I was always convinced that I had to do it. Then I left and it wasn’t a big deal. There’s nothing wrong wtih making the right choice for you.


“If you want to be an agent, treat it the same as music. It won’t happen right away. The corporate world is so huge. There were tens of thousand of people applying for 90 internship spots at WME. I’m still not sure how I got my job! But I told them that anything good comes with hard work and time. People at WME told me they could see my work ethic and realistic expectations.”
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See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.

Successful Berklee Alumni #228: Francesca Corrado

Francesca Corrado
Listen to the interview or download it.

Graduated in 2021 with a major in Music Business. Principal instrument: cello.

Position: Faculty Support Specialist at Harvard Business School. Francesca provides administrative support for four faculty members, scheduling guests, managing course delivery, turning notes into PowerPoint slides, managing their calendars, and so forth.

Overview: Doing the last year+ of college remotely drained Francesca’s zeal to work in music, and the many closures during the pandemic made her nervous about the security of that career, so she broadened her job search. After living at home (on the South Shore of Massachusetts) and working retail for a few months, she got a job as the administrative person at a very small marketing firm. But the pay wasn’t great and Francesca wanted to be back in the city, so she reached out to a recruiter whom a friend had mentiond.

This recruiter thought Francesca would be a good fit for her current job, and was very helpful, both making the introduction and coaching her through multiple rounds of interviews. One year after graduating from Berklee Francesca was hired into her current job.
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You can see Francesca’s LinkedIn profile here.
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Choice Quotes: “The #1 thing I enjoy is the people I work with. The faculty I support are great people, communicative, clear on what they want, and helpful. I also enjoy the people I work with alongside, including other faculty support specialists and the community we have. I also have a great manager; the community as a whole at HBS is really great.”

“I feel like the whole structure and rhythm I had at Berklee, though class and extrecurriculars really instilled a work ethic for me now. I graduated with high honors and worked two jobs. So I think having that structure and time organization really helped me translate those qualities over to a full-time job.”

“Networking is important, but I should come naturally. It can’t be something forced, and if it is those relationships won’t last. Network if and when you want to–when you genuinely want to know more and what they do–not just because you think you should. Find your own version of networking and enjoy it.”

“This job, you can easily find yourself wanting to be an executive assistant in the private sector. But HBS has a great growth/promotions ladder. In a couple of years there may be an opening for a coordinator or an assistant director. I’m not sure which way my career will go.”
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See the full index of successful Berklee alumni.

Successful Berklee/BoCo Alumni #227: Paul de Libero

Paul de Libero
Listen to the interview or download it.
(Note: By accident, the first few minutes of the interview weren’t recorded. Sorry!)

Graduated in 2021 from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee with a major in Musical Theater.

Position: Commercial Account Executive (Business to Business Sales) at Salesloft, a company with close to a thousand employees that sells software which streamlines the sales process.

Overview: As BoCo wrapped up Paul had been planning to go into casting, then Covid hit and everything shut down. He considered getting a masters in marketing, but everyone recommended that instead Paul go into sales, saying he’d be a natural at it. He met a woman who was only a few years older and making great money; she suggested he apply to work at Oracle. Paul applied and was hired as a business development rep, but the job didn’t go great and he wasn’t mentally prepared to make cold calls nine hours per day. After four months, he left for another BDR job with a company, Drift, whose product, an AI chatbot, he found more interesting.

After close to a year, Paul wanted a promotion to account executive, but Drift had no openings, so he started applying to other companies. One application and eight (!) interviews later, he was hired into his position at Salesloft.
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You can see Paul’s LinkedIn profile here.
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Choice Quotes: “”In sales you’re always moving forward. You can close the biggest deal last week, but what are you doing today? Every new quarter you reset to zero.”

“Stay resilient and stay malleable. What happened to me was luck initially. Luck is landing the first job, then it’s hard work and grit and really making an impact where you get that oportunity. Noone’s going to make that happen other than you. You have to roll with the Nos. I know people who applied to over 250 jobs.”

“As a Musical Theater major I learned to sell myself in auditions and in class, and to roll with the punches. That sets me apart from a lot of folks in the art of conversation. Many people-facing creative people who have lots of conversations do really well in sales.”
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See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.