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The Importance of Leadership and Learning Sales

Hi everyone! My name is Anson Lee and I am a Grade 11 student at Agincourt Collegiate Institute. Last weekend, I had the privilege to attend Illuminate’s Think Tank with Dannielle Sakher, a Platform Partnerships Leader at Zapier, as part of Illuminate’s Associate National Lead program. I was extremely inspired and would like to take the opportunity to share what I learned with with my Blog.

During the session, Dannielle mentioned 5 lessons on leadership, how a student business program helped her decide her university and program, land an internship, and gain mentorship advice. Also, we had a unique chance to hear her talk about the importance of sales pitching and do a live sales pitch with her.

The program Dannielle mentioned and attended years ago is known as the Junior Achievement Company Program - which I've personally attended as well. You get to start a company with a group of 20 students and have mentors from a company (e.g. Scotiabank, Deloitte) guiding you. Dannielle spoke about how her mentors at the company supported her, to even end up applying for and winning her VP Sales position on the company on a whim.

From there, she learned a lot about thinking on her feet and pivoting when needed to. Five leadership lessons she learned throughout her year was:

  1. Most people know better than you - ask for help

  2. Make the most out of mentorships

  3. be ready to enter an open door

  4. You will not know what to do until you try

  5. Sales is a highly transferable skill

She talked about how sales was a really important skill to have, from learning to communicate, to strategic thinking, to persuasion. Honestly I've never thought about sales this way so it was nice to learn from a fresh perspective.

I also learned a few new sales strategies from our sales pitch activity, such as using more descriptive words, comparing our product to a competitors, and pitching a relatable situation where you would need to use it.

This is also relatable to my job as Associate National Lead. As I'm working on a conference, I also need to be able to "sell" it and convince people to go to it. I'll keep in my mind the things I've learned today about selling when working on the marketing plan!

Moving forward from this session, I will remember the things I've learned from sales with Dannielle and implement them in the conference marketing plan. I will also attend more student business programs and consider doing another year of JA! I would like to thank Dannielle for giving us such an interesting perspective on sales and an interactive talk, and for Illuminate Universe for hosting this session!


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