Alumni On The Move - October 2019

Joe Darza

Puget Sound Leadership Discovery, Class of 2014

EDI: Hey Joe! CONGRATULATIONS on your new job AND your recent move across the country. Tell us more about it.

Joe:  I recently took a new role within my current company as an Enterprise Account Manager with BlackLine, where we sell Month-End Close Automation software. In my new role, I manage our Fortune 500 companies located in the New York area which necessitated the move to be closer to them.

EDI: How did this opportunity present itself?

Joe:  I restarted my career at BlackLine and took an entry-level role in the business development team in 2017 in order to break through into sales. One thing I learned at EDI was that your career is never a straight line, and when I saw opportunities, I took them (e.g. Being onsite with clients and experienced executives, cold calling CFOs to set up business meetings, etc..). I went to every company networking event I could and introduced myself to every single C-Suite at the company.

The natural progression of someone in business development would be to work in Inside Sales, but when this role opened (typically reserved for someone 10+ years of sales experience) my mentors advocated to senior leadership to look at me for the position.  

EDI: From the short amount of time since going through the EDI program in 2014, you’ve moved around (geographically) quite a bit. What were the driving forces that led you to these opportunities?

Joe:  When I graduated from EDI in 2014 – My biggest takeaway was to take control of my career. Having spent about 7 years of my career in Finance and Accounting roles, I came to the realization that I wanted to work in sales. My opportunity to pivot came when a chance happy hour with a friend who worked at BlackLine, a FinTech Company.

The driving force for me was realizing that in order to drive significant change in my career trajectory I had to do things that felt uncomfortable and reorient my thought process. These moves have really helped me continue to grow and think as a professional.

EDI: You’ve stayed engaged in the Seattle community (even though you moved to Cali a couple of years ago) and we noticed that you came back to Seattle and helped out with supporting Summer Search. Why is that important to you?

Joe: Organizations like EDI and Summer Search mean a lot to me because they have shaped the way I think about things personally and professionally. They’ve opened up doors that I might not have seen for myself, and I want others from my community, whether that’s ethnic, socio-economic, etc… to be afforded the same opportunities.

EDI: Is there anything from your EDI learnings that you’ve been applying to your new job?

Joe: Something I find myself quoting a lot to my colleagues is Vanna’s Speak to Persuade™ class. Vanna’s main message was that every SINGLE conversation, no matter how small, should be a persuasive one. In sales, a lot of people think of making a sale as this singular event. In reality, it’s the culmination of many discussions with various stakeholders that lead you to the sale. When the time comes to ask for the order, 95% of the work should already be done. I think about this even in simple emails back and forth with clients.

EDI: If you could give one piece of advice to the 2019 EDI class what would it be?  

Joe: Take chances and take control of your career. It really is about defining your brand and deciding where you want to go which just so happens to be two of the classes in the discovery program. In the end, if you make a mistake you can always pivot. But, if you don’t decide, and just allow events to guide your career, you’ll find that others are more than happy to define your trajectory for you.  

EDI: Thank you, Joe! We love seeing your adventures in Cali and can’t wait to see what you end up doing in New York!

Joe: Thanks! I enjoy seeing what all the alums are up to and going to events like Inclusion Fusion always reminds me why I continue to be involved.

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We are proud of our alums and the impact they are making around the world. Each month we feature an alum that we have heard is making waves in their company or in their communities on our Alumni On The Move series. If you’re an alum or know one that is really making a positive impact for those around them let us know! We feature anything from alums starting their own companies or side hustles, receiving a promotion, taking a risk and trying a new industry or organization within their own company, joining non-profit committees and Boards, or winning awards! Contact us at edi@ediorg.org to be featured!!