Christina will always hold a very special place in the Satellite community. A member of our first cohort, she was also the first Satellite graduate and the first alum to be placed in an exciting sales role at a tech company. These days, she’s quite busy crushing her quota as a BDR (business development representative) at Firstbase, but she’s still deeply connected to Satellite and has inspired many of the learners who have followed in her footsteps. Read on to learn more about her professional path before and after Satellite.
A career in education — and a life-changing battle with breast cancer
Christina had long planned for a career as a teacher, pursuing education in her undergraduate studies before going on to a master’s program. And during the four years that she worked for Tulsa Public Schools, she brought a ton of creativity and passion to the classroom. But she had to reevaluate her professional priorities two years ago, following a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 26.
That difficult time opened Christina’s eyes to the limitations of her chosen field, in terms of flexibility and security.
“I taught all throughout my treatment. I was lucky enough to have coworkers who donated their vacation days to me, but if that weren’t the case, I’m not sure what I would have done,” she says.
Her curiosity about a different path grew even further during the pandemic, when she discovered just how burnt out she was — and just how much she liked working from home.
“I was no longer feeling the job satisfaction that I once got from teaching,” she explains. “Ultimately, I just had a strong gut feeling that it was time for something else, preferably something remote.”
While she knew she was ready for a change, sales wasn’t exactly top of mind.
“When I first connected with the Satellite team, I didn’t envision starting a career in sales,” she says. “But I quickly realized that there’s a big difference between how we conceive of sales and the reality of it, especially in tech. You’re not selling so much as you’re solving problems.”
And solving problems was something she already knew she was good at.
“I solved problems every day as a teacher. I thought, if I can do this in a classroom, I can do it in a sales role.”
Christina taught full-time during her eight weeks in Satellite’s Career Accelerator, which she describes as rigorous and challenging, but without question worthwhile.
“As a lifelong learner ready to take on a new challenge, experiencing learning in a non-traditional setting was a great fit. I felt that spark again and rediscovered my passion and motivation.”
During the program, she stepped outside of her comfort zone — “Practicing cold calls isn’t exactly fun, but it’s so critical to a career in tech sales” — and made lasting connections.
“I feel like I have a whole team of people behind me,” she says. “I’m still in touch with my mentor, and the other members of my cohort have become such good friends who I can talk to about anything. I didn’t realize how much I needed that.”
Christina, who graduated from Satellite in 2021, was expecting to teach through the rest of the school year.
“As a member of the first cohort, and the first graduate, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of being placed at a job. I tried to be realistic with my expectations.”
Unsurprisingly, however, Christina nailed her multiple interviews with Firstbase, a company that handles the physical operating systems for remote teams, and a job offer quickly followed. She became the company’s first series A hire and its first business development representative. Today Christina is making 300% more annually than she was as a teacher.
While we’re honored to have been a part of her journey to Firstbase, her success really speaks to how hard she worked before and during Satellite. In her own words: “So much of work in sales is self-directed. What you put in is what you get out.”
Ready to begin a new professional chapter of your own? Join a community of people like Christina who are starting brand new careers in tech sales. Apply to Satellite’s Career Accelerator.
After college Michael was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma working as an account executive for an electric vehicle charging station company. He liked the company and enjoyed his colleagues, but felt stuck from a career and income growth perspective.
There’s so many places to go, professionally speaking, once you’ve developed a set of core sales skills: more senior sales roles, marketing, and accounts, just to name a few of the possibilities. Recent Satellite alum Dillon Brown is an example of just how flexible a sales foundation can be — and not only in the long term.
The role of sales development representative (SDR) is the perfect starting point for a successful career in tech sales, especially for anyone who may be transitioning into the field from another path. Just ask Robert Dyer, a Satellite mentor and Head of Sales Development at Suplari who launched his sales career as an SDR after more than five years in retail.