CATHY LEI: Cisco
Try, fail, learn, repeat. Then totally crush things like Cathy did. She believes that her key to success was her ability to sell. Now, she works in B2B sales with IT giant Cisco and is carrying that experience with her. She’s a recent alum, an enthusiastic member of CPaffinity.
Education: Carleton University, Bachelor of Architecture & Design
Rookie Year: 2013 (Ottawa, ON)
Current Home: Toronto, ON
Cathy’s College Pro Roots
Cathy’s cousin did College Pro and told her all about it, and something triggered her interest. She got to university and immediately signed up after hearing a class talk, but had no idea what she was getting into. “I remember having to wait until I turned 18 to officially sign the papers, I was so nervous. It was super emotional.” In her first year, she did pretty well revenue wise, but didn’t have the customer satisfaction to make it to president’s club. She took two years off and came back in her final year of school to prove to herself that she could do it. “That year was incredible I ran a $317 thousand business. I was one of the highest performers of the year, and the number one female. It really reinforced a sense of confidence in being able to do something outside of my comfort zone, and outside of what I was studying in school.”
Her Competitive Edge
Cathy believes she has a huge competitive edge because of College Pro. A lot of the people she encounters are amazed at the numbers she ran as a small time franchise owner. It’s earned her respect along with the validation that she knows what she’s doing – “no one takes that lightly when they see those numbers and hear what you put into that business.”
The Beginnings of her Career
Cathy’s favourite part of the franchise was sales, “if you’re personable and outgoing and you like people, it’s a natural part of the job. It would all be so difficult if you didn’t love sales.” That’s what made Cathy decide to switch gears and go into sales. After dipping her toe in the real estate business and not loving it, she’s currently in the tech industry, specifically at Cisco – the worldwide leader in IT. In the two years since she started, she’s taken on roles like associate sales representative, virtual sales account manager and virtual global account manager. “I didn’t have any background in business other than College Pro, so I can say with confidence that it was that experience that got me here.”
While she didn’t pursue her degree in architecture, she does still love art, painting and pottery – in fact, when she told her parents she was going to run a painting business, they misunderstood and thought she was going to sell her art!
Her favourite part about College Pro? All of the times she felt defeated, and knew her support system was just a call or text away.