Failure has to be part of the process for Yolanda Williams, account executive at Dell EMC in Silicon Valley. If she doesn't fail occasionally, she knows she's not challenging herself or her team. From her early days as dispatcher to her current executive-level position in sales, Yolanda found her passion in the tech industry and loves fulfilling a vision for team, her clients, and herself.
Fairygodboss of the week: Yolanda Williams
Account Executive, Dell
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
I started my tech career dispatching service calls to system engineers. I wanted to work in tech; I just needed to get my foot in the door. I had the belief that I am a co-creator of my life and understood the value of problem-solving. I was eventually promoted to operations manager. My stellar performance led to an assignment working with the senior sales executive. This was my first introduction to sales. I recognized that I could transform businesses and make lots of money for my efforts. I understood the power of leverage. I didn't have a tech background, but I knew how to leverage the skills of my team.
I enrolled at a university and attended school on nights and weekends to earn my MBA. I was very successful. I started in acquisition sales, and am currently in strategic sales covering large corporate accounts in Silicon Valley. I have become more tech savvy. The key to my success is keeping my customer first, leveraging the expertise of my extended teams and partners, and, most importantly, leading, inspiring, and establishing a vision for the entire team.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
I am responsible for the largest sales quota on my team, and my customers are Fortune 500. I am obsessed with serving my customers and do not allow barriers to stop me. I actively engage in providing IT solutions to my customers to transform their businesses. I am also proud that I have overachieved in my sales quota for nine consecutive quarters.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
I learned that failure is part of the process. If I am not failing, I am not stretching myself or my team. We lost a large opportunity because we were calling too low in the organization. We were targeting the wrong team.
Research the company, organization, and key stakeholders. Know your customer's business and business initiatives. It is respectful to the customer and sets you apart from your competitors.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?
My Fairygodboss is Jackie Glenn, Dell EMC VP of diversity & inclusion. She has championed women and diversity throughout her entire career and is a source of inspiration and advocacy for many employees.
What do you do when you're not working?
I advocate for underrepresented Girls. I partner with The Alliance for Girls, the largest alliance or organization in California whose mission is advocating for girls. I am also associated with the following organizations:
• Employee Resource Groups (ERG)
• Black Network Alliance (BNA)
• Women In Action (WIA)
• National Sales Network
• Black Girls Code—volunteer
• Alliance For Girls—volunteer
• Career Girls
• GameHeads, a youth gaming grganization
• St. Vincent De Paul Walk for the Poor
• Carondelet High School—parent volunteer
• Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
• St. Isidore—catechist/instructor
If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?
Pope Francis, the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church.
What is your karaoke song?
"Happy" by Pharrell Williams.
What is your favorite movie?
The Color Purple.
What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.
What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
As an investor, I would invest the winnings. I would also open investment accounts for my family.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Believe in yourself. Don't wait to be picked! You are the co-creator of you career. Surround yourself with good sponsors. A sponsor will advocate for you when you are not in the room. Run away from perfection. Be thoughtful, and move forward. Don't wait. Most importantly, seek out projects to set yourself apart. Lastly, give back, and help others get what they want.
Why do you love where you work?
I am the CEO of my business. Sales is arguably the best job at Dell EMC; the best part of my job is the relationships that I have with my customers. I help my customers solve business problems and become rock stars in their companies. I am a leader. I inspire my extended team and set the vision. It is exhilarating when it all comes together. I also love that I can leverage my income. My ability to be successful has a direct impact on my salary.
Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.