Meet Dwight Lawson, Head of Sales at Ethena and Primary Mastermind Network Founding Member
Read how Dwight Lawson got into Sales and landed his role as Head of Sales at Ethena, a modern compliance training platform, and the lessons learned along the way.
As a Sales Mastermind Founding Member, Dwight was excited to cofound the network to meet other individuals in Sales and share/learn best practices alongside a tight-knit community. Interested in joining? Apply here.
Can you walk us through your career journey to date? How did your interests and/or values help shape where you landed?
I got into Tech Sales back in 2012, at Yelp.com. From there, I have worked in various startups, usually as one of the first sales reps (enterprise), or at a company looking to scale. As I have matured, my focus has strayed from being the #1 rep and making the most sales, to how I can have the most impact. With that, I started as Head of Sales at Ethena, a modern compliance training platform, back in 2020.
How did you land the Head of Sales role at Ethena? What advice do you have for others who are looking to level up into management from an AE role?
I was contacted by a recruiter at one of Ethena’s initial investors. Having a mentality/mind shift was instrumental in landing the role. Over the last few years, impact was what mattered most for me, and that goes further than closing deals - it's helping your colleagues, finding solutions, being proactive etc. My advice for leveling up is to:
1. Believe in yourself, you are the sh*t
2. Proper preparation breeds success
Imposter syndrome is real and we all have to realize that if we put in the work then there is nothing to be insecure about.
What has been the most rewarding part of the role so far?
It’s been incredibly rewarding to see the impact within the company and others that I work with. It's really cool to say that I really helped build a lot of where we are today and that I am building out the team that will take us to where we will be in the future!
What is something you are very good at? How did you develop that skill? What advice do you have for someone working on it?
I'm skilled at multitasking and planning, which leads to great time management. For someone working on this, three things are key:
1. Schedule everything on your calendar
Having a calendar allows you to record and knock off small items throughout the day
2. Stick to time blocks
Do not push your schedule when new items come up; simply add those new items to your schedule and proceed accordingly. Due to the general urgency of today's times, most of us work on new problems as they arise. Avoid this by sticking to your schedule and it will allow for more productivity.
3. Create proactive habits
Ask yourself these questions to create more efficiency: What’s your agenda for yourself or for others? What resources do you need? Who needs to be contacted or added for this task? How many times does this task or assignment need to be scheduled?
How has networking amplified your career?
Networking for some can be very daunting - not for me. Given my life experiences from sports, joining Alpha Phi Alpha, to being in sales, networking has become as casual as breakfast in the morning. Networking has amplified my life - it's how I’ve gained friends, internships, collegiate positions, career roles etc. Simply be yourself and you will eventually find the right people in which you can both mutually benefit from. One of the biggest pillars I like to stand on is authenticity; it has always enabled me to grow my network in both my life and career.
Who is someone you admire that you’ve learned from? How have they influenced your career, your thinking, your approach?
Dan Meek, a manager of mine at Yelp. He has really become a mentor and friend as we have grown older in life. The biggest lessons I’ve learned from Dan was to be authentic and find balance.
In my first few months at Yelp, I couldn’t close a deal to save my life. When I was heading to a going-away party, a friend called me asking for life and career advice. In our conversation, I addressed the situation, gave him examples of the potential impact and then pretty straightforwardly told him what he needed to do and why. When I hung up the phone, Dan immediately asked why I don’t speak this way on our sales calls. I replied that I just followed my training. Dan then shared that for me to be successful I need to combine who I am intrinsically with the training I’ve learned, as people do not want to buy from someone inauthentic. I took this to heart and from there on, my career at Yelp skyrocketed.
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