Growing up, my dad, who was a sales executive at a large insurance company, would tell me that I was ‘born for sales’. This is probably because I could lie convincingly without losing eye contact, but either way, I didn’t like the sound of it. A salesman was someone in a bad jacket who tried to strong arm you into a car you didn’t want. I was way more refined than that. So, it worked out perfectly that I got a job in business development at a very young age in the advertising industry. What a perfect job. You don’t have to ‘sell.’ You just had to shine the agency up like a jewel for capabilities presentations and craft flowing prose for RFPs. Oh yeah, and you had to stay up all night for weeks researching the industry, setting the strategy and harassing people for their ‘slides’ so the team could rehearse enough times to demonstrate natural chemistry. I had a lot of sleepless nights and weekends back then. But even if we lost the pitch (that we often spent $200,000 on in time and hard costs), we never questioned the fundamental process that we followed. The business development function was, by its very nature, a pitch machine, and everyone was okay with that. But by the time I turned 30, I realized how much I hated running a pitch machine. I realized I wanted to sell something.

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