What a Difference a Year Makes – A Perspective from Tammy Fuqua
As a territory sales manager, 2019 had me running all over the country. My job then took me to cities I had never seen, eating in restaurants I could not afford, seeing relatives I had not seen in decades, and snow! Being a SoCal native, I probably could have counted on one hand how many times I had seen it snow before I started traveling for work.
Then one February morning, I got “the call”. My UK based company had a new plan. Soon after losing my job I was inundated with leads from industry friends. I was setting up interviews, one with a company prominent in education. Things were looking up! But there was something lurking in the background…
My interview was scheduled for the first week in March in Oregon. I was asked how I felt about travel “these days” and told them I had no problem. Meanwhile, I am watching news reports about hoarding toilet paper and long lines at Costco. Things were starting to get surreal, and I began to worry.
At the interview I was introduced to the CEO and instinctually held out my hand. I was met with, “would you mind if I not shake your hand?” I was shocked. This was the first time this had happened. I was trying to process it, reminding myself of the “virus.”
In a break between interviews a notification came across my phone, “LAUSD to close schools today.” I am interviewing with a company that does business with K-12 schools and schools are shutting down? This cannot be good.
In the next interview I am asked if I have any questions or concerns. I spoke up, “I’m concerned you will not fill this position.” He said that was a valid concern. A week later they pulled the position. Within the next two weeks every opportunity I had dried up. No one was hiring.
In April I asked to be a panelist for an upcoming AV industry event. It was a great experience for me and allowed me to stretch out of my comfort zone and increased my visibility as a potential employee. There was even a hashtag, #HireTammy.
Shortly after I was approached by Steve Greenblatt, owner of Control Concepts, about an account manager position. We spoke and then he introduced me to the team where I learned even more about the company. This was definitely going to be a departure from my previous sales positions, but the prospect of doing something new was exciting. Control Concepts has a great reputation in the industry, which made it a no brainer to accept the position when it was offered.
Since starting with Control Concepts, I have made a transition from working for manufacturers to working with manufacturers. I have switched from hardware product base to software. Learning new terminology and different players in the industry felt foreign at first, but I have always prided myself on being adaptable and passionate about learning new, more challenging roles.
I could sense the team comradery before I even accepted the position. As a small team successes and losses are felt collectively. Every Friday, in our morning huddle, we are asked for your “win for the week,” a way to keep things positive to end the week. Many times, those wins point to the successes of someone else on the team. There is a certain joy in working for a company that works together.
After a year of running through airports, blindly traveling through countless cities, it feels good to simplify. I adopted a little dog, reconnected with friends and family, and started a master’s program, all things I was unable to do while on the road.
That doesn’t stop the pull I get when I pass an airport and long to get on a plane. As a “road warrior” it sticks with you. It was hard to down shift into a slower pace but gone are the days of redeyes and 6:00 am flights out of LAX. With less travel demands, I look forward to enhancing meaningful connections with friends, industry associates, and the Control Concepts team and audience.
My role as Account Manager at Control Concepts is focused on sharing the knowledge and value that this 20+ year veteran software company can offer to the AV industry. As I have throughout my career, I looking to fostering and nurturing lasting relationships within the AV community, uncovering client needs and challenges that our team can address or solve, and help make programming and control of manufacturers’ products easier for others through the availability of control system modules, drivers, and plugins.
I look forward to the opportunity to connect and engage with those of you with whom I haven’t already. One way is through the AVIXA Women’s Council, where I am an active member and co-leader of the Los Angeles and Orange County region. Some other ways would be through LinkedIn and Twitter or simply email.