SHL Alumni Spotlight: Andy Jones '09

My name is Andy Jones, and I am a hospitality management graduate from East Carolina University and the School of Hospitality Leadership. After my graduation, I joined Marriott as a front desk supervisor and later moved to sales, where I spent five successful years. Transitioning to an educational technology startup as the eighth employee, I ventured into the SaaS industry and have since worked in three ed-tech companies for almost a decade.

Despite lacking a tech background, my hospitality experience taught me valuable skills for my current success. Foremost is customer service, a crucial aspect in sales where the salesperson’s rapport often outweighs the product. My wins can often be attributed to prioritizing this aspect. Additionally, creativity is essential in winning deals, as I learned during my time at Marriott where I had to be innovative in securing conference spaces and competitive room rates. This trait remains vital in my present roles across industries.

Seeking training opportunities is my third recommendation, as the comprehensive sales tactics training provided by Marriott has proven invaluable throughout my career. Lastly, leveraging people skills and networking is paramount. Building relationships with peers opens doors for mutual assistance and support in the future. Never underestimate the potential of your network.

In summary, my journey from hospitality to SaaS has been shaped by the emphasis on customer service, creativity in deal-making, a thirst for learning, and the power of networking. These lessons have been instrumental in my success and can benefit professionals across various fields.

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