Five Edinboro Alumni came back to their old stomping ground on Thursday, April 17 to speak at a panel titled, “Career Paths in Sales.” The Applied Communicators of Edinboro (ACE) organized and sponsored the event in hopes of giving students a better idea of what the sales world is all about. Members of the panel included Robert J. Lowther Jr., Kelsey Bone, Aaron Gast and Brian Prezgay.
The panel discussion was led by each of the members, explaining their road to success along with some words of advice. “It’s been very challenging. I worked for four companies before starting my own. I have three things you should have in this career: 1. Be competent in the product or service; 2. Have work ethic; 3. Have communication skills,” Lowther said. Lowther is the founder of Great Lakes Case & Cabinet Company, owner of the Erie Brewing Company and a member of the Edinboro University Council of Trustees.
“You have to be confident. Take an interview even if you don’t really want it. Take it for practice. Get your resume out there and don’t be afraid to always ask for help,” Bone said. Bone is a territory manager for Horizon Pharma, which sells pharmaceuticals for arthritis. She had also worked as a sales representative and public relations specialist for the Erie Brewing Company.
“My road wasn’t the traditional road, but now I get to do what I want and what I love. I help people, get to fish, and everyone’s happy,” Gast said. Gast is an account manager for Werkbot Studios and founder of North Coast Bass Anglers.
“I hated people who knew exactly what they wanted to do. It took me 15 years to figure out and that’s why I want you to know these 5 things: 1. You need to learn and understand sales; 2. Be a storyteller, be memorable; 3. Network, it’s super important and will really help you; 4. Read as much as you can, books, blogs, etc.; 5. Think entreprenually — think about the people, the money spent, and look for opportunities others aren’t looking for,” Prezgay said. Prezgay is head of Global Strategy for Cloud Tags, Principal for Pixels and Bricks, and has worked with companies like Macy’s, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sony and more. Prezgay was also given the Distinguished Communication Studies Alumni Award for being a founder of the Applied Communicators of Edinboro (ACE) and success in the field of international sales.
The night ended with a huge round of applause for the professionals from the nearly packed room. “I felt very inspired by the panel participants’ messages and the turnout [as] we had over 90 students in attendance. Feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive. Many commented on the value of the advice they received,” said Edinboro’s Dr. Timothy Thompson.
Karlee Dies is the news editor of The Spectator.