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Author's profile photo Julianne Costa

How the SAP Sales Academy shaped me into a leader

For David Wolf, working for a company that aligns with his personal values and purpose is crucial for his professional life. As Head of Northeast Commercial Sales, he is happy to work for a company that is helping the world run better and improve people’s lives.

“I truly believe SAP technology helps improve the lives of consumers and companies on a global scale,” David said.

Leading a team that target’s SAP’s growth market in the Northeast region, David’s favorite part about his job is being able to grow and develop young professionals who are early in their sales careers – like he once was. The talent, energy and drive of the commercial sales organization is a huge motivator for David. He enjoys working with such amazing people that are all motivated to do well and grow a career at SAP.

In this blog, David shares his experiences with SAP’s Sales Academy and how his passion for people helped get him to where he is today.

Making his way through the Sales Academy

In 2015, David was a young sales professional embarking on his journey to the SAP Sales Academy as an Analytics Account Executive. At the time, David always dreamed of being an executive.

“Making an impact and leading people is what I believe I was born to do,” he said. Taking everything as a learning experience as he was at the Academy was a huge opportunity to not only build a knowledge base, but to be able to network at a larger scale. 

His time at the Academy was a phenomenal global experience – as he describes it. “Joining the Sales Academy enables young professionals to take ownership of their career. In addition, the opportunity to understand new cultures and viewpoints was an experience I am able to bring with me in my professional and personal life,” he said.

It wasn’t all about the work, however. During his time on the West Coast, David was able to build the best friendships with amazing people from around the world that are all motivated, intelligent, and serious about their futures. When he returned in November of 2015, he was placed in the Midwest.

“Everyone in the Midwest – leaders such as DJ Paoni, Steve Shute, and Rocky Subramanian, to name a few – were very supportive of the young talent who came in through the SAP Academy,” David said.

A mentor enables a person to achieve.

There are many people who David can give a nod to helping him be the leader he is today, but most importantly, his first mentor, Greg Petraetis, Chief Operating Officer for Midmarket and Partner Ecosystems. Soaking in information from leaders like Greg continues to be a huge accelerator for him.

“Greg and I met in 2015 at a customer event and he immediately offered to be my mentor. As the first mentor in my career, from a professional level, Greg has helped me shape how I carry out everything. We have conversations about simple time-management skills, how to lead people, how to drive execution, and how to build organizations. Being able to work with Greg and other executive mentors has fueled my loyalty and commitment to SAP and has accelerated my learning curve exponentially,” David said.

The journey is never ending.

The question “what’s next for you?” is simple for David. He will be continuing to make an impact on the organization – but open to a career shift. His passion for leading people and driving change in the world will empower him to achieve his goals at SAP with the end target to lead a global organization, or the company as a whole.

“I want to continue to lead and help employees achieve their goals. I’m trusting the judgment of my leadership and executive mentors when it comes to my immediate future. Maybe I’ll take a new role in a different line of business, or maybe I’ll continue to climb the sales ladder. That is another beauty of SAP; so many opportunities for growth and development” David said.

Be bold and soak it in.

For the young sales professionals who are about to start their journey at the SAP Sales Academy in San Ramon, California, David shared some advice. “Have as much fun as possible and enjoy the people around you on a personal level,” he said. In addition to having fun, David believes it is important to hyper-focus on your growth and be the best that you can be every day. “The Academy will give you a wealth of knowledge to soak in while you’re in the industry. Working hard and taking ownership of your own development will get you far. Be the first one to speak or raise your hand when a question is asked. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be bold and learn from every answer and every experience.”

However, the biggest advice David can offer to someone who is starting their career is, “Have integrity and be authentic. Take it as a one-day at a time approach to your growth and development. Always remember to slow down to speed up.”

Are you ready to become part of SAP’s next generation sales force? Visit here for more information on the SAP Academy for Sales.

Julie Costa is a member of the SAP North America Communications team

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