Episode 2: Shoot Your Shot | Porchia Jenkins

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“The Power of No”
In this episode, Porchia Jenkins, a high school three-sport athlete, collegiate volleyball player, and Manager of Commercial Sales Development for TripActions gives a master class in transitioning from sports to sales to sales leadership with a mix of grit and grace. Tune in to hear Porchia talk about how she does it and learn about the importance of taking ownership of your path and being accountable for your success—which sometimes means making big, bold moves and taking chances.

Shoot Your Shot

I was expecting to have a great conversation with Porchia—but I was blown away by how it went. She was full of energy, enthusiasm, advice, and insights. I had such a great time talking to her.

Happy Accidents

A huge smile crosses Porchia’s face when she talks about the bonds she still has with her former teammates, but behind the smile lies unflappable determination. When she joined the cross-country team because her basketball coach required participation in a Fall sport, Porchia signed up for cross-country. And when she stepped in a gopher hole and sprained her ankle, she committed to gutting it out and finishing the race.

“You’re not a runner. And that’s OK.” 

This acceptance turned her cross-country spill into a happy accident. She switched to the volleyball team. Volleyball became her main sport and introduced her to her best friend, the one Porchia refers to as her “equalizer.” She’s the friend who to this day keeps her in check—and Porchia knows she needs the balance.

Steady, She Goes

When I asked Porchia how people would describe her in her playing days, she didn’t hesitate. As a player, they’d say she was tough, wanted to win, and never let up. Off the court, they’d tell you she was all about unity. She was a vocal advocate of respect and inclusion for all, knowing that kindness feeds growth.

Porchia takes a consistent approach to things today. She possesses a unique combination of tenderness and toughness, allowing her to provide gentle guidance while putting ownership of others for their success. Balance and consistency are foundational to Porchia as an authentic, inspiring, and credible leader.

The Road (Back) To Sales

The COVID pandemic compelled Porchia to leave her teaching role, and when she thought about when she was happiest, she kept coming back to her time working in sales at Sprint, fresh out of college. She knew that transitioning back to a sales career would take preparation and practice, found a 10-week virtual bootcamp geared toward candidates with non-traditional backgrounds, and committed to completing the program while wrapping up her teaching career.

Know (and Sell) Your Value

The connection between your background and what you’re applying to do isn’t always obvious. Understand your value outside of the sales world. Be explicit about how your experience aligns with the new role and talk about it in a compelling way. Practice telling that story. Be prepared.

Some companies are shying away from hiring candidates with no prior experience as a BDR, but Porchia has her own balanced take on this trend. She sees value in experience, but she also finds value in other places and is open to bringing that value into her organization. New mindsets, new ideas, and new synergies are often required to drive new growth.

Know (and Receive) Your Worth

After transitioning from teaching, Porchia was all about compensation and benefits, but now enablement and growth are the two most important characteristics in an employer and a role. When it comes to choosing an employer, Porchia offers some advice.

  • Check the alignment. The job will take a lot of your time so you need to be sure that it aligns with who you are as a person; no amount of money will ever make you happy if it doesn’t.
  • Trust your gut. If the vibe feels off, stop the journey. When company values align with yours, you’ll be proud to say you work there.
  • Size matters. Make sure the company has a sizable addressable market. This is important for both opportunity and personal development.

Forge Your Own Path

As you look to progress, have clear and reasonable expectations. Hold yourself accountable for results. The best BDRs are curious, coachable, and competitive, three tools that put your growth in your hands.

It’s important to look at career paths both inside and outside of sales. Porchia took a chance on herself—she wanted to get back to coaching, to lead people, and to help them grow, and now she’s in a leadership role where it’s important to be clear, direct, transparent, and realistic.

Shoot Your Shot

Females make up a high percentage of the student-athlete population, but tech sales have historically not been as diverse. Porchia offers some great advice for women (and everyone!), and this one really gets the adrenaline going: Shoot your shot. When someone tells you “No,” take that opportunity to learn, to grow, and to figure out what’s right for you. Don’t go through life wondering “what if?”

Listen to the pod to hear details on all this and more, like the importance of mentoring and being mentored, to learn the secret sauce that makes Porchia elite, and how shooting her shot landed her here with us.

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