Teddy Baldassare doesn't see himself as a success- frankly something more.
Teddy Baldassare, Director of Business Development of a startup company here in Cleveland that helps build online communities for college students, alumni, and supporters, Wisr, doesn’t see himself as a success-quite frankly something more. I had the opportunity to sit down with him over coffee at one of Cleveland’s best local coffee shops, Phoenix Coffee, located in Cleveland Height’s Art District to learn more about his career at just twenty-three.
Here's what he had to say.
Elaborate what you do long term and day-to-day at Wisr?
Long Term - The goal is rather simple, grow our company, meet our targets, and make our investors happy.
Short Term - I am responsible for creating new opportunities, managing our pipeline, leading product demos, and creating new marketing campaigns.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
The exciting thing about working in a startup environment is that there is no such thing as a “typical” workday. Everyday offers different challenges and objectives.
What do you wish you’d known about your position or field before you started?
Educate yourself on the industry and understand the sales cycle. Coming from selling marketing/advertising services in the corporate sector gave me an incorrect view of what selling in higher education would be like. I always considered selling as selling no matter the industry, however, trying to learn the nuances of the industry you are working in is crucial when you are coming face-to-face with customers every day.
What type of professional and or personal skills does it take to succeed at the level of work you do as Director?
Not to diminish the professional skills needed in my job, but personal skills are what have allowed me to excel so far in my career. Understanding human psychology, being a good communicator (writing and speaking), and being resilient enough to adapt to change gets you much farther. Sure, learning how to get the most out of your CRM tool, structuring email marketing campaigns, and knowing how to do product demos is crucial, but it would all be for nothing without the foundation of personal skills.
When did you consider yourself successful?
To be frank, I do not consider myself a success. I do not see success as an end destination, there is always more you can achieve.
Any habits you believe lead to your success?
Yes! If you can manage to create more habits that help build you as an individual than that are destructive, you will win in life. I cannot advocate reading and exercise enough. If you can make it a daily habit to read and workout, you will see your performance increase in all aspects of your life.
When did you discovered networking? How did you build networking skills?
Networking really came to me in college. I was never an incredibly gifted student and would always question the payoff of the long nights spent in the library studying for a test. I remember one day towards the end of my sophomore year in college, I began looking around the class during lecture. As I was scanning over the faces of the other students in class, I said to myself, “I cannot win by just doing this.” What I meant, I cannot separate myself from my peers by simply going to class and getting good grades. I needed to go learn and connect with those that are currently doing what I one day want to be doing. From there, I built my networking skills by meeting someone new every week.
Why networking? Especially for young people.
Networking is not just important for young people, it is imperative. I know what it is like to be in college and not be sure what to do with your life. Despite not being able to promise that you will figure out what your life’s purpose is by networking, I will promise that you will learn a lot about how the world works by having conversations with people in all different professions. Most importantly, young people need to see their youth as an asset when they are networking. What do I mean by this? You will nearly always get a positive response from professionals if you simply state you are a college student looking to figure things out and would love to learn more about what they do. Being a college student opens a lot of doors because people ultimately have empathy for those in early stages of their adult life/career, and find it humbling when you show interest in learning more about them. With that being said, do not wait to network.
Any books or articles you’d recommend young people to check out?
What advice would you leave young people as they move through high school, possibly college and one day the workforce?
Take advantage of the time you have now before you start working. I know you all think that you are busy now, but trust me, most of you are not (sorry). If you don’t know what you want from life, try as many things as possible and then see what sticks. I am a big proponent of building something. Whether it is a company, a blog, a YouTube channel, etc., just go out and do things and opportunities will come. Lastly, do not worry about what your peers think. Taking to heart the judgement of others will be a huge hindrance to your success. Enjoy your youth, make incredible memories, but try creating a future for yourself that you will be proud of.
I couldn't better agree.