Beyond The Job Title | Underrepresented Career Stories

Episode Summary

In this episode, we feature the incredible story of Aaron, an underrepresented professional in the tech industry. Aaron shares his journey of growing up in McAllen, navigating personal challenges, and ultimately making a pivot into tech. His story is inspiring and showcases the power of resilience and self-discovery.

After initially pursuing a pre-med track in college, Aaron realized that medicine was not his true passion. He made the pivot into tech sales and found fulfillment in a startup environment. He emphasizes the importance of self-reflection, knowing one's worth, and seeking opportunities to network and build relationships. Aaron also highlights the power of community and the impact it can have on personal and professional growth.

Throughout the episode, Aaron shares valuable insights and advice for underrepresented professionals looking to advance in their careers or make a career pivot. He encourages individuals to be intentional in their networking efforts, seek out mentors, and embrace opportunities for personal and professional development. Aaron's story serves as an inspiration for others to overcome challenges, find their passion, and create their own path to success.

I hope you enjoy this episode as much as we enjoyed recording it. And if you find it valuable, please consider sharing it with your network. Together, we can inspire and empower underrepresented professionals in the tech industry. 

  • (00:00) - The Importance of Networking and Intentionality
  • (01:05) - Introduction to the Podcast and Guest
  • (03:33) - Aaron's Early Life and Challenges
  • (04:47) - Overcoming Personal Trauma and Building Empathy
  • (07:21) - The Power of Self-Reflection and Personal Development
  • (09:35) - The Decision to Pivot Away from a Medical Career
  • (13:21) - The Impact of Relationships and Personal Growth
  • (21:14) - The Journey into Tech and the Value of Diverse Experiences
  • (25:25) - The Challenges and Rewards of a Sales Career
  • (26:16) - The Importance of Selling and the Role of SDR
  • (26:57) - Resilience and Mindset in Sales
  • (27:30) - Transitioning into Tech and Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
  • (28:22) - The Power of Self-Reflection and Personal Struggles
  • (30:21) - The Importance of Self-Worth
  • (31:17) - The Impact of Social Media on Self-Worth
  • (32:17) - The Influence of American Dream and Material Success
  • (34:00) - The Importance of Networking and Building Relationships
  • (41:06) - The Power of Community and LinkedIn Presence
  • (49:38) - Closing Thoughts and Advice for Underrepresented Backgrounds

Aaron’s Bio

Aaron Barreiro leverages over six years of experience in revenue and customer service leadership, primarily within the SaaS and startup sectors, to drive significant growth and operational excellence. As the current lead for GTM and Customer Success at Poseidon, Aaron has been pivotal in refining sales processes and enhancing customer engagement, demonstrating a tangible impact on revenue and market positioning. His tenure at Concord Project Technologies Inc. showcased his ability to manage full-cycle sales opportunities and client relationships on a global scale, including a key enterprise contract with Shell.

In addition to his corporate achievements, Aaron founded 1Strive, focusing on leadership development across all educational and professional levels. His role with Colorwave underscores his commitment to diversity and access in the innovation industry. Aaron also contributes to Herald, assisting brands in messaging, branding, and growth marketing to achieve their strategic goals.

Aaron holds a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Medical Biology from The University of Texas-Pan American and is proficient in Spanish. His certifications include Recruiting Foundations, Negotiation Skills, Social Media Marketing, and Establishing Credibility as a Speaker, reflecting his diverse skill set and dedication to professional development. Aaron is passionate about building communities, remote work's social impact, and sharing insights on LinkedIn, encouraging meaningful discourse on innovation and societal impact.

Connect With Aaron

🎙About The Podcast

Join Cesar Romero, as he shares the stories of trailblazing underrepresented SaaS founders, executives, and professionals who have broken barriers and achieved remarkable milestones. Whether you seek inspiration, mentorship, or actionable strategies to advance your career, our podcast is your go-to resource.

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Where to find Cesar

Creators & Guests

Cesar Romero
Helping startups and SMBs build strong customer relationships that drive product adoption, reduce churn, and increase revenue | Community-Driven | Podcast Host
Aaron Barreiro
Crafting GTM Playbooks that Drive Client Growth | GTM and CS Leader

What is Beyond The Job Title | Underrepresented Career Stories?

The lack of diversity in tech can lead to imposter syndrome, bias, and a sense of isolation that hinders your growth and ambition.

Welcome to 'Beyond The Job Title Podcast,' where we shine a spotlight on the journeys of underrepresented tech professionals and allies within the SaaS industry.

Join us as we delve into the personal development and career insights that have fueled their success.

Discover the stories of trailblazing underrepresented SaaS founders, executives, and professionals who have broken barriers and achieved remarkable milestones.

Whether you're seeking inspiration, mentorship, or actionable strategies to advance your career, our podcast is your go-to resource.

Tune in to gain valuable insights, build your network, and navigate your tech career journey with confidence.

Subscribe now and take the next step toward your own success in the world of tech.

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Aaron Barreiro | BJT29 - Main
[00:00:00] The Importance of Networking and Intentionality
[00:00:00] Aaron: You need to be in a position to access opportunities that you want in life And you're not gonna do that by just working hard. And so networking, I think it's huge. and I think you have to be very intentional with it. be intentional on choosing the industry you want to be in. the types of People in terms of what their careers are, what their titles are, not because titles matter, but because that is a good indicator of if I want to be in this type of thing, sales or customer success or recruiting or whatever it is, those titles will help you start to figure out, okay, these are people that I should be networking with intentionally. And just ask. you have to stop people and ask them. And they will help you. I've met so, so many good people that when you stop them and you ask them to be part of something, they are more than willing to, you just have to ask. And so be really intentional about it. Be willing to ask for what you need. Makes a huge difference.
[00:00:58] [00:01:00]
[00:01:05] Introduction to the Podcast and Guest
[00:01:05] Cesar: Hey friends, this is our host CSR Romero, and you are listening to beyond the job title podcast. Where we share the journeys of successful. Underrepresented founders, executives and professionals in tech. Whether you're seeking inspiration, mentorship, or actionable strategies to advance your career. Our podcasts, ease or go to resource. And in this episode, I'm excited to bring you the amazing story of Aaron Byredo. On underrepresented professional in the tech industry who is paving his own path and is currently. Leading the go-to market function of Poseidon, which is a social selling SAS platform. And in this episode, he shares his journey of growing up in McKennon, Texas navigating personal challenges. Making the pivot into tech. We discussed the importance of self-awareness [00:02:00] self-reflection the value of mentorship. The impact of building a stroke network. And we also talk about the. Significance of finding opportunities in unexpected places. And so much more. So if we're looking forward, Motivation and inspiration.
[00:02:17] Cesar: This episode is for you. And for me personally, His story is a reminder that no matter our background or circumstance, we have the power to shape our own path. And achieve our goals. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we enjoyed our conversation. And if you find it valuable, please consider sharing it with your network because together we can inspire and empower underrepresented professionals in the tech industry. Thank you so much for your continuous support, and please make sure to subscribe so that you don't miss out on any future episodes. And that's one of the best ways to [00:03:00] support the podcast. And now let's go beyond the job title with Aaron Baredo.
[00:03:08] Cesar: Aaron, thanks so much for coming on the show. Beyond the job title, where we feature the stories of underrepresented professionals in tech and. And today I'm excited to unpack a little bit of your story into tech and hopefully we can inspire others through your stories.
[00:03:29] Cesar: And I wanted to start off at the beginning, right?
[00:03:33] Aaron's Early Life and Challenges
[00:03:33] Cesar: What was life like growing up in McAllen? Yeah, if you have any story of that resonates with you or that stands out about your time growing up there.
[00:03:44] Aaron: for me growing up in Macallan, it was complicated. I was, when we first got there, my dad was divorced. I actually was born in South Dakota. My dad was in the Air Force, moved to California, got to Macallan when I was like three years old. so my parents were [00:04:00] divorced. It was just my dad, my brother and I, and, lived with my grandma for a while. And honestly, if I were to talk about my youth, really was trying to run away from. Who I was as an underrepresented individual. my dad didn't ever speak Spanish. I didn't know anything about the Mexican heritage that I had. And so a lot of it was just battling between, I looked very much like I was from a Mexican background.
[00:04:25] Aaron: and treated that way, but at the same time, me trying to separate from that. that was me for a very long time, a lot longer than, I probably am proud of. but it was a slow process of learning how to overcome that. but I had great memories, I had great people around me. we all go through some difficult things, and, definitely had some challenges that, that really defined who I was.
[00:04:44] Aaron: but yeah, McAllen was my home for a very long
[00:04:46] Cesar: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:04:47] Overcoming Personal Trauma and Building Empathy
[00:04:47] Cesar: What were some of the, those challenges that, that you experienced that, that define, how you approach your career later on?
[00:04:55] Aaron: I think, honestly, the biggest was, encountered [00:05:00] sexual abuse when I was very young, and in Latino households, I remember having a conversation as an adult and being told that's just what happens. And so there wasn't a lot of support around that experience, and I was really young, probably around seven years old.
[00:05:20] Aaron: but it marked a lot of how I saw myself, how I interacted with the world. And honestly, for a long time, I tried to figure out a lot of big questions. The person that did it was really close to me. and I was trying to figure out how to balance it all. And understand why it happened, who I am. And just asking these huge questions for all of, starting really in middle school and through high school.
[00:05:49] Aaron: led into college where I just spent, 10 years trying to figure out who I was. and it led to me becoming a very empathetic person, a very strong listener, a person who really understood who I was, [00:06:00] and that has been critical to my entire career for sure.
[00:06:03] Cesar: did you have any support or any guidance as you were trying to figure out, as you were trying to navigate this, this experience? yeah, anything, anybody that comes to mind or perhaps a resource or a book.
[00:06:15] Aaron: there is definitely one person who comes into mind. His name is Jonathan Katherman. I didn't meet him until I was in my Probably my sophomore year of college. I did a lot of leadership development and he came to do a training on seven healthy habits for highly effective college students.
[00:06:31] Aaron: So based on Stephen Covey's seven habits and I just fell in love with the training. It was like a three day training. He did amazing work. I was super inspired and honestly didn't really talk to the guy much. I was a kid like 20 years old or 19 years old. And um, after the training finished, I just, Knocked out a really long email Sat down and told him everything that had happened to me and I had never told anyone about it No idea what to expect and he [00:07:00] responded with kindness with love and honestly for me That was a moment where I was finally able to truly put it behind
[00:07:07] Cesar: Hmm.
[00:07:08] Aaron: and just focus more on, on all the positive.
[00:07:11] Aaron: It wasn't about running away from something anymore. It was now just how do I develop myself to be better, generally and how I treat people, how I looked at the world, how I approached the world. he was huge.
[00:07:21] The Power of Self-Reflection and Personal Development
[00:07:21] Cesar: Why do you think you were attracted to those topics of personal development, leadership habits? Because I'm very similar in that regard. I, nobody told me one day I was just like, I want to be better than yesterday, right? So I'm curious about you. what was it that? drew you to leadership and those topics of personal development.
[00:07:47] Aaron: I think it came down to, I was very confused because I was in a situation where someone who was supposed to, who was known to protect me. [00:08:00] Um, had have done me a lot of harm, and so it was very confusing for me. And that confusion was something that I felt like I needed to figure out. I could not stop ever thinking about, I would just always at night when I was at home alone, I would always ask those questions like, who am I?
[00:08:17] Aaron: Why am I here? What is my purpose? It all just came down to this confusion of this can't be how things are supposed to be. There has to be something more. and I think just that earnest wanting to understand things just led to. a really strong chain. And then also when I did, my father and I outside of what happened in that space, in that experience, my dad was always there to listen to me and guide me in really deep conversations.
[00:08:46] Aaron: And so I think I just had a very good guide to move in the right direction and then the, also the personal desire to try and learn. and yeah, I've always been a reflective person. I knew I had. Problems that I had to deal with and they still was trying to figure [00:09:00] that out. One of them was loneliness.
[00:09:01] Aaron: I wanted to always be in a relationship because I always felt alone and I knew that was an issue. and so it was just all these different things of just looking at my life, looking at people around me and trying to just be better.
[00:09:12] Cesar: Yeah, that is so powerful, man. The power of self reflection, awareness and asking yourself those questions, even though the answers might not be right away. But just, asking yourself those questions and leaning into. The answers or the clues that you get, right? As, as you ask yourself these questions of who am I, and how can I be better?
[00:09:35] The Decision to Pivot Away from a Medical Career
[00:09:35] Cesar: now when you decided to go to college, right? You first started in a pre-med,track, right? but then obviously you decided that wasn't for you, and you made a pivot. and I'm curious, what was it that. Prompted you to decide on that path and then what was the moment where you were like, you know what, this is actually not for me.
[00:09:56] Aaron: It was a long time coming. my parents wanted me to be [00:10:00] doctors. I'd always done well enough in school was always. quote, unquote, intelligent, in the classes and things like that. but honestly, in high school, I knew I didn't want to be a doctor really, but that was the only thing like that for a long time.
[00:10:14] Aaron: I was going to be a doctor and it was set in stone. I went to a high school called the international baccalaureate and just amazing program, especially for me. but there it's very similar to a college. You choose a major, if you will. I chose biology. Biology was always my worst GPA. When I was in college, my biology GPA was a 3.
[00:10:33] Aaron: 2 and all of my other classes or my science GPA was 3. 2 and all my other classes were 3. 8 or something like that. Same thing in high school. so I just didn't have a true interest in the science classes. They were very hard for me to truly get through. I love psychology. I love people. I've always loved.
[00:10:53] Aaron: Talking to people, understanding people, studying people. And I remember telling my mom I was interested in [00:11:00] psychology and possibly psychiatry or being a therapist. And she's like, there's no money in that, be a doctor. And so that's what I did. I did biology for three and a half years, graduated.
[00:11:09] Aaron: and honestly, at the end of college, I had done a ton of things on campus and had a ton of different jobs. I figured I should probably work in a hospital environment just to see how much I'm going to like this. So I did, I got a job as a scribe in my last year of college. so essentially you're just taking all the notes for, ER doctors.
[00:11:31] Aaron: You follow them around, and I did that for a year. I learned two things. I learned that intellectually, I actually do love medicine. It's so interesting, it's so much more interesting in person than what they teach you. In the classroom, but I also learned that it just wasn't the job that I wanted to live my entire life. And if I could, condense one story that really made me realize that I was not going to be a doctor, it was a couple of [00:12:00] patients that came in. One of the patients was just in a really difficult state, confused, not really acting normally. The previous day, they've been taken to another hospital, done some studies, nothing was found, we did our own studies, and we found out that the individual had a stroke, and when we got the results back, and I went in with the doctor to share those results, we went, told news that changed their lives forever, and we walked out, and our lives were not changed.
[00:12:34] Aaron: We were completely normal, nothing had affected us. It was just this moment of realizing, people talk about how doctors save lives and all these different things, and it's true. Doctors are amazing individuals. But a lot of their job is also doing a lot of things that they have to just compartmentalize. Pain and grief and sadness and just act like it never happened. And I just thought about that and said, do I [00:13:00] want to do that for 50 or 40 years of my life? Do I really want to have this many situations to where I have to say, forget about this, go home, be with family, and act like none of it ever happened.
[00:13:12] Aaron: And I said, no, I don't want to. so I took the MCAT already. I decided not to submit my medical school applications and went from there.
[00:13:21] The Impact of Relationships and Personal Growth
[00:13:21] Aaron: Now, it's one thing to recognize that a career path is not for you and especially for Latinos. Having the conversation with your parents about hey, I'm actually don't want to do this and I'm thinking about doing something else What was the conversation like with your parents? If you know if you can share super difficult by that time. I had, I'd honestly created some pretty strong boundaries. I moved out of my house when I was 19. And by that time, when I made that decision, they had already known that I was going to make my own decisions in life, thankfully. And so I didn't ask them.
[00:13:59] Aaron: I [00:14:00] didn't, it was just. Hey, mom, dad, I'm not applying to medical school and this is what I'm going to do. And that was pretty much it. I know that honestly, my career has been confusing to them because I've done so many different things and I didn't study for any of it,
[00:14:15] Cesar: Um, so I know it's been confusing for them, but they've supported me and they've learned how to support me in that. And I'm super appreciative of
[00:14:21] Aaron: What was next after that after deciding? Hey, you know this medical school is not for me What was that next? Job, before pivoting into tech. So there were a few,I really leaned on my experience in college. So like I said, when I was in college, I did more off, out of the classroom than in. So I was SGA president. I was in a lot of different organizations. And that role really defined just a lot of what I wanted to do. For a while I wanted to be president of a university because I was very close with our president at the University of Texas Pan American.
[00:14:55] Aaron: The man was just, incredible. I learned a lot from him and I learned a lot [00:15:00] from all of the people that I interacted with there. So I did a lot of public speaking and was very confident in what was called student activities on campus. so there was an open student activities, position at a community college that I was close to.
[00:15:14] Aaron: I applied. I got in. And so I did that for a year and while I was there, I had an idea for a motivational speaking startup consulting business. I wouldn't have called it consulting at the time. I just thought I was trying to, I was trying to build community through leadership for youth is what I was trying to do.
[00:15:33] Aaron: I had no idea how to do it, but I wanted to give it a try. And so I worked there at the community college for a year and then left to start my own business. I did motivational speaking and leadership development for about a year and a half, two years. and I made not enough money doing it, but I learned a lot and it was a lot of fun.
[00:15:51] Aaron: I built my own curriculum. I was able to do some speeches in California, throughout Texas, some online, and so [00:16:00] was really going down that path of trying to make a business work. But then I met my wife and, was not making enough money to do that. So I decided we need to leave that. We wanted to do some things together Related to faith and mission work and things like that.
[00:16:18] Aaron: And so to make that work I needed to find a reliable source of
[00:16:23] Cesar: hmm.
[00:16:24] Aaron: So I started doing contract work I've always been a great writer and Was able to find a few gigs here and there until I found one at a consulting company started contracting with them, working on their proposals and things like that.
[00:16:41] Aaron: The very first proposal I did was for ExxonMobil. It was their first six figure contract that they were, submitting and they won it. And they said, we want you to stay on with us because we think you're good luck. And so that was the start of a four and a half year into a construction consulting business and starting [00:17:00] sales and different things like that.
[00:17:01] Aaron: That was the first step towards then now being where I am today in tech
[00:17:04] Cesar: One of the things I find fascinating about your story is that in college you got involved in, in, in a lot of activities outside of the curriculum. And I think a lot of college students do not take advantage of that. And I think, that's very powerful because you're able to try different things, build your network, put your leadership skills and practice right by organizing events and, just trying different ventures.
[00:17:34] Cesar: and I think that's something that a lot of people should do more of, right? Especially if you're. I would argue it's more about the networking and the connections that you build more than the actual content, and the subject matters, and before I dive into the textiles pivot, how do you meet your wife, right?
[00:17:52] Cesar: what was it about being your wife that made you realize, you know, what, uh, I think we'll, we'll go into, into nonprofit. Mm
[00:17:59] Aaron: [00:18:00] before I answer that definitely want to reinforce if there is anyone young listening that is in college being involved on campus, I tell people I learned more out of the classroom that in the classroom, just from putting yourself in a position to be with people always struggle with getting out of school and getting out of college
[00:18:20] Cesar: You get into the real world and there are just so many things that you don't know and you don't understand and When you put yourself in a position to learn that in a safe environment and overall safe environment Like college, it's really going to change how you can approach life after you get out So 100 percent I learned so much from all the people that I interacted with I learned how to you know Today a huge thing is C level communication.
[00:18:47] Aaron: Can you communicate with executives? Can you communicate with people that have CEO, CFO, CCO, CRO, all those titles? I can do that today because I was doing it when I was 19, 20, 21 years [00:19:00] old. So definitely get involved. as far as my wife, it was one of those things, man, where we met in September of 2017, we started dating in October.
[00:19:13] Aaron: And we got married in January of 2018.
[00:19:16] Cesar: Fast.
[00:19:17] Aaron: we got, and it was, honestly, it was,outside looking in the first month and a half, it looked like a, a plane crashing out of the air because I didn't know Spanish well at all. I met her at my church. I was working with youth at our church, in a place called Huestalco, which is a little bit west of McAllen.
[00:19:38] Aaron: so I was working with youth there and she studied at a Bible college. So they sent her to my church to support volunteer. It's part of what they would do at the school. And so that's where we met. But she only speaks Spanish. pretty much. She was born in Mexico and Guerrero. And I was not confident in speaking Spanish at [00:20:00] all.
[00:20:00] Aaron: It was a Spanish church. But the youth all spoke English. I was part of them. I just was not a confident Spanish speaker. I knew Spanish, but let's say to try and,create a relationship with someone that only spoke Spanish, it was bad. The first time I ever tried talking to her, Oh, it was, it was very embarrassing.
[00:20:19] Aaron: But what helped the most was she was super kind and gave me the chance. I think that's the biggest thing with anyone that's not confident in something. As long as someone gives you a chance to work through the nervousness and work through the fear and work through all the embarrassing thoughts we have about ourselves, it's a lot easier to be successful.
[00:20:40] Aaron: so she gave me a lot of freedom and I was eventually able to learn how to communicate with her. and yeah, we just hit it off. So We started dating and she got out of school. We got married, put a wedding together in a month and then five months later we started our mission work to Mexico.
[00:20:58] Aaron: She had a commitment [00:21:00] already to serve Mexico. and I was all on board with that. So
[00:21:03] Cesar: That's amazing. And that's how you know she was the one because she was kind and she was willing to give you a chance. She saw the effort.
[00:21:11] Aaron: yes, I hope so.
[00:21:12] Cesar: Awesome.
[00:21:14] The Journey into Tech and the Value of Diverse Experiences
[00:21:14] Cesar: Thanks for sharing that story. I was just curious, how you met her. So when you decide after the consulting and These projects, you decide to pivot into tech, right? what prompted that decision? And what were some of the things that you learned, throughout those projects and construction and consulting that you brought into your tech pivot with you?
[00:21:39] Cesar: I worked at that company for four and a half years. it was a long time and it really was in a startup environment, not a SAS startup. It wasn't as fast. We weren't building a product per se, at least not a, a technology product, but I learned a lot one through just communication with all different [00:22:00] types of people.
[00:22:00] Aaron: A keyword is like collaboration. When you go into job descriptions and cross. Collaboration and this type of collaboration. And do you know how to communicate across?
[00:22:09] Cesar: Right.
[00:22:10] Aaron: I did a lot of that. for me, one, I served as a project manager on different projects that we were implementing. So I was able to work with teams all over the place in the United States.
[00:22:21] Aaron: And then I slowly started to help build out, a. A certification body that we created. she was essentially the inventor of a very specific strategy in construction, and we built out, three certificates for that. And we were starting to certify people globally. And in doing that, I started creating, relationships with Latino Medica and the Middle East.
[00:22:47] Aaron: I think at the end of it, I had probably interacted with people on. All of the continents of the globe, managing some projects. I had, one team that had over a thousand people that are being certified in a place [00:23:00] called Oman in the Middle East. I opened up all of Latin America because I had learned how to speak Spanish at a semi professional language.
[00:23:08] Aaron: And so I was able to, help people in Argentina and Brazil and, Colombia, Peru start taking certifications. So I think for me, the biggest part was, one, we were selling it. that first time you sell anything for more than, a few thousand dollars, to an individual, it starts to give you that confidence of sales is something that, transactions are happening every day, and there's money to be spent, and there's money to be, to go around.
[00:23:36] Aaron: And so that's obviously critical. If you want to go into technology sales, you have to be very confident in asking for the budget that you're asking for. So that was huge. and then just that communication has always, I've always been someone with a lot of hats on, and it has always helped me be in a startup situation, beside in where I'm at today.
[00:23:57] Aaron: It's very much a startup. I do a lot of things [00:24:00] outside of just sales. And honestly, it's something that I've loved and I thrive in. So yeah, a lot of it. almost all of it applies directly to what I do today.
[00:24:08] Cesar: why pivot into tech? why tech and why not other industry?
[00:24:12] Aaron: yeah, so I was in construction. I like I told you I was studying biology and wanted to be in medicine. So Construction was probably the furthest ever thought I'd ever be in like never in my wildest dreams that I think I'd ever be in that. So it was getting to a point where a career, a lifelong career was becoming available in that.
[00:24:36] Aaron: And the question was, do I want that? Yes or no. So at the end of that there was an offer to move actually to Saudi Arabia for a big contract that we would just
[00:24:47] Cesar: And I'd already been considering. Not continue on with the company and that really was the moment where it's if I decide to do this It's gonna change the trajectory of our lives for a long time And [00:25:00] so really had a conversation with my wife with myself to say I don't want to do this So what am I going to do? and honestly tech sales was I think Where I'm most happy is that I'm not just in a tech sales role. I am in a startup very much a startup Situation. And so that's something that I'm still really enjoy.
[00:25:25] The Challenges and Rewards of a Sales Career
[00:25:25] Aaron: sales can be tough. It's a tough job. It's a job where, you, I think everyone should sell, but it's definitely not something that everyone will want to do for a long time.
[00:25:37] Aaron: and so to have things to where I can just be in a startup environment that helps me thrive and feel more well rounded. and yeah, sales was the natural transition for me. and yeah, I think it's a lot of fun. SAS is a fun world because there are so many different ways, so many different things you can sell.
[00:25:55] Aaron: And because it's all products and it's all services, like you can find some really [00:26:00] specific niches, that fit what you believe in and it's, it's really cool
[00:26:05] Cesar: Yeah, I think everybody should definitely sell because we're always selling, we're always selling something, ourselves, a product, a service, and I think getting that experience is so important.
[00:26:16] The Importance of Selling and the Role of SDR
[00:26:16] Cesar: Unfortunately, based on what I see in the industry. The positions of SDR, there isn't a clear career path, outside of the traditional SDR AE and then director VP.
[00:26:31] Cesar: And I think sometimes people don't, they do the SDR role for a year, right? Or 18 months and then they want to pave it into something else. so it's interesting because. People, for a lot of people, sales is like a gateway into tech, right? and then they realize that,SDR, man, I gotta give it to the SDRs out there.
[00:26:57] Resilience and Mindset in Sales
[00:26:57] Cesar: it's a lot of,Intense work. You have to be [00:27:00] resilient. You have to be constantly forgetting that you got rejected or not forgetting, But like just brushing it off and moving on. Because if you get stuck in like a rejection, that's it. Game over. So mindset plays a big role,
[00:27:13] Cesar: in sales. And,I think, everybody should do sales. But it's not for everybody. You know what I mean? it's if you have the self awareness of Hey, you know, I'll, I'll burn out in like 18 months, then just have a plan. Like, you know, how to pivot outside of that.
[00:27:30] Transitioning into Tech and Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
[00:27:30] Cesar: Um, what, uh, you know, when you made the, the, the pivot into tech, you know, um, what were some of the challenges that you experienced?
[00:27:40] Cesar: and. How do you deal with imposter syndrome, right? Cause obviously anytime that you pivot into something new, at least for me and for other people out there, there's this imposter syndrome that comes into play of I'm not good enough or I haven't been in this industry or I haven't done this before.
[00:27:59] Aaron: [00:28:00] And I'm curious if you have any strategies that you have used to cope with this imposter syndrome, that, that pops up. Yeah. honestly, I think that's why I love. What you do with the show is, looking behind people's careers and what we do. That's honestly for me today, outside of everything I did in college.
[00:28:22] The Power of Self-Reflection and Personal Struggles
[00:28:22] Aaron: When I was in college, that seeking piece of really leaning into myself is really important.
[00:28:29] Aaron: I think today one of the biggest struggles for people is they don't spend enough time reflecting. They don't spend enough time asking who am I and all those big questions. And so they don't know when or how to make changes in their life that they should be making. So I think, number one, always start there.
[00:28:49] Aaron: But outside of that, we are so much more than our career. what I have experienced in the past three years, my wife lost her mom, she was kidnapped by [00:29:00] cartels. earlier this year, my sister committed suicide. we've struggled a lot as a family, after, after what happened to my wife's mom, we actually adopted her siblings, she's one of seven and we brought in four or five of them to raise them, to help them get through high school, get them through college, get them through their own struggles that they were going through. And so we're just so much more than our career and yes, skills are so important, but just. for me, I like to center when fear and anxiety is introduced related to our work, I would always encourage people to look at who they are behind their work and their career and what they've done, what they've struggled through and just understand work struggles.
[00:29:49] Aaron: Hopefully, and I say hopefully because sometimes it is bigger, but hopefully should never be bigger than what is most important in your life, family, [00:30:00] relationships, the life that you're leading, the person that you are. And so always lean on that. I didn't struggle with imposter syndrome. I haven't struggled with that for a while because.
[00:30:10] Aaron: I've gone through so many things that there's not a thing that I will confront that will make me feel like I'm not able, and it goes into a lot of different things.
[00:30:21] The Importance of Self-Worth
[00:30:21] Aaron: Self worth is a conversation worth having. A lot of people don't feel valuable, don't feel like they are worthy. And one of the things that I'll tell people is self worth.
[00:30:32] Aaron: people say that we should always be happier. happiness is a God given right or whatever. I think Feeling worthy is truly God given. we are all worthy, period. It doesn't matter what your career is, who you're married to, what you identify as. You, as an individual, are worthy. And, if you don't believe that, then you will always struggle with things like, imposter syndrome, because, [00:31:00] yeah, there's always going to be something you don't know.
[00:31:02] Aaron: There's always going to be something that you could do better. There's always someone who could do something better than you. It's not about the skills. It's about who you are as a person and how you interact with the world. That'll always help you stand out.
[00:31:17] The Impact of Social Media on Self-Worth
[00:31:17] Cesar: Why do you think we struggle so much with self worth? I have my suspicions, but I'm curious to, to get your thoughts on it. and my suspicions are around social media. I think the comparison game, plays a role in that. We don't see, we compare ourselves to this person posting their best highlights of their life, and all of a sudden our self worth it.
[00:31:43] Cesar: It's like under attack, right? So that's my suspicion,with the, spread of social media, I think our self worth has been under attack, right? 'cause as humans,we can't help but compare ourselves to our neighbor. but I'm curious, if. If you see, if you have [00:32:00] any other theories around, why is it so difficult to keep our self worth in such a high regard?
[00:32:06] Cesar: Yeah,
[00:32:11] Aaron: how we interact on social media is a result of a much deeper problem.
[00:32:17] The Influence of American Dream and Material Success
[00:32:17] Aaron: I think, a long time ago, there was like a collective decision as a society to like really focus on selfishness. and this idea of The American dream, now that I spent much more time in Mexico recently, I realized that the American dream is a culture, like it is a thing that very much defines who a person is in the United States.
[00:32:42] Aaron: And I think, unfortunately, the way that the American dream was created was built on selfishness and this idea of you always need to take care of yourself and how people define taking care of yourself was comparing success [00:33:00] to others was. This person has a house and they have cars and they have this and they have a stable job where they work 40 hours a week and all these different things that were defined as success. That everyone just said, yeah, I need to go out and get it for myself. And that's what we've taught and, that's been the system that's been implemented in the United States and in a lot of different places. And when that's the measurement, and it's not about who you are and how you treat people, and how do you serve others and how do you love others, when those are the things that are important, yeah, your self worth is going to be something that is tied to Success and material things.
[00:33:44] Aaron: and it's unfortunate.
[00:33:45] Cesar: it's a systemic,systemic challenge, right? And I think it comes down to you as individual knowing that your self worth comes from within, right? And not from. Social media or any material [00:34:00] things.
[00:34:00] The Importance of Networking and Building Relationships
[00:34:00] Cesar: when it comes to networking and building relationships, you obviously have had a lot of experience with that.
[00:34:06] Cesar: and I wanted to ask you if you have any tips or strategies that you can share with the audience, that they could leverage, if to build their network and to make friends right in a new industry.
[00:34:18] Aaron: I think this is so important, especially for minority communities,selling, we talked a little while ago about how important it is to sell because we're always selling ourselves and a lot of times. Minorities sell themselves short,
[00:34:30] Cesar: Yep.
[00:34:30] Aaron: and so learn how to sell is something so important, learning how to network. What I realized when I came onto LinkedIn and started really engaging on the platform was how important access is, and a network gives you access. And what I mean by that is, when you're growing up as a Latino, the thing that we were told is just work hard. Work really hard, work harder than other people, and things are gonna You'll [00:35:00] find your way in life and honestly, I think that's half of the advice because yes, you should work hard But if you work hard and you don't have access to the right
[00:35:10] Cesar: Mm. Mm.
[00:35:12] Aaron: matter You need to be in a position to access opportunities that you want in life And you're not gonna do that by just working hard Some people will because they're gonna find themselves in the right group of people naturally But overall there are so so many people that worked their life away and never had the opportunity that they've truly wanted.
[00:35:39] Aaron: And so networking, I think it's huge. and I think you have to be very intentional with it. not transactive, transactional. I'm not someone who believes that you should just do things to use others, but do be intentional. do be intentional on choosing the industry you want to be in. the types of People in terms of what their careers are, what their titles are, [00:36:00] not because titles matter, but because that is a good indicator of if I want to be in this type of thing, sales or customer success or recruiting or whatever it is, those titles will help you start to figure out, okay, these are people that I should be networking with intentionally. And just ask, ask for people's time, be considerate, don't be abusive of people's time, but more times than not,people's first reaction is not to stop are helpful and they're caring and they're loving, but sometimes we just don't have the time in our head to say I can stop it. And so you have to stop people and ask them. And they will help you. I've met so, so many good people that when you stop them and you ask them to be part of something, they are more than willing to, you just have to ask. And so be really intentional about it. Be willing to ask for what you need. Makes a huge difference.
[00:36:57] Cesar: Absolutely. and I call that the do the [00:37:00] homework first, right? And the homework could be, research, right? Which a lot of times is research about the person you're trying to reach out. Or perhaps you are working on a project, right? And you come from a place of Hey, I'm doing this. What do you think?
[00:37:17] Cesar: Or, any advice that you have, right? so the idea is that the person on the other side can at least see that. Oh, this, This person is actually serious about, this project because they've done this, right? instead of coming empty handed with, Hey, can I get 15 minutes on your calendar to pick your brain?
[00:37:32] Cesar: which is probably the worst thing you can ask a stranger. I personally don't like the phrase pick your brain. It just sounds, like icky. but yeah, no, it's all about the ask, right? And how you make the ask in a way that is thoughtful. and that is related to. where you're trying to advance, right?
[00:37:51] Cesar: What industry, what role, what career, is there anybody that stands out to you,first of all, what's your take on mentorship [00:38:00] and second, is there any mentor or anybody that you met a few years ahead of you that stands out that give you either a resource or advice that has proven to be helpful throughout your career?
[00:38:14] Cesar: when I started my first business, like I said, I was in this tiny little city called McAllen. Most people don't know about it. Most people. The startup that I was trying to do wasn't super common. And so I definitely felt like I needed a mentor back then. I didn't have one. and I sought them out. there were people that would ask for some time and we would meet and we would talk together, but it wasn't a, it was never able to really find my footing. so I think mentorship is huge. And I think it's intimidating to try to do yourself. It's a hundred percent worth it.
[00:38:47] Aaron: It's so important that. The very first thing that I did on, when I started engaging on LinkedIn was actually start a mentoring program. I told my wife the moment I can give back in a way [00:39:00] that I wasn't able to receive help, I want to do it. And so we started that mentoring program. went really well, so much better than I could have thought.
[00:39:07] Aaron: and a lot of times showing initiative will lead to people wanting to be mentors for you. Generally, if you say, Hey, there's a problem I want to solve that people aren't solving in my direct network, I'm going to go ahead and do it. And now I'm going to ask for a very specific thing because I don't know how to do it.
[00:39:26] Aaron: And it just, the more solution driven you are always, the more opportunities are going to come up. If you think with the mindset of, I want to solve problems, I don't want to just think about them. I want to solve problems. I want to act. you tend to put yourselves in, in better positions to, to meet the right people to make them happen.
[00:39:44] Aaron: and that was something huge for me. And so in terms of, an individual that really stands out, they're probably two. There's a guy named Eddie Bottom who does sales, definitely a few steps ahead of me in tech sales. and honestly, What I love about Eddie, the guy is super high [00:40:00] energy, super intelligent, super, like all the things.
[00:40:03] Aaron: but when he's with you, like he's with you and he's present and he truly wants to see other people succeed. It was one of the first times where, you know, someone I would say was very successful in their career and what they did actually consistently met with me just because, And, I think that's, something huge of a true, like strong mentor to where they want to be with you.
[00:40:27] Aaron: They want to be, see you be successful and you want to learn from them. the other person would be Dr. Brian Segre, just from a personal place. he was, he's been huge for me this year, in terms of just helping me have someone to talk to and have someone to lean on. and the guy is amazing at everything he does as well.
[00:40:43] Aaron: definitely some incredible individuals, but I've just met so many. People generally, just single experiences that touch your life and you can learn from anyone in any minute. So always be open to try and be better and learn from everyone that you
[00:40:59] Cesar: there's [00:41:00] always opportunities to learn
[00:41:01] Aaron: And speaking of LinkedIn, you are someone that has a strong LinkedIn presence.
[00:41:06] The Power of Community and LinkedIn Presence
[00:41:06] Cesar: And why do you think LinkedIn is important for a professional, especially if you're from underrepresented background? And any tip that you could give that you could share with the audience on how to maximize your LinkedIn presence?
[00:41:21] Aaron: I think it's the most open platform for people to express their
[00:41:27] Cesar: Hmm. Right.
[00:41:29] Aaron: definitely worry that it may be too superficial. And yeah, sometimes it can be. But I also think there's something to be said for having a platform to where anyone can actually share their story and people will take the time to listen.
[00:41:44] Aaron: I think the audience on LinkedIn is a lot. Kinder because of the nature of the platform that I always tell people is there's a prebuilt filter because it's a career platform And so most of the time and they're still trolls or whatever you want. However, you want to distinguish [00:42:00] them There's some people who are bad actors, but the majority of people use LinkedIn for their career and are not going to do things that would Speak poorly of themselves and it's a, it's a built in filter that will benefit people that want to put themselves out there and network and tell their story and share with others.
[00:42:20] Aaron: so I definitely think it's a great place to be and a great place to really find your footing and find access to different areas. And yeah, honestly, to me, it's, my biggest advice would be go out and do something like when you realize how powerful a community can be. I think one of the things I've learned in the past two years of being on LinkedIn is I'm fascinated by community, but community works best when it comes together naturally.
[00:42:51] Aaron: A lot of people try to create products from community, and it's difficult because forcing, that's not forcing, but even [00:43:00] offering. A community that's been created versus a community that forms together naturally is just so different. And LinkedIn has created a place where people are very like minded and you can find communities that you fit with.
[00:43:13] Aaron: so go and find your community and build something, do something that will change people's lives. do something that will have an impact, because you're just going to learn a lot more doing this.
[00:43:24] Cesar: love that. And Combining the advice you gave earlier about self awareness, self reflection, knowing who you are first, and then communities, there's a community for anything that you can imagine, right? once you combine those two, because if you go looking for communities before you, knowing exactly who you are and what you want, then you're just going to be joining communities, and You're going to be overwhelmed fast, especially if they're online, right?
[00:43:54] Cesar: Facebook group or Slack or LinkedIn group. So I think it's important first, what you said [00:44:00] about know who you are, know what you want, know what you're looking for, or at least have a clue. And then based on that, look for those communities, so that you can engage better, add more value because you'll be interested in adding value to the community, be more engaged.
[00:44:16] Cesar: and I'm speaking from experience because I've joined communities and then I just do my intro and then,I forget about them. But I guess it's part of the trial and error of, trying to figure yourself what community you belong to or what community you want to serve.
[00:44:31] Cesar: because you cannot serve. All the communities out there, that's just impossible. so I think that's the hardest part is know who you are and then choose, I don't know, three, five communities, that you can be involved with.
[00:44:45] Aaron: it's a big decision like to truly. Choose to be involved with the community intentionally. It takes a lot of time and it takes time away from you know After work, everything else, right? You start everything you say yes to, you're saying no to something else. so yeah, [00:45:00] I would definitely, for people listening, I think a good intersection of, minorities, there's a really great nonprofit called color wave. They do a cohort for minority professionals, to help them find careers in sass in startups. they do a free cohort, like I said, so check them out. And then for people trying to get into, sales, they're SAS pros. so they actually do training. you can get a certificate with them to try and pivot and they will help try and place you into a tech sales role.
[00:45:35] Aaron: so two really strong communities that, I've been a part of and know the people well, and so would definitely recommend if you want to ask about them. Happy to share more
[00:45:44] Cesar: Awesome. We'll make sure to include that in the show notes. awesome, Aaron. Well, I want to transition into the rapid fire closing segment of the podcast, and I'll basically ask you a question and you just give me your top of mind, 30 to 60 second answer. [00:46:00] And the first question is, one of the book that has greatly influenced your career.
[00:46:07] Aaron: So I have to say to, one is the alchemist. It's a fictional book, but it's one of the best books ever. If I ever do start a large business, it would be recommended
[00:46:18] Cesar: And then after that, it would be the one thing, which is something I read right before I got started engaging on LinkedIn and it just changed my mindset on how you apply self development because there's a lot of self help tips, but there's not a lot on how you apply them.
[00:46:34] Aaron: The one thing is very good at that.
[00:46:36] Cesar: Two of my favorite books, and the one thing it's simple, but it's complex to put it into practice, especially when you have a family. nonetheless, it's important, right? Because we can only focus on so many things at once. Awesome. Next question. One of the most worthwhile investments that you have made,and it could be financial or it could be, a physical thing, a relationship.
[00:46:59] Aaron: Number one, [00:47:00] obviously, is my family. I've done We've done so much together and, we've done things that I never had the chance to do. One of the things that we did very intentionally last year was my wife and I took her siblings to Mexico City, put them on a plane for the first time in their lives, and just showed them what it's like to leave the small little city they're from. and so we've done a lot for them and that's been something so important for me. Outside of that, just investing in my creativity. I grew up, mostly intellectual or whatever, and just never felt like a creative person. And recently I've learned how to do photography. I've learned woodworking and just opening myself to being a creative person has changed a lot of how I look at the world.
[00:47:45] Aaron: So
[00:47:45] Cesar: Two things I want to say here, that feeling of paying it forward to your family, I don't think there's a greatest feeling, man. Just being able to, in your case, put, put them on an [00:48:00] airplane, but just given them access to experiences that otherwise they wouldn't have access to. I think that's, at least for me, and I'm sure for you, it's like the highest high, it's like it makes life worth living, to be a facilitator of those experiences, for your family.
[00:48:16] Cesar: and the second one, I always wanted to learn woodwork, but my never was in the environment, my dad was not a carpenter. but I'm always, I've been thinking about that a lot because. Yeah, it's like creating things with wood. I don't know. I'm on it. I'm like, I want to explore that.
[00:48:34] Cesar: so if you have any tips for beginners,I'll definitely link up with you later.
[00:48:38] Aaron: I'm
[00:48:38] Cesar: there
[00:48:40] Aaron: sales. So I can make wooden chess boards and be a landscape photographer. It's what I would eventually love to do as a career.
[00:48:49] Cesar: you go. And sales, we'll definitely transfer to that. is there a quote that you think of often or a mantra That you live by.
[00:48:59] Aaron: [00:49:00] I used to love quotes a lot. Like I was one of those quote collectors. recently I haven't so much, but one that I truly live by is, God is greater than the ups and downs. and really, focusing on the ups because a lot of times people of faith, no matter what your faith is, we tend to lean on faith maybe when things are down,even when things are up, it's so important to understand that.
[00:49:24] Aaron: If you do have that faith, for me, there's nothing, there's no moment to where God is not present. And so that's huge for
[00:49:33] Cesar: I love that. You gotta keep your faith, regardless of the circumstance.
[00:49:38] Closing Thoughts and Advice for Underrepresented Backgrounds
[00:49:38] Cesar: And last question here, to wrap it up, what advice would you give those in the audience from underrepresented backgrounds that perhaps they want to advance in their career or perhaps do a pivot, into a new industry, into tech?
[00:49:55] Cesar: What advice would you give them in terms of, yeah, how to move forward?[00:50:00]
[00:50:00] Aaron: I think if there's one thing that has always guided how I've treated my career is opportunity is so important and putting yourself in places to where you have more than one opportunity. because We can be so limiting to where we think this is the only way there's only one way to get where I want to go. And when you limit yourself in that sense, you just, you can get worn out and you can get discouraged and you can get beaten down because that's tough. That's a tough path to take to think that there's only a single road towards success or whatever you are looking for in your life. And what I've always done is No matter where I'm going, I know where I want to go, I know what I want to accomplish, and I know there's thousands and thousands of ways that I can get there.
[00:50:59] Aaron: [00:51:00] And I'm okay with that. I'm okay with allowing life and circumstances to be a part of the process and to not be so rigid on how I choose the opportunities that I take. And I always have multiple opportunities. it's huge for me. and it's a big reason why the most basic needs, right? taking care of our family and what we need to do. Why I've been able to meet it because yeah, there's always something out there that exists if you're willing to look for it. So look for opportunities, don't limit yourself, be flexible.
[00:51:36] Cesar: I love that. Have a north star, but be flexible in how you get there, right? Which is, a lot of times we can get fixated. I love that. Aaron, thanks so much for coming on the show, sharing a bit more about your journey, and, sharing a bit more about, about your career and inspiring, those in the audience that, might be able to relate to your story that, it is possible to, to pivot and to achieve your goals and to [00:52:00] find success, in, in whatever endeavor, you're pursuing.
[00:52:03] Cesar: but yeah, man, thanks so much for coming.
[00:52:05] Aaron: Yeah. Thank you for having me. Thank you everyone for listening. it's been a pleasure and reach out if you ever have any questions. I'm always happy to help people. So thank you.
[00:52:14] Cesar: all right. I hope you enjoyed this episode and thank you so much for listening all the way through. I appreciate you. And I hope that you get some valuable information that you can apply to our personal and professional life. If this story resonated with you and you would like to support the podcast.
[00:52:36] Cesar: Please make sure to subscribe. So you don't miss out on any future episodes. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you in the next episode.