To round off National Hispanic Heritage Month 2021, Augury’s Senior Sales Development Representative (SDR) Fernando Peña looks back at his Dominican roots in order to look forward on how he can help bridge the gap between Latin American manufacturers and Augury’s solution.
Sorry Mom, I Don’t Want To Be A Doctor
Back in the Dominican Republic, there’s only a few jobs considered worth aspiring for: something with software, accounting, architecture/engineering, or being a doctor. I think those expectations transferred over to us when my mom and dad left to live in NYC during the 1980s. So needless to say, when I told my parents I was planning to go into law enforcement, they were surprised. Eventually, after a few back surgeries that limited my shoulder movement, the biggest surprise – even to me – was that I found myself getting into sales.
I started my career working for a British sales consultancy. Basically, we sold recruitment and sales training to the people who wanted it the least: sales leaders. So, when the pandemic broke out in 2020, you can imagine the colorful language I received trying to book meetings over the phone to stressed-out business people who were busy encouraging their teams to do the very same.
“Ahhh tu eres como esto gente can hablan de la seguro de caro?” [‘Oh, so you’re like the people that call about the fake car warranty, right?’]“No mom, not exactly…”
I try to help my folks wrap their heads around my work. But I can imagine they, just as with many other Dominicans, have bigger things to focus on in their day-to-day lives. The capital city (where my family is from) of Santo Domingo has gone through rapid industrialization over the past decade. As a result, everyone is looking to advance their skills within a highly competitive job market.
Every year I visit, it’s as if I’m walking into a completely new city again. What was once known as a ‘Third World country’ has been establishing itself as an economic powerhouse of Latin America through tourism, raw material exports, technology, and even a booming entertainment industry. (Is Justin Bieber really playing Punta Cana? Again?)
From Dictatorship to Tech
It wasn’t always this way. My parents were kids during the Rafael Trujillo era. This lesser-known dictator within your global history course was known for his ruthless rule in which thousands of innocents were imprisoned or killed. It was mandatory to have a portrait of him in every household as my grandma would often tell me. It got so intense that the capital city of Santo Domingo was temporarily renamed as Ciudad de Trujillo [‘Trujillo City’].
After his assassination, it was the advancement of technology across the island that ultimately brought the Dominican Republic to the forefront of progress. Whether it be within exports, imports or construction, there’s been a huge 21st-century boom to modernize the nation. It’s a similar push that we’ve seen across all of Latin America. And ultimately, a large percentage of the tools, goods, and materials that drive these countries towards the future get created on the assembly line. And that’s where Augury comes in…
Bridging the Gap
My goal since joining the Augury team is to help bridge a gap between Latin American manufacturers and our solution. Our presence is profound in Europe and North America, and the vast majority of our revenue comes from non-Latin speaking locations. Meanwhile, the scope for potential is immense within Latin America and despite our traction in some locations, there’s still more room for us to play into the space.
Thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with many prospects within Latin America. And I am very happy to say that as of yesterday (from when I’m writing this) we were able to make a deal with two bottling factories in Mexico. And I helped to close that deal using my first language – Spanish. Crazy right?
Two factories down, thousands to go…
Going Beyond the Comfort Zone
Building a world where people can rely on machines that matter shouldn’t be limited to our comfort zones. Building a connected world revolves around sharing insights across cultural boundaries – boundaries that can be broken with shared passions and languages. Being able to speak Spanish has helped open more doors for Augury that may have otherwise been closed.
Of course, it’s not all easy. Hearing “I’m not interested” always sucks in every language. However, for every NO that we come across, we as SDRs get that much closer to a YES. It’s an attitude that I’ve carried throughout my time in Augury and one I hope to share with future classes of SDRs as I prepare to transition into a leadership role.
In conclusion: Para todo mi genté, tus máquinas hablan. Nosotros escuchamos. [‘For all of my people, your machines talk, we’ll listen.’]
If you want to talk to someone about Augury in your native language, do reach out. We’ll make it happen. And since Augury is quickly expanding into LATAM, APAC and EU, if you are bilingual do keep an eye on our career openings.