The Selling Factory

It’s Never Too Late: How a College SDR Position Launched My Career

Written by Katie Howard

Katie Howard is a former sales development representative at The Selling Factory and University of Florida alum, who currently serves as a Customer Success Manager for ITProTV. Passionate about bringing people together, she serves as a volunteer event coordinator for Gainesville nonprofit startGNV and other likeminded groups that need occasional help. Her hobbies include playing with her rescue pups, cooking and traveling as much as possible

Photo on Unsplash by Alex Kotliarskyi

I dropped out of college when I was 19. That’s typically not how I introduce myself, but I feel it’s important context to how I ended up where I am today. I’m Katie, 31, and I’m now a Senior Customer Success Manager for ITProTV, an online learning platform. Between dropping out and where I am now, there were a lot of experiences and lessons I had to learn. At 19, I wasn’t ready to decide on a major or career so I took a break from school. I did some traveling and had various jobs, from bartending, working for a veterinarian, and being a wine sales representative. 

My favorite job was when I landed in Gainesville and became a bartender and manager at The Top downtown. It was where a lot of people I know get stuck: quick, easy, and fun money. But that doesn’t take into account the negatives of working in that industry. For example, aside from small hourly raises, there isn’t much room for advancement. Schedules are flexible, but to get the best money, you need to work nights and especially weekends, making it hard to have a social life outside of the bar. This isn’t to say that bartending is not a great job or career for those who love it. It is. But for me, I had always dreamed of being financially “stable,” not having to worry about retirement, and having some semblance of social life on weekends.  

I set a goal for myself to go back to school and finish my bachelor’s degree before I turned 30. As I worked my way through my classes, I started getting worried about landing a job once I graduated. After all, I had varied experiences, mostly in the hospitality industry. One of my classmates knew my goals and suggested working as a sales development representative (SDR) on an outsourced sales team. I was doubtful at first because I needed to continue studying full-time and worried about how I’d fit in the extra work. After consideration, I remembered my goals and the necessity of networking skills, and I’m so glad I did. I met with the CEO of the company to discuss my goals and started working part-time in SDR sales while studying at UF.

Working in college on an outsourced sales team allowed me to focus on and enhance my sales tactics and networking skills while pursuing my degree. I worked with various local businesses, and in turn, met great, like-minded people. I learned what kind of career I was interested in pursuing and was immersed in the Gainesville startup and tech community. My favorite project that I worked on as a part of an outsourced sales team was a campaign for SharpSpring. I got to learn about their company and network with some of their employees, one even became somewhat of a mentor to me.  

Some of the greatest advice I received was that nothing is out of reach. While working in college was a difficult task to manage, I took my various experiences with sales tactics and applied them to both my SDR position as well as my studies. Ever heard of transferable skills? Even though you may have had very little “real world” working experience, you likely already have an impressive list of transferable skills that employees are seeking. I worked for years as a bartender and then bar manager.

On my resume, this translates into the skill set of fostering strong relationships with customers, multitasking under pressure, excellent team working skills, and even experience with sales tactics. Between my SDR position, networking, and realizing I had more skills than I thought, I landed a job at a great tech company in Gainesville. I started in SDR sales and moved my way into the Customer Success department, where I learned I was better-suited. I love my job, I love my team, and there is a lot of potential for even more growth than I’ve already experienced. 

If I had to give any advice to those in college right now and nervous about getting a job, I would tell them to simply stop worrying and start working in college. My position in SDR sales has taught me that nothing is out of reach, no matter how old you are, your past experiences, or your current circumstances. Set your goals and remember them. Work hard on your networking skills by connecting with any and EVERYONE, and say yes to things you’re afraid of. You got this. 

Kira Baker

Campaign Manager

Kira is a recent graduate from the University of Florida where she received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hope to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Campaign Manager

Josiah has over 8 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she led a psychology research lab on goal achievement and life satisfaction and took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. Through her creative and methodical vision, she engages both students and entrepreneurs to help them find their version of success.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.