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

It’s never too late

I dropped out of college when I was 19. That’s typically not how I introduce myself, but 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, I learned from a lot of experiences and lessons. At 19, I wasn’t ready to decide on a major or career. I took a break from school, travelled, and had various jobs. Ranging 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. Despite the negatives of working in this industry, it was where a lot of people I know get stuck: quick, easy, and fun money. For example, aside from small hourly raises, there isn’t much room for advancement. Schedules are flexible, but you need to work nights and weekends to get the best money. This aspect makes it hard to have a social life outside of the bar. Bartending is a great career for those who love it. Personally, I 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 worrying about landing a job once I graduated. One of my classmates knew my goals and suggested working as a sales development representative (SDR) on an outsourced sales team. 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, 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.

From college sdr to customer success manager 

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

Some of the greatest advice I received was that nothing is out of reach. While working in college is difficult, I took my experiences with sales tactics and applied them to my SDR position and my studies. Ever heard of transferable skills? Even though you may have little “real world” working experience, you likely already have an impressive list of transferable skills that employers are seeking.

I worked for years as a bartender and 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 to offer, 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 and team. Also, there is potential for even more growth than I’ve already experienced. 

Full Send

My advice to those in who are nervous about working in college is to stop worrying and start gaining work experience. My position in SDR sales has taught me that nothing is out of reach. Set your goals and remember them. Lastly, work hard on your networking skills by connecting with EVERYONE, and say yes to things you’re afraid of. You got this

Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and 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 hopes 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

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 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 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. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

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.