We’d like to introduce you to some of the people from around the world who make us who we are at Progress. In this post, meet Michelle Dyos, our SEMEA regional director for sales.
Ever meet a graphic designer turned sales manager? Working on movies and award ceremony sets, Michelle Dyos never imagined she’d end up working in sales. But after taking a job at a tech startup where she worked alongside sales, she was hooked. Now managing a new territory for Progress, Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa (SEMEA), Michelle has a plethora of leadership knowledge to share as well as pieces of advice for women just getting started in sales.
Read on to learn more about Michelle.
Absolutely not! Ha-ha! I started my career as a graphic designer working on movies and award ceremony sets. My first step into the world of software was for a startup called Wily Technology, where I joined as employee No. 5 in U.K. I was hooked from that point forward, always in channel but across a broad spectrum of roles including marketing, operations and programs working alongside sales. Often I would get frustrated building and implementing various initiatives but not working the sales so eventually I decided to take the leap of faith into sales and I’ve never looked back.
There are definitely attributes from my design days I have brought forward in my career such as consistency; customers expect quality and the same level of service from a brand at all times. Problem solving—customers will come to you with a challenge and it’s for you as the vendor to find the right solution. Lastly, always learning. Every day is a school day as I say to my team with channel as its constantly evolving as is design techniques, software, trends etc. So you need to keep an open mind and embrace change.
I began overseeing SEMEA in December, and unfortunately the world has been a very different place as a result of COVID-19 so travel has been stopped entirely. However, we have great forms of technology to keep me connected to my team, our partners and our customers. If anything, the restrictions have meant I have been able to spend more time with them whereas before we would be traveling for a vast amount of the time so it would have been difficult to connect as frequently. My region is also quite vast and spans multiple time zones so my location actually puts me in the middle of most so it split my day really well.
Honestly speaking, I have never been affected nor felt treated in anyway different due to my sex. I have always felt I was treated equally to my fellow male colleagues and provided the same amount of opportunities to participate in initiatives or advance my career. Looking back at my managers, I have an exact split of men verses women of all ages, races and beliefs so my development and continued network of mentors is a wealth of diversity.
Creating a trusted environment where your team are empowered to try new things, which not only help develop and elevate them professionally, but achieve great results against our goals. Listening and knowing when to coach and provide feedback as a norm verses directing your teams, which supports their continuous in the moment learning and development. And lastly, emotional intelligence. Really getting to know your teams personally as well as professionally so you understand each other and therefore know how to get the best out of people, when they need support or simply time out. Get these three things right, the rest will take care of itself.
Same advice as was once given to me which I would give to anyone starting their career regardless of sex in any industry or career path. Which is simply be yourself, never pretend to be anything other and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Blimey, haven’t you weathered it well and you’re still standing ha-ha!
It might come as a surprise to many that I am quite a shy, self-conscious person under what may come across as confident exterior. Some situations have me so nervous on the inside which it takes time and perspective to overcome.
Professionally, I am very excited about building and growing the SEMEA region with my amazing team. We have some very exciting opportunities ahead of us which I can’t wait to explore. Personally, I have spent the last 12 months focused on my health physically and mentally, making sure I take time out away from my desk walking, eating healthy, which has led to losing over 22 kg—with so many COVID-19 restrictions it’s been important to get out of the house and get moving where possible.
Always think about what impact decisions or directions you choose today will have in three years from now. So rather than focusing on the short-term gain which may look attractive, think about the long-term potential and therefore is that the right decision for today to get you to where you need to be in your plan.
To get to know other Progressers like Michelle, read more of our Progress employee interviews here.
Danielle Sutherby is a senior communications specialist at Progress, where she supports Progress’ employer brand efforts, raises awareness of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts, assists in PR activities, and strategizes employee engagement activities worldwide. Danielle is also the co-founder of the first employee resource group at Progress, Progress for Her, which aims to empower women at the company by providing leadership and networking opportunities. When she is not at work, you can find her writing, reading, or acting like a tourist in her own city.
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