Finding your dream job is never a straight path. This interview series asks a few of our most inspiring Lenovo colleagues what they wanted to do, what they learned along the way, and how they found themselves in a job that’s more than just a job, it’s a career.
Debra Phillips is the ANZ Software Sales Manager at Lenovo and manages a team that sells new titles of software. In this interview, she talks about her career path, the best piece of advice she’s ever gotten, how being a mom has helped her in the office and more. Have questions for Debra after reading this interview? Add them in the comments.
Where did you go to school and what did you study? How did you make that choice?
I went to the University of Technology Sydney and studied a Bachelor of Business major in Management. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do but knew I was interested in something in the corporate space so decided Business was the way to go as it was broad enough to allow me lots of potential directions to major in.
What advice would you give your younger self heading into university or heading into your first job?
Be open to various paths and subjects at university. I was fascinated and excelled in the psychology and law subjects despite English not being my strongest subject in school.
Your first job is certainly not where you have to be in a year's time. Just enjoy the experience
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from someone?
Be authentic .and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Many friendships have been born in the workplace both internally and externally by being authentic.
Customers can spot authenticity and the adage that people buy from those they like and trust is absolutely true.
Every day is a gift for me after being involved in a head-on car accident at 19 which by all accounts should have taken my life. I have had a facial reconstruction and had to learn how to walk again so am grateful every day to be alive! The waves will always come – some big and some smaller – you just need to learn to out to surf them.
Is there a particular educator in your life who’s inspired you?
There have been many in my life from school, work and church. Always be open to being teachable.
When we stop learning we stop growing. I’m always inspired by other’s success stories! I hope I might inspire others to be the best version of themselves too.
Do you have a mentor and how did you find that mentor?
I used to but she moved away so I am on the hunt for a new one! She was someone who possessed skills I wanted to learn as I didn’t yet have them so I approached her directly and it was great to have her for a season
What’s the most fun thing about your job?
Meeting new and interesting people – everyone has a story!
What is one thing that people don’t know about working at a tech company?
That more and more women are working in tech companies - And it’s never boring. In such a fast changing environment I’m fascinated how many things continue to change 30 years on. I thought we had it all covered by now!
What do you look for in a person when hiring a new team member?
A good fit to the team along with enthusiasm, passion and drive
Are there any skills you’ve learned outside of work, that aren’t necessarily related to your current job, that help you in your day to day?
Absolutely! Being a mum- time management, negotiation, conflict resolution and inclusion. All learnt at home and being used in the workforce!
Networking is an important skill, but can be very intimidating for people who don’t have a lot of experience. What’s your advice on getting started networking?
Just talk/reach out to that one person. Feel great about it and then set a goal of 1 a month, 1 a week and so on.
Have you ever experienced impostor syndrome? And, if so, how did you or do you get through it?
Sure I have. I study that little bit harder and celebrate the successes along the way. So that if those moments pop up again, I remind myself of the wins.