Kristi McColgan is the Head of Global Sales Enablement Programs at Poly. It’s an exciting new role for her, offering opportunities to shape how Poly’s products are delivered to the world. When we first saw Kristi’s profile, we thought sales was something she was born to do. We were surprised to learn she got into sales by accident.
Accidental Careers are the Best
Kristi studied women’s history and had planned a career as a history teacher. “I love history – but not for the wars and dates. I love the stories. I was drawn to women’s history in college because the more I read, the more I realized things were told from a singular perspective. I planned a career in education – the corporate world wasn’t really on my radar.”
After a few years working in higher education, Kristi found herself at a crossroads wanting to explore new career options. A family friend worked at Poly (Plantronics at the time) and alerted her to an opportunity in sales.
Building a Powerful Network
Kristi took a chance on Poly and on her first day on the job, she flew to Dublin to meet 500 new colleagues at the company’s global sales kickoff.
“It was quite a whirlwind of new information, new people, excitement, and nervousness! The technology was fascinating, and I noticed instantly that everyone greeted each other like family at a reunion – it felt like I was in a good place.”
Over the years working at Poly, global sales kickoff meetings became a reunion for Kristi too. During one of the most recent sales kickoffs in Palm Springs, she and a few other women from Poly arrived a day early to hike and take an open-air jeep ride through the desert!
Selling and Storytelling
Kristi has spent seven years in various sales roles at Poly. She has grown from mid-market Local Account Manager to Territory Manager to Major Account Manager working with Fortune 500 companies. She has won several President’s Club awards, and really loves the human element of selling.
“I love sales because sellers are storytellers. They teach customers and solve problems and help them think about things differently.”
Her recent move into a role leading the Global Sales Enablement Programs team at Poly has her helping shape the way sellers tell their own stories. She has joined an award-winning team and leverages her perspective from her time as a seller to develop critical sales enablement initiatives for Poly’s global sales team.
Kristi’s top advice
Kristi offers sage career advice:
- Work/Life Balance takes Work: “It takes planning and intention to arrive at a work/life balance that works for you. I’m thankful that Poly offers the flexibility needed to work on a global team and still have balance. I am also so lucky to have my mom working in our industry – she’s a Partner Development Manager at Microsoft. We constantly cheer each other on, and she and my dad have been great role models for balancing successful careers and family life.”
- Mentorship doesn’t have to be formal, but it’s critical: “Take advantage of formal mentorship programs offered by your company or industry groups, but don’t overlook the opportunity for forge a “friend-tor-ship” within your network. I’m fortunate to have a strong network of trusted peers and mentors within Poly and more broadly, in our industry. I’ve had wonderful formal and informal mentorship relationships, and it’s a two-way street learning from each other.”
- Believe in what you do: “It feels like such a special time to be working for Poly. The pandemic has impacted everyone’s relationship with their work in one way or another – and I find it so meaningful to be working for a company that can help make work from home, learning from home, telemedicine, etc. a little easier and less chaotic.”
We ended our enjoyable chat with Kristi sharing what she enjoys doing when she’s not working. She is very much into arts and craft — and it’s all for a great cause. Since the pandemic, she started sewing face masks and donating them to friends, family, neighbors, and those in need. She also enjoys sharing her guilty pleasure, The Real Housewives television series, with her husband Sean and their rescue dog, Meeko.
It seems Kristi not only has a heart of gold, but is also a down to earth colleague and friend everyone would love to have.