Senior Account Executive, HERE Technologies
AWE Accelerator Rina Patel sat down with us to discuss her 12-year career at HERE Technologies, her three keys to success (plus a bonus 4th tip!), and her experience with AWE Accelerator.
Rina, please tell us about your current job title/responsibilities.
I am a Senior Account Executive in the NA Automotive and Industrial Sales Team at HERE Technologies. I specifically work on the Stellantis account, not only managing day-to-day administrative but end-to-end complex deals from solution creation to deal negotiation. Managing this account includes creating strategy, and working globally and cross-functionally which includes Product, Operations, Finance, Legal, etc. As of recent, I have spent a lot of time working with Legal. I wish I would have paid more attention in Business Law because bingeing “The Good Wife” did not do me any favors in this area. I was recently told I could put TV ESQ after my title, but that’s it.
Did you always envision yourself working in the industry you’re working in now? How did you stay focused on your goal or pivot when necessary?
Right out of college, I worked in retail and loved it until I decided I needed my weekends back. I knew I wanted to move into a corporate setting, which is how I got into tech sales. I always worked at great companies and had supportive leadership but I never really thought about a career from a long term perspective. I always took it one role at a time. I would have never envisioned a career in Auto; not at the time. From retail, I switched to tech sales, which included managing a large number of accounts. I used that to pivot to a new company, where I worked in Account Management talking with car dealers everyday. When I was hired at HERE, it was to focus on Dealer Programs. I was using my experience working with dealers, but now it was through the OEM HQ. I will have worked at HERE 12 years in July, and I can say my job has changed every single year, and I have used that to ensure I’m always upskilling. I’ve been on auto-pivot, if you will. That change is what has kept me focused on always ensuring I’m challenged.
What are some pivotal experiences in your personal history or career?
I believe you have to take something away from each of your experiences, jobs, and relationships. In a nutshell, I would say what has really shaped me are the following:
When I worked as an Account Manager, I thought the next natural step was moving into management. I wish someone had told me that was absolutely wrong! I wish I knew then, what I know now about managing. I was a disaster! But it has made me stronger and changed how I work as an individual leader.
I was inspired by a leader who said the only job she interviewed for, was her first at NAVTEQ (now HERE Technologies). After that, she was always tapped for every role she had. I wrote that down. Simultaneously, I had been talking to a number of managers about roles in sales. I was beginning to get disheartened with the responses I was getting, equating to “You aren’t a fit”.
I was eventually offered an Account Executive role for the account I was managing on the marketing side and accepted. I tell everyone who is taking a leap, “You can say no but don’t say no because you are scared”. I’d like to think that I manifested the job and the leadership team in front of me!
What do you think the 3 most important keys to your success have been?
1. Be vocal with your ideas, feedback, and questions. Most of the time you will get an IM from someone that is glad you said something.
2. Be authentic inside and outside of work. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok.
3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Work on a scary project, present to your C-Level, speak about topics that don’t make everyone comfortable.
Bonus tip: Inject humor! I’ve never had anyone say no to a funny story or a good laugh on a call!
Tell me about Paradigm for Parity 2020 Women on the Rise and being a Women’s Initiative Network Leader. Why is it important to you? To women?
It was so exciting to be honored as a member of this group of women! I joined our WIN Committee, and jumped right into supporting events. I eventually joined the Steering committee and led that group. I felt I should lead by example and really pushed our WIN initiatives on our NA Sales team. I was nominated for the award by my leaders Charity and Joel, as well as our Culture lead, Leslie, for these efforts. This was truly exciting as it meant that my leadership could see the importance of what our WIN ERG was doing and the importance of women in our organization. And to see the change in the last two years of team members globally vocalizing support for our WIN initiatives, and leaders who are actively working towards gender parity, whether it is the percentage of women working at HERE or pay parity.
How has being a part of AWE Accelerator changed how you show up to work everyday? What was your favorite session/training?
AWE has had an impact in a number of different ways. It’s really hard to choose one favorite session. Each one made an impact in some way! If I had to choose one, it would be the Confidence and Resilience session. I think that we all naturally take feedback to the worst place possible. Turning in your badge because someone didn’t like your presentation is extreme. The moment I started looking at feedback in a more positive light to get to the next step in my career, things changed. We all need “Rewrite the story” on a t-shirt.
What is your motivating force in business and in life? Has it changed throughout the years?
The motivation for my career right now is to actually enjoy what I’m doing day to day. If you asked me this when I first graduated college, it would’ve been to make money to buy all the things! But things change. Many of us were languishing over the last two years. But then you pivot, you learn, you grow and right now in particular, as we are coming up for air from the pandemic, the goal is to flourish.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that we can’t find listed on your resume.
Like many others, I love True Crime! I’ve seem My Favorite Murder live, twice. I love a great survivor story! And there might some eyerolls on this one but I absolutely love TikTok for True Crime Stories. It’s the modern day Reader’s Digest! And if there’s a true crime doc on any number of streaming services- I’ve seen it. And I’m open to all recommendations!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.