As Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close, we wanted to conclude the celebration with an employee spotlight featuring the new lead for the Cloudera Latin X, Employee Resource Group (ERG), Joel Martinez. We talked with Joel about his career in sales, growing up in High Point, North Carolina, and his continued rediscovery of his Hispanic heritage with his move to Austin, Texas where he currently resides.
Finding his career fit early in the process.
Joel joined Cloudera two years ago as an inside sales representative (ISR) out of the Austin office. His tasks included sales activities such as prospecting, business development, and demand generation for new and existing accounts.
During his tenure, Joel’s role has expanded. Now, Joel has account executive responsibilities in the new business development organization, comprised of new logo teams in the central and western US. He is responsible for covering 2,000+ accounts, following up with leads, and creating sales motions to get introductions with key decision-makers.
Joel started his career after his freshman year in college in his hometown of High Point, North Carolina. To earn some extra money Joel started working at Vector Marketing, best known as a direct sales company that sells kitchen supplies, most notably its line of cutlery (Cutco). “I learned how to pitch the product, upsell, and service previous customers,” he said. This ended up evolving into a full-time role as he advanced to manage his own team.
After six years with Vector, Joel wanted to explore the tech sector. He brought his sales and management experience to a small startup in Durham that specialized in a niche compliance software to facilitate public records associated with the federal government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requirements. After gaining some experience in the tech sector, a friend referred Joel to an ISR role at Cloudera and the rest is history.
“What I like about working at Cloudera is I’m involved in solving big challenges across industries,” he said. “The companies we enable with our technology literally help save lives across healthcare, biotech, and pharmaceuticals, as well as support industries that keep the world going, like utilities, transportation, and banking. It’s pretty cool to be part of that. As a company, we can have such a direct impact on a lot of people globally and for me, that is really motivating.”
Rediscovering his Hispanic heritage, sharing with others, and helping the community
While discovering his passion for sales during his college years he was also rediscovering his ethnic background through his continued study of Spanish literature. Joel is of Mexican and El Salvadorian descent, but growing up he didn’t speak Spanish much at home.
“Growing up, I sometimes was made to feel different. As a result, I didn’t want to speak Spanish in the house or embrace my heritage—I wanted to fit in. Eventually, I realized I was missing out on being able to communicate with my parents effectively because I was losing my Spanish. That inspired me to learn everything I could about the language and culture, not just Mexican and Salvadorian, but all the cultures that make up the Hispanic people and nations.”
Joel’s desire to embrace his heritage and incorporate it more substantially prompted him to step into the role of Latin X, Employee Resource Group (ERG) lead at Cloudera. “I was already involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters here in Austin and familiar with “Latinitas,” an Austin-based organization designed to help Hispanic girls get into STEM that Cloudera has supported in the past. So I thought the ERG would be a good point of collaboration.”
Advice for early career sales professionals
In reflecting on his career so far, Joel identified one thing to keep in mind at any stage in one’s sales career. “I learned this mindset from one of my first managers: Understand that your success in sales is a direct result of how much you learn and therefore the more you know about your product, the sales process of an organization, etc. can directly affect your compensation. So while taking action is vital to a successful career in sales, devoting time to regular practice and coaching is an investment in your future.”
He adds, “For example, I always work to understand sales processes and sales motions inside and out, thoroughly studying the products and technologies, how the partner ecosystem works, and the competitive landscape. In addition, I am currently studying for an Amazon Web Services cloud practitioner certificate because I know it will help me better understand the space and, in turn, better serve our customers.”
Living in Austin and the road ahead
Joel was excited to join the Cloudera Austin office and to try out living in a bigger city. Joel says, “Prior to moving, I only visited Austin once but I loved the city, so I was like, let’s give it a try!”
He adds, “It’s a super active city and that is my favorite thing about it. There’s just so much to do—the river and trails are awesome. I’m always walking or running and I just got a mountain bike. There are a lot of social events as well, including some great places to dance Salsa and Bachata.”
“Looking ahead in my career I’d like to move up to a manager role so I can help scale the business development organization and start mentoring others as I did in my previous business,” he said. “I got a lot of satisfaction out of helping others grow in their careers. I see how data analytics is changing the world and I’m happy to be part of it and create an organization where others can be a part of it too.”
We thank you Joel for contributing to Cloudera and sharing your story!