#ClouderaLife Spotlight: Paul Wooding, Senior Regional Sales Director

#ClouderaLife Spotlight: Paul Wooding, Senior Regional Sales Director

An unexpected journey of adventure, leadership, and giving back

On November 11th we celebrate Veterans and Armistice Day honoring those who have served in the military.

To commemorate this special occasion, we spotlighted two Clouderans who have served in the military both in the United States and the United Kingdom. In case you missed our first installment check out this Blog about William Daily.

In this second installment, I sat down with Clouderan Paul Wooding who served in the British Army. He took me though his military career, his transition into the private sector and then to Cloudera. I learned how his time in the military shaped him and his work with veteran charities in highlighting the awareness of the veteran experience and their contributions.

Meet Paul Wooding, Senior Regional Sales Director

Paul Wooding leads a nine-person sales team in the financial market and public sector serving both the UK and Israel. Paul started at Cloudera five years ago managing strategic accounts.

Paul told me he had a great first impression of Cloudera during his interview and has continued to be impressed with the company since. “During my interview I noticed the conversations got better and better as I met more leaders,” he said. “In contrast to other companies where the longer the interview process went on the worse the quality of the conversations became.”

He continued, “What I can say about Cloudera is it has a strong, decisive leadership team, which also empowers Clouderans to own and be accountable for their own business.”

“What I can say about Cloudera is it has a strong, decisive leadership team, which also empowers Clouderans to own and be accountable for their own business.”

Paul added, “Cloudera is a very customer centric company. Its products have an elegant architecture which allows customers freedom and flexibility.”

Paul joined the British Army to become a mechanic but ended up working on global communications and more

Paul’s exposure to the British military started with Paul’s father who served bravely in Burma and India during World War II. When Paul came of age his vision was to join the Army to become a vehicle mechanic, do my service, and one day open his own garage.

“Little did I know my recruiter was part of the Royal Corp of Signals,” Paul said, referring to the department of the Army that, among other things, focuses on battlefield communications and information systems. “Coincidentally, there were no openings for a vehicle mechanic but there was plenty of room for a radio technician,” Paul said. “Lesson number 1 in life; everyone has a quota to fill!”

What Paul would soon discover is that the roles and responsibilities of the Royal Corp of Signals were varied to say the least, leading to unique deployments throughout his 20 years in the British Army. Along the way Paul was accepted into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Officer School (the equivalent to West Point in the US). 

Finally, Paul completed a master’s degree in Advanced Information Systems at the Royal Military College, which led to a deployment in advanced weapons design at the Ministry of Defence in London. This post ultimately led to a transition into the private sector by way of Sun Microsystems.

Life Lessons learned in the military: Invest in your team, proactively communicate and manage stress

Paul said his training at Sandhurst taught him a lot about leadership. “In a real sense, getting a lot out of a team has to do with being of service,” he explained. “Serve to lead,” as he puts it, means, investing in your team members, providing the vision, strategy and plan and then giving your team the freedom on how to best execute. “This was a big takeaway from my time at Sandhurst and throughout my time in the Army,” he concluded.

“The military also brought together people of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds that needed to work together and communicate to solve problems,” Paul explained. “Also, a best practice in radio communications is for the sender to ensure you are understood by the receiver…never the other way around,” he continued. “These experiences taught me a lot about communicating with people with different perspectives and taking responsibility in making sure there is mutual understanding between myself and my team members, colleagues and customers.”

A final lesson he learned from the military was around managing pressure. Paul said, “With any job comes pressure and stress, especially when leading people. Sometimes target goals are steep with little time to execute. I am sometimes asked how I remain calm under these circumstances. From my earliest days of my military career, I found myself having to make decisions that had the potential for loss of life should things go wrong. I continue to contrast the decisions I make today with situations I faced while serving and hence I believe my military training and experience increased my capacity to cope with stressful situations.”  

Paul’s work with Veterans: Giving back to those who gave so much

For over 10 years Paul has been involved with Veteran’s charities including time as a Director and Trustee for the Soldiering On Through Life Trust; a charity that supported other organisations such as BLESMA, a military charity supporting limbless veterans. Also included on the list: Disabled Sports USA, and Mission Motor Sport, which helps transition veterans into private sector jobs in the automotive field. These and other organizations he’s participated in also focused on the mental health aspect of combat, most notably PTSD, which Paul says is often overlooked, both within veterans and also in civilian life too.

When talking about veterans, Paul points out there is sometimes a misconception that those enlisted in the military get accustomed to doing what they are told and therefore lack initiative. “This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In the military you learn how to survive and function under extreme circumstances until the mission is completed. This kind of initiative and work ethic I believe translates well to the private sector,” he explained.

As we concluded our discussion, I asked Paul about what he is most proud of. He mentioned his family: his wife (now going on 30 years of marriage), his two adult sons and their successes as well as his time at Cloudera (‘Club’ achievement every year-top 10% of sales). But Paul wanted to leave me with the fact that he only had these opportunities because of the sacrifices that present and past generations of veterans have made to preserve a free and safe society that we enjoy today. He is grateful to be in a position where he can give back to veterans and we thank him for his service.

If you’re looking to work with inspiring leaders across every function then check out our open positions!

Gino Gemignani
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