Each week, JWMI profiles students and alumni in its new featured series, “Winning Voices.” Learn about our diverse community and what sets our program apart from those who have experienced it. For more great “Winning Voices” content, click here.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, U.S. Markets
Program/Concentration: Jack Welch MBA
PLEASE SHARE MORE ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL ROLE AND RESPONSIBLITIES.:
As the VP of Sales for BioStem Technologies, I drive sales and productivity through multiple direct and distributor channels helping companies realize their mission, objectives, and dreams. I think analytically so my organization can navigate and solve complex business interactions to win. I draw upon deep expertise in leadership to convert those “wish-we-had” soft skills into “must-haves” needed for the future of work.
In my role, I strive to create an inclusive environment of growth opportunities to inspire results, build winning teams, and solidify business relationships. I understand that trust fuels high performance, and I create the catalyst within teams.
WHY WERE YOU LOOKING TO GET AN MBA?:
I was looking to get an MBA to prove that I can learn and understand complex business models and leadership methods to propel my career goals and aspirations and help others with their goals along the way.
I will disclose that I barely graduated high school and almost did not finish college. From an early age, I worked 40 or more hours weekly to help support the family business, often without adequate pay. Although my parents wanted the best for me, they could not provide any support. So with no guidance, support network, or resources, the goal was to graduate. I paid for college myself with few options for financial aid, and it took me six years to earn a four-year degree as I could not afford it for some semesters.
For 30 years, I’ve renumerated the question, “Could I have done better? Was I even capable of doing well? Am I dumb?” I asked these questions so much of myself that I researched my grade school files, looking for clues. And in my 40s, I thought about going back to college or even taking high school courses to see if I could get better grades. Even though I was a successful business leader, I wanted to prove to myself that I was not, for lack of a better word, dumb. After finding the JWMI program three years ago, I knew I had to prove to myself that I was, in fact, intelligent and capable. After all, I had the GRIT part down, as it has been what has driven me all these years.
I am happy to report that I have excelled in this journey by earning an Honors grade in every course within the JWMI program. I have achieved an Honors grade in every JWMI submission thus far. I am confident and proud that I have understood, retained, executed, and taught what I have learned. I could not be prouder of myself and my family for supporting me. This journey exposed me to people from all over the world, with different perspectives coming from other industries besides mine. For that, I am genuinely grateful.
HOW HAS THE JWMI CURRICULUM HELPED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
The JWMI curriculum has helped tremendously in my career. I have become a much better communicator in all aspects of life. I can conduct educated, meaningful conversations with executives from different departments and contribute in meaningful ways. Most of all, my level of confidence has grown, and as a result, I am confident that I can provide valuable contributions to current and future organizations.
Recently, I was sought out and awarded a new opportunity to lead a small startup biotech company as their new Vice President of U.S. Markets. I am grateful and humbled, and I have now realized a goal of mine to hold this position during my professional career. I was invited to participate in a mentorship program for entrepreneurs through a well-known university in Nashville, TN. This opportunity would not have been accessible before earning my MBA, and it has allowed me to expand my network and continue to grow as a leader.
LOOKING BACK AT WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT AN ONLINE PROGRAM WHEN YOU FIRST EMBARKED, WHAT WAS YOUR OVERALL IMPRESSION NOW? DID IT MEET YOUR EXPECTATIONS VIA DQ BOARDS, EOP VIDEOS, FACULTY ETC?:
Every aspect of the JWMI program exceeded my expectations. I can’t say enough about the faculty; even after my MBA journey ended, I still communicate with many professors through social media or calls. They have certainly made a tremendous impact on my life!
HOW DID YOU NAVIGATE JOB, FAMILY, AND WORK? WHAT STRATEGIES DID YOU IMPLEMENT TO GET IT DONE?:
Navigating life’s pushes and pulls takes work. Throw in the pursuit of an MBA, especially later in life, and things can get hectic. The best way I found to navigate my job, family, and my MBA studies was to be disciplined and find a set time each week, to get and stay ahead of my studies and weekly deliverables. That way, should life throw a wrench into the mix, I’ve completed everything on time.
Early Sunday mornings were the best time to find hours of peaceful time to study, like 5 am early. Another way to navigate it all has been to find and give up something that is not directly contributing to my lifelong success, such as saying no to fantasy football or staying in and getting a good night’s rest. The small sacrifices made will be quickly forgotten when you land that next big job or promotion!
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE IN THE PROGRAM?:
The most rewarding experience in the program was finishing with Scholar Distinction. I committed that I would learn everything the JWMI program had to offer. Every week of every semester, I succeeded in putting forth my best effort. I did not put myself in a position of looking back and wishing I had done more, and for that, I have had a most rewarding experience.
IN JUST A FEW WORDS, DESCRIBE WHAT “LEADERSHIP” MEANS TO YOU.:
Good leadership has nothing to do with your title and everything to do with your ability and desire to make a positive impact by serving, teaching, and developing others.
PLEASE SHARE ANY ADVICE FOR NEW STUDENTS EMBARKING ON THE MBA JOURNEY.:
The advice I would give an incoming student would be that when you don’t have it in you to do the work. Don’t procrastinate. Reach down deep and do it anyway – on time. Do it anyway when you feel you don’t have the time or energy to move one step closer to your goals here at JWMI or in your personal lives. You will amaze yourself with how much you can achieve with discipline and the burning drive to succeed.
During the 2020 JWMI graduating class commencement speech, it was said, “Everything good in life is hard, don’t let it scare you. If something feels hard, that’s because it’s worth it.” Make an impact in your life by doing what’s suitable for the world and passing on the legacy you want others to inherit.
Connect with Michael Sylvester on LinkedIn
For more information on the Jack Welch Management Institute, visit us.