This week on #PoweredByPeople Erin Martin-Serrano shares how to make it in the role of director of business development and how her love for technology guides her career path. Erin has almost a decade of experience with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and B2B relationships in the educational, military and commercial markets.
Can you explain your background and role within the company?
My background is an electrical engineer. I have always been involved in high tech industries working in embedded design, product design, and business development. Currently, I’m the director of business development for Hedgehog and I lead client initiatives along with strategic planning for new business.
What about business development piques your interest?
I find it to be a great mix of helping clients and developing new technologies combined with strategic business planning.
Why did you get into this industry?
I’ve always been good at math and loved engineering too, so I originally became an electrical engineer. My complex problem solving skills led me on a path towards product development and product management which allowed me to develop more business with new and existing clients. I also love technology and have always wanted to stay within the tech sector.
Highlight of your career?
I would say that two examples stand out to me. One is working on a battery solar project for the educational sector. I supported the community looking at the economic return while developing new technologies.
The second highlight would be during my graduate education, I had the chance to consult in emerging economies and assist in business planning that generated revenue in the short term.
What aspect of your role do you find most challenging?
The time it takes to put all of the pieces together from resources, revenue, client timeline, technology development, and more. It can be a challenge to manage but also very rewarding.
Do you have advice to impart for those wanting to become a director of business development?
Focus on the skills you’re are good at and how you differentiate from others. Push yourself beyond what you think your boundaries are and always keep learning. In the field of technology, having a degree in physics or engineering can be very beneficial to add credence to your background.
For a director-level position, gain real-time experience in front of business development for more than three years. Spend time in various industries because different companies and industries operate differently. Know the difference between small, medium, and large business and how to uniquely serve their needs.
What has been an effective strategy for advancing your career?
Mentorship has been valuable to me in tandem with my education. Also trying new things such as moving from product development to consulting–I was new in the business side of things which meant I entered with more product knowledge before stepping into the consulting role.
There are two good quotes that stand out to me:
“Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended with diligence.” – Abigail Adams
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates
Favourite place travelled?
Bogota, Columbia because it more than exceeded my expectations.
Favourite book, movie, or TV series?
The original Star Wars trilogy (not the new ones). I also enjoy Indiana Jones but I’ll put Star Wars before that.
What is your dream project, industry, or milestone that you wish to achieve one day?
Identification of a new technology or combination of existing tech that can scale to an extremely large business.
Next week on our final installment of #PoweredByPeople we talk to Younes Rashidi, the director of engineering and discuss his leadership role in building a strong team of engineers.
Stay connected with Hedgehog Technologies on LinkedIn and Twitter