Participant Q&A

John Edwards

John Edwards

Senior Account Manager, Otis Elevator Company

Career & Professional Development Participant

What are you currently doing (career-wise)?

I am the senior account manager for Otis Elevator Company for Albuquerque, Northern New Mexico, and Southwest Colorado, and have been for nine years. At my company, this means developing both new customers, building and maintaining relationships with our customers as our industry has multi-year service contracts, as well as helping customers plan for capital improvements and then handling the project management of those minor and major overhauls of their equipment. It also means working with management, customers, and field associates to resolve programs and to pursue opportunities.

Why did you decide to take a professional development course?

I began my career as an Air Force Officer, and I was both taught that adding and developing both my personal skill set and that of my airmen was crucial to both current and long term success for both individuals and organizations. I have continued to follow this guidance, and I am fortunate that my company and my management both strongly encourage, both with providing me the time to participate and being willing to pay the program directly. I think that a diverse skill sets are crucial in today’s workplace.

What did you take away from your learning experience that has been most applicable to your career?

The first program I decided to take was Mediation Certification, specifically because I wanted to improve my skills in dealing with conflict. I greatly enhanced my skills in learning how to identify potential points of conflict and address them productively at a low level, saving time, energy, and frustration. I also learned how to navigate serious conflict, and I became more comfortable with that process. It is still the best professional development course I have ever taken. The program helped greatly improve my sales performance, and these skill helped me improve how well our entire branch team functioned. I actively promote this program, as I know it has the power to transform a career and an organization.

You are so busy, how did you fit classes into your schedule?

We all have the same number of hours in a day. You choose to make time for growth and development, or you don’t. In the end, this investment of time results in getting time back. I am also lucky to have a supportive spouse and workplace who encourage me to make those investments.

Professional development can be expensive, how do you justify the cost?

I am fortunate that my company doesn’t just promote personal growth and career development, they fund it as well. I make the business case to my manager, and he supports these investments because he has witnessed the direct business results. This is one reason I have continued to be successful in my role, and also why I have continued to love working for Otis. If an organization invests in its people, its people will return that investment many times over.

Anything that you would like to include that wasn’t asked?

I’d like to directly address Owners, CEOs, and managers and tell them to lead by example. I’d encourage them to sign up and take a class. I also challenge them to actively promote these programs to their organizations and teams. The workplace is becoming more dynamic and the rate of change will only increase. Only by investing in learning and development can Albuquerque and its organizations lead growth and vitality in our community. I’m signed up for another class this fall. That’s one a year for the last four years.