Career Spotlight: What I Do as a Gale Cengage Learning Country Manager
November 14, 2017
Country Manager for Canada at Gale Cengage Learning
First of all, tell us a bit about your current work and how long you’ve been at it.
I’m the Country Manager for Gale, A Cengage Company. It’s a recent promotion and a newly created position. My primary focus is Academic Libraries, but I also work with other Gale colleagues that are responsible for Public, K-12 and Government Libraries. I’ve been with the company for 17 years.
What drove you to choose your career path and how did you go about getting your job? What kind of education and experience did you need?
I worked part time in the library during undergrad. The librarians told me I would be a good publishers rep because I loved information. I asked them “what’s a publishers rep?” A few months before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1989 (York U), I strolled past the job placement office on campus. There was a cork board with job listings. 28 years later, here I am. My undergraduate degree focused on Economics and Sociology. These are two knowledge bases that continue to help me in work and life.
What kinds of things do you do beyond what most people see? What do you actually spend the majority of your time doing?
I do a lot of research before contacting a library. Their time is valuable and I know they appreciate interactions where I can share my knowledge of what’s happening elsewhere in the country.
What misconceptions do people often have about your job?
The misconceptions are that we are singular in our mission. In this industry, we are having important conversations in person about what is working at a library and what is not. This can be a product or service. We report back this information and try to come up with solutions. We play the role of consultant and advisor long before we have anything to sell.
What are your average work hours? Typical 9-5 thing or not?
I started my day at 8 am in Edmonton to present at the Netspeed conference. Had various meeting throughout the day. As I write this, it is 10:40 pm and I am at the Calgary airport. I’m catching a flight to Regina that will arrive at 1 am. I have meetings at U of R the following day. I will be back in Toronto by 8 pm the following day. On Friday, I am working from home and will have conference calls from my kitchen table!
What personal tips and shortcuts made your job easier?
Keep up computer skills, especially Excel and other things like Webex. I create rules in my email settings to create a flag next to any email that is sent to me and only me. When I’m backed up on email, it allows me to quickly identify those emails first and respond immediately.
What do you do differently from your peers in the same profession?
I think I have a high degree of sincerity and authenticity. It’s probably because I truly enjoy my job.
What’s the worst part of the job and how do you deal with it?
Travel – Airports – I will be first in line if they want to beta test Teleporting devices in the future!
What’s the most enjoyable part of the job?
The people and the places I get to go.
Is there a way to “move up” in your field?
Yes, indeed. We have had senior executives start out as field representatives and acquire their business acumen through work and not a business degree.
What advice would you give to those aspiring to join your profession?
Be the best you, you can be. You might need an honest friend to help you on this. If you have shortcomings in understanding fashion, technology, contemporary topics or worldly events, own up to your weaknesses. Get some help and broaden your social and interactive appeal.