If you’re in the Social Selling Program and in the US, you might be one of the lucky few who has Allison Meekins as your coach. How does a young woman from Phoenix, Arizona end up in Amsterdam coaching sellers from Microsoft in her home country?
It is Monday morning, 8:30 a.m., and while many are still rubbing the sleep from their eyes and yawning, the glowing & fresh Allison walks into the café to meet me. As she sits down, I see a few bits of glitter on her face. “Don’t mind the glitter remnants… On Saturday I went to a Halloween party with a few friends, dressed as Peter Pan. The objective was to hold onto my youth, and never ‘grow up’!”
Allison, where do you come from?
“I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. When I was 17, I went to California to study Music Industry and Technology and minor in Communication Design.”
How did you end up in The Netherlands?
Her laugh sparkles. “That’s a long story, but I’ll try to make it short. During my fourth year at University, I got to participate in an exchange program with Sweden, to study International Media and Communications. I made Dutch friends, and was inspired by their stories about their fatherland. I decided after 9 months in Sweden to follow my friends to the Netherlands.”
The Netherlands is very different than America. Wasn’t that difficult?
“Because I could work as an Au-Pair, I immediately learned a great deal about the mentality. Fortunately, I’m flexible by nature, so I could adapt easily. There are many small differences between America and The Netherlands that stack up. A funny adjustment was learning how to maneuver the ‘bakfiets’ (literally bucket bike) used to take the children to school… and without helmets! That was my first culture shock, I think.” Her phone rings; she listens patiently and then asks kindly if she can call back in half an hour.
So did you complete your studies?
Her expression becomes serious, intense. “No, I finish everything that I start. After my time as an Au-Pair was over, I went back to California and finished my BA degree. I started my career as an Event Production Associate, curating and organizing live music events and festival at Noise Pop Industries in San Francisco. This was my first experience as a young professional. I got a great deal of space and flexibility, allowing my creativity to fully expand and become implemented.”
Why did you return to the Netherlands?
“Well, I missed the country, my friends, and culture all together. I arranged a job from America as a Contract Coordinator in the Entertainment Tour Logistics industry. After about six months, I went looking for a new challenge that allowed me to better connect with people and help them grow.”
Did you then become a Social Selling coach for Microsoft?
“Haha, almost. First I got to work with Cups and Leafs, expanding their social media by means of campaigns. That’s how I discovered the impact of maintaining relationships through technology. That was the direction I wanted to move towards; a job with which I could create a greater impact through social media and building relationships. That is how I ended up with Tricycle.”
You train Microsoft employees in what country?
“In the US. I train in total some 400 sellers from all over the country – New York to Chicago, from Phoenix to Redmond. I give 2 onboarding sessions and an average of 18 profile reviews per week.”
She sips from her coffee. “I really enjoy profile reviews because I am working with someone one-on-one. I think it is special that I get a peek into all those different lives. In addition, I’m a Relationship Manager for worldwide projects for top sellers, sales executives and partner stakeholders.”
What is the basis of profile reviews?
“It is about the Seller. We look together at what makes him or her unique.” Her eyes glow. “I then say, for example: I do not want you to be the umpteenth Technical Account Manager, I want you to become the Technical Account Manager. That way I get someone thinking, so that they find out what makes them valuable.”
Do you have a personal quote for the reader?
”Everybody has the power within them; it’s just a matter of finding the right key to unlock it.”