Hello VOX Readers, how are you? I hope all is well with everyone! Back in April, I caught up with Barry Cashman. Did you see his #LifeAtVeritas interview? Today I’d like to introduce my latest Veritas employee interview, which is with Conor Graney. He recently joined Veritas’ Early Career Programme (VECP) as a Channel Sales Associate apprentice. Please take 10 minutes to read Conor’s interview below; it’s insightful and also heart-warming.
Zoe: Welcome Conor, thank you for agreeing to participate in the #LifeAtVeritas blog series. What made you choose to join Veritas’ Early Career Programme?
Conor: Hi Zoe, you’re welcome, and thank you for having me. The role at Veritas caught me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting to see such a fantastic opening available during the pandemic, especially for graduates. Coming fresh out of university in the Summer of 2020, I was looking for a sales role that would offer me great support as well as internal progression, and I think the VECP ticks all of these boxes.
Even from my interview day, I knew Veritas was the place for me. The people were so welcoming and are always on hand to help. The culture is fantastic; there is a real “we are all in this together” ethos. The vision of the company is clear and motivating, and above all, for me, the responsibility and appreciation given to the apprentices is something that I haven’t seen elsewhere. What resonated with me was on our very first day, we were told: “you are here to learn, but you are also going to teach us many different things and explore new ways to develop our business.” For me, this statement shows how much Veritas values its apprentices.
Zoe: Conor, what do you enjoy most about the Veritas’ Early Career Programme?
Conor: Great Question; it’s hard to nail it down to just one thing. But I think it would have to be the fact that I am on this journey with 24 other fantastic, highly competent apprentices I hope to share some great success with at Veritas in the years to come. It’s been great being able to support each other through our training and work together on various team projects, and I’m sure we’ll get the chance to work together further in the field when the time comes. It’s been difficult getting to know them all due to the pandemic, but I’m relishing the opportunity to meet them all in person for the first time when we’re allowed back into the office this summer, and hopefully, a few social events too.
Zoe: Can you share a summary of a day in the life of a Sales Associate on the Veritas Early Career Programme?
Conor: Of course, the day starts with a team Zoom call to establish plans for the day/week ahead, led by Natalie Murray, our VECP Academy Manager. We then enter into two to three-hour training sessions, either lead by the Veritas Team, where we learn more about areas of the business or product-specific information, or we have a session lead by Pareto Law, where we learn more about sales-specific techniques – these sessions are part of our ITTSA Level 3 Apprenticeship, which all of the apprentices are enrolled in for 15 months. The afternoon usually involves either meeting with mentors/managers or having free time to dedicate some extra time to areas where we think we need to go over in more detail, for example, solution-specific information that we need revision on.
Zoe: Conor, what career advice would you give graduates on how to secure an apprenticeship role?
Conor: Perseverance, and NEVER give up. You will be told no, you will be knocked down, but try and try again. A personal anecdote; I’m 5ft 10’ and 77kg, which is deemed ‘too small’ by many to be a rugby player, and I was often told I wouldn’t make it because of my size. “You have the talent, but put on 10kg and come back to us” is something I’d hear more often than not. Despite this, I persevered and managed to play at a competitive level, culminating in playing professionally for a year in Italy. For every closed door, there will be an open one somewhere, and it’s up to you whether you want to keep persevering to find that door that’s ready to be unlocked.
I would also encourage graduates to network. There is a lot of value in networking, such as LinkedIn or in-person (when possible). My father once told me, “It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know,” and I believe this is true for many walks of life. Not all, but many.
Zoe: To some extent, we have been influenced in our personal and work lives by others. Who are your role models and influencers? And why?
Conor: Wow, a great question! To be honest, I would have to say my father. He is my inspiration and role model - he has instilled values in me since a young age, and I believe I am the man I am today, mostly due to him. My father grew up in a working-class family where money was very tight; he went to a state school in South London and left with just three GCSEs. Having spent a couple of years stacking shelves in a supermarket whilst balancing night school, he found himself in a sales role for a large medical company, where he worked from the bottom to the top, becoming their most successful salesman ever. Following this, my father has gone on to found and direct two very successful medical companies and is currently developing an exciting new venture in stem-cell medicine. How did he do this? Hard work, determination, and being honest and kind.
The key lessons he taught me are:
Zoe: Conor, what motivates you?
Conor: Another great one - I think a big motivation of mine is responsibility; whether that’s on the rugby pitch or in the workplace, I thrive on responsibility and tend to be better under pressure situations. Another motivator is the opportunity to grow. For example, if I’m able to grow internally within Veritas, that will be a big driving force for me to achieve my goals. Two other smaller motivators would be when I’m told “No” – this motivates me to prove the person responsible wrong. And of course, money. I don’t strive to be rich or famous, but I strive for financial freedom and the ability to do what I want when I want later in life.
Zoe: What’s your favourite Veritas solution or product?
Conor: From my training so far, APTARE IT Analytics has to be the most interesting product within the Veritas portfolio for me – this is probably mainly because it has such a diverse array of capabilities and that there is literally no other product or solution on the market that can compete with it. To be honest, I find the Insights pillar fascinating, and I really think that it could be full of lucrative opportunities for Veritas in the months and years to come.
Zoe: Conor, what do you like to do in your free time?
Conor: I love to keep active; I’m a keen sportsman. When life allows, I play rugby at a competitive level most weekends, and I also do a lot of boxing, just socially to keep fit. I also love to travel – I have a YouTube Channel and Website where I upload my vlogging adventures (currently on hold due to the current situation). I also love my cars – during the first lockdown, my father and I took our old 1999 Mercedes ML430 and completely renovated it – it’s currently wrapped in a lovely Veritas Red.
Zoe: Finally, what technology can’t you live without?
Conor: Hmm, it’d have to be e-retail. I’m a sucker for shopping online – whether it’s Amazon, eBay or now even doing my food shop online. It just seems to be a much more efficient way of doing things, both timewise and money-wise.
But one technology I could definitely live without is GPS… I have a good sense of direction, and there are other much more traditional ways of reaching destinations that seem to be just as accurate (if not more accurate) than GPS.
Thank you, Conor, for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I like the sound advice your father taught you - hard work, determination, and being honest and kind will take you far. I couldn’t agree more about GPS, there are plenty of ways to find your way to a destination without Google Maps, and if you get lost along the way, then that adds to the adventure.
If you enjoyed this Life at Veritas blog post with Conor Graney, then stay tuned as there will be more interview-style posts from Bethany Lang and Sam Eastwood, who are also on the VECP. And if this has inspired you to join our team, check out our job vacancies on LinkedIn and apply here.
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