Three Questions With Linda Hernandez, Global Revenue Enablement Content Development Manager at SailPoint
In today’s #WomeninIdentity feature, we have Linda Hernandez, who works on our Revenue Enablement team! Read her story below, and read more Women in Identity features here.
Before we dive in, can you give us a little background about who you are and how you got to SailPoint?
The journey to the “top” is never like you plan it to be. I experienced the coined term “identity foreclosure” at a young age when I had decided I wanted to become a dentist without exploring other options. So, that is what I pursued. That is what people did, right? Choose a prestigious career and not look back? Things were going great. I got accepted into dental school and was interning at a dentist’s office to gain experience in the field. What could go wrong? Turns out tuition and living on your own is expensive, so I was also working at a call center as an entry-level sales representative to help pay the bills. Everyone told me not to work at a call center because it would be too “hard.” That was the worst advice I had ever received at the time. At that call center, I realized that my passion was not in dentistry but in corporate America, specifically sales. I fell in love with the growth opportunities, the peer-to-peer learning, the relationship building, the excitement each day brought, and the endless possibilities. After that epiphany, I worked in sales for over 5 years before I switched over to sales enablement. I have not looked back since.
What was your first career win, and how did that help you get to where you are now?
Business opportunities are there for the taking if you are interested. I will never forget when I naively applied for a sales enablement role where I was employed as an account manager with ZERO sales enablement experience. I was ready for a new challenge, and I was thrilled at the possibility of joining the sales enablement team. While I knew I was far from being qualified, I was confident in my tenacity and willingness to succeed. So, I gathered up all the confidence I could, and awkwardly (I am sure), I asked my manager for his thoughts on pursuing the role. When he expressed his casual approval, I was off blindly to the races. Naturally, Google was my best friend, and my bathroom mirror was my second-best friend. I endlessly practiced interview questions in front of the mirror that I researched, and I admit that I went through so many outfit changes I lost count. At the end of the day, I was the least qualified candidate interviewed, but I was the one they chose. I think I was chosen because I was brave. Bravery is like a muscle that needs to be put into use and exercised consistently. While I am strategic where I exercise my bravery, I try to step out of my comfort zone more often than not because that is where the growth occurs. I try not to be afraid of failure because even when I do, as Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”.
What habits or rituals do you have when you feel stuck?
Not too many people know this about me, but like many others, I suffer from anxiety. Oh, and imposter syndrome from time to time because, of course, anxiety is never enough. While I have somewhat accepted it and have found ways to overcome it in each of those scary, seemingly everlasting moments, it doesn’t make it any easier. So a tactic I use to get me out of that funk when I feel stuck and can sense the anxiety uprising, I take a mental break by either going for a long walk on my own or by lying down in a quiet place. During this time, I put on an episode of the Podcast “Meditative Story.” This tactic allows me to recenter my thoughts and focus on my breath which clears my mind and helps me gain perspective.
What are you most proud of?
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
Shortly after the stay-at-home orders were put in place for us here in Austin, Texas, I was inspired by a podcast I was listening to as I was getting “ready” for work changing out of my “sleep” sweatpants into my “work” sweatpants. (relatable?) Anyways, the podcast recommended setting a 2020 pandemic mantra to keep me accountable and productive during this unprecedented year. At first, I rolled my eyes and thought, “ok, sure, why not.” But then I started to realize that it was helping. I chose the mantra “if not now, when?” because… why not? Living by this mantra enabled me to get uncomfortable and push myself to new limits despite the extreme urge to do the exact opposite. (the struggle was REAL yall) Long story short, I grew immensely during 2020 mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.
Don’t get me wrong, it was not all fun and games. There were times of frustration and difficulty during this pandemic where I had to take deep breaths and repeatedly tell myself to push through. Times like in September when my mom got a stroke, she was a 6-hour drive away, and times like in November when a family member passed away in a nursing home. Despite the challenges, I chose to accept 2020 as an opportunity to learn about everything and anything that interested me that I never had time for in the past. Again, while it was not a smooth sailing journey, I genuinely enjoyed it. Some of the activities I took an interest in include: learning how to play the guitar (I’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument), practiced french for over 300 days (it’s on my bucket list of places to visit and immerse myself in the culture), trained for and completed a half marathon on my own (this one was a tough one!), and read more books than I ever had before. While this pandemic is still at large, and there is no set timeframe on when we will go back to normal (whatever normal maybe), I am looking forward to growing and expanding my skillset in 2021.