Seriously… It’s not you, it’s me

All my life I knew what my future held. I knew precisely where I’d invest the balance of my career.

Then I dropped off my company car and left my past, present, and future gig’s parking lot.

Leaving the family business for the last time. July 30, 2019

CTW blessed me with a childhood of work when I needed money for the concession stand, a job when I needed summer work in HS or while starting college, a career which allowed Kelly and I to start a family… and the worlds most valuable education to build a unique skill set upon.

Best. Gig. Ever.

And I left.

“You should look at SaaS,” they said. So I gave it a whirl. Enter Conga

Candidly, the initial idea for Conga was to wrap my head around the SaaS GTM structure/motion, then to implant that model into a “real world” business (my phrase for the rest of the world outside SaaS).

But SaaS soon sunk her teeth into me — as she tends to do.

6 months in, the outlook changed. More than simply a growth tool, throughout 2020/21 Conga positioned itself as a career landing pad for me.

Where CTW had given security and a real-world-forged business acumen, Conga delivered a refinement to those raw skills.

I learned process & methodology from a world-class front line mgmt team. Special shout-out to my first direct mgr not named “Dad”. A guy a solid decade younger than me, on whose team I absolutely loved every minute, Louie Wollenweber.

I watched stellar sales leaders driving a number of high performing teams across every segment within NA Sales, observing how they managed multiple seller personalities and forecasting methods.

If ever I was curious about something CS related, that guy I’d met on a plane 3 years prior — Andrew Walters — was there to chat with.

When I saw FP&A as a distinct gap in my operational knowledge, I cold emailed our CFO asking for an hour Zoom once/month to pick his brain.

That “virtual coffee chat” with Bob Pinkerton became a mentoring relationship I treasure as one of the highlights of my career. As cheesy as it sounds, I’d be forever thankful if that mentorship was the only thing good that came from my time at Conga (it isn’t).

Thanks Bob

CLM became a space I absolutely fell in love with. The whole idea behind the concept — in a vendor agnostic view — just clicked with me. The ability of a little legal tool to drive change throughout an entire enterprise is endlessly captivating.

But I also saw something familiar.

After experiencing the results, after grasping the value of seeing the world as an endless harvest ripe with possibilities, I saw it. I saw that it’s feasible to be 100% fully invested in your current role while still keeping an ear open to new opportunities.

Soon, LinkedIn started to happen. Connections began to organically grow, then came engagement with my content, and then sales leaders — not just recruiters — started to reach out. I made a rule: if a true sales leader reached out, I’d have a conversation. I passed on a bunch of offers, and then it happened.

I got a message from the right guy, at the right org, with the right role, paying the right comp, with no hidden “gotcha” to be found in the small print.

After a fair amount of deliberation — seriously, by the time I agreed to have a serious conversation about the role he had 1 seat left — I dove in to explore what this org had to offer.

And with that, I accepted an offer to leave yet another gig I thought I could call home for a long long time.

Come July 30th, 2 years to the day after I pulled away from my father’s business, I’ll depart Conga.

To all my colleagues, it’s been an absolute thrill working alongside you.

To (almost) all my leaders — whether still in the org or those since moved on, it’s been a joy reporting to and learning from you. Thanks for not firing me every time I pushed the line a little too far. Thanks for being understanding every time I shot my mouth off too quickly. Thanks for letting me do me.

To all the customers I was blessed to work with, what can I say? Thanks for putting up with me, for parting with your orgs money and allowing this old guy to make a living. Seriously though, thanks for the business.

Until we meet again…

Take care, you beautiful people.

With love and all the best wishes possible,
Ryan Fiorenza

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Ryan Fiorenza

Ryan Fiorenza

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