Changing the Game in Life

Derek Green, Sanofi US Regional Business Leader - Washington, DC, offered his take on life’s game changing moments sharing his experiences as a guest speaker at the National Sales Network national conference. Are you a game changer?

Derek Green

Earlier this month, I had a wonderful Sanofi-related experience. I was invited to be a keynote speaker and offer thoughts about what has helped me in my career – the values that motivate me each day. The occasion was the closing luncheon of the National Sales Network (NSN) Annual Conference & Diversity Career Fair, attended by about 1200 sales professionals.

NSN’s purpose is to advance careers for sales professionals. Sanofi cares so much about diversity and selling excellence that we were one of 45 companies participating in their Career Fair. We were represented by our ADVANCE Employee Resource Group and by Human Resources. They helped attendees learn who Sanofi US really is, while encouraging diversity of talent. I’m glad we’re always looking to attract and develop individuals who reflect the world’s diversity.

My talk was introduced by Amber Doss, Clinical Account Associate for Rare Diseases and Houston Chapter President of NSN. Amber was recognized for being among the top 10 sales professionals in the country as she received NSN’s 2017 Sales Impact Award.

My job was to share reflections about the conference theme -- the importance and value of being a “Game Changer” in pursuing one’s goals. I’m proud to work for a company that uses game-changing science to develop new medicines and solutions for patients and customers.

Being a game changer is something I learned even as a boy, when I felt pressured to pursue football and basketball like my older brothers – but instead, with my mother’s support, changed my game from theirs. I pursued the saxophone and becoming class president, instead.

When I eventually got into football, I learned to take advantage of unexpected opportunities as they arise. Like when my college football coach surprised me by asking me to play a position different than the one I’d been recruited for. That taught me the importance of adapting to change as it happens.

As I’d planned, I graduated college with a Sports Management degree and got a job at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. I thought my life was set! Meanwhile, one brother had begun his career in pharmaceutical selling. When he made me aware of a sales opportunity at Sanofi US, I decided to change my game again in order to improve my life.

What I’ve discovered since then is the value of being flexible as new opportunities arise. I accepted a lateral move, for example -- not a promotion – so I could learn new selling skills. My willingness to keep changing and grow – and my actively networking with others -- ultimately helped me become a manager and then a regional director.

As I ended my speech, I offered a few takeaway thoughts to my audience: Have a Vision for your future, but be flexible and open to change. Network with others, but always be yourself. As I said in closing, “Life has taught me that the more we live these values, the more we can be the game changers of our own lives.” I hope these thoughts can help you as much as they’ve helped me!