Carolyn Rollins, Tech Marketing and Sales

Solutions Speaker
Enterprise brand & senior marketing manager, Dell Canada

“With technology, you have the ability to affect areas of the world you never imagined.”

Carolyn was instrumental in bringing Dell’s successful Connected Classrooms initiative to Canada.  She helped build a strong working relationship with Dell US teams that has directly benefited the company’s Canadian customers.   Together they’ve been able to bring in new products, advance Dell technologies and open new doors to Canadian customers through innovative projects like Connected Classrooms. These are high-tech solutions designed to create the ultimate learning environment through advanced technologies.

Carolyn’s CareerMash

Carolyn mashes her experience in marketing and sales with her love of technology.  She is responsible for Dell’s enterprise (data centre) products. Every day she talks to new people, sometimes a scientist, sometimes an executive, and sometimes a grade 5 student.  This helps her understand what problems exist and how technology can help to solve them.

Carolyn directly markets Dell products and solutions to educational, government and healthcare organizations.  A “solution” is simply the way a company like Dell organizes a collection of technologies to solve a business problem.  Carolyn presents ideas and shows customers how technology can help build a better experience – like the Connected Classroom.  It is her job to generate interest in Dell technologies by showing how they can make an impact and improve a business.

A day in the life

Carolyn’s job is to help people solve problems related to data centres, systems and storage, which means she solves a new challenge every day.  In doing so, she draws on technologies like cloud computing, virtualization and high performance computing (clusters of computers that work together).

Carolyn attends trade shows, leads presentations and introduces customers to Dell solutions.  As a voice for the company, she travels across Canada. Recently, Carolyn spoke at a conference in Montreal about how high performance systems can improve medical research by increasing speed and storage efficiently and cost-effectively.

Dell uses both its own and third party products (that is, from other companies) to meet the needs of customers. For example, Connected Classrooms uses electronic whiteboards from an external company.

Carolyn oversees the team that designs and implements these solutions.  They build relationships with outside companies, including some that teach educators how to use the technology to enhance learning.  Dell streamlines the process by taking responsibility for maintaining the whole solution.  Once the solution is installed and the teachers and educators know how to use it, Dell remains their support.

Why this job rocks

“I love everything I do. I love the interaction with customers and sales.  I love working for Dell.  There is never a dull moment, and you get to give your own flavour to the job,” she says. “I enjoy putting together solutions, solving customer problems and I like presenting in front of customers.  I have to say I love it all.”   

Roadmap

  • Carolyn was not much of a school person.  She studied law enforcement at Mohawk College but decided it wasn’t for her. 
  • Upon graduation she took a co-op job in sales at IBM.  She then took a full-time position and started to move up.  Soon she concluded she wanted a career in IT.
  • IBM was sending people back to school for retraining, so Carolyn took the opportunity and learned computer fundamentals at Ryerson University. 
  • She then got a job at a small start-up in Brantford.  She stayed on for a few years working in sales and marketing. She also got married and started a family.
  • Dell needed a retail solutions brand manager to talk to retailers about technology-related solutions. Carolyn landed the job and moved into her current position a few years later.

Speed Bumps

Carolyn has to promote Dell solutions without sounding pushy. When giving presentations, she often won’t mention Dell’s hardware and software until the very end so she can first open people’s eyes to the potential of technology. “Certainly we promote our products, but as we put our solution together we have to make sure we solve the customer’s problem,” she says.

Tips for success

  • Do your homework no matter what you’re interested in.  Don’t get too focused on one specific job because there are so many opportunities you can’t imagine where life will take you!
  • Be willing to start at an entry-level position.  If you work hard, give it your all and enjoy yourself you will always be rewarded.
  • Many unconventional positions require technical backgrounds in order to support the marketing of products.  Experiencing both can help you understand where IT fits in an environment. 
  • “We’re taking IT and we’re developing all these solutions to problems that exist in the world.”
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