Kanetra WashingtonKanetra Washington is a proud alumna of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Holding a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and mass communications with a concentration in public relations, Kanetra took a detour in her pursuits to work in her field when she attended the Thurgood Marshall Annual Leadership Institute Recruitment Conference and Career Fair.
“Merging academics with developmental and networking skills over the course of one weekend, the structure of this conference forced me to immerse in activities needed to make the necessary transition from academics to the workforce,” she states. By interacting in various social settings, Kanetra narrowed her decision to one company: AT&T.
“My desire to pursue a career with AT&T began as I interacted with representatives of the Business Sales Leadership Development Program. Knowing this program would position me to pursue a career in sales, I immediately realized this was my opportunity to put to use my public relations skills and really sell myself. I developed an urge to utilize all facets of my undergraduate training in communications and public relations to showcase my ability to thrive in sales and in this program. As a result of my presentation, I was offered the job.”
Kanetra’s success was largely due to her ability to convince employers of her talent by matching her undergraduate experiences to skills needed for the job. Kanetra’s independent study in Malawi, Africa during the summer of 2009, which included a documentary and campaign project, provided her the backdrop necessary to draw on. During her interview with AT&T, she skillfully highlighted the purpose of her project, which was to present how she was able to sell an intangible product to over 700 individuals, using public relations skills, in order to draw the correlation between how her field of study and sales relate.
“Maintaining a global mindset while expanding my network made this career opportunity a seamless transition. After being extended employment, I trained for five months learning how to connect people with their world everywhere they live and work and do it better than anyone else, which is our mission at AT&T. My five months of intensive mobility, wired, vendor, value proposition, sales techniques and presentation trainings, helped me to not only learn my company, but to sell AT&T.”
One month removed from college, Kanetra began training with AT&T as an account executive in Atlanta, Georgia. Five months later, she relocated to Houston, Texas where she is currently a sales solution consultant for their National Business Market segment. To name a few, she partners with account managers to evaluate the customer’s needs and provide solutions to meet those needs. She retains accurate and timely data on customer’s existing services, including existing contracts, upcoming expirations and current services and billing. She also, retains and grows revenue by providing and referring AT&T services and proposes AT&T solutions in order to improve customers business.
Some of the goals she has for herself are to obtain a masters degree in corporate communications, travel back to Africa to conduct non-profit work with youth and community development and navigate through the corporate ladder at AT&T. “I don’t foresee where I will be in 10 years because I don’t dictate my future. My spiritual provider does. I believe I am on a path to establish a non-profit in Africa and own an international PR firm.”
“The best advice I would offer to TMCF students would be to approach life experiences as an opportunity to display your differentiating qualities. Life is a test, and in order to pass it you must carry yourself as if you are on a journey of interviews. People buy from people they like, so sell yourself.”