In the spirit of celebrating the the great people that we are honored to work with at Jellyfish, I wanted to share a recent discussion that I had with Sydney Smith, a rockstar on our Business Development team. We discussed her experiences on the Jellyfish sales team, the aspects of startup culture that she enjoys, and a very special team member that goes out of her way to help anyone in need.
How did you first find Jellyfish and what drew you to the role?
Sydney: When I was looking for a new opportunity last April, I spoke to Ben Solari (Head of Sales at Jellyfish). A mutual connection on LinkedIn had commented on one of Ben’s statuses and, in his post, Ben was talking about how Jellyfish was growing. I sent Ben a message, very casually, to let him know that I saw his post. I included a sentence or two about myself, and he offered to chat later that week.
My favorite thing about that first interview was that it was so laid back. I didn’t feel like I was getting peppered with questions; it was just a conversation. He asked what sparked my interest, and then we talked about Jellyfish, my background, etc.
In the end, Ben was a big influence on my decision to move forward with Jellyfish. He was so passionate and excited about Jellyfish, the product, and the team. I also spoke to Phil, one of the co-founders, and he was clearly super smart. The co-founders had a really good idea, and it seemed that they were jumping on it at the perfect time.
Was Jellyfish the first startup you ever worked for?
Jellyfish is the second startup I’ve worked for. My first one was slightly larger, and I started working there a month before they raised their Series B. At the time that I was evaluating Jellyfish, I was also weighing the differences between working at start-ups and large companies.
Ultimately, I decided on continuing at startups because there’s so much that I enjoy about the startup culture. I’m pretty close to my coworkers and I feel like I have more of an impact. We also have a more direct line of communication to the C-Suite, which has been awesome.
What would you say that you like most about your current role?
When I joined Jellyfish last May, I was only the second BDR on the team. Because of this, I had plenty of influence on creating processes and getting stuff the way it should be. I was able to take concepts and lessons learned from my last role, and apply them to my work at Jellyfish.
I also really like that I’m directly responsible for how successful I am. For example, I’ve been a Business Development Rep since I joined, but as a result of my hard-work, I’ve being promoted to Account Executive. If I work harder, go above and beyond, it usually results in the success I want to achieve. That’s probably the best thing about sales and my role on this team.
How would you describe the team culture? Both at the Jellyfish level and then at the sales team level?
Sydney: Jellyfish as a whole is highly collaborative. For example, if you want to have a coffee break with the co-founders, or anyone, you can. And I love that the founders are transparent about the state of the business and how things are going. If I have a question at one of our company-wide meetings, I can ask it without fear or hesitation.
And specifically on the sales team, I want to be successful, but I also want everyone else to be successful. Sure, I want to hit my number, but I also want everyone to hit their number so that the team wins. Obviously, no one gets into sales if they’re not competitive, but it’s not overly competitive. We encourage one another and try to help each other out when we can.
What differentiates Jellyfish from other companies that you’ve worked at?
Our customers and prospects are overwhelmingly positive about the product. It seems like everyone sees a value in the product, whether it’s a VP at a huge company or a CTO at a smaller company. In almost a year, I’ve literally only had one person who didn’t understand the value immediately. The positive feedback is validating, but it also makes me want to bring the product to as many people as I can.
“My life at Jellyfish would be different if I didn’t have ____.”
Sydney: Mary. She was the first Business Development Representative and I was the second. We probably Slack every single day about something related to work, running, or something outside of work. She’s just always so positive, cheery, and easy to talk to. She genuinely cares about Jellyfish, about you as an employee, and about you as a person. She’s always ready and willing to help whenever anyone needs it, whether it’s me or anyone else.
Where are you originally from?
Sydney: I’m originally from Rockport, Massachusetts, it’s a small town, north of Boston. I moved to Connecticut when I was in high school and then I went to school at the University of South Carolina.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Sydney: At the University of South Carolina, I was a D1 athlete on the equestrian team. When I graduated, I thought I was going to ride horses as a profession. I didn’t do it professionally, but I made it more of a serious hobby for the next six or nine months.
During the pandemic I picked up bread baking. I started with some easier recipes and then eventually made some sourdough bread too, which was cool. Some other hobbies of mine include skiing and running, especially when it’s nice out!
Is there any cause that you’re particularly passionate about that you’d like to shoutout within this post?
Sydney: There’s one that’s called Danny & Ron’s Rescue. They’re a pet adoption agency. They were featured on one of the major news networks during the last year or so. They have rescued so many dogs over the years and they post about their rescues and how to help on their social platforms. I’d recommend folks check out their work or choose them for their Amazon Smile agency.
If you are interested in learning more about a role in Sales or other positions at Jellyfish, be sure to visit our Careers page. We’re growing and hiring across several departments.