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Meet Lissa Ricci, VP of Small Business Solutions at Cisco Canada

And our 2020 'What Next' Program Sales and Technology Expert

Lissa Ricci has always been a sales leader — managing her first sales team when she was only 23 years old. Now the Vice President of Small Business Solutions at Cisco Canada, she understands that these entrepreneurs have different needs than enterprise companies, and is excited to be leading the charge to support them with tailored solutions. Lissa is passionate about technology and how it can help businesses grow, transform, and achieve their goals.

My first job ever was… A Youth Coordinator at our local Youth Centre in the very small town I grew up in. It was a not-for-profit called T.Y.P.S. (Take Young People Seriously). I was 14, and responsible for supervision during drop-in hours and helping to set up activities that appealed to 12-17 year olds. I worked with the board as the “voice” of the youth, providing feedback on improving opportunities for adolescents in the town, and helping to promote healthy extra curricular activities.

I decided on a career in sales because… I grew up observing my Dad building his career in sales and transforming our lifestyle. When I was 17, and it was time to choose my post secondary education, I remember telling my Dad I didn’t know what the job was called that I wanted to do, but described to him how I saw myself. He said, “Lissa, everything you are saying, you are in sales.” He then went on to explain the concept of earning a commission, and I was convinced that was the path for me. I took Business Sales at College and never looked back.

My proudest accomplishment is… Anytime someone shares with me that I had a positive impact on their career or life in some way. It’s a gift that keeps on giving and I am addicted!

My boldest move to date was… Quitting my career that I absolutely adored to be a stay-at-home Mom with my two kids — then re-entering the workforce almost five years later, completely vulnerable and terrified, yet genuinely ready and excited.

My best advice to people starting out in sales is… Don’t overthink it. The first step is just having the confidence to keep a general conversation flowing. When you think about it, we mostly do this all day, every day, in so many different ways! The rest will come with time and training. And you need to be motivated by making money.

The once piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… Don’t overthink it! This is especially true for me when it comes to presenting.

My biggest setback was… “Judgy McJudgersons” — Sarah Knight has a great and quick read, You Do You, that devotes a chapter to this.

I overcame it by… Staying focused on what was within my control and what I was striving to accomplish.

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would… Read more! I always swap between having a business book or a personal book on the go. It takes me way longer than I would like to get through a book!

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I took a year off before I graduated College and lived abroad in Australia. To earn money I was a telemarketer and sold 25L barrels of cleaning chemical to janitors and mechanics. It was an amazing year in the most beautiful country. I kept my commitment, came back and graduated college, and began my career right away.

The best part of my job is… The super smart and commendable individuals I get to learn from every day.

I stay inspired by… Knowing who I want to be in this world and how that represents my family, my team, and my organization. The more remarkable role models I meet, work with or read about, it allows me to continue to shape and mold the vision of ambitions I have. When you think you’ve achieved your wildest dream, that just means it’s time to create a new dream to go after.

The future excites me because… I have so much I still want to do personally and professionally. There are so many people out there I still need to meet and learn about and obtain knowledge from. Finally, watching my kids grow up and see how they will show up in the world and the great things they will choose to want to accomplish in their lives.

Want to hear more of Lissa's advice? She's the Sales and Technology Expert in our What Next program, created in partnership with Cisco and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Designed to give you the targeted, actionable advice that you need, it connects you with experts and fellow entrepreneurs. We know the 'new normal' still doesn't feel very normal, but you've made it through the panic and the pivot — now it's time to plan.