Senior Account Executive at Aptible
Describe your legal background and your current role today.
My route to the legal profession is a little different - I've actually been in technology sales for the past 10 years and decided to go to law school in the evenings sometime in 2013 (call it a childhood dream, a calling, whatever). I graduated from New York Law School's evening division in February 2017 and passed the July 2017 bar exam. I founded a website called Lawlternate during my first year of law school, which was originally a job board for attorneys seeking alternative careers. My current role, which I've had since September 2015, is Senior Account Executive at Aptible - a startup that builds technology to help other startups simplify regulatory compliance. I build sales processes, execute campaigns, pitch, and sell the product. In the spirit of being a different - my goal, actually, is to pivot INTO the legal field - and have my own private practice that assists international entrepreneurs and technology startups.
What inspired you to pursue your current career?
I've been working in my current career for the last decade. I fell into sales. I graduated into the financial crisis, and had a hard time finding a job. I started by selling local newspaper ads, then eventually found myself in advertising and technology sales. I didn't like the traditional 'sales tactics', so a lot of my success in my roles have come from being different - with a consultative, educational approach to sales. At Aptible, I've been in charge of creating a sales process, implementing a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), building marketing campaigns, writing marketing content, managing a sales pipeline, pitching the product, closing deals, and on-boarding customers. The role has evolved over time as the company has grown.
What three words would you use to describe your role?
I'm not sure if there are three words to describe technology sales - but there are three words that you can follow to be good at it: Personalize, Educate, and Persist.
Name one movie, song or book to describe your career.
The Alchemist, by Paulo Cuelho. The whole point of the book is to recognize 'omens' (or signs) as they come to you, and get better at making them actionable. I re-read this book once a year, because I find a new lesson in it every single time.
How has your legal education/background shaped the way you perform in your current career?
I believe law school doesn't teach you the law - it teaches you how to think like a lawyer - logical, analytical, educational, etc. While I'm a "seasoned veteran" in my current profession, I really hit my stride after my first couple of years of law school. Applying the lessons that you learn in thinking like a lawyer, I firmly believe, will help you in any profession you can think of.
What lessons learned or unexpected challenges did you face in your current role?
Working at a startup comes with endless lessons. The company you worked for when you started the job is hardly ever the company you are at 2 to 3 years later. With startups, you have a lot of outside influences tailoring the way the company is run - from product pivots, to change in personnel, change in leadership of your company as a whole. It's important for you to wear a lot of different hats as the company grows, and roll with the punches as they come. Of course, it's also important for you to recognize if where you are at is not where you want to be then be confident in finding and taking new opportunities as they come to you.
What advice would you give to those career pivoting or pursuing a career beyond the practice of law?
I'd say something like 'follow your heart' or 'pursue your passions' but that's not always easy. But, whatever it is you want to pivot to - take the leap and give it your all.
Educate yourself on the field, read books, ask questions, find mentors - but don't over prepare - or you'll be stuck in a state of perpetual preparation. Sometimes, it's better to jump blindly into things and figure it out as it comes, and give it your all as you figure it out.
What is your personal motto, mantra or favorite quote?
There are two. "Everything happens for a reason" (cliché, I know), and "Keep Moving Forward." I take both of these together. What's happening to you right now is happening for a reason - the good and the bad - and it's up to you to react accordingly, but always keep moving forward.
Shahed Kader is the Senior Account Executive at Aptible. He worked in technology sales before moving into the legal field in 2013. During his time in law school, he founded Lawlternate, a blog and job board for alternative legal careers. Shahed is passionate to change the narrative of sales from its traditional tactics to one that promotes an educational and supportive perspective. For more information, check out Aptible.