Helena Sakla

IMSE Undergrad Class of 2015

Eaton Corporation


What does the company do? Eaton is a power distribution company with sales of $20B in 2016 across 175 countries. Eaton provides solutions to customers in the electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power sectors.
Current role: Technical Sales Engineer
How I got to my current role:

  • Technical Sales Engineer Intern- Eaton 5/14-8/14
  • Technical Sales Leadership Development Program- Eaton 7/15-8/16
  • Technical Sales Engineer- Eaton 8/16-Present


A day in life of a Sales Engineer: The routine-ist in me wishes I could say every day is predictable or perfectly planned, but that is most certainly not the case. While the overall objects never change- sell, provide time, cost, or space saving solutions, and meet/exceed customer expectations, sell, and sell- the actions in achieving those is ever changing.


I have specific customer accounts and a target sales goal I’m expected to reach by the end of the year. As you can imagine, much like anyone in our social lives, no two customers are the same. They all vary across all spectrums, on a company-to-company basis and individual to individual. Learning to adapt to all the different styles, tones, understanding, and preferences is nothing short of an art form. I equate it to being a foreign translator of all language- I hear everything in a different language, and respond/translate it into a language that Eaton can process and execute on. Poetic, I know.



Below is an example of a typical day:



5:00AM (sometimes…): On days I feel inspired by the Biggest Loser or Beyoncé, my overly ambitious self goes to the gym.
6:00AM – Get ready for work. Although I feel I’ve always had a pretty simple morning routine, our company recently removed our business casual dress code. Yes, there IS freedom in corporate America. And yes, I abuse this newly abolished rule religiously.
7:00AM A.) –If my morning is “free” I head straight into the office and get there at 7:30AM.

7:00 AM B.) – If I have a meeting with customers, I usually leave quarter till 7. A lot of the people in our industry are early risers-plus, I’d prefer to get in front of them earlier in the day when I have less distractions going on.

7:00 AM C.) If I’m feeling groggy in the morning, I log into my email and work from home until 8:45AM-9:00AM (around when traffic dies down and one of the many perks of sales).


8:00AM – My morning can consist of answering emails, bidding projects, internal/external meetings, customer interfacing, job site visits, or addressing spur of the moment crisis.


12:00PM – I typically take customers out to lunch whenever possible. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is yes, free lunch. On days I don’t take customers out, I go out to eat with coworkers, work through lunch, or eat my lunch in the break room while watching Family Feud. There are some calls I get over lunch that I wish were Steve Harvey telling me to do something and realizing he dialed the wrong number…


1:00PM- The cycle from the morning (whichever it may be for the day) rolls into the afternoon.


3:00PM – Ping-Pong break, obviously.


3:20PM– Then the cycle from the afternoon continues until close of business. And on days I’m really lucky (and I get lucky a lot), it rolls in to after close of business.


5:00PM – I leave work anywhere from 4PM (beat traffic, then finish the work day at home) to 6/7PM. It’s really not as miserable as it sounds, nor is it the holy grail of work- but anything after 5 is when I get some of my best work done since everyone is gone for the day.


9:00PM– BEDTIME. Is this an exaggeration? No. Do I get a full 8 hours of sleep? Yes. Am I ashamed? Not as much as I probably should be.



Why sales? My personality type is definitely suited for sales. While I do not see myself doing it my whole life, it’s been a really positive and exciting position to have. The social part of me is fulfilled (and eventually drained), while the technicality of the job keeps my brain challenged and stimulated. I enjoy the interpretation and problem solving of the projects and people I encounter. I’ve also noticed that others within the company that started in operations are constantly trying to switch into sales- some more successfully than others. The move is not impossible, but it is definitely structured to better propel your career from sales to operations than the other way around (within this company).


What’s the end goal? C-Suite, of course! Or, if I have an ingenious idea, jumping ship and starting my own business. Who knows, maybe I’ll be the next Jobs, Gates, or Zuckerburg- but, you know, a girl.


Most surprising thing that I didn’t expect coming out of college – There are parts of work you like, and truth be told, a lot of parts you hate. But the real make or break to any job is the community and corporate culture your company fosters. If you enjoy being around your co-works, respect your boss, and know you’re value added- the negative aspects become less prominent and take a backseat to all the positives.


Least favorite thing about corporate – Everything moves so slowly. To get approval to do anything takes eternity, if it happens at all. Do, and ask for forgiveness later has never been truer.


Advice from an average gal– Speak up, trusts yourself, and show them that “acting like a girl” is a positive and admirable attribute.

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