Jonathan Ursua was looking for a career change when a former co-worker told him about his exciting new job at cloud-managed IT company Cisco Meraki. “He was convinced that Meraki was the next big thing,” Ursua recalls.
He researched the company and even did a mock sales pitch to a friend who was the IT Manager of a fintech start-up in San Francisco. “I gave him my best elevator pitch of the entire Meraki portfolio, and he was sold,” Ursea says. Two months later, he accepted an Inside Sales role at Meraki—and his friend’s firm became a Meraki customer.
Five years ago, Ursua relocated from San Francisco to Sydney to support the company’s global expansion. Trace his career path and learn how to leverage your skills, no matter where your work takes you.
What attracted you to work at Cisco Meraki?
It was the opportunity to be part of their global expansion. Prior to my interview, I was fresh off a vacation across Beijing, Shanghai, and Manila. This trip opened my eyes and created a yearning to find a way to do business internationally. During my interview, I met with the Sales Manager of Meraki APJC (Asia Pacific, Japan, China), and he convinced me to be part of a team that would take on the challenge of bringing Meraki to Asia. My first sales experience with Meraki was with customers in Thailand and Malaysia.
Tell us more about Cisco Meraki’s global network expansion.
I spent the first 18 months of my Meraki career working “APJC hours” out of our San Francisco HQ. We were a team of seven who worked Sunday to Thursday from 2 PM to 10 PM. As our influence in the market started to grow, it was time to spread our roots and open our first APJC office in Sydney, Australia. I didn’t need much convincing to go, as I was all-in for a new adventure, in a new place, far away from home. I packed all my belongings and took a one-way flight to Sydney, and the rest is history. I’ve been living in Australia for five years, and I may never come back.
What are you responsible for as the ASEAN Regional Inside Sales Manager?
Today, I am People Manager of a team of nine Meraki Virtual Sales Specialists who interface with our customers and partners across Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a region with a total of 10 countries, including Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. Our team is responsible for disseminating the power of Cisco Meraki technology and driving revenue growth across these emerging markets. Because the region is so vast and diverse, we work closely with our local Cisco teams to put strategic plans and activities in place to expand our reach.
As a People Manager, I am passionate about coaching and developing young sales professionals. I enjoy witnessing the team members progress in their skill sets and knowledge about our industry and regions. I enjoy motivating the team to strive for excellence and seeing them reach career and personal goals.
What are some unique challenges to your job?
Since our region is so diverse, we face challenges that are quite different from our teams in the Americas. Certain curve balls are thrown at us, like language barriers, local government regulations, policies, and unexpected political, environmental, or economic factors. These curve balls keep us on our toes, and we take pride in trying to figure out how to keep pushing our technology to these emerging markets. I believe it makes our teams stronger and more resilient.
What about Cisco Meraki’s tech do you find appealing?
Cisco Meraki’s technology challenges the way we think about managing network infrastructure. Every day, we speak with customers who want to expand their expertise into other parts of IT, but they are held back because more often than not, they are running on legacy IT infrastructure which cannot keep up with modern workforce demands. I find it very fulfilling to provide our customers with technology that is simple, secure, and easy to manage, so our customers can focus on the projects that matter to them.
What employee benefits help set Cisco Meraki apart from other companies?
Among all the great company benefits that Cisco Meraki offers, I think the one that sets Meraki APJC apart is our ability to travel and visit customers and partners in some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. There are many amazing customers that need our help in places like Bali, Koh Samui, and Tokyo. Although 99% of the time we are working, we try to leave 1% to take the time to learn and immerse ourselves in the local culture.
What are you working on right now that excites or inspires you?
The world is going through a lot of changes right now. Just like the rest of the world, our workforce transitioned from working in the office to working from home. I find it very exciting that Cisco Meraki was able to make a quick yet smooth transition for thousands of employees in just a matter of days. Our leadership team has made a concerted effort to innovate how we can maintain business continuity, as well as community, across departments and regions. We have a great opportunity to share our story with our customers and partners and help them understand how our technology can prepare them for drastic, unplanned changes.