PES Graduation and Induction Ceremony Features Key Partner, salesforce.com Executive Vice President

Published on December 6, 2008
Salesforce.com Executive Vice President Gary Hanna noted the importance of giving back during his keynote speech at the 2008 PES Graduation and Induction Ceremony.

Salesforce.com Executive Vice President Gary Hanna noted the importance of giving back during his keynote speech at the 2008 PES Graduation and Induction Ceremony.

The UH Bauer College’s Program for Excellence in Selling highlighted the importance of both students and corporate partnerships at its graduation and induction ceremony held Dec. 4 at the Hilton Americas.

Graduating members of the program were recognized at the event for their achievements, and new members were welcomed into PES, which is a branch of the Sales Excellence Institute at UH Bauer. The program gives students the opportunity to receive real-world business experience by selling sponsorships, career fair booths, advertisements and partnerships.

The keynote speaker at the ceremony was Gary Hanna, who is executive vice president at North American Enterprise Sales for salesforce.com, the software company that PES students use for customer relationship management.

PES graduate Jessica Bondurant, second from right, stands with her classmates and teammates, who placed third in a national sales team competition. Pictured (from left) are PES clinical professor Amy Vandaveer, Jonathan Page, Alisa Hemker, Bondurant, and Jason Evans.

PES graduate Jessica Bondurant, second from right, stands with her classmates and teammates, who placed third in a national sales team competition. Pictured (from left) are PES clinical professor Amy Vandaveer, Jonathan Page, Alisa Hemker, Bondurant, and Jason Evans.

The relationship between PES and salesforce.com is crucial to running the program efficiently, said Associate Professor Michael Ahearne, who is executive director of the Sales Excellence Institute. “Every student’s sale goes through the salesforce system,” he added. “We closed 840 sales this semester.”

PES chose to make the switch to salesforce.com in July 2005, and the program was up and running in less than a month. Today, there are 250 student users and more than 3,000 companies in the system.

“We move everything you used to use to a cloud,” Hanna said. “52,000 companies share the same network. It’s all together on one big system.”

Hanna offered advice to PES graduates and inductees, stressing four concepts they should follow throughout their career and life — always sell for the market leader, sell disruptive technology, keep your integrity, and give back.

“We take 1 percent of our product and give it away,” Hanna said. “We’ve given around 300,000 units of that product to UH.”

Students will have more fun and an easier time if they are selling with the market leader and if they are selling for a company that is changing the way things are done in their respective industry, he added.

Other speakers offered congratulations to the graduating and newly inducted PES students at the ceremony. “PES is one of Bauer’s premier offerings to students,” Dean Arthur Warga said. “Once you graduate from this program, you will bring benefits to a company for years to come.”

Marketing and theater senior Jessica Bondurant, who graduated from the program in Fall 2008, likened her experience in the program to that of a superhero. “PES has given me powers, powers that will take me far in life,” she said. “I have been given the power to understand business, the power to understand myself and the best of all, the power to sell.”

The program also gives the power of resilience, the power to listen and the ability to uncover problems, Bondurant added.

“I’ve learned to sell myself and my ideas to others,” she said. “Selling is about bringing success to companies, and that is something I want to be a part of.”

By Hannah Eastham

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

About the Bauer College of Business

The C.T. Bauer College of Business has been in operation for more than 60 years at the University of Houston main campus. Through its five academic departments, the college offers a full-range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees in business. The Bauer College is fully accredited by the AACSB International – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In August 2000, Houston business leader and philanthropist Charles T. (Ted) Bauer endowed the College of Business with a $40 million gift. In recognition of his generosity, the college was renamed the C.T. Bauer College of Business.