Rumeer Keshwani on Cryptocurrency and Celsius

The wonderful world of cryptocurrency, blockchain, banking, and more.

Rumeer Keshwani means business and not just any business… cryptocurrency business. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it? To explain a little bit about blockchain and a whole lot about cryptocurrency and its applications, I sat Rumeer down to give us all the details. 

earn_appRumeer currently works at Celsius as a Junior Accountant, a cryptocurrency fintech start-up that is consumer facing. Before graduating from college, Rumeer had his sights on working on the finance side of things at a venture capital (VC) firm with the goal of orienting himself towards tech start-ups, more specifically. However, the more people he spoke with, the more advice he got on working for an extraordinary start-up first, before getting fully involved with investing in them. With that in mind, Rumeer jumped at the opportunity to work at Celsius, which has just closed its $20M series A fundraise valued at $120M and possesses a promising future.

When I asked Rumeer to explain cryptocurrency like he was explaining it to a 5 year old, he described cryptocurrency as “basically, a way for people to exchange value on the Internet, the same way that money is an exchange of value. You can do this by using blockchain, in simple terms, a collection of nodes that exchange information.”

Rumeer went even further explaining that every currency issued by a government nowadays is fiat currency. These currencies are no longer backed by physical assists, rather they are backed by society’s faith in those governments. Communities adhere to certain rules and values that are currency specific. Due to economics the currency’s value will change. Cryptocurrency acts in the same way as regular currency in this regard. Another factor that contributes to its value is also the amount of people who transact and exchange the currency. This strengthens the blockchain ledger that the currency uses, making it increasingly appealing and trustworthy to potential users. 

Celsius is fundamentally different from banks, allowing users to earn rewards from cryptocurrencies transferred to their Celsius wallet. At Celsius, customers can collateralize their assets in order to access the value they have stored in their crypto assets, without actually selling the assets. You earn weekly compounding interest on keeping your cryptocurrency at the bank. At Celsius, you can earn up to 21% annually by keeping your money in a Celsius wallet. The reason why Celsius can offer such high reward rates is because it distributes 80% of its earnings to the community members who have crypto assets deposited in the bank, something that a bank would never do!

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One thing that Rumeer wishes more people knew about cryptocurrencies is that the use cases are so immense, especially in international communities that don’t have stable currencies, such as in Venezuela and Iran. “I wish people knew how much opportunity there is out there and those opportunities exist in front of us every day,” says Rumeer, who believes that skepticism on the value of cryptocurrencies and these currencies being complicated to explain, stands in the way of more consumer involvement. 

If you are willing to learn, the future of banking is up to you to invest in. 

The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

Shaina Shikoff on Being a Female Engineer

On her journey to becoming an engineer and working in a male-dominated industry.

Originally from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shaina Shikoff is currently a solutions consultant at Appian Corporation, living in Arlington, Virginia. Just a couple of years ago, Shaina graduated from the University of Virginia majoring in Systems and Information Engineering, however, she never expected that she would ultimately become an engineer. In high school, Shaina was always interested in a lot of different subjects, but avoided pigeonholing herself into one so early on. Nevertheless, in college she found that there were a lot of opportunities for women in the engineering field. Civil engineering she found rather technical, which led her to major in Systems and Information Engineering, a newer field that brings business, science, and engineering all together. Systems and Information Engineering is a field of engineering that focuses on the intersection of systems, which can range between business systems to mechanical systems and everything in between. In Systems and Information Engineering, you also learn how to design and manage systems most efficiently and how humans interact with systems, as well as some related coding and data analytics. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 2.04.57 PMIn college, Shaina found one introductory engineering class to be most compelling, where she learned about major engineering failures, such as the Challenger disaster, the collapse of Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and The Great Molasses Flood of 1919. Shaina saw this class as being a particularly interesting way to introduce the field of engineering and how engineering has used past experiences to improve upon itself. Outside of engineering, it was a class on Dracula that Shaina enjoyed the most.


During her time at the University of Virginia, Shaina joined the Society of Women Engineers in order to develop a supportive network of women within the field of engineering. She also enjoyed building friendships with other engineers that could relate to her in a way that some of her friends within other majors couldn’t. One of the most valuable parts of being in the group, Shaina mentioned, was that she was able to seek the advice of women engineers that were older than her. 

In college, Shaina felt that she didn’t stand out as a female minority, because her major had a fair 60/40 ratio of men to women. However, when she entered the workforce, she began to see that across the field of engineering at her company, there were significantly more men. Nowadays, Shaina doesn’t find it shocking to be the only woman in the room, which comes along with a self-imposed pressure to prove her credibility and competence. Coupled with her young age and being the first hire within her division’s college program, Shaina has found client meetings and projects to be daunting at times, but rewarding nevertheless. 

Looking towards the future, Shaina sees more opportunities for women in technology and engineering than ever. Shaina admits that there are not a lot of women in engineering compared to men, by any means, but that women are definitely starting to be more valued and encouraged to join the field, especially as engineering grows and develops. “Women have a different way of thinking and diversity of thought is important, as a unique perspective is always valued,” Shaina mentions. 

Some advice Shaina has for a woman pursuing engineering?

Gear_love_heart_stock_illustration__Illustration_of_valentine_-_9341889-removebg-previewShaina advises that you should be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone and work hard- maybe even harder than your male counterparts to prove yourself. “When you are out of college it is important to remember that everything isn’t going to be handed to you,” she emphasizes. Shaina also mentions that you should not feel held back by the stereotypes that surround you, “if you are passionate about it, then go for it.” Some other pieces of advice Shaina takes to heart are to try to get as many new experiences as possible in order to learn about what you like and don’t like early on in your career. Also she recommends developing a support system of women that you trust within your company, in order to bounce ideas off of or seek advice from. 

As the future of work changes tremendously in our COVID-19 world, I am hopeful that many would be inspired by Shaina’s story to enter the field and diversify engineering one woman at a time. 

Claudia Hu on being a Professional Pianist

Inside the world of a lifelong professional musician.

There is a saying that goes “consistency breeds perfection,” a saying that professional pianist Claudia Hu truly embodies in her work. Starting her piano career at just 6 years of age, Claudia has refined her craft of piano through thousands of hours of practice, which resulted in invitations to play in renowned music halls, such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York City, as well as famous performance halls across The United States and Europe. Claudia recently graduated from Manhattan School of Music in May, majoring in Classical Piano Performance, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Classical Piano Performance at her alma mater with her teacher Nina Svetlanova.

Growing up, Claudia’s passion for piano was more than a hobby. Despite winning competitions and being invited to play at recitals, for Claudia, it was never about winning, it was about doing something that she loved. Interestingly, Claudia always thought that she would become a doctor, like many members of her family, yet she knew that if she went the academic route, she would never be able to play at the same level again. When she decided to apply to the Manhattan School of Music, she had the chance to meet her interviewer, by chance, before her audition and they just so happened to “click”. This allowed Claudia to feel more comfortable in her final audition, which landed her a place at the college among some of the most talented musicians in the country. 

Claudia admits that the prospect of attending the Manhattan School of Music seemed a bit daunting to her, however, she was more excited than anything, having the chance to study alongside some wonderful musicians. In college, Claudia viewed herself as a small fish in a big pond, which she saw as a positive, considering she wanted to learn the most that she could around high performing individuals that have the same love as she does for music. 


One of Claudia’s favorite classes that she took was a conducting class, explaining that she loves conducting and views conductors as being the most intelligent in terms of both music and music history as well as art and life. Claudia was also eager to understand the theory and technical aspects of what it means to conduct. Another class she found to be particularly interesting was Historical Recordings of Great Pianists, which consisted of listening to old piano recordings. Claudia especially enjoyed listening to piano from the Golden Age or mid 1900s, as those pianists would play pieces that are not part of the typical repertoire and diverged from what we hear today. 

Claudia mentioned that some of her most memorable piano experiences came out of her college recitals Sophomore and Senior year. These recitals were the first times that it was just Claudia playing, with everyone coming to watch her perform the music she has been playing for the past two years. Claudia also enjoys these recitals because they act as milestones for how much she has learned in addition to how she can improve for the future. 


Her experience playing has not always been smooth sailing, however, having suffered a physical injury two years ago. Claudia mentioned that she wasn’t too familiar with the “right technique” as a pianist and, as a result, her arms and back got so tense that she physically couldn’t play piano because it was too painful. This moment led to Claudia asking herself a lot of existential questions about her life without piano. Luckily, Claudia was able to see a physical therapist to correct the tension in her shoulders and breathing exercises. Now, Claudia is a more relaxed player, which has had a tremendous effect on the sound of her music and what Claudia regards as an overall triumph. 

When asked what Claudia finds as the most important quality in a pianist, she responded that being a good pianist is more than just reading music and playing it, it’s about a mental state of mind and your whole characteristic as a person. To be an incredibly proficient musician, you must work on being calm and introspective, getting to know the background of the piece and life of the composer. “A lot of composers were inspired by their political states or the popular literary works of their time, that is reflected in their music. I try to think about that while I am playing. It is a lot of mental work as well as physical,” Claudia points out. 

What excites Claudia most about the future is observing the shift taking place within classical music. The big question that is being asked nowadays in the music world is: Why do we keep sticking with the classical repertoire? A question that Claudia is eager to hear the answer to. Claudia is equally as compelled by the fact that modern classical musicians don’t have to follow one route in order to be a recognized pianist. She notes “you can find a career outside of that and with social media it becomes easier to become recognized”. It is my hope that everyone has the chance to hear Claudia’s music, a transportive experience, where sincerity and thoughtfulness can be both heard and felt. 

Jeremie Cabling on Combatting the Struggles of Selling

Sale (/sāl/): the exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something (Part III)

If you can believe it, we have come to the last part of Jeremie’s three-part sales series! Through these past two weeks, we have learned what it takes to be a good salesperson, how to confidently write a cold email, how to persuade and pre-suade, and so much more. This week it’s all about combatting the struggles of selling, Jeremie giving some expert advice on how to navigate a few of the challenges that come along with sales- yes we saved the best for last. I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have and get to use some of these tactics in the real world. Just make sure not to use them on Jeremie, I have a feeling he’ll see right through them.

What are some of the ways you combat rejection during a sale?

Jeremie says, if your prospect rejects your proposition, it’s because you led them to that objection. Don’t push prospects to objections.

People have the primal urge to feel safe, secure, and in control. A pushy ask like “Do you have time to chat this week?” puts a person’s guard up and stops a sale dead in its tracks. An ask like “Is it a bad time to chat about X” gives the recipient a feeling of agency and power. It asks the same thing as the former question, but it asks in a way that empowers the recipient to respond.

Ask questions that uncover your customers’ wants. Then, dive deeper to understand how they want to feel. Only then you can pull them in by showing how your product/service is the way there.

If an objection does come up, the only 3 responses I use are:

  1. You’re right in feeling that way, [my prospect very similar to you] felt that too, what they found is [benefit]…
  2. That’s right, but [benefit]…
  3. I don’t know, but let’s regroup and I can get back to you on that…

How do you not get discouraged during the sales process?

“I do get discouraged,” says Jeremie (phew I thought it was just us). “If I’m not performing, I can only blame myself or my process. Discouragement is the natural reminder to step back, analyze and correct myself (my attitude) or my process.”

Sales is fun, Jeremie reminds us, but success in sales is almost essential for fulfillment in it. Discouragement is the cue that something needs to change to get better.

Jeremie, what is the best piece of advice you have received in terms of selling and sales?

Most mentors helped me with the technical parts of selling… best times to sell, how many times to follow up with a lead, etc.

Here are my 5 favorite tools of persuasion in relation to sales

1) Reciprocity: people feel compelled to return favors.

Take the initiative to treat others well -> get treated back exceptionally.

2) Cognitive Dissonance: people feel compelled to act in a way consistent with the image they want to project. Show their actions/inactions don’t project that desired image, but your solution is a way how.

3) Signaling: “We can’t help but assume the importance of a message is proportional to the cost of delivering it.”

-Rory Sutherland.

An email < a text < a tweet < a call < a handwritten letter < a personalized gift.

Make your customer feel like they matter by signaling that you put in effort to reach them.

4) Social Proof: Going back to the need to feel safe… People will go along with people that are similar to them.

5) Liking: All else equal people buy from who they like.

What is the biggest challenge you face in sales?

Time management is critical. Your job is entirely dependent on the interaction with other people — largely strangers. You have to balance your daily tasks to keep your sales pipeline full (prospecting, nurturing old leads, etc.) with calls that go longer than scheduled, people flaking your meeting, having to do miscellaneous work for your company, etc.

Some days you’ll feel like there’s not enough going on. Some days you’ll feel overwhelmed. You have to be comfortable with a level of uncertainty.


Jeremie Cabling on A Good Salesperson

Sale (/sāl/): the exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something (Part II)

If you thought you were ready for last week’s sales expertise, you are definitely not ready for this week’s write up on what makes a good salesperson. What makes Jeremie Cabling such an incredible salesperson to me is, not only his ability to sell, but his adept ability at explaining what good selling is and what it looks like. If you want to read more about sales, make sure to tune in next week for Part III of Jeremie’s series, where he explains one of the most critical hurdles that every good sales person must overcome, how to combat the struggles of selling.

What are some characteristics that make a good sales person?

When hiring another sales representative Jeremie is looking for:

Effective Speech: His test is to ask candidates to explain a concept they know well to a 5 year old. If they can explain something to a 5 year old, they can communicate clearly — critical in persuasion.

Good Listener: In a sales conversation you should be doing 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking. People love buying, but hate being sold to. They have to convince themselves that they led themselves to the decision to buy or not. You must know what to listen for. Your job is to ask questions that lead the customer to that decision.

High Integrity: Someone who sees deals as the way to help the customer and their team is someone who will do well in the role. Sales is competitive internally, but you’ll want someone who will help sharpen their coworkers.

What is a good sales opener?

The best sales opener is an introduction from a friend or authority figure. People buy from who they like and respect.

If you can’t get a warm intro, this formula is the most effective I’ve used to start a completely cold conversation over email (21% reply rate vs the ~1% industry average).

Accusation audit + A question that triggers cognitive dissonance + Personalized offer + Call to Value

In English:

Accusation Audit: Label someone with something that you are certain that they identify with. When you acknowledge someone’s emotions, it validates those feelings.

A question that triggers cognitive dissonance: Ask a question that implies that their action/inaction is the contrary to the identity that you just labeled them.

Personalized offer: An offer that shows you didn’t just email them out of the blue. Give them a reason why you reached out, even if it doesn’t make sense. People care about they why.

Call to value: Clear benefit to the customer of continuing the conversation

Here is an example:

Hi {first name} — You stood out as a thought leader in SaaS sales on LinkedIn.

Have you considered sending your best customers gifts? You and 11 other sales leaders in New York City have access to the pilot of my service for sending personalized gifts, automatically. Is it a bad time to try it for free on {company’s best customer]?

Cognitive dissonance is Jeremie’s second most powerful persuasive weapon in sales. This email is meant to make this person question a gap in their sales process, while keeping them in control of the conversation. They should feel safe, but curious. They can trust you to an extent because it seems like you emailed them with a purpose. It’s strictly emotional.

What advice do you have for someone interested in getting into sales?

To get into sales, don’t apply to sales jobs, Jeremie says. Look at companies that you like and start-ups that interest you.

  1. Even email or call your would-be manager, sharing some form of value.
  2. Write a unique cold email that you would use if you worked there and share it… Share a lead with them… Share a relevant article or book summary… Offer to do lead generation free…etc
  3. Put yourself in a position that attracts job offers. While selling my company’s software, I received 6 competing offers by my prospects’ companies because they liked the way I shared value with them. No resume. No interview. Just value shared.

You can’t sell something effectively if you don’t like it. Don’t waste your time, your could-be employers’, and their customers’.


Hugh Thompson on Becoming a Doctor during COVID-19

Hugh on answering the call to step into the field of medicine.

Entering into the field of medicine is a noble act, which only very few are cut out for. Hugh Thompson, however, is just one of those people that was born to practice medicine. Having grown up visiting and engaging with doctors, Hugh knew that he wanted to impact the world in the same way that medicine had impacted his life- for the better. Hugh’s story is not one without its challenges, but one that is inspiring because of its challenges. If you have ever considered becoming a medical professional, this article is definitely for you. If you are interested in the field of medicine and healthcare in America, this article is also for you. Hmm… if you have ever seen a doctor, this article is just for you.

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 3.16.32 PMHugh, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hello everyone! First of all, I want to say that I am truly honored and humbled that you would ask me of all people to chat!

In terms of a little bit about me: I graduated from Wake Forest University in 2017. After graduating, I moved back home to central New Jersey for 3 years to build up my resume and save up a little bit of money before going to medical school. During those 3 years, I volunteered as an EMT in my hometown as well as worked as a scribe in the Saint Barnabas Emergency Department, ultimately becoming the ‘lead scribe’ for the final 2 years of my time there. I was offered an acceptance at New York Medical College in Westchester County, New York in the Spring of 2019 with a deferment – meaning that instead of starting in the fall, I would start in the fall of 2020. And here we are!

What made you decide to go to medical school?Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 4.37.24 PM

I can’t say there was one of those “ah-hah” moments that made me decide to want to pursue a career in medicine. For as long as I can remember, having the opportunity to care for others has been something I have wanted to make my life about. I was born with a genetic condition that meant I was around medicine quite a bit as a child, and what child wants to be in hospitals or at doctors offices? One of the moments that has stuck with me that represented the power that medicine can have on an individual arose from one of those trips to the hospital. 

Preface: I am incredibly lucky to have parents who stopped at nothing in their pursuit of ensuring that I received care from world-class practitioners of all sorts, and for this I will forever be grateful. After a variety of hospital trips, tests and the like, my mother ultimately settled on following up with a physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We had only been there a couple of times and I was probably only in 5th or 6th grade when I was visited by another practitioner during my regular visit. I was- and still am- a huge baseball fan, and I must have had a copy of Sports Illustrated with me, because the practitioner noticed and told me that he couldn’t wait to see me playing third base for the Phillies when I got older.

Now, my condition has never been life threatening or even significantly debilitating, but it does ensure that playing sports at more than a recreational level is not really possible for me- and this is something that that practitioner would have known. Nonetheless, the fact that someone like that took the time to express interest in me and in doing so, communicate a genuine and profound kind of empathy was an incredible confidence boost as well as an eye opener for me. I am sure that the practitioner doesn’t realize the kind of impact such a small statement made, as there was no way for him to have known that the child he engaged in was at the time having self confidence issues. I am less sure whether that practitioner was consciously aware that his positivity and empathy made more of a difference in my care than any medicine could have. Either way, having had the time to reflect on my experiences as a patient including moments like these, I have come to realize that it is positivity, a smile, even just a shared interest with a patient that can change a persons day, week, or life. By definition, for a patient to be a patient, something likely has gone wrong and the patient has made the decision to entrust their vulnerability to said physician. This trust, this faith in the physician’s ability, this hope that is inextricably linked to the patient-provider relationship is a privilege, and personally I can think of no higher honor than having the opportunity to improve the lives of others through medicine. That is all just a long way of saying that being able to possibly impact someone in a similar manner as I was has been a dream of mine for quite a while. 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted how you view medicine and the healthcare industry at all?

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 4.38.39 PMI was able to witness the work that emergency providers put in during the height of the pandemic in our area firsthand and it was truly inspiring. To watch providers of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs band together to fight for our communities made me wish I was through medical school and able to fight with them. From my viewpoint, Saint Barnabas never reached the depths that many hospitals in New York City experienced, but we were pretty overrun and hard hit nonetheless. Single use masks were being rationed and reused several times over. The hospital was out of hospital beds, almost out of ventilators, and short on capable providers. A lot of the providers weren’t allowed to return to their homes while they were in the middle of the pandemic, at the risk of infecting their loved ones. And yet, everyone came to work day in and day out, ready to fight with and for every single patient that came through the doors. I can honestly say that being able to witness the compassion, resilience, and strength of the providers at Saint Barnabas Medical Center was one of the most inspiring ‘moments’ in all of my living memory. So while the pandemic has been saddening on many levels, it has reinforced my faith in and desire to be a part of the medical community.

Is there a lot of discussion in the classroom about the pandemic and, if so, what is the conversation about?

Honestly, there has not been quite as much discussion in our academic classes regarding the pandemic so far. However, I have no doubt that once I transition into our classes regarding disease processes, the SARS-CoV-2 virus will get plenty of airtime in our lectures. 

Laboratory_art_print_cimestry__laboratory__vintage_science__flower_print__wall_art__vintage_print_on-removebg-previewI will say that beyond the classroom, the pandemic has definitely been a significant talking point. The school itself seems to have made concerted efforts to address how the pandemic and all of its side effects (isolation, Zoom classes, etc.) has affected us as students. Specifically, my school has what is called the “Resiliency Curriculum Committee” which existed even before the pandemic as a means for training the medical students in healthy emotional and psychological choices. I obviously cannot speak to what the topics covered in prior years Resiliency Curriculum were, but the discussions during the small group sessions this year have had a distinct COVID-19 pandemic flavor, which I think is extremely important. The pandemic is the elephant in the room here: a year ago, it would have been absurd to think that students would be attending lectures given by professors sitting in their home offices. To that end, the fact that the school wants to address how this is affecting its students and try to guide students through such a stressful time is something I appreciate. 

What is one thing that you wish you knew before you committed to going to medical school?


Hugh along with his co-workers

I can’t say there is a particular piece of advice that would have changed how I did things. The one thing I find myself wishing for was an advisor – none of my family are involved in medicine of any kind, so at times I did feel as if I was flying in the dark in terms of building my resume for medical school. I never knew what types of jobs to apply to, when to take what classes or tests, how to make myself a better applicant, etc. The pre-health advisory system at my undergraduate college was great – they were more than happy to provide specific answers to many of my bigger questions, but because they were dealing with literally hundreds of students, there was really no way to go to them with little questions or concerns. I ended up relying on the two or three of my friends that were also planning to go to medical school for guidance, and I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without their patience and advice so I am lucky and grateful to have them around (shoutout Ryan and Mike!).

What excites you most about medicine in general?

Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 4.40.18 PMHmm, thats a great question. At the risk of sounding like a nerd, I am super excited about a lot of the science behind medicine. It is truly amazing how ‘well designed’ and finely tuned the human body is. And then when things go wrong, the creativity that scientists and physicians have implemented in coming up with solutions and treatments is incredible. Being able to spend the rest of my life learning about all of this and implementing it to help patients is super exciting. 

That being said, the reason I wanted to go into medicine is for the people. I love people and their stories, and medicine provides a great way to simultaneously build relationships with a huge range of people, while also having the chance to positively impact the lives of those people. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur when it comes to being able to ‘fix’ everyone’s medical issues. I realize that often, physicians do not have the answers, can’t solve the problem, or have to be the bearer of bad news. But where I feel that physicians make an impact is in how they are able to handle these types of moments. I recently finished reading both Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, and one of the sentiments that really stuck with me from those books was the importance of physicians in speaking candidly with their patients, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at the time. Being able to help guide patients through these tough moments is just one of the ways that I hope to be able to make an impact down the road, and it is these types of moments that I am excited to play a role in one day. Though admittedly, I could go on and on about everything I am excited about with regards to becoming a physician… 

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in going to medical school?

Don’t let anything stop you. If you know that you want to be a physician, you can become a physician. 

So many people get discouraged by the amount of work that the application process takes: the pre-requisite classes during undergraduate years, studying/taking the MCAT, school application essays or fees, or any of the other barriers. If you want it bad enough, none of that matters. Hard work and passion for the field of medicine are the single two most important factors in getting into medical school, because they will always help you overcome the barriers that are put in place. 

One last thing on this question: one of the best physicians I have had the pleasure of working with applied to medical school 3 times and had started podiatry school before he was ultimately accepted to medical school. 

Jeremie Cabling on Intro Master Sales Tactics

Sale (/sāl/): the exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something

Sales is a unique occupation, one in which outsiders can’t exactly articulate. We know when good sales are done and when bad sales are done, but don’t know what makes them good or bad sales. This makes sales an art form, one that my friend Jeremie Cabling is a master of. Jeremie and I both graduated from Babson College and participated in the BRIC program together. Throughout my time knowing Jeremie, I have always been amazed by his tactics of friendliness, charisma, and, most of all, persuasion. Whether it be in his personal or professional life, Jeremie is the embodiment of incredible sales, which is why I have asked him to share some of his artful tactics and incredible insights in a three part series on the blog! Stay tuned for next week where Jeremie discusses what it means to be a good sales person.

Jeremie has always been an introverted guy, so why sales?Screen Shot 2020-10-27 at 12.28.18 PM

In elementary school, Jeremie was fascinated by the entrepreneurship presented in the cartoon characters Ed, Edd n Eddy, where the characters started hundreds of businesses over the course of the show. In high school, Jeremie learned more about business by cold emailing entrepreneurs and lawyers for mentorship and building my own little projects. What Jeremie believes landed him a spot at Babson was a pitch he made to his admissions counselor on a business idea of his about college admissions. “To start any venture you need to build and sell,” Jeremie mentions, “I didn’t like building or coding, but learning about sales energized me.” So, in college and post-graduation Jeremie focused his efforts in landing a career in sales. Currently, he is the only salesperson at Showcase, a Techstars backed start-up which helps companies hire faster and more equitably using video interviews. 

Some of Jeremie’s best sales practices?

1. Learn how to persuade

The science of persuasion is hardwired into our brains and what influences us will never change. So, learn how to use words to influence. In asynchronous conversation (emails/voicemails/texts), this requires exceptional copywriting and understanding of what motivates your customer. In synchronous conversation (face-to-face/phone/live video) this requires exceptional listening and persuasive questions.

2. Learn how to pre-suade

Pre-suade by framing those words in the most effective and relevant package for your customer. If you’re selling a product where speeding up a process is the benefit and Silicon Valley execs are your customers… Get on Twitter where those execs consume their content. Engage with their content, focusing your profile, and brand on speed.

Jeremie’s most proud sales moment?

Jeremie’s first internship had a set sales process:

Send 900 emails a month -> book 20 sales calls -> demo 10 leads -> negotiate 3 contracts -> make 1 sale

But, in my first month he sent 1000 emails and booked 1 sales call. That 1 sales call turned out to be a call with an old, confused man, not the COO of a huge casino like he thought. The other 6 sales reps hit 120% of their goals and he hit 0%.

Next month, Jeremie asked his manager if he could try his own process. Jeremie changed how he searched for prospects and wrote his own email copy. That month Jeremie almost doubled the all-time company record for sales calls, while doing half of the usual work. He hit 410% of my goal and led the company to its best sales month in its 7 year history. The VP of Sales valued his deals at $1.2 million. That put Jeremie in the position to build the sales process at his current start-up from scratch.

How does Jeremie best prepare for a sales call?

Sales calls give most early salespersons anxiety.


“The best weapon against any social anxiety is not courage, but empathy.”

A lot of sales reps will try to dig deep to find the courage and risk rejection when picking up the phone. That courage will fade. Confidence won’t. Confidence comes from an empathetic perspective. Any given conversation, even at its worst, can’t be the end of the world. But a good one could do wonders for your career.

What makes selling worth it to Jeremie and exciting?

Jeremie is excited by the hyper accountability- you earn a fraction of the value you bring into a company. Bezos may be worth ~$200 billion, but it’s because he created trillions of dollars in value. “It’s fulfilling to see the value you bring and rewarding to capture what you see is a fair share of it,” he says. It’s the most applicable social skill, he mentions. Use it at the bar to talk to a girl, at school to get better grades, at home to get out of doing dishes. You get paid to practice a superpower everyday. Jeremie also sees selling as a step to start his own business when he is ready and the opportunity is there.

My Most Challenging Academic Pursuit

My journey to finishing my Babson Honors Thesis Project.

Without a doubt, writing my honors thesis at Babson was one of the most rewarding- and most challenging- experiences of my entire academic career. I applied for Babson’s Honors Program when I was a Sophomore in college by recommendation from my Business Law Professor, who encouraged me to apply, thinking that I would be a good fit for the program. Once I was selected to participate in the program, I knew the hard work was just beginning.

I remember sitting with my peers at the Honors Retreat later in the year, looking anxiously around at my talented and ambitious classmates. I had no idea what I wanted to write about and with every brainstorming session and idea-generating conversation, I fell deeper and deeper into a whirlwind of confusion. When I finally considered studying music for my project, I encountered yet another obstacle: who was going to be my advisor? To describe finding someone who has knowledge about music, musicians, and passion at a business school as merely challenging is a vast understatement. I spoke to upwards of ten professors from Olin and Babson with no avail. How I found my advisor at the end of my Junior year still remains to be a bit of a mystery to me. I distinctly remember walking into her office in the basement of Tomasso thinking:

“this is my last hope, if she says that she cannot advise me I am not sure what I am going to do,” as I crossed my fingers under the table.

To my relief, she was truly the most interesting, genuine, generous, and kind professors I had met at Babson. I knew that if she said no to advising my project I would not only have to continue looking for an advisor but, more importantly, I would be missing out on the chance to work with such an incredible scholar. 

I could not have been more overjoyed when my advisor agreed to work with me on my honors thesis during my Senior year. The fact that I would be her first advisee made the experience all the more special. It made me feel as though we were walking into uncharted territory together and that we could both make mistakes and laugh about them. We would always figure it out, but we had the joy of figuring it out together. 

When I returned from summer break, I was excited to revisit the project, yet, undeniably, apprehensive. I had spent the whole summer searching for inspiration. Whatever I read, watched, or experienced I thought about how I could generate a thesis idea from it. With no luck, I returned to school with a pit in my stomach. I was still so confused as to what to write about. This confusion soon turned into frustration, as I used this conflict to define other parts of my life. How come I do not know what I am passionate about? Maybe I don’t know myself? If I could not choose a research topic of interest, how was I going to choose a profession after college?

Who is Ursula?

Yet, I was always comforted by my advisor’s simple and warm words “your project does not have to be perfect and, in fact, no project is”. It was as though these words allowed me permission to make mistakes, knowing that floundering was part of the process. It was my advisor’s continued faith in me that convinced me that I was capable of moving forward and, without it, I would not have believed that I could finish. 

It was at the Honors Reception in October of 2019 that my confidence during the process was at an all-time low. At this point, I had limited faith in my project. I still had not developed a research question or methodology. I found that my thoughts were constantly spinning in circles, butterflies in my stomach as I entered the dining hall. I knew that, at the reception, I would be forced to talk about my ideas and how I would be accomplishing my goals, but I simply did not have any answers. I clearly recall, when we had to stand up and present our projects, my advisor leaning over to tell me to have confidence because my preliminary idea was inherently interesting, words which gave me enough encouragement to stumble along and explain my project to the room. 

Yet, despite my discouragement, that semester my advisor helped me to press on, motivating me to continue to make mistakes, discover, and ask questions. I think that some of the best advice she gave me was that if I kept circling back to the same idea it meant that this was the idea that I should pursue. Another piece of advice I found incredibly helpful was that I should just start talking to people- diving in even though I did not have all the answers. She helped me to realize that I did not have to have everything figured out before I began and that this project would be an iterative process of discovery, learning, and adaptation. 

Despite my progress’s interruption from my college having to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt certain of the completion of my thesis. I knew that my advisor and I would see our project to the end, knowing that if we had come this far there was no stopping us now. After many long nights in my house writing away, I finally finished my honors thesis at the end of April, just weeks before I was supposed to have my graduation.

Now that I had completed the thesis, my mind was drawn to the other aspects of the project that I would now be missing out on: the presentation of my work at the Honors Thesis showcase, my advisor and my weekly catch ups, and having my parents see me graduate with honors. What hurt the most? The fact that my advisor would not be seeing me, along with all of the other honors students, walk across the stage to receive my diploma. I would miss out on the moment where I would find my advisor and family in the crowd as I stood on stage with my honors degree in hand, thinking about how proud I was that we finally finished this long journey together. 

Nevertheless, this day will come at some point in the future, but if it doesn’t that would be O.K. too. I have realized walking across a stage or showcasing my work some place would have been nice, but it wouldn’t change the research already done and the experience already had.

Neal Jeup on Becoming a Model

Life can lead us on unexpected twists and turns, Neal’s twist was modeling.

I’m sure it would surprise many to know that model Neal Jeup was an entrepreneur well before all of the jet setting and photographing began. Neal is one of eight siblings, who grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb right outside Detroit. In Neal’s house entrepreneurship was always at the center and, when he was only 19 years old, Neal started his own iOS device repair service business, which serviced between 2,000 to 3,000 devices by the time he graduated from high school. Neal credits this repair business in leading him to pursue entrepreneurship full time one day. Neal went on to study finance at Clemson University in South Carolina, yet his career path would become anything but straight. The summer after his Freshman year in college, Neal taught English at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Following this experience, he would travel to Shanghai and work with some of the founding members of Über, as the company navigated their entrance into the Chinese market and developed the initial framework for ÜberEnglish. After such engaging and unique summer experiences, Neal found it difficult to re-enter a traditional classroom setting and decided to take a leave from school to return to work with Uber in Shanghai. Fate had other plans for Neal when, at a modeling gig for his girlfriend at the time, he was asked to step in for a missing model. Soon, Neal was signed with a local agency called AMAX, which was required to participate in the shoot, and so his modeling career began! 

Although he never imagined he would become a full time model, Neal thought he would at least participate in the modeling agency’s annual showcase, where they flew in scouts from across the globe to view their models. At the end of the showcase, Neal was surprised to find many offers from agencies in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami that he thought modeling might play a part in his future. Putting his return to Shanghai on hold, Neal took a leap of faith and moved to Seoul, South Korea, to build up his modeling portfolio. He views this time as being instrumental in his development as a model, learning to become comfortable on set and in front of a camera. After living in Seoul, Neal lived in Tokyo, Japan, Sydney, Australia and Los Angeles, California until settling in New York City, which is when he began to land high profile jobs with Vince, Cole Haan, Tommy Hilfiger, Rag & Bone, and Christian Dior. Neal says that his favorite shoot was for Dior’s newest fragrance at the time “Joy,” where he got to work with Jennifer Lawrence as well as DP, Emmanuel Lubezki and director, Francis Lawrence. 

When asked about some advice he wishes he knew before getting into modeling? Neal responds that he wished he would have focused more on personal growth in the beginning of his career, than comparing himself to other people in the industry. “There is so much about the industry that you personally can’t change, the agents handling almost everything. And you look the way you look,” Neal mentions. “After entering the modeling industry, I quickly realized that no matter how far you take a career, there will always be someone with a leg up. Designers might like you one day, and run cold the next. It was incredibly disheartening out of the gate.” It was only when Neal acknowledged this fact and decided to focus on personal development that he became truly happy. “We’re inadvertently taught to idolize the fictitious, continuously euphoric, lives we see through social media – like a revolving door of jealousy,” he notes.

All things considered, unlike other models, Neal was able to find comfort in the fact that he would one day return to school and finish his degree, making it easier for him to put less pressure on himself to perform and find work. Neal was hyper focused on the fact that poor decisions regarding reckless behavior would yield underwhelming results in the future. As a model, Neal found himself in a world where the only factor of relevance was appearance and, therefore, saw other models take advantage of being careless with their health through partying and other means- a live fast die young mindset.  “When you think that you are going to be a model forever, you don’t hedge that long term bet with the need for stability and health in the future,” Neal mentions. Neal finds himself fortunate to have been able to connect with like-minded people in the industry who prioritized their wellbeing overall and have become long time friends.

Neal knew that it might be time for a change when he reached the middle of his twenties and decided that, if he was going to go back to school, he was going to go back now. Neal applied to Babson College, the number one school for entrepreneurship, got in, and the rest is history! 

When reflecting back on his modeling career, Neal realized that he went from controlling everything he did in entrepreneurship- meticulously planning and organizing his life- to having to succumb to a lack of control. Modeling taught Neal that you have no control and that if the agency didn’t send an email with a job that day, you had the day off and hoped for work the next. In modeling, you can control so few things, which is something that Neal wishes was different within the industry. Neal notes that he wishes that models were able to have a greater say in terms of advocacy, where the agency has all of the control in representing you as a model. All things considered, Neal has watched the power of social media disrupt the traditional structure of the business, where models can craft their own persona on social platforms – most notably, Instagram.

Although Neal is currently finishing up school, he notes that he wants to incorporate the global exposure he had in modeling to the work that he does full time as an entrepreneur. For Neal, that may look like many different things- only time will tell- for now, Neal strives to “become an advocate for introspection, personal growth and overwhelming gratitude above all else.” 

Jenna Willis on being a Personal Trainer to the Stars

From actor to personal trainer, Jenna keeps fit and her clients fitter in sunny California.

Jenna Willis is a Jersey girl, born and raised, who grew up with three older brothers. With familial competition running deep in her veins, Jenna notes that athleticism was not a choice for her. While attending college, Jenna was the shortest Division 1 collegiate volleyball player in the nation, a credit to her natural knack for sports. However, Jenna involved herself in competitive sports as much as in theater and dreamt of becoming an actor one day. Jenna’s pursuit of professional acting led her to ultimately move to California to chase her dreams. 

Working as an actress in Los Angeles, Jenna never abandoned exercise and used it as a coping mechanism to deal with stress and anxiety. She mentions that exercise was especially crucial for her when she was dealing with a difficult break up a few years ago. Jenna began exploring strength training and lifting more during this time, which helped to strengthen her body and clear her mind. As Jenna’s career took off and she was able to book more jobs in TV and modeling, she noticed that she was also attracting greater attention in the gym. On three separate occasions, Jenna had fellow gym-goers ask her for help with fitness techniques, using machines, and targeting parts of their body. Jenna took this as a sign that all of her dedication to fitness had led to a greater purpose: helping others achieve personal success in their health and wellness journeys. 

Jenna BandsImmediately, Jenna signed up for a course to become a certified personal trainer. Soon after, along with auditioning and booking acting jobs, Jenna started to train clients on the side in 2017, getting paid for what she loves to do. A win-win I would say! Jenna credits hard work and preparation in enabling her to be successful in her personal training business as well as the support she received from her friends. Since she started personal training, Jenna’s business has been growing tremendously, capturing the attention of celebrities like Tara Reid, Lala Kent, and Liza Koshy, all of whom she has trained.  

What differentiates Jenna from other personal trainers? Not many incorporate the mind, body, and spirit as she does, Jenna says. Jenna is adamant about the fact that what you see on the outside is only a fraction of what is important. The true magic is when the mind, body, and spirit are aligned in terms of healthy and holistic living. Jenna also wasn’t shy to mention that she is a natural goofball that isn’t afraid to show people who she truly is in front of her audience. Like all of us, she pokes fun at herself and embraces the awkwardness that can come along with working out. “We are all growing together. Fitness is not perfection” she states during our conversation, an important reminder for all of us to take to heart. 

IMG_5995 (1)Even before the COVID-19 pandemic started, Jenna was doing virtual training sessions to people all over the world, which has made her exclusive transition to digital so smooth. Yet, Jenna notes that her biggest motivation in starting her newest program “Don’t Sweat It Alone” was her lack of motivation in the beginning of the pandemic. Jenna was having a hard time getting excited about doing her training and couldn’t imagine that if she couldn’t get up and do some squats, what others must be feeling like. As a result, Jenna made a promise to show up, not only for herself, but for her followers by going live on Instagram with her workouts. Jenna received such positive feedback from doing those sessions, which motivated her viewers to get out of bed in the morning, that she turned the Instagram Live sessions into a regular occurrence. Jenna has since formalized “Don’t Sweat It Alone” into a virtual fitness and healthy living membership and community that is all online. Jenna goes live three times a week within the community, with workouts that are tailored to working out home with minimal equipment. Jenna also ends every workout with a meditation and brings in nutritionists and experts from across the fitness spectrum to talk on the platform. If you sign up for the program get ready for sweaty selfies, free giveaways, and a lot of plank rows and squat presses- two of Jenna’s favorite at-home moves! 

What has been the most challenging part of starting this venture of personal training? Jenna mentions that there is always going to be road bumps, but it’s figuring out how to pave them. Every time you take two steps forward, be prepared to take five steps back, but be motivated enough to make the leap forward again. “Trust the process” is what Jenna says, a mantra that we can all use to benefit from.

Want to get in on all that “Don’t Sweat It Alone” has to offer?

Head to the website and follow her on Instagram

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