Q&A with Lezlea List: XOJET Vice President of Sales Operations
In honor of the 2012 Women in Aviation Conference, the XOJET Blog is running a series of profiles of some of the great women who work at XOJET. Today, we’re excited to bring you an interview with Lezlea List, XOJET’s Vice President of Sales Operations.
XOJET Blog: Lezlea, tell us a little bit about you and your role at XOJET.
Lezlea: I’m the Vice President of Sales Operations at XOJET, and I’ve been with the company for six and a half years. I’m responsible for supporting and leading the sales team, managing and improving the sales process, forecasting program sales and closing program sales. On a daily basis, I help the sales team find the right solution for each of their customers from among our different flight programs—Preferred Access, Coast-to-Coast and Membership.
XOJET Blog: You’ve been with XOJET for quite some time. What other positions have you held?
Lezlea: Originally I joined the company in finance, as the controller. I did that for four years; then the company started growing so fast that many more opportunities became available. I saw an opportunity to switch careers altogether and move into the sales world as client solutions director, so I took the leap. I really enjoy working with the sales team, the customer service department and with our clients. I deal with numbers all the time as well so the finance background really helps in this role. The timing and fit of the position was a great move. I had many great mentors on the sales team,which allowed me to expand into my current vice president role.
XOJET Blog: How did you come to XOJET?
Lezlea: I had been working for seven years at a newspaper group in the Bay Area where I was able to experience many areas of finance and accounting. I started my career there as a junior financial analyst and moved up over time to operations controller. The newspaper industry was rapidly moving online so I thought it would be good time to make a switch into a different industry. A friend and colleague suggested that I take a look at XOJET. I love the aviation industry; it’s fun and exciting to follow. But I never knew how challenging it was going to be. It always keeps you on your toes and I enjoy that it’s extremely fast paced.
XOJET Blog: What is your typical day like?
Lezlea: I work with sales teams on both coasts, so when I wake up each morning the first thing I do is check my email to see if there are urgent needs from our East Coast sales team. I spend a lot of time working with our team to create proposals and contracts for new clients. I work with different internal departments to get the appropriate information. Each flight program has a different price and contract, so I work with clients to answer their questions, make revisions as required to the contract, and negotiate terms. Once everyone agrees on the contract, I send it over to our general counsel for final review.
Once we get a contract in place, I work with finance and customer service teams to bring the new customers on-board. We discuss their likes and dislikes—favorite wines and foods, what they like to read and any other information that might make each trip special. To give you an idea of how fast we’re growing, we’ve done 35 of these new customer calls in the past two months.
I also work closely with Marketing on tracking the quantity and quality of leads that come through the XOJET website. If we are rolling out a new product, we develop customized proposal templates and help educate the different departments about the product terms. Last but not least, at the end of each month and quarter, I get to put my finance hat on and spend time working through the departmental expenses, which include calculating sales commissions, reviewing expenses and providing accruals.
XOJET Blog: What do you like most about working for XOJET?
Lezlea: I really enjoy the people. We have great sales and service teams. They’re very smart and energetic. I love helping our sales team win and watching the program sales number grow each quarter. There’s nothing better than seeing everybody do well. I like being a part of the momentum.
It’s great working for a company like XOJET because the company is very nimble. When the economy turned, we were able to quickly change and adapt; we quickly migrated in a different direction and were very successful doing it. Everybody got on board with the new direction and pushed for it.
The growth here is very exciting and challenging. We’re adding sales people and aircraft to the fleet, which means additional work and training, but it’s a very exciting time. It keeps me on my toes.
XOJET Blog: What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
Lezlea: I like being outdoors, so my workouts often include hiking around the San Francisco Bay. I live in San Francisco, so I enjoy trying new restaurants with my friends and family. There are so many great restaurants here. I like to be social and enjoy my free time. The funny thing is that I love to travel, but even though I work in the travel industry, I don’t do enough of it!