Meet William Bruce, Business Development Manager and Fort Myers lead of our Mosaic at Gartner employee resource group. William shares the story of his unique career path as well as how he joined the Gartner team below.
Having lived in several northeastern states throughout my childhood, I embrace my college town of Atlanta, Georgia, as somewhat of a hometown, since it’s where I began my career. The city harbors some of my most cherished, formative memories transitioning from a New England boarding school to Morehouse College, the historically black college that holds a special place in the history of Atlanta and produced alumni like Spike Lee and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I vividly remember my early days navigating the halls of my alma mater and taking in all the stark differences between the preparatory school where I graduated as the only black male and the college where I would graduate as one of many. The cultures may have differed, but my focus on my goals remained steadfast. While majoring in economics and studying French and math, I pursued my interests in storytelling and film, working on movie sets and television shows before ultimately landing an internship in business development at Turner Networks.
It was during that time in the CNN Center that I found my professional path at the intersection of the analytical gaze of an economist and the storytelling of a filmmaker: sales. Upon graduating from college, I started my first job in a competitive B2B sales program at AT&T, learning the rudiments of technology and getting involved in employee resource groups along the way. Taking on a minor role as the head of fundraising of an employee resource group showed me the positive impact that internal organizations could have on creating inclusive environments, and would later shape my career at Gartner.
I initially discovered Gartner as an employee of AirWatch, which sat in the Leaders quadrant of a Gartner before being acquired by VMware. A few years later I would be more formally introduced to Gartner via a LinkedIn message and subsequent interview for a business development manager role. From an opportunity perspective, my decision was clear: Gartner presented a strong brand, a competitive compensation structure, and an opportunity for professional growth.
From a location perspective, my decision was not as easy. I was no stranger to relocating given my somewhat transient childhood, but I had always lived and thrived in large metropolitan cities. Fort Myers, Florida, was outside of my comfort zone. The pace of Fort Myers is slower, it’s less diverse, and the culture is different from anything I’ve experienced. At the time of making my decision, I weighed the personal comforts I would lose against the development opportunity, both personal and professional, I had to gain. I took the plunge and have since proven to myself that I can build comfort outside of my comfort zone.
Upon starting my first day as a Business Development Manager at Gartner, I had already begun to embrace the cultural adjustment I anticipated, but was not yet aware of challenges I’d overcome in the role. Sales is hard at any organization. The art of understanding your product and then connecting it to the right person at the right time is something many do not master. What makes sales at Gartner more difficult and thus more rewarding is that we don’t sell a product: We sell insight.
In the business of insight, it’s not enough to identify a potential client; you must understand the potential client, their organization, and how they function together. It’s not enough to understand one or a handful of technologies; you must understand the hundreds of technologies we cover and the technologies that continue to emerge year after year. You are required to be more knowledgeable, more agile, more persistent and more thoughtful. In short, the role requires you to be in a state of constant growth and evolution, and that is what I love about my job every day.
While Gartner requires its employees to grow and evolve, the company and its culture are also rapidly growing and evolving. One of my hesitations in joining the Gartner team was entering a much less diverse environment. Reality met my expectations when I began my journey, but has since expanded beyond them. What I’ve learned from my time at Gartner is that it’s a company for individuals willing to make things happen.
In that light, I joined an informal group of like-minded colleagues looking to promote a more diverse and inclusive work environment. Drawing from my experience with employee resource groups at my first job and fueled by a passion for diversity supported at Morehouse, I helped to build an organization on the Fort Myers campus that would become a part of a global diversity and inclusion initiative supported by Gartner. For its inaugural year in 2018, I have been so proud to lead Fort Myers’ chapter of Mosaic at Gartner, an employee resource group promoting the inclusion of all the different ethnicities and races that make up the company.
If you are considering joining Gartner, know that your path will not be easy — you will be challenged. However, you will also learn from those challenges, be presented with opportunities to seize, and grow if you are simply the kind of individual willing to make it happen.
Are you interested in learning more about our corporate culture, Mosaic at Gartner and our other employee resource groups? Click here.