A Seat on the Bus
PROVO, Utah – May 26, 2021 – Four years ago, BYU Marriott alum Stephen Farnsworth felt like he was metaphorically in the best seat on the wrong bus. He held an enjoyable position at a company that valued his contributions, but he also wanted to move technology forward by working at a smaller startup company. In order to reach his goals, Farnsworth took a risk—one that has paid off with a product marketing position at Workato, a workforce automation company.
As a strategic management student at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Farnsworth wanted to learn business skills that he could apply to his future career, no matter what path he chose. He also hoped to work with a group of similarly minded students. “The strategy program seemed broad enough that I could learn skills applicable to any career path,” he says. “The program also only accepted a few students, and I wanted to be part of a small group of smart, career-driven people.”
“I loved working with my peers in the strategy program and learning from them,” he continues. “A majority of the coursework my peers and I worked on in our strategy classes was discussion based, which involved significant amounts of teamwork. Sometimes we’d spend entire days together working on our projects.”
After graduating from BYU Marriott in 2014, Farnsworth and his strategy classmates accepted a variety of positions at companies around the United States. Farnsworth took a job as a business analyst at Precoa. “I liked the idea of working for a small company where I could truly make an impact on the organization. A few years into that experience, I realized that I liked working for small companies, but I would value working in a fast-paced industry,” he says. “The first company I worked for was in the insurance industry, which wasn’t quite the right fit for me. Even though I loved the job and the people, I wanted to get into an industry with a faster pace where I could drive change.”
In order to get a “seat on the bus” in the technology industry, Farnsworth took a position as a sales development representative with Outreach, a sales engagement platform. Over the three years he spent at the company, Farnsworth became increasingly involved with the organization’s strategic operations. He was eventually promoted to a position leading Outreach's partner ecosystem.
As Farnsworth looks back on that decision to take a job with Outreach, he feels that the risky career move to a sales position helped him reach his professional goals. “When I first went to Outreach, nobody knew me, and I was in the lowest possible position at the company. I made a career change because I believed in the mission of the company itself,” he says. “That risk paid off and helped me reach where I wanted to be. I was willing to throw my previous career security to the wind and then search for something better.”
Currently, Farnsworth lives in Draper, Utah, and now works as the head of product marketing at Workato, a workforce automation company. In his role, he targets potential Workato customers and figures out how the company’s software services can benefit their businesses. “I spend a lot of time thinking about who our customers are, what problems they struggle with, and why they would buy our software,” he says. “I ask myself, ‘How can our technology create a solution for them?’”
Even though Farnsworth has worked in different areas such as strategy, product, sales, and marketing in his career, the collaboration skills he learned in the strategy program apply to every role that he’s taken on. “To function well in a business, you have to learn how to collaborate,” he says. “People need to work together, and different people need to take on their own parts of the project. My experiences in the strategy program taught me how to manage projects with people who have unique strengths.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce