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Skyrocketing Through the Gateway to Excellence

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Besides having the coolest name in the sales industry, Vin Riera has managed to push his way to the top of the sales industry as the Vice President of Professional Sales at Gateway, Inc. in Irvine, California. With a career in sales that began right out of college, Riera was Vice President of Sales at Equant, a global telecommunications services company and a division of France Telecom, by the time he was 30-years-old. His aggressive and smart attitude, encompassed with his vivacious and charismatic personality, have taken Riera many places in his career, reaching heights that most sales people only dream of arriving at.

When he enrolled in college, Riera was not sure whether he wanted to pursue a career in law or business. Experiencing classes in law, as well as advertising and business, Riera found that he had a passion for marketing and sales and what makes people buy. After graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing from Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts, Riera jumped right into the world of sales as a door-to-door salesman for MCI, selling long-distance phone plans to small businesses—almost solely on commission. "I had lots of feedback from professors and people I knew that sales was a fast track position—if you could be good in sales, it would afford you some abilities in the corporate world," Riera reflects.

At only 22-years-old, Riera began accumulating a significant background in sales while working at MCI. As a manager for MCI at the age of 26, Riera had begun to establish a definite outline of his career objectives and goals. Also at this time, he found a mentor in one of his older colleagues who was getting ready to close out her career in sales, having already flourished and succeeded. Encouraging and guiding along Riera's objectives and goals, his colleague made an impression on him, saying, "She really took me under her wing and taught me the fundamentals of the business at a level that I was able to see and touch very early on in my career," Riera remembers. "She taught me everything you need to do in order to be successful, whether it was managing the financial side of the business, overseeing the people-side of the business, or networking within your own organization."



After working for MCI and then General Electric, Riera went on to work for Equant. While he was working as a regional sales director for Equant, at the age of 30, Riera was made the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for North America, a position that could overwhelm anyone at that age. Armed with the valuable knowledge and advice that he had gained during his career so far, Riera took on the challenge with the support from his boss saying that he "had the right bones for the job."

Having joined the team at Gateway a little more than two years ago, Riera has advanced from Vice President of Government Sales to his present role as Vice President of Professional Sales. He oversees non-consumer organizations in education; state, local, and federal government; business; and indirect sales. The public sector business for Gateway consists of more than 20,000 customers representing nearly 4 million desktops and portables throughout the U.S. Riera and his sales team work tenaciously to market Gateway's innovative products and solutions to its customers throughout different professional fields, contributing to its standing as the third-ranking PC company in the United States and one of the top ten in the world. While working for Gateway, Riera has come to appreciate Gateway's unique culture and employee loyalty, as many of its employees have been with the company for years reaching back to its inception.

Q. What are your hobbies or interests?
A. "I'm an avid runner and I love to spend time with kids because I work a lot."
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. "I just put in 'Korn' and the new 'James Blunt' CD. I also have 'Metallica' and 'Kid Rock' in my CD changer."
Q. What's the last magazine you read?
A. "Runner's World".
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. "This sounds really pathetic—I don't watch TV. I'd say the TV show that I probably watch the most is "Hannah Montana" because of my girls. It's on in the background. I don't have time to watch TV."

Having worked for monster companies like MCI, General Electric, Equant, and now Gateway, Riera has learned a valuable collection of professional lessons throughout the years. The keys to his success are derived from his identification of his own ambition and goals at an early point in his career and the discipline it takes to make it happen. When referring to what it takes to be a success in sales, or any business, Riera says, "I think a lot of it is focus. I would say first and foremost it's focus and knowing exactly what you want to accomplish personally and professionally in life and absolutely going for it because if you don't take risks, you'll never get there." This focus needs to stay consistent with everything that one does professionally, saying, "Are you making a decision that's short-term or are you making a decision that aligns with the focus of your long-term goals and objectives?" He has also picked up a piece of helpful advice that has stuck with him throughout his years of working in business, saying, "The most important thing you'll ever do is follow up. You have to follow up on absolutely everything—even to say you're not interested or moving on."

Outside of his career, Riera has a very active life with his family and hobbies. With his wife, who works as a college professor, and their three little girls, a five-and-a-half-year-old and one-year-old twins, Riera enjoys getting out and riding bikes. Before he goes in to work everyday, or whenever he can, Riera loves to run—he's even ran in the Chicago Marathon three times, as he is preparing for another in January.
On the net:Gateway, Inc.
www.gateway.com

MCI
www.mci.com

Western New England College
www.wnec.edu

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