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From US Coast Guard to Sales Engineer @ CrowdStrike

Graduate Highlight

Parish Kaleiwahea (Cohort 2), formally a U.S. Coast Guard, graduated from PreSales Academy in January 2022 and landed a Sales Engineer position at CrowdStrike during the program! Learn more about his inspiring story below:

Tell us about yourself:

I’m Parish Kaleiwahea and I am originally from the west side of Oahu, Hawaii. Over the last 10 years, I was a commissioned officer in the US Coast Guard. In the Coast Guard, I have served both operationally on a cutter and in support functions as an Information Technology Officer. In my current role, I deliver cyber security and management curriculum to undergraduate Coast Guard Academy cadets. Military service has been an honor but has been tough on my family, especially during the pandemic. During the pandemic, I started looking at new careers and found PreSales.

What made you want to get into PreSales?

Like many career changers, I tried to find careers that aligned with my skills with high job satisfaction and could feed my family. That meant giving up on my poker career, traditional careers like IT and unfortunately I cannot make any money as a surf instructor.

I was left with an interesting and limited intersection of future careers that fit all three categories. I sought a hybrid role that leveraged my technical, presentation, and interpersonal skills, and seemingly nothing fit perfectly until I found PreSales. With PreSales, my skills align really well, has high job scarification and the pay is great!

Why did you choose PreSales Academy?

I chose PreSales Academy for its world-class instruction and network. I had talent in certain areas that needed refinement to form an ideal PreSales “skill stack”. PreSales Academy developed my skills from my eclectic work experience into one that landed me a PreSales job.

For example, in my current role as a teacher, I give technical presentations that help students understand complex material. Those skills are applicable to PreSales, but PSA helped enhance my presentation skills and shape them into presentations that were ideal for demoing. Take for example, the PreSales best practice of “do the most important thing first” and contrast that with teaching. In teaching, there is a crescendo into the cool stuff. There will be weeks and possibly months before the course gets interesting. In PreSales we have an hour and we demo all the cool and applicable stuff first. A big difference!

Over the course of the program, I worked hard to develop a PreSales “skill stack” while also keeping the skills/experiences that make me unique. We all bring something unique to the table, I bring a military background and have an experience that’s unique to tech. Getting to know my classmates gave me a window into their interesting backgrounds and stories. Seemingly everyone “stumbles” into PreSales, the more unique the background, the better!

More on the network below 👇

What would you recommend to someone considering the PSA?

The best time to start PSA was 6 months ago, the second-best time is right now. We are all busy and can think of tons of reasons to avoid something difficult. I went through the program with 4 young kids (shout out to my wife!) and I doubted myself plenty. The sacrifice paid off in opportunities, networking and learning. Opportunities arose at some of the best companies in tech and the expansive reach of the PreSales Collective opens doors at nearly every company in tech. The program has tremendous support among the cohort, staff, coaches, and mentors. Everyone is committed to everyone’s success like REALLY committed. Even after the program ended, I still talk with my classmates nearly everyday. Hop on the 🚀 and watch your earning potential and career take off.

How did PSA help you in ultimately landing a PreSales job?

The roleplays and curriculum were invaluable in preparing for my interview. I started applying while I was in the program and I was able to ace each round with knowledge I learned in the course. I felt like I was learning something in the Matrix, every module seemed uploaded in my brain and fully applicable during my interview process. Not only was I able to anticipate questions I could reach out to my advisor, mentor, and coach to ask questions, practice and get invaluable advice. After my first offer, I sent a message to Yuji to celebrate and to help decipher the offer. Within 20 minutes I was on the phone and we talked through everything from the interview, offer, negotiation, and what to expect next.

Where do you work now?

I accepted an offer at CrowdStrike as a Sales Engineer and I start upon completion of my military service obligation. During the interview process, I met many of the team members and I fit really well within the organization. I love CrowdStrike’s mission to stop breaches as it’s a nice transition from military IT to civilian cybersecurity. Since my position is remote, my family is super excited that we can settle in and not have to move.

Considering attending PreSales Academy? Apply today to be considered for a future cohort.


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