With over 20 years of sales experience, Mike Dockery chose to dream big to accomplish his goals.
He currently has responsibility for all sales in Ireland at Qualtrics, a global experience management company. Qualtrics is changing the way organizations manage and improve the four core experiences of business—customer, employee, product and brand.
Qualtrics is also a leader in employee empowerment with diversity and inclusion being cornerstones of their company culture. Qualtrics’ mission is to have an internal representation that matches the world around us all, and inclusion that far exceeds it.
Dockery is fit for the organization as an exciting and experienced leader. He meets adversaries with optimistic smiles and is a proud family man. His journey is not a straightforward sales path, but one that shows the value of transferable skills. His career began in social work, before moving into sales. He moved to Ireland in 1997, at the time, the Black demographic was so minuscule that he became a pioneer. There were virtually no reference points and many challenges to overcome.
Learn more about Dockery’s journey and what drives him through his successful career.
BYP: How did you get into your current role?
Dockery: I joined Qualtrics in June 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. Last week was the first time I got to meet all of my colleagues in person. I previously worked on a team that focused on the UK market. Because I showed promise, the opportunity arose for me to work in the Irish market. I believe my approach – working with individuals and helping them build on their own strengths is liked by others.
BYP: How was starting a new job during the pandemic?
Dockery: Extremely challenging. You’re automatically isolated. There is no coffee room chat, no getting to understand people, and vice versa. It was initially a challenge.
I overcame this by putting random invites into people’s calendars to get coffee. No work chat, just me getting to know you in some way. That improved things massively. We got to understand what was important to one another and it was easier to work with people. I’m glad to say that I’ve made some strong relationships and friends.
BYP: What career challenges have you had in terms of being a Black professional?
Dockery: A big challenge for me was transitioning careers, countries and dealing with being a minority. I felt I had to shout to be heard. There were virtually no reference points as a Black professional. I was able to adapt by intentionally forming relationships. I discovered by doing that, I saw leadership through other people’s perspectives. It allowed me to move away from the emotional output because what others were doing in their roles related to my own team and how to make it successful.
It took me a full 16 years before I got into sales leadership. Before I got the opportunities I wanted, I still improved my skills by running my own sports business. I became very good at being an individual contributor.
There were obstacles but they drove opportunities. If I had gotten the roles I was looking for, I would’ve never started my own business.
It’s not always easy to see at the time, but the skills you learn in other areas may be vital for your future. The skills I learned in the social work environment also enhanced my approach to listening and trying to understand an individual’s perspective. In short, communication, listening and understanding skills are essential for sales and any form of leadership.
Finally, mentorship is key. Having people around me who believed in me, whose opinions I respected was fundamental to my career growth. I still rely on mentors today, and I take pride in being a good mentor to others.
BYP: What brought on your move to Ireland 25 years ago and what legacy do you want to leave your children?Dockery: My wife is Irish, and we met in America. The rest is history – four kids later. I want them to know you have a choice in life. If you work hard, believe in what you’re doing and focus, it gives you the opportunity to decide what you want in life.
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