Published in Notion HQ

Welcome Andrew, Notion’s new Head of Sales in Sydney!

By Katsukiyo Nishi

General Manager APAC

Andrew is a surf boat rower, a piccolo drinker, and—after building and leading sales teams at LinkedIn for over a decade—Notion’s new Head of Sales, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast-Asia, and India.

We asked him about the mindset he brings to work, his plans for Notion’s new Sydney outpost, and what he means by making people feel worth it.

On the ocean...

My grandfather took me to the beach every weekend from the time I was 18 months old. Today, I live about 600 meters from the water with my wife, three kids, and two golden retrievers.

My wife and I have been active members of a surf life saving club for over 20 years. A fun bit about that: Once a year, all of the lifesavers in Australia converge for the Australian Life Saving Championships, known locally as The Aussies. I compete in the surf boat division. If you’ve never heard of surf boat rowing, here’s the gist: You row a boat out through the surf to catch a wave and race back to shore. You win or lose based on how the waves break. It’s actually becoming an Olympic sport in 2028!

On serendipity...

I was visiting Legoland with my family in Tokyo when I first heard about the opportunity at Notion. There were so many intersecting elements in that moment: The fact that Notion has deep roots in Japan; the fact that Notion uses the concept of building blocks to describe the product. I walked around and imagined the Legos as software, and I thought about how Notion gives their customers the power and flexibility to build what they need.

On your first sales job...

I worked in a retail store selling phones and mobile plans. It gave me the confidence to talk to complete strangers and listen to them, understand their needs, and try to find a solution. In a sense, I learned to help them live their life the way they’d like to. These are fundamentals that I carry with me today.

On leading...

During my last meeting at LinkedIn, I was saying goodbye to someone who was on a different team in a different function. They made a comment that I made them feel worth it. That really struck a chord with me, because I did the eulogy at my grandfather’s funeral, and the final line was that he made people feel worth it. In life, business opportunities come and go, deals come and go, but relationships are consistent and core to making people feel worth it.

On failure...

After my first-ever sales meeting at LinkedIn, the customer called my boss and asked to change reps. It was humiliating. But it also taught me a lot about focus and perseverance and having a growth mindset. I sold the same product from that first meeting for 11 years, and if someone on my team had a bad meeting, I’d share that story.

On advice...

I have two favorite pieces of advice for working in sales. The first is that sales is the transfer of trust. Maintaining trust from the first conversation onward is critical—it’s essential for people to ultimately pursue a partnership with you.

The second is that greatness is achieved through the agency of others. As a sales manager, your goal is to enable and empower your teams to achieve greatness. In a similar vein, when you’re working with customers, you’re helping them achieve greatness with what they're trying to do. That could be personal development, helping the business improve important metrics, or taking the company to a new place.

On hiring...

I believe that you can only really sell products that you’re passionate about, so folks I’m hiring must have a passion for Notion. The second thing I look for is value alignment. We have such an ambitious—yet humble—organization where the values of truth-seeking, pace-setting, being kind and direct, and being owners of our mission are lived and breathed. Anyone joining the team needs to have those values. The third ingredient is a desire to help customers and deep empathy for their challenges.

On Notion in Sydney...

The number one goal is for Notion Sydney to become a go-to talent destination. The people who join us will look back at this as a time when they were involved in building something lasting—a time when they were able to transform their life and career.

The second is that we want to be the default tool that innovative companies use when they launch. We’ve been blown away by the deep love Australia’s fastest growing companies have for Notion. We want to help those companies—and the next generation of market-leading companies—use Notion to build great businesses.

My third goal is to set up operations that enable the team to spend most of their time with our Notion community and customers. We want to engage with the (already vibrant!) community in Asia-Pacific and partner with them to help shape the future of Notion.

If we do that well, we’ll have the opportunity to build a once-in-a-generation company.

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