How sport played a vital role in team manager Tom's success

Cybersecurity sales manager Tom Newby took A-levels in history, economics and biology before leaving RGS in 2015 to study politics at Newcastle University

Q: How did you end up working in cybersecurity sales?

A: I joined Brigantia in Thirsk in 2019 after graduating in the summer of 2018 – I started as a sales executive and have worked my way up to sales manager.

Q: Can you outline a typical day?

A: I begin the day by dealing with all my emails that I’ve received since the day before. Once that’s done, I prep for any meetings I may have (either with suppliers or clients) and check in with the guys in my team to assist them with anything if required.

Once that’s been completed, I focus on speaking to clients and potential clients about orders we’re working on and introduce them to any new products.

Q: What have been the highlights of your career to date?

A: Going from an executive to sales manager in four years. Building my own team from scratch and seeing them develop and succeed as individuals.

Q: What’s the best bit about your job?

A: Closing a deal you’ve been working on for a long time, it makes all the stress worthwhile!

Q: And the worst?

A:The opposite of the above! When you put a lot of work in for a client to turn round and say: ‘No’.

Q: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

A: Having to manage a team during the pandemic – thankfully with a lot of the world moving online, we were still in demand, but there were difficult times, when customers weren’t sure they would remain open, and ensuring the guys were still motivated and enjoying their work environment was a lot harder without any face-to-face contact!

Q: What was the most important thing you learnt at RGS?

A: The confidence to speak to people I don’t know and be treated on equal terms.

Q: What extra-curricular activities were you involved in while at RGS, and how valuable were they?

A: I was the First XV rugby captain and also played rugby extensively for Ripon RUFC, Yorkshire & Leeds Carnegie. I also played cricket for school and competed in athletics. Playing sport was vital to me as the confidence it provided me with I still have today. Also, being part of a team was massive in ensuring I was trustworthy and could support and rely on others. I still value the camaraderie and friendships to this day.

Q: What do you wish you’d known back then?

A: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, something that might seem like the end of the world at the time very rarely is in the grand scheme of things.

Q: What did you dream of doing after leaving school?

A: I wanted to be a professional rugby player until I was about 16.

Q: What is the one piece of advice you’d give students interested in following a similar career path?

A: Keep an open mind – don’t think that doing a certain thing at A-level or university rules you out – technology sales is one of the fastest growing global industries and is open to anyone.

Q: Who was your favourite teacher and why?

A: Mr Spiers – his passion for his subject was brilliant and made me look forward to every one of his lessons. He also had a great sense of humour that made being taught by him a joy.

Q: Who or what inspired you when you were at school?

A: My friends, my family and my teachers!

Q: What would you say has been your greatest success?

A: Graduating with a 2:1 from Newcastle.

Q: And biggest disaster?

A: Doing worse in my economics for maths retake than the original exam, thankfully they didn’t make me resit again!

Q: What are your hopes for the future?

A: To see all my RGS friends and family succeed in their respective careers and continue thriving and enjoying my job, whatever course it takes!