Ericka Hazelett ’09
Ambulatory Sales Representative, Cardinal Health
Career transition: Ericka began her career with a degree in mortuary science. She worked in the funeral industry for 10 years, which allowed her to combine her strengths in science, business and serving people.
She completed an executive MBA to build her management skills, but she still wanted to learn more about the sales and marketing aspect of business. Ericka was attracted to St. Kate's Healthcare Sales Certificate program, where she could see her career path curving toward a new industry.
Current expertise: Ericka sells most items that go into clinics, surgery centers and urgent care centers. "There are 500,000 products — from test tubes and needles to table equipment — which is why I'm never bored," she says. Her territory covers one-third of Minnesota, which she manages like it's her own business.
"My goal is to become a business partner with my customers by helping them to drive the costs out of their supply chain and provide more effective patient care," says Ericka.
New perspective: The Healthcare Sales Certificate program gave Ericka a new perspective on business and sales. She learned how to communicate to customers using the language of healthcare concepts such as group sourcing organizations, reimbursements and managed care. "The new concepts and terminology afforded me a running start in my transition; it would have taken me years to do this on my own," she says.
Student experiences: "As a student, the ride-alongs were pivotal to my decision to transition into sales," says Ericka. "Riding with sales people already working in healthcare — medical, pharmaceutical, distribution, manufacturing — really opened my eyes to another industry that was appealing to me."
Most valuable experience at St. Kate's: The community itself was nurturing and encouraging, according to Ericka. "When looking at a transition of that magnitude [from mortician to sales rep], it was good to be in a community that saw my potential. I left there feeling confident in my abilities."
Advice to students: Ericka urges students to use all the resources and connections available at St. Kate's. Then immerse yourself in the experience — and come out feeling empowered.