Katharine Vail LeHew, ’93, repurposed the teaching skills she cultivated as a child development major to build a successful career in sales as executive director of Hospitals and Health Systems at LabCorp, a clinical laboratory company based in North Carolina.
After earning her undergraduate degree, LeHew began working at Xerox with plans to eventually transition to teaching, but instead found a passion in sales. She worked in the office technology field for 15 years before deciding she wanted a change.
“I felt like working in the healthcare space would be more rewarding than working in the office technology space. I quickly discovered my passion is working for forward thinking companies that are exploring innovative solutions to improve our complex healthcare system,” LeHew said.
LeHew’s position involves establishing and maintaining relationships with C-suite hospital executives on behalf of LabCorp, as well as attending meetings at the company’s Burlington, N.C., headquarters.
“My typical day is made up of conference calls and strategy sessions when I’m not traveling to a customer appointment. I oversee the Atlantic division, and my territory covers North Carolina and the surrounding states. I am on the road an average of two days a week visiting customers or potential customer sites,”
In addition to requiring her to use her networking, organizational, and multitasking skills, LeHew’s position gives her the opportunity to pull from the teaching experience she gained at Meredith.
“Teaching requires strong communication as well as the ability to listen and coach. I use those educational skills to promote the company and inform customers about what services we can provide and how to make themselves more cost efficient.”
LeHew encourages anyone interested in sales to be proactive in pursuing their goal. “Stay focused on your goal and be persistent. To get a sales position, you have to sell yourself, and let the company know you want to work for them. Follow up after interviews, write a thank you note. Go the extra mile and remind them why you’re the perfect candidate.”
She also encourages alumnae to use their Meredith connections. “Meredith is very well thought of by employers, and alumnae are always willing to offer support, so see if you can find them where you’re interested in working. Use that network.”