John Wessinger

Major: Communication 
Year of Graduation: 1998
Graduate School: University of St. Thomas / Minneapolis, MN 
Current Position: Founder of PLAN | MARKET | SELL, Marketing & Sales Strategist, Author of Ride the Wave

Please give a brief description of your current position:
PLAN | MARKET | SELL is a sales consulting and marketing services firm that helps organizations integrate marketing with sales and align internal processes with the new way customers buy. I work with business leaders and organizations to streamline systems and processes, unlocking new growth and consistent performance.


What path did you follow to get to your current position?
I have worked in the retail and healthcare industries and have contributed to the success of billion-dollar brands as well as worked for global organizations. After completing an MBA in entrepreneurship, I decided to go out on my own and start a marketing and sales business. This business uses my experience and expertise to help small to mid-sized businesses drive new growth through sales and marketing as well as large organizations through project management and execution.

What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
If you are interested in working for yourself, have a business idea and can find customers that will pay for your expertise, start now and get going building your business. If you’re not sure and want to explore running a business down the road, get some experience in an industry that is a passion for you and stay there as long as you can. Go through the ups and downs of working for an organization and learn as much as you can before you venture out on your own. When you decide to pull the trigger, get your finances in order and insulate your business as much as possible. If you can get the money issue off the table and are able to just focus on the business, you will have a better chance of making it work. Don’t let money hold you back from doing what you love.

What skills are important in your field?
You need to be organized, focused and flexible. You need to have your stuff together and know what you’re working on and why. It’s better to focus on a single part of the business instead of trying to do a thousand things all at once. And when things don’t work or don’t give you the traction you were looking for, you need to be able to shift gears and be open minded enough to try something new.

What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your position?
The satisfaction of accomplishing something on your own. Building it from scratch, having it be your idea and closing in on that vision - then accomplishing it.

Most challenging?
So much of your results are out of your control.  You can’t control outcomes, but you can control your attitude and what you do every day. The hard part is being patient with that process and continually moving forward.

What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
Activities like soccer have been helpful because it helped to create a natural network for me. Some of the closest relationships I have are with former teammates.  It helps to know someone is a Johnnie or Bennie, but to also know they played soccer is a great connection point as well.

(April 2019)