Senior Account Executive
At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.
From a career perspective, the challenge of the private sector was the thing that brought me to SAP. I learnt a lot in the public sector, but I wanted that extra challenge of a client-facing role again.
Senior Account Executive
Customers were front and center in David Finocchiaro’s universe long before he joined SAP.
When he was 11 years old, his father bought a takeaway shop in Cooma, a town in southern New South Wales. That was David’s first introduction to the world of customer service and it was an experience he remembers with great clarity.
“It was 1992 when my father and my mother bought the shop,” he says. “My dad quit engineering, took his long service leave and decided to go into his own business. I have fond memories of that shop. Many things, waking up with my dad at six in the morning, getting there, preparing all the food. I learnt a lot about customer service, front-facing of course, and about business. It was not just about how to run the place, but knowing people’s names, knowing families, engaging with them. It was a local community, so a lot of people came in, and would keep coming in because of that level of personal engagement. I also learnt discipline and efficiency while flipping hamburgers and serving charcoal chicken.
“Those early experiences in Cooma really shaped me. I’m of the firm belief that camaraderie brings people together and in turn it forms a connection that brings greater results. Before I came to SAP, I worked for various agencies for more than ten years in Canberra. Prior to that I was in the private sector, at two major banks. I worked in commercial banking there and institutional banking. Then I moved to Canberra for the public sector.
“I actually met my wife in Canberra and we were both customer service representatives a long time ago at the Commonwealth Bank. We were both very highly competitive salespeople back in the day, competing against each other. I was from the south side of the city, south of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra and she was from the north side. But they brought me up to the north side as a fill-in because they had lost one of their best salespeople up here. So I was there for a week, and I really did challenge her, because she was number one in her region and I was number one for the south region and we really challenged each other. I ended up winning against her and she actually put in a complaint about me. She wasn’t happy.
“What happened after that was interesting. It was approximately 6pm on a Friday and we were about to leave the office. I was within 30 seconds of saying, ‘I’m just gonna go, see you later’, but I decided to interact with her and things eventually blossomed from there. It was fantastic.
“From a career perspective, the challenge of the private sector was the thing that brought me to SAP. I learnt a lot in the public sector, but I wanted that extra challenge of a client-facing role again, so I moved from the Department of Finance when I was asked if I wanted to join SAP.
“I thoroughly enjoy it here. I think it’s a challenging organization and that’s something that I really relate to. In the public sector, you’re dealing with constituents and policies to better Australia, and that’s what I was drawn to, to help people. SAP is 100 per cent about the customers’ needs and the customers’ desires and how we can come off the top of that and introduce technology in order to make their lives and their businesses better. I thoroughly enjoy being in front of the customer and seeing the benefit of technology, and being able to touch on their pain points. If you don’t understand their pain points, how can you possibly give them a solution? I think the guiding principles would be to always understand what is being asked of you and to always challenge yourself.”
It’s a concept that David has been familiar with since his student days. When he was 17, his skill as a guitarist was affirmed when he was chosen to play in a well-known venue. It’s a memory he treasures.
“I was so nervous. I was the only guitarist chosen to perform that day and there were two pianists as well. I played Joe Satriani’s ‘Surfing with the Alien’. Interestingly, about 10 seconds before the end of the song, one of my guitar strings snapped. But I didn’t panic and I kept playing without any hesitation. My music teacher had told me that if anything untoward happened during my performance, I just needed to keep going and smile. ‘Just don’t stop,’ she said. There was a huge crowd, there were stage lights in my face and so I could not see anyone beyond the first few rows. I would concentrate on one pocket of the crowd, and then another pocket and then another pocket. It was just a phenomenal atmosphere.”
After all, not every teenage musician gets the chance to make a debut at the Sydney Opera House.
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