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Stephanie Cervantes

stephanie cervantes

Regional account manager

Reed Elsevier
St. Louis

reality best seller

Trust the path 

"Your first job doesn't have to be what you're going to do for the rest of your life. Just get as much experience as you can and trust the path life takes you on."

Although Stephanie Cervantes originally wanted to be a FBI investigator, she found her true passion for sales (and the jet-setting life) at Reed Elsevier, a company that provides medical software. As one of her company's top sales reps, Stephanie travels to far-flung places like Alaska and Hawaii. In her role as regional account manager, she sells medical databases that help doctors diagnose patients and nurses perform procedures.

In her own words

How did you get into sales?

My first career path was to be an FBI investigator. I started out working for the attorney general in the consumer fraud division. But after my first case I knew the life of an investigator wasn't for me. So I sent my resume everywhere. There was an opening for a sales position at Elsevier. I've always been interested in technology and medicine, and I loved "selling" Ambrose during campus tours. I got the job and worked my way up. Now I get to work from home, make my own schedule and travel when I want to.

How did Ambrose prepare you for your career?

My time as a campus tour guide translated into a major job asset. It made me a better speaker. I'd get so excited showing off my favorite campus spots. Now I give presentations to hundreds of people, and I can't believe I get paid to do what I love.

What's your favorite destination?

My business trips take me all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii. And when you make your sales goals, Reed Elsevier sends you on amazing incentive trips. I flew to the Portuguese island of Madeira, which has one of the world's scariest airport strips. It basically sits on the water. But I'm not afraid of flying, so it was so awesome. 

I've also been to Russia, China and Japan. I never thought I'd get to see all these places!

You created a "bucket list" for yourself. Besides travel, what's else is on your "to do" list?

Ride in a hot air balloon. Run a marathon-I did that when I was 19. And have a big family. When I made the list, I was 16 years old. I wanted six kids! I might revise that. 

How do you give back?

I'm mentoring an Ambrose student who's majoring in forensic psychology. When I was fresh out of college, Ambrose alumni did the same for me. They gave me feedback on my resume, and told some great career advice. One piece that I'll never forget: Picking your job isn't like picking your husband; you can always leave! 

What did you do at Ambrose that you never thought you'd do?

I became vice president of my freshman class. I never thought I'd be able to take on a leadership role. In high school, those positions went to the most popular students. At Ambrose, I got to start over and do some new things. 

And as a freshman, I was able to make a real difference. One student wanted Ambrose to support her in running a double marathon to raise money for a charity. The upperclassmen in the Student Government Association said we didn't have enough money in the budget, but I fought hard for her. We got her the money.

How did you pay for college?

I put myself through college with scholarships, loans and several jobs. I paid back $60,000 in student loans within three years of graduation. But I'd gladly pay double that for my Ambrose experience. Without my education, who knows what I'd be doing?

If someone told you on graduation day that this is where you'd end up, what would you have said?

Can I get an advance?