Alumni Spotlight – Adam Waslefsky, Altria

Eller PDC Coordinator Alumni Stories

Adam Waslefsky was a Finance major who graduated in 2005 from Eller College of Management.  He is now working for Altria in Phoenix, Arizona as a Senior Market Manager responsible for leading and empowering high-performance culture of Territory Sales Managers.

Why did you choose to work for Altria?

I wanted to be a part of the best of the best. Altria had a reputation for being incredibly difficult to get an internship with and even more difficult to get a full-time job offer. At the time of graduation, I was pursuing a career in finance and before I left college for a commission filled life I thought I would see what all the fuss was about. I was blown away by the local management, specifically a man who would later become my mentor (Michael Wood), the company’s significant investment in management training, the values driven culture, entrepreneurial spirit, and of course the benefits such as a company car and fully paid post graduate education as an entry level employee. I gladly left my wing-tipped dreams behind and haven’t looked back since.

Tell us about your job responsibilities and title.

I was recently promoted to a position called a Sr. Market Manager. In this role, I am responsible for leading and empowering a high-performance culture of roughly 10 Territory Sales Managers who in turn are responsible for the sales of our products and programs in over a thousand stores in Phoenix and Northern Arizona. I am also responsible for cultivating strong relationships with our internal HQ departments to ensure we have the right resources in the market and with our trading partners, large and small, to understand their needs and the trends of the business/ consumer.

What do you enjoy most about working at (company)?

The innovation and entrepreneurialism. At this stage in Altria’s corporate life, innovation and transforming how we approach the business is front and center. The culture accepts and expects individuals to take ownership with how they run their business and smart innovation is cheered even if the idea or approach fails.

Please share a fun Eller memory.

This may not meet the definition of fun but I always look back and laugh when I think about Jim, the instructor at Campus Tutoring teaching for a packed house the night before Accounting finals. Jim, if you are reading this, I owe you one!

What advice to you have for Eller students seeking a similar career path?

If I could give advice to my younger self, I would have had three things to say:

  1. The journey is much more important than the destination. I have seen countless grads become discouraged after not being promoted within the first year or two (I was one of those grads). The problem is that when we rush through job roles or experiences, we don’t build a strong enough foundation that will support a long and healthy career.
  2. Get people what they want, and you will get what you want. It’s easy to get caught up in the politics of corporate America but one rule is simple and steadfast: Make others around you successful and help them achieve their goals and in turn, they will help you achieve yours.
  3. Just go for it. Over my career I have had a few regrets. Oddly though, they are not for what I have done but for what I have not done. Trust me when I say that innovation and smart risk taking is a must have skill for the next generation of business leaders. Don’t let an opportunity go by where you could change the trajectory of your business or your career.