From PC Technician to Mover: 9 CEOs Share Their First Job Experience
A person’s first job can have a significant impact on the rest of one’s career ends up taking them in a completely different direction; This is also true for most industry leaders
Owner and CEO of consumer electronics company Tadiran
First job: washing machine technicianIn 1980, 27-year old Moshe Mamrud co-founded a washing machine lab in southern Israeli town Beer Sheva. Forty years later, he now owns and heads one of Israel’s largest consumer electronics and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) companies, Tadiran Holdings Ltd.
What Mamrud took with him from his first job is a sense of responsibility for everything he does. “If you do something good, that’s great, but when you mess up you need to own up to it and learn from your mistakes,” he said. “The second thing I learned is that providing good service is in itself a long term investment,” he added.Yuval Tal
Founder and president of fintech company Payoneer
First job: moverFresh out of the Israeli army, a young Yuval Tal, now the founder and president of online payment company Payoneer Inc., went to New York to work for a large moving company. He still considers this to be one of the most exciting jobs he held throughout his career.
"This lesson that I learned as a mover at the age of 22, means that in every social or professional situation that I am in, I take responsibility for the way I make the person in front of me feel, be them an investor, a board member, or a colleague,” Tal said.Anat Bogner
CEO of loungewear and undergarment retailer Delta
First job: saleswoman at an Esprit shopAnat Bogner, currently the CEO of Israeli underwear, lingerie, and loungewear retailer Delta Galil Industries Ltd., got her first job during her senior year of high school, as a saleswoman at a local shop by global fashion brand Esprit. The fact that she had worked at a store and performed all the manual and physical labor she now requires her own employees to do, gave her a better understanding of the finer aspects of the sector, Bogner said in a recent interview.
Co-founder and CEO of market intelligence company SimilarWeb
First job: computer lab technicianAt 14, Or Offer, who later co-founded digital market intelligence company SimilarWeb Ltd., took a summer job at a Jerusalem computer store. “At first, they made me a salesman and my job was to get parents to buy their kids a Comfy Keyboard, but once they saw sales weren’t my strong suit, they moved me to the PC lab in the back,” Offer said in a recent interview.
Offer said his dream had always been working with computers. After finishing his military service he got into the family jewelry business and digitized it. As he was setting up a website for the business he looked for similar sites. That search gave him the idea for a website that could find just that. This idea later matured into SimilarWeb, he said.Working at the computer lab, Offer learned to get into details and rely on a lot of trial and error to get to the bottom of a particular issue, he said. From the family business, he learned about management, branding, and work processes. “It was a little factory, and that is essentially what a startup is as well,” he said. Oren Sagi
General manager of Cisco Israel
First job: intern at a law firmOren Sagi, now the general manager of the Israel operation of Nasdaq-listed networking hardware company Cisco Systems Inc., started out as an intern and later a lawyer at a local firm. “This was my ticket to the corporate sector,” Sagi said in a recent interview. “I represented companies and realized I was more interested in what they were doing and decided to switch teams,” he said. The time was the start of the tech revolution of 1999 with the first substantial initial public offerings in the sector and at 28 years old, Sagi was excited to get into it.
Starting out in law gave Sagi tools to better understand clients and to properly prepare himself for every decision or discussion, he said. “Legal knowledge is an essential foundation for a manager’s job,” he added. Experience in negotiations, corporate law, competition law, and intellectual property gave Sagi a push when he converted to tech, he said.“At the end of the day, a person is the sum of their own life experience, skills, education,” Sagi said. “Being a manager required good interpersonal skills, the ability to analyze different situations, and marketing experience, all mixed together,” he said. Eli Soglowek
Chairman and CEO of meat product company Soglowek
First job: founder and CEO of an alternative meat companyEli Soglowek’s career path is not typical to someone who ends up leading the family business. In fact, Soglowek started out far from the legacy of his family’s company Soglowek Naknik Nahariya Kosher Ltd., Israel’s top meat products manufacturer. In his first job, he started a company producing meatless nuggets, chicken wings, and burgers, under the brand VeggiePatch, in New Haven, Connecticut. Incorporated as FoodTech International Inc., Soglowek’s company was later acquired by Tivall (1993) Ltd., the meat substitute subsidiary of Israeli food manufacturer Osem Group.
General manager of Fattal Hotels Israel
First job: hotel receptionistWhen Avia Mizrachi-Magen wanted to save up for a big trip after finishing her military service, she started working at a hotel in southern Israeli resort town Eilat. “I never did take that trip, I fell in love and stayed in the hospitality industry,” she said in an interview. Mizrachi-Magen, now the general manager of the Israeli operation of hotel chain Fattal Hotels Ltd., a subsidiary of Tel Aviv-listed Fattal Holdings (1998) Ltd., said she loved working with people, the responsibility of sales, and making sure guests are satisfied.
General manager of Israel at consumer electronics company Philips
First job: sales representative for Johnson & JohnsonAfter finishing his master’s degree in financing, Aviram Suchard took his first meaningful position as a sales representative for the Israel office of pharma and medical device company Johnson & Johnson. “At my first job I was working around the clock, with headquarters in the U.S. and Europe, and with clients in Israel. In this sense, it is no different than my current job,” Suchard said in an interview. After working his way up at Johnson & Johnson, Suchard currently heads the Israel operation of Dutch multinational consumer electronics company Royal Philips NV. Working as a sales rep taught Suchard the importance of professional ethics and of staying in the trenches with the client, he said. He also learned that he was only as good as the people that surrounded him, and that human capital is the most important thing for a company’s success, he added. Tomer Dvir
Senior vice president at mobile insurance company Asurion
First job: computer salesmanBefore founding tech support software company Soluto Ltd., which was later acquired by mobile insurance company Asurion LLC, Tomer Dvir started out at a company distributing personal computers, assembling them and teaching customers how to use their newly acquired gadgets.