Alumni Network Spotlight -
Andre Yeu

by Theresa Ludvigson and T.J. Vilardi
 
 
 

“CRM = Chihuahua Relationship Manager”

Meet #SalesforceAlumni Andre Yeu. He went from training employees at Salesforce to opening his own dog training business. Read his incredible story here. 

The Tech Scene

For the past 11 years, Andre Yeu has run a successful dog training business in Toronto called When Hounds Fly. However, before becoming a successful business owner, you could find Andre helping small businesses with their digital transformation. That is where Andre’s story starts, and that is where we will as well.

Andre broke into the tech scene in 2000 working for several companies before landing at NetSuite in 2004. Andre first learned about Salesforce when one of his colleagues left the NetSuite to go work at Salesforce. He told us, “My ex-colleague at NetSuite became the fourth Salesforce employee in Canada. He kept messaging me telling how amazing the culture was, the incredible growth opportunities, and how great the technology was. However, I was content in my role and wasn’t looking to make a move.” He told us that that his ex-colleague kept at it and eventually Andre received an email from a recruiter at Salesforce. Andre took the recruiter up on their request for a conversation to learn more about the open roles the Salesforce in general. As Andre put it, “I am sure glad I had that conversation. I left the interview excited and ready to make the move to Salesforce.” 

Luckily for Andre, the recruiter and hiring manager loved him just as much as he loved the company and he got a job as an Account Executive in the Small Business space in 2005. In this role Andre helped customers in the Toronto area grow using the Salesforce platform. “When I got to Salesforce I was shocked by the company’s collaborative approach to selling. Everyone was willing to sit down and help me when I had a question. I had never experiences anything like this. Normally in a sales role you are on an island. Not at Salesforce — so many people were willing to share tips and help me out,” said Andre. 

He spent two years in this role before transitioning to the Sales Effectiveness organization (now known as Sales Enablement). In this role, he guided sales teams with their methodical approach to helping customers. Andre would spend a year and a half in this role before making a big career shift and following a dream of his.

The Dog Scene

Andre credits the Salesforce Toronto office manager for his career shift. He told us, “In my last year at Salesforce, my close friend, who happened to be the office manager in our Toronto location, kept sending me listings for dogs that needed to be rescued in the area — I had expressed really wanting to get a dog too.” Eventually, Andre found his perfect pup match and adopted his very first dog. Andre would soon develop a passion for dogs and specifically dog training. “It started as my hobby outside of work and kind of took off from there,” said Andre. He went on, “In 2008-2009 the economic crisis was in full swing. However, people were spending more money on their pets than ever before. I noticed that a lot of the Toronto dog training services were out of date. I knew there was opportunity in the market and it was the right time to make the leap.”

Andre left Salesforce in 2009 to start his own dog training company, When Hounds Fly. To date, Andre’s company has served over 10,000 clients. He told us, “The company is doing really well. The pandemic brought its challenges, as many other small business owners can attest to, however,  in this time of isolation, people were finding comfort in adopting pets. Right now, you can’t even adopt a dog from a shelter. The waitlists are quite long. It is amazing to see.”

Besides training over 10,000 dogs since starting When Hounds Fly , Andre now has two pups of his own — two elderly beagles named Phoebe (age 17 on the left  and Velvet (age 13 on the right).

Looking Back

There are many processes, tools, and organizational effectiveness practices’ that Andre brought from Salesforce with him into his journey of entrepreneurship. He told us, “One of the main reasons I am successful as an entrepreneur is because of what I learned during my time at Salesforce. The V2MOM was one of the first things I implemented when starting the company and it is something we continue to do as a team to help us navigate the upcoming year.” Andre appreciated working for a public company that helped him see what structured business processes looked like. “For being a small, startup, we run a very tight ship operationally — another thing I learned at Salesforce,” said Andre. Although selling technology and selling dog training services may seem different, it is the customer first approach that Andre told us has helped his business immensely. “What do our clients truly want to get out of their training experience? What do they hope to achieve? What does success look like for them? What are their biggest pain points? These are all questions that help uncover the issues they are having so we can solve for them. It has translated nicely,” he said. Another important things that Andre took with him from Salesforce to When Hounds Fly is the 1-1-1 model. Andre told us, “My employees brought up initiatives around giving back to the community. The first thing I thought of was Salesforce’s 1-1-1 model. We decided, as a company, that we would start reducing each employees’ utilization hours each week with a customer by one hour to allow them time to get out, volunteer, and make a difference in the community.” One of the organizations they continue to help and work with is the Toronto Humane Society.

Wellbeing as an Entrepreneur? Is it Possible?

“I take wellbeing and work life balance extremely seriously,” said Andre. He told us, “I am not one of those entrepreneur’s that work 100 hours a week. I don’t think it is healthy or necessary.” Instead, Andre told us about a German term, feierabend. In English, this translates to “end of working day.” In Germany, this normally ends with a beer, however, Andre told us that he ends each work day by exercising. Whether it is working out or practicing meditation as a Zen Buddhist, Andre makes sure he has a clear end to each working day.

The Salesforce Alumni Network

The Salesforce Alumni Network is something that Andre is truly enjoying. He told us, “I love scrolling through all the names in the network and coming across old friends and colleagues. It is incredible to see the growth not only in their personal lives, but their careers as well. I am really proud of everyone and what they have been able to accomplish. It really warms my heart.”

Want to learn more about Andre’s career journey? Connect with him on LinkedIn! Or, if his story has piqued your interest in careers at Salesforce, go ahead and explore open roles today.

 

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