chief customer officer and vp sales at vendasta
George Leith is Chief Customer Officer and VP Sales at Vendasta, a Software-as-a-Service leader in digital and e-commerce business solutions for agencies and media companies. George is a renowned thought leader and visionary who gets results and builds high-performance marketing and sales teams that achieve outstanding performance. He is a leading trainer in the digital marketing space and has equipped media companies and agencies with the knowledge they need to survive and thrive. In 2020, George was recognized as a Top Gun 51 for his work to help channel partners all over the world as they transform their platforms into go-to customer models. George is a founding member of the Toronto Chapter of the Revenue Collective and an advisory board member of Cultivator Tech Incubator.
George understands the challenges of moving local businesses to embrace digital. He has shared his knowledge as a keynote speaker with thousands of people across North America during conferences and seminars, helping businesses overcome the challenges of sales prospecting and moving to digital. He launched the Conquer Local podcast to share his sales, digital marketing, and local business expertise.
Q. What was your first non-desk job?
Oh, I know, that’s a great question. So a long time ago, Stephanie, my first job was working at the local grocery store, taking people’s groceries out to their vehicles when I was 12 years old. It was either, you know, whole weeds on the farm, and shovel Green or you know, actually, get paid for a job. So I opted to do the paid job of working in town, at the grocery store. But yeah, there is a lot of work even before that. We had a family farm, a green farm. So you know at a very young age, you’re in the tractor and in the truck with dad at harvest unseating and doing little jobs. Yeah, you know, it was interesting that the people that I worked for were a husband and wife that owned a grocery store, and I look back at it now. And, and you know, that level of work ethic that they had. And the one thing that I always admired was Bill was not afraid to do any job that he would ask you to do. He knew all the jobs, there was nothing that he wouldn’t do, and still, still, actually keep in touch with them when I go home to see my folks.
Q. Do you have a special routine, something that you do every day?
You know, I, the last eight years, I’ve spent a lot of time on the road traveling to see our Channel partners for business, and this is the most that I’ve been home in 8.5 years, and, you know, keeping to that routine, I, well, I am probably in better shape and sticking better to the eating regime and, you know, those kinds of things, because, you know, you’re, you’re in a tighter routine. It’s boring, I miss the contact with people. This is how we contact people now, is on on-screen shares. But, you know, here, in Canada, in the middle of winter, it’s tough to do things outside, so you had to, of that routine, you know, the biggest thing for me, when I was on the road, you are always in a different city, and, you know, you pick your hotel. For various reasons, I like to go to the gym in the morning, it keeps me sane. Now, I just do that at home. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to a gym membership, and our local community, because we got a gym right in the home. With a full yoga studio and everything else.
Q. During the pandemic, did you start new hobbies?
Not really, the one thing that I’ve tried to do is not just read books that are related to sales and motivation in business, but actually read some books just for the fun of it. And it’s something that I always enjoyed when I was younger. That and professional development, and trying as hard as I can not to be a hypocrite. So, if you’re going to tell people that they should be constantly learning, you should adopt that for yourself. But in the last 5 or 6 months, I’ve probably read 4 or 5 books just for the sheer enjoyment of the book.
And a great story, which is new is Scrabble: my wife wins on a regular basis at Scrabble, she is way smarter than I am, but I’m also learning many new words.
Q. About books, do you have a favorite author?
I love Dan Brown. I think I’m now at the point that I pretty much have read every Dan Brown book, and maybe they’ll make some of them into movies. Who knows? But some great stories, and I think part of why I like that author is because all of the books are set in amazing European destinations, primarily. So, it reminds me of some of the travels that we’ve had.
Q. Did you also do more cooking?
I, you know, I do really enjoy cooking. And no, we bought a hot tub three years ago. And as part of the hot tub deal, I negotiated a smoker into the hot tub deal. So, I have this big smoker that I didn’t use for two years, mostly because I was on the road. And every time I would use it, it wouldn’t work. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time on YouTube watching YouTube videos of people and I’ve been destroying brisket and it’s actually quite embarrassing because some of the members of our team here, like Jeff Tomlin and Connie and Brendan, think that they’re really good smokers, which they are. By the way., I’ve tasted their food. It’s delicious but I just can’t seem to nail that thing down. But that’s one of my goals this year is I’m going to figure out how to use that thing even if I have to import somebody from South Carolina to teach me how to do it
Q. If you were to have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would that be?
I’d like to have dinner with Elon Musk and his wife. I just think that would be a really interesting conversation. And interestingly enough, Elon Musk has a connection to Saskatchewan. I’d love to spend a couple of hours and just pick that guy’s brain.
Q. What message would you like to give to Siinda partners and members?
Well, I just wish everybody the best. I think that we’re in an unprecedented time and that is because, you know, this is hurting people in ways that no other downturns in the economy have and that’s because it’s a global pandemic. It’s a medical issue but I think that I hope everybody is safe, and I hope everybody is, you know, working through the business challenges, I think there’s a lot of business challenges out there that we’re all working through.
But, I do know one thing, in meeting the people that I’ve met at Siinda – it’s a privilege to have met the folks, and built some really good friendships there, and as well as some great business relationships. I do know it’s a resilient crew.
And they’re always looking outside the box to try and figure out ways of benefiting their businesses, where they wouldn’t have been a part of the center because that’s what it’s all about us coming together as a group. So, you know, my biggest wish would be to see everybody, and hope everybody’s doing well, and hope the best for their families and their teams and their companies.