Dallas Lloyd On His Brief NFL Experience, How His Sales Team Competes At BambooHR, And What He Wishes He Knew As A Student-Athlete

First, tell us a bit about yourself: 

I graduated in June 2017. I majored in STS - Innovation, Tech & Organizations (B.S.). I was a team captain on the football team. I currently work at an awesome tech startup called BambooHR.

How would you describe your experience at Stanford?

Transformative! Coming in as a freshman, I felt overwhelmed, small, weak, rusty.  I was just returning from mission for my church in Chile for 2 years, not having played any football. I felt like I was a step behind my teammates and my classmates in every way. With my back against the wall, I put my head down and got to work! Day by day, month by month, year by year, I eventually became a 2-year starter, All-Pac 12 and a team captain for the team. If you have the right attitude and work ethic, the greatness at Stanford will rub off on you and change your life. 

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What was the biggest lesson you learned?

The most valuable lesson that I learned is related to “Extreme Ownership.” Our strength and conditioning coach, Shannon Turley, taught us that the best leaders take responsibility for everything in their lives, especially when improvement needs to occur. They take responsibility for the team’s shortcomings, losses, and failures. This type of lifestyle has been ingrained in my soul. It’s an incredible thing… It’s helped me to approach each day with a passion and to constantly seek self-improvement and to lift others around me. I can lay my bed on the pillow each night knowing that I gave my all to make the world a better place. I now see failure as an opportunity to grow and to lead. This has been a game-changer as I’ve made the transition into the business world.

Did you know you wanted to do what you’re doing?

Like most student-athletes...I had no idea. I’d dedicated my entire life to becoming the best football player. All of a sudden, the football chapter was coming to an end. I spoke with several former student-athletes and there was a recurring theme that resonated with me. Exceptional athletes are exceptional in sales. All of the individuals that I had spoken with had great lifestyles and seemed to make more than enough money to support a family. I spoke with Stanford grads, friends, family, anyone that knew about sales just so that I could learn more! My wife and I knew that we had to move back to Utah, which limited the Stanford network a little bit. However, I still leveraged the network to find out about some really cool places to work in Utah. From there, it felt nice to interview and win the job by myself.

What aspects of being a student-athlete helped prepare you to handle the transition?

Preparation, preparation, preparation. Student-athletes know how to prepare to win. We eat the right foods, hydrate, get adequate sleep, plan and complete our classwork, watch film, etc. so that we can WIN. Going into interviews, I knew that if I could “wow” the interviewers with my effort to prepare, they’d know that the job is important to me. 

Other than that, just be yourself. Be human. Tell them stories about school and sports (don’t ONLY focus on sports) that illustrate the amazing characteristics that you’ve developed. A key part of preparation is to have 3-4 great stories in your back pocket. Anyone who doesn’t hire you is making the biggest mistake that the company has ever made. Seems a bit dramatic, but that’s how I see it and that’s the confidence that you should have. You’ve earned it over the last 4-5 years.

What was the most challenging part of moving away from football?

The hardest part, by far, is missing spending time with my teammates. The relationships that I formed with my teammates are unlike any other that I’ve ever had. Everything that you go through with your teammates as a student athlete: the winning, losing, dedication, suffering during workouts, traveling, battling through classes, you name it…. is what creates the perfect friendship. I still keep in touch with them! I’m deeply grateful for those relationships and, without a doubt, they’ll last a lifetime.

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What are the parallels you’ve discovered between Sales and football?

Sales and sports are almost identical, which made my transition into the workforce unexpectedly simple. The sales floor is divided into teams of 10, each team having one manager (coach). Eventually, leaders emerge from the team due to their own personal performance and ability to make a large impact (team captains). The floor, teams, and individuals have a monthly quota - I think of this as a game. Instead of playing against USC this week, I’m toe to toe with my monthly quota. It’s fun because you’re competing against yourself and your teammates each month in a competitive, but non-combative way just like in the off-season workouts. If you set goals and put in the work to achieve those goals EVERY DAY,  you’ll see the results that you’re hoping for. The players that actively seek coaching and improvement are the ones that are dangerous. Eventually, deals fall through and adversity strikes (like momentum inevitably shifting in a game). If you see that as an opportunity to learn and battle back, you’ll dominate! I could go on and on…. But the bottom line is this: student-athletes graduating from Stanford have all the tools embedded in their character to be world-class salesmen. 

What was it like having some NFL experience?

Although my time in the NFL was brief  (really short... as short as it gets), it was a dream come true to put on the NFL jersey and helmet. As a little boy, I fantasized about being able to play in the league. I consider all of the success that I had as a student-athlete a product of incredible coaching and amazing teammates.

At what point did you say to yourself that it was time to move on from the NFL?

As I began my potential career in the NFL, I knew that I had to be strategic with my future. I had no major injuries and two degrees from one of the top universities in the world. At this point in my life, it would have been catastrophic to go through a traumatic injury (especially a head injury). As I weighed the risk/reward of pursuing the NFL, I decided that I’d give it one year. As year one came to an end, I knew it would be the best decision for my family and I if I said goodbye to the game I love. 

At this point, what were some of the things you wanted out of a job?

Deep down, I’m a competitor. I wanted a job where I could work in a fast-paced, collaborative environment where I could compete with myself and others. I also prioritize spending time with family and friends and pursuing hobbies, so I didn’t want to work from 8am to midnight every day. Additionally, I wanted to take advantage of my degrees and have a lucrative career to set up a comfortable lifestyle for my family. Eventually, I want to have my own team that I can serve and lead to success. So far, sales has been the perfect fit!

What's been the most challenging professional experience that you've had?

As I began my career at BambooHR, I put in the hard work and effort to become one of the top reps. My manager started to count on me not only to hit quota, but to become a leader on the team. As you know - it’s quite the challenge to feel like a freshman but to be relied on as one of the team’s leaders. Shortly thereafter, my manager gave me precious leadership opportunities to have 1:1’s with my teammates where I could provide helpful insight into ways that they could improve. My manager knew that it always means more to teammates when the feedback comes from a peer rather than a manager (another parallel with sports!). When teammates get after each other and hold each other accountable, that’s when real improvement occurs. Those experiences - sitting down with my peers to have crucial conversations and deliver difficult feedback - have been the most challenging and rewarding moments of my professional life so far.

What's the one thing that you wish you knew about building your career when you were a student-athlete?

While you’re a student athlete, pour 100% of your heart and soul into becoming the best student and best athlete on the field. The skills that you develop, if you devote yourself with passion every day, will become tools in your tool-belt; they will be your foundation and you will be successful regardless of your chosen professional field.

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If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as a student-athlete, what would it be?

At Stanford, you rub shoulders with the most intelligent and well-connected individuals on the planet! Always be aware of potential connections that you can make. Attend all the career fairs. Keep a note in your phone with the name, career field, and contact information of each meaningful connection that you make. When you graduate, USE THAT LIST! Now that I’m an alum, I’ve realized that what they say is true: alumni will do anything to help graduating student-athletes succeed! If you would like to chat about sales or want some advice in general, feel free to zip me an email: dallaslloyd1@gmail.com

Finish this sentence: My biggest strength as a leader is…

Love. When you love your team, you’ll do anything to help them succeed. When they can see and feel your love (when your actions are transparent), your words and actions are far more meaningful. 

Ungoogleable fact about you: 

If I was talented enough, I would scrap everything I said in this interview and become a professional golfer. I love golf! I’m also afraid of heights and my favorite musical is Hamilton.