LIVING IT UP Castlebar native Aiden Mannion is pictured recently with boxing promoter Tim VanNewhouse.
“I’M out of bed around 7.30am every morning and I’m big into boxing and training so I’ll probably do a run to keep fit before I get into the office for around 8.30am.
I have a car but I don’t really drive it, because our company give us a corporate credit card and the traffic in Los Angeles is so bad and parking is so hard to get, I just plug in the Uber app and I get brought to work and then home again, it’s a nice perk of the job.
I’ve worked in the corporate America space for a long time and spent the guts of ten years in the sports entertainment world. But now I currently work for a company called WeWork. It’s a global work space provider, but in simple terms it’s like selling commercial real estate. As of right now, I oversee sales for five buildings in the LA market.
When I first get to the office I’ll check my emails, go through my agenda and usually meet with clients for sales presentations. Because we’re a global company we’ve offices in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area so there’s constant calls to be jumping on.
Specifically, my job is working with large enterprise companies with up to 1000 employees. The biggest client I have closed is Electronic Arts (EA), who create the FIFA games.
When a company moves to WeWork they get in contact, we bring them in, ensure we get the right building for them, the right accountants, your CAOs and CFOS, all that. There’s a lot of moving parts to the deal. It sounds simple, just getting a company co-working space, but when your selling a physical project, there’s so many hands involved.
I got my degree in DCU and in 2006 got chosen, with two friends, to go on a J1 to LA when some reps from Universal Studios came to the college. My first job wasn’t too good, I was pretty much working in the theme park handing out uniforms, but I loved the LA buzz.
I then organised work experience for a year in LA doing door-to-door sales, which was really tough, but during that time I met the Director of Sales from the LA Clippers and begged him for a job. I was brought into a room with about ten guys all asking ‘Why should we hire you and what are bringing to the table’? I was like ‘Hey, I’m a young Irish guy, I’m hungry and I’ll out-sell anyone’, just talking a lot of muck, but I got the job and never looked back.
I worked with LA Galaxy when Robbie Keane got on board and was really close to him and then went on to the San Francisco 49ers and it was probably my claim to fame.
The 49ers was a brilliant place to be and I spent three years there. They built a new stadium in 2014 and they were hiring strong sales people for the project and I was lucky to be in that conversation. My job was selling corporate suites to wealthy companies, like banks, construction companies, private investors. It was big business. The Super Bowl was coming up, the team was doing really well and with the new stadium we had a lot of leverage, so a lot of things fell in my favour to be successful there.
My biggest sale was one of the last I made before I left the 49ers. I sold a suite to Philips Lumileds for $2.4 million dollars over nine years. That was a good weekend, that’s for sure!
Sales is a tough gig. But if you’re aggressive and you have your wits about you, it’s easy. I wasn’t the best sales person back in the day, but what made me stand out was that I probably outworked everybody, made the most phone calls and sent the most emails, and I really wanted to learn. Unfortunately, once you get to a certain level in the corporate America industry, the political game comes into it. In order to grow in a company, it’s all about the handshakes, ‘the boys club’ and the gamesmanship, which is a side I don’t like to it.
But I’ve no regrets about moving to Los Angeles. There’s no time to put your feet up or take your foot off the pedal because you will be left behind. The first year or two will be miserable. It’s not all hot women and fast cards, you really have to put the work in, but once you get past that and establish yourself, it’s worth it.
At the weekend I try to enjoy myself. I’m big into the boxing world and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). I like to do a lot of hiking to relax through the trails of LA. At night I might try and catch a concert or get out of the town and away from the hustle and bustle at the weekends. Las Vegas is only an hour flight away, so too are San Francisco and San Diego. I try to do a lot of travelling.
I think I will always keep LA as my home base. I would love to go back to Ireland in the next 24 months for a term because we have offices in Dublin. I’ve actually never worked in Ireland, and my parents are close to 70, so it would be nice to be close to my family for a while and hang out with them. I’d really like to run my own ship some time too. I put some money into a small business that I’m working on with a few partners, but as of right now I’m still in the corporate American game, but it could change.
Tonight is Friday, so I’ll probably get out of the office around 6pm, hit the gym and maybe catch a film and just chill out. I’ll hit the hay by 12 and get ready for the weekend.
In conversation with Ger Flanagan
Name: Aiden Mannion
From: Ringeraun, Castlebar
Occupation: Strategic Growth Executive for WeWork
If money was no object what would you do?
A world traveller.
Tell us something about yourself we don’t know?
Not many people know that I grew up on a dairy farm and helped my Dad milk cows before moving to Dublin and eventually Los Angeles.
Favourite place in the world?
My home house. I love coming home every time I return to Ireland and spending time with my family and enjoying the scenery. It’s a nice change of pace from Los Angeles!
My mother. She used to force me to stay in my room and study which I hated at that time. She had a vision for me that I didn’t understand back then but it all makes sense to me now. Without her pushing me, I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today so I’m very grateful for her guidance.
Best advice you ever got?
Always have a great attitude, be extremely coachable and have a relentless work ethic. If one has all the above, opportunities will always present themselves.
What makes you nervous?
I always have a few butterflies before any big meeting or public speaking engagement but that nervous feeling pushes me to do my best. I wouldn’t feel normal without them.
Most prize possession?
Picture with my parents after my graduation from DCU in Dublin.
What do you miss most about being a child?
Running around my family’s farm without a care in the world.
Most famous person you met?
A tie between David Beckham, Conor McGregor, and Alex Ferguson.
The Dubliners (Luke Kelly version) – Raglan Road