“It's All About Communication”
Chad T. Dyar
Position: Director of Sales Operations at recruiting software company Greenhouse
Home: New York City
Education: Bachelor’s degree in music at Furman University and Master of Music, vocal performance at Northwestern University
Career: His experience includes being an aftermarket sales manager at Toshiba Business Solutions, a regional sales manager with Preparis, and an eLearning manager at Financial Operations Network.
Accomplishments: An active blogger and author of “How to Talk to Humans.” While he doesn’t claim fluency in other languages, he has performed opera in Italian, French and German, and also has sung in Russian and Hebrew. And he has studied Japanese.
Favorite movie: “I’m a huge super-hero buff,” he said. “But saying ‘The Avengers’ probably will surprise people who know me because they know that I’m a huge Superman fan.”
Favorite books: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. “I love to read and I could probably give you a different book every day of the week,” he said. “But if I had to choose a book that’s really influenced the way that I approach my career, that’s the one.”
Interests: Working out, running, yoga and, of course, music
Fun fact: He is a mentor figure to more than a dozen twenty-somethings who are actors. “I’m there for all of them and giving them advice about making it in the arts community and providing a support system in a tough city and an even tougher industry,” he said. “One of them just scored a Broadway show, which is great.”
Business Philosophy: “Technology should only enhance the relationship part of sales. It should never replace it. AI (artificial intelligence) is not a thing at this point where computers are going to replace salespeople. Sales remains a communication-driven business.”
In those final moments before the bright lights shine down, Chad T. Dyar is at complete peace. Standing on the stage, there is no fear. No jitters. No butterflies.
That’s because nothing has been left to chance.
“It’s one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world,” Chad said. “By the time the curtain goes up, I can act with complete abandon because I’m prepared. On Opening Night, you just know that you’re going to deliver a world-class performance because you’ve done every bit of the work to get there.”
Chad, 40, is a classically trained vocalist who has performed in musicals and operas as well as the author of the book “How to Talk to Humans.” He also is making an impression in business as the director of sales operations at Greenhouse.
And he absolutely sees similarities between sales and the arts. Both involve building relationships with people. In fact, Chad said he traces his success in sales ops directly to opera.
It’s all about mastering the complex and making it simple — or at least appearing that way.
“I know that most people think of opera as one of the great mysteries of the universe,” said Chad, who spoke at the recent Ops-Stars at Dreamforce event. “But it’s so analytical. I had to learn everything about music like pitch and rhythm. There are nuances that change because of the costume, makeup and your hair. I had to learn a role in another language and sing over an orchestra. There’s a lot that goes into being a performer. It’s a collaborative art to create something cohesive to present to an audience.”
It’s pretty standard in business to hear people say they are “passionate” about their careers. But Chad can practically break into song. That’s just him, said Priscilla Winley, who previously was his manager at Toshiba Business Solutions.
“He makes himself memorable,” said Winley, the director of aftermarket sales at Toshiba. “He’s extremely good at building relationships. People just want to work with him. He’s the type of guy you just don’t forget.”
He usually goes by Chad T. Using middle initials, he explained, is common in the South. And he proudly declares on his LinkedIn profile that he’s a Southern Gentleman.
Chad was raised in rural South Carolina. The son of a Southern Baptist preacher, he was performing in churches starting at age 3. Chad toured with his family and other groups on the revival circuit by the time he was a teenager.
But he didn’t become truly serious about singing until Chad was offered a music scholarship at Furman University.
“It was in my first voice lessons that my teacher said I had a lot of potential in opera because I had a big, developed lyric tenor voice,” he recalled.
He later worked on a masters in vocal performance at Northwestern University and then spent much of his 20’s working the main stage with companies such as the Atlanta Opera. He appeared in productions that included “La Boheme” and “La Traviata.” Musical theater always was his first love, though, and he had recent roles in “Rent” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Meanwhile, his mother became Chad’s inspiration for re-directing his attention to business. She had excelled in sales and encouraged him to explore that path as well. It turned out that performing was excellent preparation for connecting with people — both to close deals and as a manager.
“The thing that I’ve always found on stage is that the performer must create a role that means something to the audience,” Chad said. “It’s all about communication. So in sales, it’s all about translating that idea into my relationship with people on a more individual basis and inspire them to do their best work.”
He has held just about every role in sales — seeing all the angles of the process. That knowledge has come together in sales operations by helping the Greenhouse team become a revenue-generation machine.
Winley believes what makes Chad unusual is his ability to combine natural enthusiasm with a data-driven approach to sales.
“He just has this willingness to get in there and get the job done,” she said. “He really makes an impression with his attitude. But he’s also very analytical. People are usually one way or the other. But Chad strikes a balance of the two.”
Working in New York City allows Chad to blend his business career and the arts. He also has expanded into writing — something Winley first encouraged when he was at Toshiba.
His book, published last year, examines communication styles in both the personal and professional realm. He’s also a prolific blogger who uses his posts to make serious points. One recent blog on the Greenhouse website explained why the company’s inclusive environment is so important to him as a gay man.
“I’ve been out for a long time, so coming out in the business world was kind of an afterthought,” Chad said. “My concern was people were going to look at my picture and see a 40-year-old white man and wonder, ‘What does he know about diversity?’ So I had to say this is something that’s important to me because of experiences in my life.”
And if it seems as if he’s living life to its fullest, there’s a reason for Chad’s seize-the-day philosophy. He has endured two heart attacks — a shock for a fit and relatively young man. Thanks to an athletic lifestyle and healthy diet, he now has no risk factors.
But those kind of medical scares make a person think about what they want to achieve.
“I’ve definitely overcome a ton of obstacles physically to get where I am,” he added. “I intend to make the most of it. Right now, I’m living the dream.”
That includes looking for more opportunities to climb back on the stage.
“It’s just a lot of fun and thinking creatively really helps me stay inspired,” he said. “There are so many things that I can bring over from the arts community to sales operations.”
About the Author
Mark Emmons is the staff writer at LeanData. He previously was a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register and Detroit Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow on Twitter