Elon alumnus recounts his sales journey in campus visit

The Chandler Family Professional Sales Center hosted George Pastidis ’89 for a recent conversation about his career and how his experience at Elon established a foundation for his success.

An Elon University graduate returned to campus this winter for the first time in 35 years to speak with current students and reconnect with friends and mentors that have guided his career.

George Pastidis ’89, an international student from Greece who double majored in Business and Economics at the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, delivered a keynote address in the LaRose Digital Theatre about his journey and lessons learned throughout a career in sales. Pastidis credits his professional success on the skills and values that he learned at Elon University.

George Pastidis '89 presenting at the LaRose Digital Theatre
Pastidis speaking about his post-Elon journey

“Elon gave me the compass I was looking for,” Pastidis said. “It gave me purpose.”

In the crowd were two of Pastidis’ mentors: Professor Rudy Zarzar, a professor emeritus of political science, and Richard McBride, chaplain emeritus. “Look for a mentor,” Pastidis said. “Mentors will support you even 35 years later.”

During his Feb. 26 campus visit hosted by the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center, Pastidis spoke to several classes and visited with his college roommate after not seeing each other for 35 years.

After graduating from Elon, Pastidis returned to Greece and completed mandatory military service before landing a position at Alcatel, a French brand of mobile handsets. Pastidis’ career led him to positions at Motorola, Vodafone, Huthwaite International, ICAP Group, and ultimately Ericsson as the sales learning & development director.

Dean Tadapelli, Chaplain McBride, George Pastidis ’89, Professor Emeritus Zarzar, and Associate Dean Ajjan

Pastidis noted that “power skills” – the ability to lead, communicate, and problem-solve – were most valued by employers throughout his career. “Being able to influence others is a very important skill in sales,” Pastidis said.

Students asked Pastidis about the most rewarding moment of his career. He replied that it was when his family agreed to move to Paris for his career and they made it through as a team.

Another question was how to “make it” in sales.

“Sales have a lot of failures,” Pastidis said. “The biggest mistake I see from a salesperson is thinking the sale is off when the customer still thinks it’s on. Always make sure you close the conversation, not the customer.”