Passion and profession

Dan Smith, head of integrated marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s Developing Market Operations (DMO)

Dan Smith joined Xerox fresh out of Hertfordshire University in UK. He was first employed as a systems analyst for colour solutions and pre-sales technical support.

“In August 2000, I joined a team tasked with establishing a channels business model for Xerox U.K.  Three years later, I began working with partner development in the U.K. and a Xerox sales team for enterprise-size organisations. In October 2004 I joined the company’s Developing Markets Operations (DMO) to drive the Xerox Office strategy in the Middle East and Africa,” he says.

In 2007, Smith was appointed head of marketing for the Xerox DMO Office business, in his role he was responsible for overseeing a drive to maximise channel communication and demand generation in emerging markets.

Currently, Smith is the head of integrated marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s DMO. “I manage all facets of marketing – including channel communications, product marketing support, demand generation programs, electronic and e-marketing initiatives – for the Xerox lines of business in more than 70 countries comprising the Middle East and Africa region,” he says.

Naturally, his role requires him to do quite a bit of travelling, an aspect he says he enjoys the most. “Xerox is not a direct company in the region and we have many trusted partners.  To maintain our relationships with these partners, we constantly travel to their home countries to meet both their team and their customers. This helps us work out how best we can help with their business issues or help them to develop emerging opportunities. This, I believe, is an opportunity not many people get in their profession,” Smith says.

He adds, “When travelling I enjoy socialising with my colleagues whose company I genuinely enjoy.  Xerox is a diverse global company and in my team alone we have people representing eight diverse nationalities, each with a different view on the world which makes for some very interesting conversations.”

The depth and breadth of this job is what, Smith believes to be the most challenging yet the most enriching experience.

“I’ve had to learn how to multi task and make decisions on the fly. At Xerox we have a huge portfolio of services and products. One minute I’m working on an advertising campaign for Saudi Arabia and the next minute I’m working on branding in Morocco or pricing issues in Ghana.  This is immensely challenging but I have a fabulous team and rely on them every day to help with these challenges, delegation I’ve learnt is key,” Smith states.

Smith says that although ambitious, his desire to succeed is more about personal recognition than about material rewards. “I like to think I am good at what I do,” he says.

He is as passionate about his family, as he is about his profession. “If something is important enough I may make an exception, but nothing comes before spending time with my son and partner which is the most fun, enjoyable and rewarding thing in my personal life right now,” he adds.

When in the UK, Smith prioritises his time and does his best to get home in time to tuck his son into bed. A homebody by nature, Smith says the time spent with his family relaxes him more than anything else in the world. “Because my son doesn’t know how my day has been; he just wants my time and attention and this helps me to forget the stresses and strains of the day. Always,” Smith says.

When not busy at work or spending time with his family, Smith catches up on movies often quoting lines from movies when interacting with people at work. A voracious reader, he says he hasn’t adopted e-readers for he likes the feel of books. While this is how he relaxes, Smith also likes to take some time to indulge in his passion for skiing and plays football at least five times a week when in the UK.

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