As one Adobe employee demonstrates, find your passion and put in the practice time. You’ll be amazed where it takes you.
Strolling through the buildings on the way to their next meeting, employees at Adobe’s San Jose headquarters might just be lucky enough to catch a few bars of really great live trumpet. That would be the accomplished John E. taking a music break—usually in the parking lot—from his busy job coordinating eSeminars for the Adobe Field Enablement team.
John is no music hobbyist. He has recorded and performed live with a wide variety of bands, theater companies, and orchestras, including renowned artists such as Jorge Santana, Sheila E, and Pete Escovedo. And he continues to play professionally in his off time.
“As a trumpet player, you have to do maintenance to keep your chops up. It’s a pretty unforgiving instrument. If you don’t put in the practice time, everyone’s going to hear.”
Music has always been central to John’s life, and it’s a passion that has taken him on a rewarding and unique career path. It all started at home, where he played music with his five siblings.
“That was how my family operated. It was part of our education. There was math and spelling, and everything else in elementary school, and band was just part of it. I started trumpet in the fourth grade. All of us played a band instrument and did band at school and drum corps in the summer.”
John let music take him even further. After high school and four years in the Air Force (he is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm), he obtained a music degree and became a high school band director, all the while playing professional gigs.
He spent the next decade making an impact as an educator, at the same time building a skill set that would help him take on a new challenge.
“I grew up in Silicon Valley, but I always felt that I was outside of it. That always kind of stuck in my side. So after 10 years, it became clear to me that I wanted to be in Technology… I got an IT degree, and I was lucky enough to end up at Adobe. I started in Conferencing Support, helping all the conferences that go on, making sure that it all ran smoothly—phone, web, and video conferencing, and the room itself, managing all those things and the flow of it.”
With his background as a band director and performer, John had a talent for managing the complex, high-profile live events at the company. After a year, he was moved up to Executive Support, supporting the Executive Staff and Adobe’s most strategic meetings—earnings calls, board of directors meetings, and Executive Staff All Hands.
“It was a big giant step up, and you have to be selected. It was an exciting time. When you have a successful earnings call, when nothing goes wrong, and everything goes perfect, those are the successes.”
After succeeding in the position for two years, John was ready to explore another facet of Adobe. With the support of his manager, he recently moved to the Field Enablement team, a large organization that ensures the company’s sales staff has what they need to promote and sell Adobe solutions and technologies.
“My managers have been great supporters of my career. Every manager here wants their employees to succeed and grow, and they are always looking out for you.”
“I feel like I’m filling a niche here, and I’m learning so much about the business being in Worldwide Field Operations. I love being at Adobe.”
While John learns and grows in his new position, no doubt his passion for music will continue to fuel him, inspire him, and influence his career path.
“Everything I’ve done—I use it all. It all transfers over to my job at Adobe. In conferencing, it’s almost like putting on a concert. I had to put on a concert once a quarter in the school year. Here, every little eSeminar or conference is like a performance. Whether it’s yours or someone else’s, you have to do all the little things, the project management, to make it successful.”
Blog post contributed by Adobe employee Jean L.