A Growth Mindset

By William Gilchrist '06 for Bowdoin Magazine

“I am driven by growth in all its forms. It’s about constantly moving forward and pushing boundaries.”

William Gilchrist '06
When not working to improve global sales performances in the technology sector, Gilchrist can be found nerding out with his partner, searching for his next great meal, relaxing in onsens, walking his dog, and learning more from YouTube documentaries.

What draws you to the work you do? What’s exciting about it? What’s fulfilling?

Ever since I was a child, technology has been a central part of my life. The thrill for me lies in solving problems, especially in improving global sales performance in the tech space. It’s a challenge often overlooked, even in many companies.

In 2017, I launched Konsyg, which provides end-to-end sales operations for enterprises globally, we essentially call ourselves “sales mercenaries” within the technology sector. The dynamic nature of our work at Konsyg means there’s never a dull day at the office. We’re constantly dealing with cutting-edge technologies, and the opportunity to bring someone’s innovation to new markets is incredibly fulfilling.

How did your career unfold?

After graduating from Bowdoin, I ventured to Shanghai to teach English, later doing media relations for an international publication. That experience was pivotal and taught me the importance of language and cultural understanding in professional progression. It made me realize the language was a barrier holding me back, so I pursued certifications in Mandarin from Cornell and Beijing Universities.

That helped me land positions as a sales manager and then head of knowledge at Google in Singapore, but I found myself more interested in sales technology. I took an unpaid internship in Singapore from Bowdoin alum Kyle Hegarty ’99, doing lead generation for TSL Marketing, where my supervisor told me that sales skills are universal and crucial. His words launched my journey into redefining what this field means in a rapidly evolving global market.

How does your background as a government and legal studies major impact your life and your work?

My major in government and legal studies, with a focus on international relations, profoundly shaped my worldview and prepared me for the complexities of international sales. The insights from professors like Henry Laurence, Elizabeth Muther, Paul Franco, Gerald DiGiusto, Jack Klein, and Allen Springer were invaluable. This foundation has been instrumental in navigating my professional and international journey.

What brought you to Bowdoin? What was your experience at the College like?

From the day I was born (literally the day of my birth), Bowdoin was a destined path for me, inspired by family mentors. Their son, Alan Eiland, was an alumnus of Bowdoin.

My time at Bowdoin was transformative—it’s more than an institution; it’s a close-knit community with a global reach. The experience there was unparalleled, filled with lifelong lessons and connections.

What inspires you?

I am driven by growth in all its forms—be it in businesses, revenue, innovation, or exploring new concepts. Witnessing mastery in any field is incredibly motivating for me. It’s about constantly moving forward and pushing boundaries. I even find inspiration watching boxing matches to see people who have practiced diligently to show their skillsets in a fixed period of time.

Is there something about the work you do that others would find surprising?

You might be surprised to know that Konsyg is as much a research company as it is a sales organization. A significant part of our work involves identifying the right sales contacts—that’s our secret sauce. The rest is a blend of sales expertise, efficient systems, and valuable experience.

Is there something about you that others might find surprising?

Contrary to what you might expect, I don’t delve much into sales books. Instead, I find inspiration in the biographies of historical figures and empires who faced and overcame challenges. Stories of leaders like Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Harriet Tubman, and empires like the Ottomans or the Mali Empire under Mansa Musa are my go-to reads.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My downtime is filled with simple pleasures: café hopping, relaxing in onsens, walking my dog, and indulging in YouTube documentaries. I cherish quiet moments with my partner, even if it means the constant challenge of keeping them awake during my nerd-out sessions. I’m also a food enthusiast, always on the lookout for a great meal, especially when my travels for work allow it.

Favorite Bowdoin memory? Or best thing you learned at Bowdoin?

A standout memory is from Professor Laurence’s Comparative Politics course, where he shared a story about the Vikings’ downfall due to their arrogance and refusal to learn from Indigenous peoples. This lesson has been a guiding principle in my work abroad and in the tech industry, emphasizing humility and an openness to learning.


Bowdoin Magazine Winter 2024


This story first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Bowdoin Magazine. Manage your subscription and see other stories from the magazine on the Bowdoin Magazine website.