Dawson Currie has reached levels in his career that every emerging entrepreneur dreams of. For that reason, the Student Works Management Program is thrilled to have been an instrumental part of his journey to the top, where he now serves as the Area Vice President of Manufacturing, Food & Beverage at NetSuite.

Dawson Currie (Source: LinkedIn)

But first, let’s rewind! Before finding his way to us, Dawson fostered a keen interest in the results-oriented economy. As a teenager, Dawson was often frustrated by summer jobs that paid a set wage regardless of how hard he worked. He, like many other Student Works Management Program alumni, struggled to understand why his less-motivated coworkers were making the same money as he was for doing half the work. It was during this time that the entrepreneurial fire in his belly, the one that led him to where he is now, was stoked.  

Dawson sat down with Chris Thomson on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast to discuss his rise to professional stardom and get granular about what he looks for in a team.

“I’ve been fortunate to have some very good hires. I definitely take that approach [that follows:] you don’t look at 3 people and hire 3 people because you have 3 openings. Right? You look at 10, 20, 30 people to hire the best and the brightest” he told Chris. 

With this in mind, here are the two non-negotiable qualities he scans for in new hires:

Hard Work Ethic

Dawson’s motto is simple, “work hard, play hard, have fun”.

There’s a reason why every C-Suite executive touts the importance of hard work when discussing how they arrived at their success. Committing yourself wholeheartedly to your business is the only way it will grow sustainably. 

“You can’t teach someone to work hard. You either have the motivation yourself to do it or not,” he said.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably have that one covered!


Every leader can agree, there’s a fantastic synergy that arises when working alongside new talent that is eager to learn and grow with your company.

“I can teach someone about the industry. I can teach someone technology. I can surround that person with the right people to help support them to do their job. But if you’re not going to work hard and you’re not coachable to learn over time, [then my team isn’t] aligning ourselves with the people who are gonna help us win” he shared. 

One key component of being a coachable team member is being humble enough to know that everyone, at all times, always has more to learn. 

“If you think you know everything about sales, it’s probably about time you retire from sales,” Dawson joked. 

At the end of the day, he cites that his team’s shared focus on a common goal is the unifying factor that allows his organization to grow. 

So while his new hires may not walk in the door on day one completely confident in their role, he can be certain that they will adapt in no time due to their intrinsic work ethic and coachability! 

Are you a student looking to further your development as a leader and enter the exciting world of entrepreneurship? Check out more stories from Student Works participants and alumni on our Leaders of Tomorrow Podcast!