Black History Month Spotlight
Woodrow “Woody” Dantzler III, Former NFL player, Current Teva Sr. Respiratory Sales Specialist and Black Heritage ERG Member
Teva is commemorating February’s Black History Month by paying tribute to the diverse backgrounds of our employees.
Transitioning from the NFL to Field Sales was a pivotal moment in Woody Dantzler’s life. Here he shares wisdom from his unusual career journey, how uncovering his ‘soft skills’ helped him forge a new path and the importance of enabling the next generation to carry the ball down the field.
Woodrow Dantzler III is a Senior Sales Specialist and member of the Black Employee Resource Group at Teva Pharmaceuticals. Woody was born and raised in South Carolina and received a scholarship to attend Clemson University where he made a name for himself as a standout Quarterback for the Clemson Tigers and was even inducted into their 2007 Hall of Fame. Two of his many accomplishments was graduating in three and a half years with his Degree in Marketing along with becoming the first Player in NCAA History to pass for over 2,000 yards and to rush for over 1,000 yards in the same season. Woody went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League before transitioning into sales. In his spare time, he is an Inspirational Speaker and mentors Clemson football players through the University’s Tiger P.A.W. Journey Program. Woody lives in South Carolina with his wife and two daughters.
What’s in a name?
I create my own path and often take the road less traveled. Woodrow literally means a path in the woods.
Who has had the most impact on your professional career?
My wife. She constantly pushes, encourages, and challenges me to become more. She knows how to stretch me far beyond my preconceived limitations.
What impact have mentors had on your career choices?
The impact my mentors have had on me is immeasurable. Not only were they able to see my potential, but they were also willing and able to guide me to unlocking it. This process helped me to uncover my best skills and ultimately led to me finding my next career.
What was the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career?
Making a shift from professional athlete to pharma sales, without any business or medical background, was very intimidating. It was a bold move and challenged me to push myself to learn to swim quickly because sinking was not an option.
What is your greatest professional achievement?
My goal has never been to get accolades, but rather to be the best version of myself. So, I don’t really keep a list of professional accomplishments, but without question, earning the title of Husband and Father is my greatest achievement.
What skills did you bring from pro ball into your current role in sales?
The skills that transferred so perfectly from sports to my current role are the ability to overcome obstacles, dedication to my craft, discipline, the ability to help others become better, self-awareness for growth, the ability to work within a team environment, being coachable, and so many more.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in making this transition?
My greatest obstacle was me. I was not fully aware of how all these skills I possessed and honed on the field could enable me to make my way successfully in the field and whatever path I chose.
What advice do you have for others making a mid-career change?
My advice to someone making a career change, or any change for that matter, is to focus on the skills you possess, rather than just your experience. Seek wise counsel to help you match those skills to a new field or role that you are passionate about.
In your motivational speaking role, you focus on the importance of diverse skill building and critical thinking. How do you think that plays a role in career success?
I do not seek merely to motivate individuals because motivation is temporary. What happens to an individual once they are no longer motivated? I seek to inspire and empower. Diverse skill-building can give you an edge. The more you can do, the more valuable you are. The better you are at doing more things, increases your value even more. Critical thinking is the ability to think beyond the surface in a strategic manner to bring about a resolution. Problem solvers are a desirable asset to any organization or cause.
What legacy do you hope to leave behind on the professional lives of other Black men and women?
Like a pebble thrown into a body of water, the energy is carried along with the current even after you can no longer see the ripples. The choices we make today will impact those who come after us. Your life is not just about you, it is about those who come next. I want to be known as someone who did things to help others to be better and go further.
February is Black History Month. What figures most inspired you growing up?
My parents. My Father taught me the importance of wisdom and seeking knowledge, without just taking things at face value. He advised me to look beyond the surface. My Mother exemplified true strength and determination. These lessons, and many others along the way, have shaped the person I am today – traits I hope to impart to future generations.
Words to live by:
“Love God With Everything You Possess,” “Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst,” ”It’s Not About What Happens to You, but How You Respond to What Happens to You,” and ”Do What’s Right, Because It’s Right.”