In order to better understand the context of this interview, I felt it important to find out what Pearson does as a company and more specifically what Joseph's role is.
"Pearson is the world's learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. I am currently the Vice President of Finance for Pearson North America. My responsibilities include providing business decision support to the CFO and several Senior Vice Presidents of Sales. I lead the planning, forecasting, and analysis of North America revenue and related expenses; drive new selling and pricing strategies; design and administer sales compensation plans; negotiate strategic partnerships; and consistently challenge the status quo in order to improve profitability, operating efficiency and effectiveness. I also ensure that behaviors are ethical and comply with GAAP/IFRS accounting standards and corporate financial policies and procedures. Finally, I serve as a mentor to the Finance team members."
Being in sales, Joseph was put in a difficult situation when asked about whether Pearson is a company that cares about more than just sales. "This is hard. Pearson is a public, for-profit business with obligations to shareholders operating in a space that is primarily funded by state taxes, federal and consumer dollars. Pearson needs sales and related profits in order to reward shareholders with dividends and to reinvest in research and development for new products and services. Profits do not define us, but they do sustain Pearson's ability to improve global education efforts."