Thu, 5 October 2017
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re speaking with Jesse Grothaus, one of our newest Salesforce Admins from Vetforce.
Join us to learn about how Jesse applied the skills he learned in the army to his role as a Salesforce consultant, how a newcomer thinks about the Salesforce Ohana, and some great tips for preparing for Certifications.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jesse Grothaus.
A Made-for-TV Movie Journey to Salesforce
From a young age, Jesse knew that he wanted to be a Special Operations Soldier and, “sure enough, on my 18th birthday I was in the recruiter’s office.” He spent the next eight years doing his childhood dream job while also getting his degree through the army, which led him to tech. He started in tech support and moved into sales, where he first encountered Salesforce.
Jesse liked working Salesforce to build reports that could help his team, but his life changed drastically when he was involved in major car accident. He had to take two years off from work to recover, partially because of undiagnosed head trauma. His therapy for that required him to learn a new language and new skills, which is how he came across Vetforce and Trailhead.
Learning Salesforce was actually therapy for Jesse, and helped him in his recovery. Part of his condition affected his memorization and abstract memory, so he had to break down for himself, “how do we as humans remember and memorize things?” A wiki site called ArtofMemory.com helped him learn the techniques of professional memorizers, people who can memorize the order of 50 decks of cards. With that help, he passed his Certification and Vetforce invited him to Trailhead DX, where he made the connections that eventually landed him a job in Salesforce consulting. If they were casting the movie, Jesse would love to be played by Hugh Jackman.
Vetforce came to Jesse’s attention via a friend on LinkedIn, he saw something offering free job training for veterans involving Salesforce, which he had already had experience with through his previous job. The program is a part of the Salesforce Ohana Group and links to veterans in the workforce.
“I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but veterans have a big struggle in terms of getting good employment when they get out of the military. A lot of veterans get these awesome, amazing skills in the military but it turns out that ‘kicking down doors’ isn’t necessarily the best thing to put on your resume,” Jesse says. Salesforce wanted to help, so they started offering free training classes and curated Trailhead training courses to help vets get job placements.
In Jesse’s military work, he would advise high-level commanders in a particular region on psychological warfare strategy and tactics, “and now as a Salesforce consultant I’m often meeting with high-level business executives and giving them guidance on what I think they should or should not be doing based on their Salesforce organizations to help their business grow.” For Jesse, the most useful skill is “sitting down with leadership, looking at the big picture, and figuring out how we can contribute to their big picture.”
“I had no clue what Trailhead DX was until I was invited to come out,” Jesse says. He didn’t know what to expect. He knew there’d be some great talks, but the surprise was that on day one the folks from Vetforce promised him that by the time he walked out of Trailhead DX he’d have a job.
Being at a Salesforce event was so much more than Jesse thought it would be, “It was like drinking Kool-Aid out of a firehose.” The Ohana is a big part of that and is really what makes everything work so well. Jesse puts it well: “Salesforce doesn’t horde business for itself. It doesn’t try to hide its API or make it some big secret. Instead of competition, it encourages a family or gathering around it, and they’re very welcoming to everyone that wants to be a part of that.”
Trailhead DX also gave him the push Jesse needed to get started and finish the Lightning Experience Special Superbadge, which took him about a week to get through. “After completing that, I was able to go pretty much directly into consulting positions for Lightning Rollout where I felt like an expert right off the bat.”
For more insights, make sure to follow Jesse on Twitter (@GrothausJesse).
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