Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re with Emma Bloksberg-Fireovid, or Emma B-F, a Project Manager at KELL Partners. We get to hear her story about how she found herself in the role from a very non-technical background because she cared so deeply about her company’s mission.

Join us as we talk about how Emma’s eclectic background gave her unique skills for the tech space, why being in tech is about so much more than tech skills, and dealing with Imposter Syndrome.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Emma Bloksberg-Fireovid.

The winding road to a life in tech.

Emma has a fascinating story of how she ended up where she is today. “I had been floating through life without a lot of guidance or clarity on what I wanted to do,” she says, “I found myself in a sociology major because I love thinking about how people interact with each other and society, but it was never really clear what was going to come of that.”

Out of college, Emma ended up in nonprofit program management working with low-income youth in Washington, DC who wanted to attain a 4-year college degree. She loved what she was doing and kept at it, but “really quickly I realized that a lot of the organizations I worked in and worked with were really unorganized with the information that was coming in.” The common thread was that she was always the one organizing the information, on sticky notes and spreadsheets and notebooks at first, but that’s what lead to her becoming an Accidental Admin.

Bringing organization to the nonprofit world.

In the nonprofit space, it’s often a challenge to organize all of the information that’s coming in because of the focus on impact and making change. For Emma, that meant that improving the way that her organization dealt with its data was the best way to help that change happen.

“Very early on I realized that being a Salesforce Admin required a lot more than technical configuration skills,” Emma says, “it was critical that to be able to work in a system, get buy-in from your team and leadership, and, in the end, get that budgetary line-item for a system. You have to take care of the people part of it,” which means strategy, communications, and trust building. Those skills didn’t come from Trailhead (although lots of other useful ones did), they came from Emma’s eclectic path to where she ended up, from years of being a camp counselor and tutoring middle school math, “from spending every day getting little humans to get excited about things they had no interest in and had no interest in changing on.”

“One of the reasons I love the Admin role is that we’re in such a unique position to get on the user’s level, to do our best to explain Salesforce and all its magic in a way that makes sense to people,” Emma says. “You can be successful on the platform because I, as a person without previous technical experience, am successful on the platform.” The nontechnical skills that you have are actually what the tech sector is starving for right now. Making sense of the platform and connecting with users to make them feel empowered is critical to the job.

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome.

“When we say the words, ‘Imposter Syndrome,’ it’s a very internal problem,” Emma says, “you have trouble internalizing your own successes.” It can chip away at your confidence because you feel like you’re only where you are today because you got lucky. You’re worried that someday someone will notice that you’re not supposed to be there. “The only reason why Imposter Syndrome exists is because each and every one of us goes through life being told by other people what we’re meant to do, how we’re supposed to act, how we’re supposed to speak, and who we’re meant to be.”

“When I stepped into the technology sector I was surprised to see how many people acted like they knew everything,” Emma says, “which of course fueled my Imposter Syndrome even more because it looked like everyone had it figured out except for me.” However, combating that feeling isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. “You have to be patient with yourself,” she says, “one thing I started to do was to write down every Salesforce I made each week every Friday. All of the sudden, weeks later I had my own accomplishment sheet chronicling all of the work I did.” It also happened to be helpful when it came time to ask for a raise.

Think about what advice you would give to your best friend and have the compassion with yourself to give yourself that advice.



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