Salesforce Admins Podcast

On the Salesforce Admins Podcast this week, we’re bringing you another monthly retro. In this episode, we’ll cover all the great Salesforce product, community, and careers content from December that we may have missed over the holidays. We’re joined again by Laura Pelkey, Sr. Manager, Security Customer Engagement at Salesforce.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Laura.

Dreamforce NYC

New York in December is truly a magical sight—the lights, the decorations, and Dreamforce NYC, the first in-person event Salesforce has hosted in a while. We’re hoping for a future where we’re all able to get together in the same place again.

Podcast highlights from December

For Laura, the podcast highlight of the month was Ashley Sisti’s episode about translating your admin skills. One thing it’s really helpful for is how you can have tough conversations with your manager when you need extra support or something isn’t working. For Mike, it was his conversation with Joe Sterne about being neurodivergent and working with those folks on your team.

Blog highlights from December

Jen’s Flow automation resources roundup is a can’t-miss list. There are so many different ways to do something on the platform, so having a good map for all the information out there can help you make a plan. Laura points us to Christopher Marzilli’s post about how MFA can save your company money. Salesforce commissioned a new study to look into it, and the results are fascinating, to say the least.


Video highlights from December

One of the greatest mysteries in the Salesforce ecosystem was finally solved this month: why is there no “i” in @SalesforceAdmns? Spoiler alert, it’s NOT because there’s no “i” in “team.” For Mike, J.’s video about debugging was incredibly helpful and fun.


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Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast in the December Monthly Retro for 2021. I'm your host Mike Gerholdt and in this episode, we'll review the top product community career content, and get you caught up on really everything we want you to watch. Not to mention, don't leave early, we're going to tie a bow on this year and wrap up our discussion with some favorite things we discovered or rediscovered in 2021. And to help me do all of that is, joining me once again, Laura Pelkey. Hello, Laura.

Laura Pelkey: Hey Mike. Hi. Thank you for having me again. I'm really happy you're not sick of me yet.

Mike Gerholdt: No, you're a fan favorite on the Retro Podcast.

Laura Pelkey: I try, I try.

Mike Gerholdt: You do such a good job of wrapping things up.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, thank you. I'm going to add that as a skill on my LinkedIn.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Obscure skills listed on LinkedIn.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Wrapping things up on audible podcasts.

Laura Pelkey: Conclusions.

Mike Gerholdt: Not to mention how many minute, how many words per minute I can type, but put that at the top.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, definitely.

Mike Gerholdt: I'll kick off with, we had Dreamforce New York, formerly Dreamforce to you, but Dreamforce New York. And I saw on a tweet, in the Twitter bird, that you were headed to New York in December. I did not go. Leanna on my team went and so did Jennifer, but I thought New York in December is a pretty good place to kick off our December highlight episode. Laura, what were your New York December highlights?

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, well that's actually my favorite month to visit New York because I'm, I grew up on the east coast so we would go there from time to time every few years. And it's so beautiful with all the decorations and everything, I love going in December. It was awesome getting to be there, especially during the new Dreamforce New York event, got to chat with some of our customers, everyone was, there's tons of excitement going around that Salesforce was hosting an in-person event again. And it was really great to be there. It made me remember all of the awesome times that I've had meeting and chatting with customers about security at past Dreamforce's in San Francisco and at the world tour in New York and all the other times. It made me feel happy to be around all the excitement, but also nostalgic. And I'm hoping in the future that everyone, all of us, can do these things and get together for Dreamforce again, at some point.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's hard to wrap up a year if I feel I'm not slipping and sliding.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Hailing an Uber, trying to get out of the Javits Center at 5:30 on a Thursday.

Laura Pelkey: Right, right.

Mike Gerholdt: Cause it's, and it's always impeccably cold. It's always freezing cold. It's decent cold, you can deal with it cause I'm Midwesterner, most of the day. And then for some reason it's five o'clock, Dreamforce New York's over, and then it just cranks down as you go outside to wait.

Laura Pelkey: You're like "Oh, I'm in New York right now, it's so cold."

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yep.

Laura Pelkey: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, no, I, this is probably the coldest I've ever been in my life.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Well coming from California, now I'm a baby, I'm just so sensitive to the cold. And I brought the wrong... I used to do the things that I would laugh about people or laugh at people for. I brought a coat that was too light, I didn't bring the right shoes. I just did all the faux pas.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Well in California, it hits 69, you got to a puffy jacket on already.

Laura Pelkey: Oh yeah. Way too cold.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Laura Pelkey: No, I'm just kidding. I'm good with that temperature, but I'm not going to lie, and you have seen this, I know you've seen this. People actually do wear puffy coats when it's like 65 degrees out.

Mike Gerholdt: No, they do. I remember in February when I would go to the home office and I'm coming from February in Iowa where it's 10. You're excited that it hit double digits and I'm walking out of the tower, walking back to my hotel room and I'm in a short sleeve shirt, jeans, and I'm hot.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And standing next to me on the street corner is somebody, puffy coat zipped up to their nose, muffler around their eyes, big knit jacket, like their climbing Everest.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I'm not going to name names, but there are some people that are, that may or may not be on my team that may have been one of those.

Mike Gerholdt: That are cold all the time.

Laura Pelkey: How can I name names, but you know one of them very well.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Hold is relative. Okay. We promised podcast, blog, all kinds of content highlights. We'll kick off with podcast, because podcast, some people are listening to the podcast and I don't know, I get to choose. Laura, what was your podcast high for the month of December?

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I really liked Ashley's podcast Translating Your Admin Skills. She talks about something in this podcast that I actually hear a lot from other admins, that is a challenge, which is how do you have tough conversations with your manager when you need extra support for something or maybe something isn't working. And we know if you're an admin you know this, a lot of things just fall to you and you're kind of the gate for things and you're the one that, you're responsible for all of these different things. Even with the MFA requirement coming up in February, I'm hearing some admins say that they're having challenges getting their leaders on board with that, even though it's something that is a requirement. That's personally for me, even a skill that I'm trying to get better at. And I like that it's something that we can talk about and you're not, if you're feeling like this, it's something that a lot of admins find challenging. Yeah, I liked that, that resonated with me.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was a fun episode. And even the pre-call with Ashley was, I don't record the pre-calls, but I do for the most part, a call with most of the guests ahead of time. And Ashley and I had so many things to cover that I was like, okay, we've got to start narrowing this down, or it's going to be a six hour podcast.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Time of a Good podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Laura Pelkey: Let's talk about...

Mike Gerholdt: Here's the Titanic version of a podcast in six hours. I will jump ahead, I think it was actually the following week I had Joe Sterne on who is in our Salesforce organization. Helps build things about being neuro divergent. And this was actually a topic that came up internally in some of our admin discussion groups. And I thought it was really, first of all, I thought it was really fantastic that Joe took the time out to share that with us and was being very transparent.
I saw a lot of tweets on the Twitters, tweets on the Twitters, about Joe sharing that and his courage to do that. I want to thank Joe again for doing that. I think there was a few people that also called Joe out, but what I really loved about it was we got the time to dive into how do we have those discussions with coworkers? How do I, Mike, have that discussion with Joe in a compassionate manner, in a way that helps me understand how to work with them and bring the best out of them. And then also if I was a manager to Joe, how can I make sure that I'm inviting that open conversation with my employees? It was a really a little different podcast, but sometimes in December you do different things.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I love that. It's, I think it's first of all, so amazing when somebody's brave enough to share something that's personal like that. And, but it also just makes it okay for other people to talk about sort of their backgrounds and things.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Laura Pelkey: That's really cool.

Mike Gerholdt: We wrote a few blog posts and we managed to narrow those down for this one. I'll go first, Laura, I chose Jennifer's Top Flow Automation Resources. No surprise Jennifer Lee wrote an automation playlist, but the reason I really like this is if you've spent more than five minutes looking at the platform, you know that there's at least three different ways of doing something and there's at least two or three different tools to do that with. And that's because a lot of it is built around what you're trying to do, the skill that you have to accomplish it, you know what I mean? I think back to 10 years ago, the ability to do some of the things that Flow Builder can do now was only available if you could write code in a trigger. And I think of how inclusive it is now that we have a platform where the tool allows me to execute on business logic in the same way, as a developer can write a trigger.
And I understand there's differences, but I bring that up because what I like about this is Jennifer goes through different blog posts, what they cover and why she loved it. And to me, when there's a flood of content and you're trying to work through stuff, it's super helpful. She also covers some videos and of course covers podcasts. Anything that covers podcasts, a big fan of that, but that was a good way to kind of sort through. There's always a lot of information coming at you and much in the same way we do with this episode, we try to rise some cream to the top.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, that's really cool. Okay. Can I ask maybe a dumb question?

Mike Gerholdt: There's no silly questions on the podcast.

Laura Pelkey: No silly questions. You mentioned a trigger, can you explain what that is? I've never heard that before.

Mike Gerholdt: You've never heard of triggers in Salesforce.

Laura Pelkey: No.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's code that would execute... You would write a trigger as opposed to using the flow or a process.

Laura Pelkey: Oh.

Mike Gerholdt: Used to write triggers... You had to execute them, usually deploy through a sandbox.

Laura Pelkey: I see.

Mike Gerholdt: And yeah, so it was basically a way of executing on the platform, because there was before triggers, there was after triggers, there was before save triggers and after save triggers, right, it's a way of executing. And you can still write triggers on the platform. It's a code way of executing automation or executing actions before or after the fact on a record once it's been instantiated.

Laura Pelkey: Got it. Well, I was a no code...

Mike Gerholdt: And they were intimidating.

Laura Pelkey: Yes. I'm very much no code if there's any possible way to avoid it so I'm happy that now there's more automation stuff that can help with that. I'm very much the audience of no code, more... What is it? More clicks, no code? I'm saying it wrong.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Laura Pelkey: Sure. It can be that.

Mike Gerholdt: It can be that. At least make it up as we go.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Clicks, not code there's that too. I don't know. It doesn't have to be, right. I'm sure there's still stuff you can do with the trigger that flow builder doesn't do. And immediately after this podcast errors and somebody listens to it, I will be roasted on Twitter for not knowing it.

Laura Pelkey: I just opened a can of worms.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Laura Pelkey: Sorry about that.

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay.

Laura Pelkey: Hopefully people find it interesting, though.

Mike Gerholdt: Retweet you in everything.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Hopefully people find it entertaining. That's the goal.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Laura Pelkey: All right. My blog pick is, for December, 'How MFA Can Save Your Company Money While Reducing Risk' by our colleague Chris Marzilli. I actually helped a little bit with this blog post. This is, for those of you who don't know that are listening, Salesforce recently commissioned a new study from Forrester to explore if there are, if there's any monetary value for our customers in implementing MFA or multifactor authentication, if you're not familiar with that term. And the results of the study are super compelling. I won't go into the whole thing, but just a little bit of a spoiler. You can actually expect ROI from MFA, not only in terms of risk reduction, which is obviously the number one reason to do it, but also in cost savings with Salesforce's MFA solution, which is crazy. This report or this new study is great, we're trying to circulate it and really get it in front of our customers so that they can use it to kind of help build the business case for implementing MFA, especially to their leadership if they're running into any challenges when trying to make this implementation. Cause sometimes it's more complicated depending on the kind of business you're in or the industry you're in. This blog specifically will help you position that.

Mike Gerholdt: I was looking at it and I have a question because it's something I've never heard of. Is there cyber insurance premiums?

Laura Pelkey: There is a thing, such a thing as cybersecurity insurance.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay.

Laura Pelkey: I'm very far from an expert on what is going to make your premiums lower, but I do, I would venture to guess that most companies probably at this point do have some kind of cybersecurity insurance. I know it's crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I guess you can ensure everything, right.

Laura Pelkey: You can insure...

Mike Gerholdt: Lloyds of London, but.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: I just never heard of cyber insurance premiums.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Learn something new on this podcast every day.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. It's pretty crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: What triggers are...

Laura Pelkey: I know. Many new things. Yeah. But this blog is really great. I would definitely urge people to take a look at it if they're still trying to figure out how to get this, the MFA implementation ball rolling.

Mike Gerholdt: And we'll wrap up our content part, Laura, with video. I'll have you go first because I mean, I like the video you picked.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Spoiler alert.

Laura Pelkey: I know. I picked 'Why Is There No “i” in the Salesforce Admins Twitter Handle?' and if people haven't seen this... I know this is a little bit of a lighter topic, and usually we highlight content that is maybe a little bit more serious or something, but this is kind of one of my favorite speakers. Mike, I think his name is Mike Gerholdt. I don't know if you have heard of him or if you know him.

Mike Gerholdt: I've never heard of him. He must be new.

Laura Pelkey: He must be new, yeah. As somebody that... Back before I worked at Salesforce, I was a Salesforce customer and I've always been surprised, in a really good way, at the community that our customers have created once I came on board and sort of made the transition to a Salesforce employee. And we know this, that admins are really at the heart of any Salesforce implementation. And I remember back to my very first world tour in New York, I was very intimidated at the idea of running a security booth and standing there for, I don't know, we used to stand there for eight hours at a time or something.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, yeah. In this particular instance you were a machine.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Cause I think you staffed it solo.

Laura Pelkey: I might have been by myself, which was hard. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Totally a bad decision, but you got to make him early.

Laura Pelkey: It was a crash course and yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It was.

Laura Pelkey: I was intimidated and I was worried that customers weren't going to like me or that they weren't really going to want to talk or, but I was so happy. What I found actually was such an amazingly warm community of people who really genuinely wanted to learn. And they also wanted to give feedback to us on our products and how we could make our products better. And just collectively, it was never about me, me, me, it's oh, I think this feature's really helpful to all admins or have you ever thought of doing something like this? This would be helpful to more people. And I just love that kind of just the ethos of Salesforce admins. That was why I picked this particular video.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And that's, that was a fun time because that's also when we were setting up the admin Twitter. And I remember being on a conference call with Sarah and Jillian and our Twitter representative and they were adamant at that time you could not have admin in a handle. I don't care what kind to handle you were setting up, it would not say admin or administrator. We couldn't get around it, so that's why it didn't have a, spoiler alert, in case you watch the video.

Laura Pelkey: Have we gotten past the statute of limitations where you could possibly get in trouble for this?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, actually a few years ago they... I think they might have relaxed it or something, but we chose to stick with the MNS.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Because Jillian pointed out in the meeting, she's like, there's no i in admin and I think that just relates right back to the story that you told.

Laura Pelkey: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And I do remember that world tour, you were a machine, you worked the entire time. I was like, I'm going to go get you this glass of water.

Laura Pelkey: Oh man.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe go stand at the booth for a while or Starbucks or something.

Laura Pelkey: I do miss those days though, to be honest, which is funny looking back on it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I mean, in case you're wondering, almost every Salesforce employee at Dreamforce New York runs off of Starbucks that day. That's it, that's all we get to eat. We drink coffee all day and whatever pastries or food they'll throw in an oven.

Laura Pelkey: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what we eat. I've never had more Starbucks in my life than when I do Dreamforce New York.

Laura Pelkey: Yep. Or more of the like Rice Krispy Treats from Starbucks.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Those are pretty good, too.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Those go quick.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I picked the Demystify Flow Limits by Debugging from J who is on my admin EV team. And I love it because... Well, first of all, J, really great on camera. They really have a great personality and very approachable way of explaining things. But I also feel as we talk through automation, we sometimes forget that you're going to hit a wall. And when you hit that wall, it's good to understand how to get around that wall or why you hit that wall. And you can hit limits and users can get errors, and it's important to understand that. And it's also important to be able to kind of work through that or debug it. Fun video.

Laura Pelkey: Very fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Should look up the history of why it's called bugs in coding. It's cause they actually found a bug on a circuit board that was ruining something.

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh, really?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yep. That's where bugging came from.

Laura Pelkey: That is an, that is a great fun fact.

Mike Gerholdt: Fun fact, it's an actual bug.

Laura Pelkey: That is a great fun fact.

Mike Gerholdt: All right. Last podcast of the year. Tomorrow's New Year's Eve, champagne, three, two, one, ball drops. Do you watch Ryan Seacrest? I watch Ryan Seacrest because I'm old.

Laura Pelkey: I don't really...

Mike Gerholdt: You don't have to admit to it. You've already admitted to a lot of things.

Laura Pelkey: I know, yeah. This is, I'll just keep the admissions to [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: But I figured, so I looked up what we did in 2020 and Jillian and I ended the year on a fun holiday kind of wrap up addition. And I thought I'd carry that through this year, Laura, with you. Just to keep things in... What we found, things that made us happy this year, and I threw in a few categories, the first category just to keep it generic is pop culture. I don't know if you want to go first, but anything that you found maybe this year, that in the pop culture realm made you happy or I don't know, you liked?

Laura Pelkey: For pop culture, I will say I've been watching a lot more television since the pandemic started. I think as probably many of us have. This is embarrassing, this is very embarrassing to say. I invite anybody who wants to, to judge me for this, but I've been actually recently started watching the show Love Island UK. And I hate to admit that, but I love it.

Mike Gerholdt: Because there's a US version too, right?

Laura Pelkey: There's a US version, but I actually feel more... I feel like the UK version, you don't, they sound more intelligent.

Mike Gerholdt: They do?

Laura Pelkey: Because I'm learning all of these new British words, so all their slang. I feel it's educational for me in a way.

Mike Gerholdt: It's actually work prep for the next time you go to Dreamforce London.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Just log all these hours as work prep.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if anyone else listening watches Love Island UK, but... I mean, I hate to admit it, but I really, I do enjoy it.

Mike Gerholdt: Guilty pleasure.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Guilty pleasure.

Mike Gerholdt: I... Well, first of all, I was, I think last year I talked about binge watching M*A*S*H. I finished that, I am contemplating starting it all over again. I watched every episode in order once a day, not...

Laura Pelkey: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: One, let me clarify, one episode in order every single day. It took a while, but I got through every episode of M*A*S*H and I just so enjoyed that show growing up. But I finished that, went through a few other binge watchy stuff. I feel like it's interesting because some of these, you're kind of noticing like, oh this is clearly when they went back filming and stuff feels different, but I did find, and I know it's on the third season, so I'm catching up. But I found You on Netflix.

Laura Pelkey: Oh yeah. That show.

Mike Gerholdt: It's also funny because when you bring it up, it totally sounds like a really weird sentence.

Laura Pelkey: It does.

Mike Gerholdt: No, no. Laura, I found You on Netflix.

Laura Pelkey: It sounds, yeah. I think you should just say it around everyone and see what their reaction is.

Mike Gerholdt: Not Laura, I found You.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. It's a little creepy.

Laura Pelkey: I've heard that. Yeah. I haven't seen it, but I've heard that. But it's a good show.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that it's narrated in, you get their inner thoughts. That's 90% of the show.

Laura Pelkey: Oh interesting.

Mike Gerholdt: 90% of the show is their inner dialogue that they have with themselves.

Laura Pelkey: Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: I have a lot of inner dialogue.

Laura Pelkey: I don't ever want anyone to be hearing mine.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my God. It'd be a hot mess.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. That would just be a mess.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing that we could, there's no transition to that. None.

Laura Pelkey: No.

Mike Gerholdt: How do you transition off of inner dialogue? Hey, let's talk about Salesforce features. Oh, that's an obvious transition.

Laura Pelkey: Well, we're building the fee... No, I'm just, I'm not even going to joke about that. Not even.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I was like "One thing you'll hear me talking about all the time is Salesforce feature in my head." I did look up, did you find what Salesforce feature that came out in 2021 that you liked? Excited about? Favorite?

Laura Pelkey: I will say my... I think the feature that I'm probably proudest of and that I think is the most useful for our customers at this point in time, and from my perspective as a security person, is the MFA assistant.

Mike Gerholdt: Imagine that.

Laura Pelkey: I know. I'm, I threw in the Love Island UK reference just so I would be less predictive.

Mike Gerholdt: Tried to throw everybody off the scent. It didn't work

Laura Pelkey: Everything comes back to MFA or security work to me. But yeah, I'm super proud of that feature. I mean, this is a tool that we built. I did not build it, but a very talented team worked on it and built it to be native across all of the products built on the Salesforce platform to really enable our customers with a step by step process to implement multifactor authentication. Which as you know, it's not just one click and done there's a rolling out, there's some change management aspects. It can be... It can take some time, but I'm super proud of this feature and I think it's really helpful at the end of the day.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Well you'll be pleased to know that I chose a feature that I've, I feel is in the same ballpark as yours. It's security-esque minded, to be a security minded admin. In summer, we came out with expirations on perm set.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, yeah. That's a good one.

Mike Gerholdt: I just like that... Hello, now I don't have to set a calendar expiration or just forget completely.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I just think it's so cool.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I love stuff that I can set a date on or a timer. If you knew how many things in my house were Google-ified or timered, I love to just be in my house and things turn on at the right time.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. You just feel like the...

Mike Gerholdt: It's weird. Not as weird as watching Love Island UK, but it's weird. But, and expiration dates on perm sets feel that way, right? I can set this thing up, I can be in the moment, I can do the thing, and then, oh, by the way, this needs to end on December 15th. Boop, don't have to worry about it.

Laura Pelkey: That's awesome. Right, and you're already setting it up and so now your work is condensed to that one moment versus [crosstalk].

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Laura Pelkey: It's such a time saver. And also just ensures that, ensures security.

Mike Gerholdt: Ensures that if you take time off on December 15th, that you don't have to log in.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. That's incredible.

Mike Gerholdt: Because you could be on Love Island.

Laura Pelkey: Right? You might be, you mean, you never know.

Mike Gerholdt: And they'll probably take your phone.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, they do.

Mike Gerholdt: And you're like, no, you don't understand. I'm a Salesforce admin and I have to revoke this perm set.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, they take your phone. You can't talk to anyone outside the island. Actually it sounds a little extreme, but yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: A lot extreme.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Very extreme.

Mike Gerholdt: They must have a filter. What if somebody calls?

Laura Pelkey: I don't... Yeah. I'm sure there's, you have to talk to a producer or something.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Also how would you like to be that person?

Laura Pelkey: No. No, thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Hey your brother just called. What's going on? Oh, nothing just broke his toe.

Laura Pelkey: I like to be, I just, I like to be the viewer. A viewer, just a viewer.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Third thing... I mean in 2020, it was very much cooking. I did not give up cooking in 2021. I still cook a lot.

Laura Pelkey: Good.

Mike Gerholdt: Even though it's the Home Chef... I love those make your own meal stuff like the Hello Fresh and whatever.

Laura Pelkey: Oh yeah. What's the other one? Blue Apron, is that still around?

Mike Gerholdt: I've done that. It's hard.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, is it? Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: It's hard. We do Hello Fresh and Home Chef.

Laura Pelkey: Okay. Those are cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Home Chef is based in Chicago, so it's pow at my front door right away.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: We did the Blue Apron one. I like that they've got different meals for different skillsets. I don't know if they're sitting at a computer, a hot monitor all day, slaving over a keyboard.

Laura Pelkey: I know.

Mike Gerholdt: Sometimes I just couldn't bring myself to make some of those meal kits.

Laura Pelkey: Right. It's hard enough just to get, just to move to the couch to turn on Love Island.

Mike Gerholdt: Right? Exactly. You understand the struggle.

Laura Pelkey: I get it. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: My food find for this year is kind of a rediscovery. And it's a rediscovery because in 2020, I didn't make it to really any events, outdoor events like car shows or the fair or things like that. 2021, my house everybody's vaccinated. We've got the boosters, all the shots. And we actually made it to, I want to say four or five different car shows and a national show as well.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, that's awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: One thing that I forgot I, how much I loved about all of those events is the vendors. And in particular, one of them where they make the homemade lemonade and they chopped two or three lemons, they put them in some sort of medieval press, some sort of cup of sugar and a few chunks of ice and they throw in some water and then they shake the living daylights out of it. And then they hand it to you in some sort of sippy cup. I kid you not, at one car show, I bought so much lemonade from this one vendor that I walked up and she was like, "You've been great to us."

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh.

Mike Gerholdt: "Give me your cup and I will fill it."

Laura Pelkey: Aw.

Mike Gerholdt: I was like, "Thank you." And she goes, "No, you've bought a lot of lemonade from us." And to be fair, it was 98 degrees. It was the hottest show I'd ever been at, just, you were melting.

Laura Pelkey: Lemonade is great for something like that, for a day like that.

Mike Gerholdt: It's perfect. It was perfect.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I know it feels very simple, but that... It's like, Lemonade's a sandwich. It's better when somebody else makes it.

Laura Pelkey: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Now that sounds good. Now I feel thirsty.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. And it goes all year. You can have lemonade in the winter. It's not bad.

Laura Pelkey: No. I need to get some after this.

Mike Gerholdt: You feel kind of sunshine-y.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Yeah. It's, it is nice. I mean, it's delicious.

Mike Gerholdt: Laura, what did you find for food this year? Not to distract you from my lemonade.

Laura Pelkey: I know, I'm just thinking about lemonade now. Well, let's see.

Mike Gerholdt: It's really good.

Laura Pelkey: There... Actually on my recent trip to New York, this is just a New York themed podcast, I guess, for some reason.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I mean, we did Dreamforce New York

Laura Pelkey: Right. Oh, that makes sense. Not for some reason, actually for a very logical reason.

Mike Gerholdt: Also New York in the holiday season is beautiful.

Laura Pelkey: It's fun. It's beautiful. Yeah. I went to the best Italian restaurant I've ever been to in New York, run by a family that's from Rome, so very authentic Italian. And I had a pasta carbonara, which is, it's the very creamy, lots of cheese, I think there's panchetta in it. The best carbonara I've ever had in my whole life. And I've had a lot and I've even tried to make it. And this was worlds beyond what I've ever had. And it's just, now it's just ruined forever because I will only want it from that Italian restaurant in New York.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Laura Pelkey: Oh it was so good. It was so good, though.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Fresh, I've had fresh carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Not by somebody from Rome, but we... Two years ago, I feel, two or three years ago we were in New York and the team got together and we went to this really fun Italian restaurant, Jillian and a few of us. And we had a really great dish, but yeah. Fresh carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh. And they make the pasta.

Mike Gerholdt: Fresh pasta.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Handmade pasta. Oh my God. It's so good, I'm so hungry now, also.

Mike Gerholdt: For carbonara and lemonade.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Right. That would be kind of a weird, maybe a great combo. Have never tried it.

Mike Gerholdt: I don't know. It could. I mean the lemonade's very acidic, would help break up the creaminess of the carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. If anyone's still listening to this and you would like to try that, please let us know how it goes.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah. We'll totally set up a lemonade and carbonara dinner at our next event.

Laura Pelkey: Yes. Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what we should do.

Laura Pelkey: Oh my gosh. That's what we're going to serve at the security booth at our next event.

Mike Gerholdt: Lemonade and carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Only your true...

Mike Gerholdt: I could just see you standing there, "Can I scan in your badge for a little cup of carbonara?"

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. I would do it, I have no shame. Anything to get somebody to come over to talk to me, are you kidding? No shame. I would absolutely give away lemonade and carbonara.

Mike Gerholdt: What was that thing that you did at Trailhead DX? Chase the flag, is that what it's called?

Laura Pelkey: Oh, capture the flag. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Capture the flag. Yeah.

Laura Pelkey: Capture the flag.

Mike Gerholdt: She's got to rename that.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.
Capture the lemonade..

Mike Gerholdt: Carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Capture the carbonara.

Mike Gerholdt: Capture the carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: I bet you we probably get some people with that.

Mike Gerholdt: You have equally excited people who don't have carbonara and then a whole area of people just napping.

Laura Pelkey: Yep. Yeah. Then there's just the nap area.

Mike Gerholdt: Carb loaded on carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: They show up for carbonara, then we spring it on them that they're actually participating in a hackathon. They want the carbonara, but I bet you, they try.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, that's a cruel, that would be a cruel trick. Have a 24 hour hackathon with all you can eat carbonara.

Laura Pelkey: Yes, my gosh. You have to fight sleep and you're...

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's... I mean, come on.

Laura Pelkey: A double edge sword.

Mike Gerholdt: It's Survivor, right?

Laura Pelkey: Survivor. It's developer Survivor.

Mike Gerholdt: Do you have anything with caffeine? Nope. We got this fresh glass of lemonade.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. Nope, sorry. Just some herbal tea though if you would like to have some tea. Camomile.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice warm herbal tea.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: We're mean.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. You're right now.

Mike Gerholdt: Guess who's never going to hire us to do a hackathon?

Laura Pelkey: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Everyone.

Laura Pelkey: Anyone, right? I was going to say. Yeah, I don't know who does that, but definitely we won't be on their sure list.

Mike Gerholdt: No. "Hey we should do a hackathon. Well, I know who not to hire." It's those crazy people over on the admins podcast.

Laura Pelkey: Yep. Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, to tie a bow on this last podcast for 2021, if you'd like to learn more about all the things we just talked about, minus lemonade and the carbonara, please go to to find those links and a few more or resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforceadmns. No I on Twitter. I am, of course @mikegerholdt on Twitter and Jillian, my co-host who is currently on leave right now, is @jilliankbruce. Of course, my guest host today was LauraPelkey. If you want to send carbonara to her or follow her on Twitter, you can follow her @laurapelkey1 because the original Laura Pelkey is off.

Laura Pelkey: Somebody beat me to it.

Mike Gerholdt: Probably. Maybe she's on Love Island.

Laura Pelkey: She's probably on Love Island. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Not UK.

Laura Pelkey: No.

Mike Gerholdt: Anyway, with that last podcast for 2021. Stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned. We will see you in the new year.


Direct download: December_Monthly_Retro_with_Mike_and_Laura_Pelkey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring on Principal Admin Evangelist LeeAnne Rimel and Lead Admin Evangelist J. Steadman to discuss identifying as a Salesforce Admin.

Join us as we talk about what it means to identify as a Salesforce Admin. 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel and J. Steadman.

Becoming a Salesforce Admin

The title of Salesforce admin can often be hard-earned. LeeAnne had to lobby for the title to make sure her instance got the support it needed. “At that point in my career, I really didn’t know that there were other names that the people who managed the Salesforce instances were called,” she says. Even today, “a lot of employers don’t know how to ask for a Salesforce Administrator and a lot of Salesforce Administrators don’t know if people know what they do”

“I printed out the certificate I got after my cert and hung it on the outside of my cube,” J. says, “and I got a lot of really strange looks.” But he was so proud of getting his certification that he would tell anyone who listened. There was a lot of pride around being a Salesforce admin, but also a lot of ambiguity around what that title actually meant.

Hybrid Titles and How the Ecosystem Is Changing

Some admins used hybrid titles like “declarative developer” or “citizen developer” or even “admineloper.” The desire is to express that admins do things above and beyond what people think a typical system administrator is capable of. You’re building Flows and custom objects and fields, but you’re still the Salesforce administrator.

“There was a point in time when we had to make modifications and additions to how we talked about Salesforce administrators in order to translate it to the type of work that was happening in the technology hiring ecosystem,” LeeAnne says. But now, the unique skillset that admins have calls for a greater sense of community around the role, and a larger view of what admins do in general.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we're switching it up a little bit. I am talking with principal admin evangelist, LeeAnne Rimel, and lead admin evangelist, J. Steadman about identifying as a Salesforce admin, really putting that in your job title, assuming that identity and all the different variations and terms that seem to be out there. So, it's a fun podcast, I love our discussion. Let's get LeeAnne and J on the podcast. So LeeAnne and J, welcome to the podcast.

LeeAnne Rimel: Thanks so much for having us.

J. Steadman: Yeah, thank you.

Mike: It's been a while since we've chatted, J, I feel like it's been an episode.

J. Steadman: That's probably true.

Mike: Probably true. One thing to talk about, so we've delved deep into a few different topics in the month of December, and I'm hoping everybody enjoys these podcasts while they put up some holiday decorations or something, maybe make some party mix. But one thing that I had always come up on my radar and I know LeeAnne it's come up on your radar and J as well, because you do a lot of volunteering with Pathfinders is the term Salesforce admin, and how we see it pop up in different pieces of content. So I know the term has always been pretty close to me. I've always identified that way and never really chose to use a different nomenclature, but I would love to get your thoughts on that as we kick off this discussion.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah. That's a big question, right? What does Salesforce admin mean? I know my own personal history with the name. I became a Salesforce admin, that was something I really aspired to. About 14 years ago, I was working for Kaiser Permanente and I was doing database work, and I was really trying to take over our Salesforce instance basically. And I had to lobby to get my title changed, to be the Salesforce admin, so I owned our Salesforce instance and I could guide it and make decisions about it and advocate for budget that we needed to fix it. And so it was interesting for me when I joined Salesforce because I didn't really know that there was other names that people called the people who manage Salesforce instances at that point in my career.
And so I feel like one of the things when we work with the admin community is we really spend a lot of time sometimes sifting through the different names and the different language that people use to talk about the job duties and the role and the individuals who manage and implement Salesforce, right? So that's a little bit of my, I guess, background with that job title or label or whatever we want to call it. And to me it's always been a little bit interesting, I think, probably because part of my own history was that I really wanted that role, and I really was so proud to build that into my career. So I was a little surprised and had to understand more when I saw that, that's... I think a lot of employers don't know how to ask for a Salesforce administrator and a lot of people out there don't know if they say Salesforce administrator, if people will know what they do.
And so Mike, and I know we've spent a lot of time talking and working on this, how do we help everyone know what Salesforce admins do and how do we help people understand what the job does both on the hiring and the job candidate side?

J. Steadman: Yeah, on my side of things, I had a very similar experience to you, LeeAnne, when I became a Salesforce admin, this would be, I think, 2012 I accidentally admin-ed myself, and I really fell in love with it. I really sought out that title of Salesforce administrator and surprised people at work by going out and getting my credential. And I printed out the certificate that I got after I passed my cert and I hung it on the outside of my cube, not the inside of my cube, and I got a lot of really strange looks. Very small company and people were like, "What are you doing?" And I was like, "Well, let me tell you," and I would explain it to them. And it was really, really exciting, right?
I think as I consider the title, Salesforce administrator and our awesome admin community, and I think through other terms that I've seen float around in various places, what I think I often see is people or the intent... We see phrases like declarative developer or Mike, I think you were telling me about you saw a portmanteau of admin and developer that was admineloper or something like that.

Mike: Yeah. I've seen that pop up in a few presentations, admineloper.

J. Steadman: Yeah, I think the intention is less about... And this is just my gut, right? I don't have any hard data on this, but I think... my gut tells me that system administrator is a title that has existed for a very long time before Salesforce came around, right? And I think people are... they want to differentiate themselves and they want to indicate that the skillset that they have may go deeper than what a traditional system administrator does.
And so some of these other terms pop up here and there, but I think what's unique about Salesforce and Salesforce administration is that a Salesforce administrator is an individual who is doing declarative development. That's the thing that you're doing, building flows, right? But you're still the Salesforce administrator. You're building custom objects in fields, but you're still the Salesforce administrator. You are meeting with the business and gathering requirements, but you are still the Salesforce administrator. And it makes me consider what is a Salesforce administrator and why do we like this title? Why do we hold onto this title? And for me, at least being a person who has only recently joined the team about six months ago here in the evangelist group, there's community, Salesforce administrators unite. If I were to say that, the Power Rangers Voltron around a bunch of people would suddenly rush into the room and we'd be able to solve an awesome problem. But if I were to say admineloper unite, I'm not sure that I'd have that same community that would respond.
So for me at least, I have talked about things like declarative development in the past to differentiate the way in which I develop business logic, which is through declarative tools, and yet I remain a Salesforce administrator. And I think that the power of our community and the breadth of what we do, that's what defines us as Salesforce admins.

LeeAnne Rimel: So two things jump out to me from that J, one, I had to look up what portmanteau was. Thank you for adding a new word for [crosstalk].

J. Steadman: It is a combination of two words. Yeah.

LeeAnne Rimel: Well, I now know this because I it really quick. And from what you're covering, is how that importance of having that common shared language. And it almost feels like sometimes there was a point in time when we had to make modifications and additions to how we talked about Salesforce administrators in order to translate it to the type of work that was happening out in the technology hiring ecosystem. I think we felt like we had to add things maybe to our resume or to our title or how we described ourselves to maybe when there wasn't as big of a Salesforce ecosystem, there wasn't as many admins, there wasn't as many customer companies. And then now on the flip side of that, it becomes more important to use that common language so that we can leverage the power of the community and connecting with others, and accessing those best practices, those recommendations, that community element of what are those duties in my job? What are those things that I should be doing? What are those skills I should be developing? What type of roles should I be looking for?
Where language should change as the landscape changes, and so maybe where it did at times make sense 10 years ago to say, "Yes, I do a lot of declarative development or I'm a citizen developer on Salesforce," or whatever language you're using, it's like now employers know what they're looking for, for the most part with Salesforce admins. They know what a Salesforce admin is for the most part, they know what that job is, so now it becomes more important to rationalize and update our language.

J. Steadman: Yeah, I agree. And I think it's interesting when we look at the work that admins do, right? We build reports and dashboards, we can modify the objects and fields, again, the schema, we build business logic, we maintain pages, we manage users, we make sure that our data is clean. And most of the time when I see folks starting to waffle around the title admin, it's usually when we're playing around with that business logic piece. And it feels to me like there's this implicit belief out there perhaps that if I'm touching business logic, that must mean that I am thinking like a developer or I am doing developer work. And while configuration in this way is in fact development, it's well within the purview of the Salesforce administrator. And to anyone who's listening that has strong feelings about things being done in an org, I'm talking about doing things the right way, of course. There is a right way and a right solution to choose, and declarative solutions are not always the right tool to choose, but it is possible to have well built, well configured, declarative business logic.

LeeAnne Rimel: Well, and I would say actually that should always be evaluated first.

J. Steadman: Yes, of course. Upfront you want to say, "Hey, we have this business challenge or this business objective or this requirement." And then hopefully at our business, we have established what we would consider to be our design standards. And we have determined which solutions are appropriate, given the requirements. And then we go ahead and we design and we build those solutions and then of course they get deployed. And yet no one that I'm aware of is really concerned about calling themselves a data scientist or an analyst if they're building reports and dashboards. This name differentiation that I tend to see usually orients itself around folks that are touching business logic.
And it's interesting because one of the things that I've been most drawn to is I've grown through the past nine or 10 years on the platform is this ability to bridge communication and organizations between Salesforce admins and Salesforce developers. Realizing that we're all part of the same larger team, or we're all on the spectrum or the rainbow of doing stuff on the platform together. And I'm curious if either you or Mike, have thoughts about this. What feels to me like an implied division where, "Yes, I can modify the data structure. Yes, I can design solutions. Yes, I can modify pages and give a better user experience and design things well for my users, but if I touch logic, then I have to make sure I'm telling people that I'm doing something different." Where do you think that comes from? Is that something that you see as well? Is that something that I'm finding just in my own anecdotal experience?

LeeAnne Rimel: I don't know that I've seen... I don't know that I've seen as much of that, as much of the hesitation to embrace the business analysis piece as an admin. I feel like what I encounter or in my experience working with admins more often is that... Well, I'm thinking about these experiences with admins and this compulsion to feel like they need to sometimes adjust their title in order to feel legitimate in the work that they're doing. To me, I feel like that's what it boils down to, right? No matter what the subject matter area is, it feels like sometimes there's times that Salesforce administrators feel like they need to add a lot of asterisks or a lot of addendums to their title in order to feel comfortable occupying the space that a Salesforce administrator occupies.
And I don't know if those pressures come from... There's rampant, toxic elitism in the tech industry, there just is. It's just reality, it's not unique to Salesforce, it's not unique to developers, it's not unique to... It's just there. And we talk a lot about imposter syndrome and toxic elitism. And so I don't know what those forces are that make people feel sometimes like they need to claim some different language in order to feel valid or comfortable doing that work. To me, it comes down to feeling empowered to do the work that you're doing and to not feel like you have to. Because also at the end of the day, a title's a title. It's to embrace the work that you're doing, to embrace the community that you're a part of.
And I always found the admin... And people used to talk about admin to developer, admineloper and all of that. And I was an admin who coded, but personally, I never had any interest in becoming a full-time developer. My personal opinion is that the declarative platform is just incredibly, incredibly important for Salesforce and for the community. And you can be a really, really good admin without knowing how to code. I think you cannot be a good developer without knowing how to do declarative work. I've seen a lot of really messy orgs when people tried to go code first. It's like, "Oh."

J. Steadman: Cosigned. Yeah, me too.

LeeAnne Rimel: "Tell me more about your entirely custom built forecasting platform because you didn't know we had a forecasting..." I don't know, so I think some of it is just leaning... It's that comfort. How do we remove some of that or mitigate some of that toxic elitism that comes with the language that we use and who deserves to be in what space, and where do Salesforce admins belong?

Mike: I think one of the things running LeeAnne off of what I heard from you, there's a few things that I took from what you and J said. I think the name differentiations seem to be caught up in the admin world often around the task that the admin does or tasks, right? And so I was trying to think of another industry where more than one word exists for... And I think title's different than identity, but for an identity.
And we say adminelopers like, "Well, I'm really an admin that writes some code." So you're an admin, right? Or J, you said build a lot. You could call yourself a builder, but it's often encompassing. So often I have to identify myself as a Salesforce admin first and then also attach all of the tasks that I do. I'm a Salesforce admin business intelligence analyst, I have to tack on all of the things that I have to do, whereas I'm sitting back and I'm thinking like, "So why don't airplane pilots do that?" Because you walk up, go to an airport, talk to somebody, they could introduce themselves, "I'm an airplane pilot." They don't tack on all of the tasks that they do.

J. Steadman: And I also navigate.

Mike: Yeah, and I also...

LeeAnne Rimel: I like to land.

Mike: Yeah. Well that's exactly what I was... LeeAnne you took my example, but-

LeeAnne Rimel: I'm sorry.

Mike: ... nobody says, "I'm an airplane pilot takeoff specialist." No, they just, "I'm a pilot." There's tasks that I do, and I'm wondering if it's because it's such a new identity in the space because we don't talk about developers in the same manner.

J. Steadman: I think it's important too to... You have introduced a new concept here in the conversation. Not only is it a new identity, but the technology that we work with, the Salesforce platform is something that is continually evolving, growing and changing in ways that are unique. So you could be a Salesforce administrator and the stuff you could be using, maybe messaging like Slack, integrations like MuleSoft, data analytics like Tableau or Tableau CRM, or core platform where you're making custom applications, a mobile application. You could be an admin, that's only doing reporting. You could be an admin that's only doing user management. I've met admins that are doing all of these things or any combination thereof, not to even begin... What about the various clouds that we have? Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Experience Cloud, right? There's so much stuff and that hasn't always been the case.
I think maybe I'm suddenly like chaining us to a really heavy load to lift, but it makes sense then that sometimes people would feel a little bit... If what we have to do is communicate what it is that we do with our title, which we often do in short conversations with folks, and communicate to them that they can trust us. We have to establish trust with the people that we talk to in our business, our stakeholders, our users, it can be important to convey to them the things that they need to hear. And so it falls to folks like us, Mike you, LeeAnne you, and myself and Jen and the rest of the broader admins relations team. Part of the burden is we got to make sure that it's really nice and easy to convey some of those things, which excites me about some of the work that has been done recently on the team.
We previewed some of this content at Dreamforce where we talked about admin skills and the responsibilities. We've got the great Essential Habit series that has been around for a very long time, Mike, with the work that you've done. And I think in the way that I'm sitting and looking at it, it's important for us to make sure that admins understand very clearly that, "Hey, if you write some code, great, you can still be an admin. Hey, are you using Flow Builder all the time? Great. You can still be an admin." The idea that you're using a developer's mind as opposed to a builder's like, "Yo, you're doing business logic [crosstalk] in the platform, that to me sounds like admin, good job." And that one should be proud of those things.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah. I think you gave a really S overview there, J, and something that really sticks out to me is that sense of you're not using a developer's mind or you're not using... this is encompassing of the role of Salesforce admin, of the identity of Salesforce admin. And I think, I know I'm a broken record with this stuff, but I feel like a lot of it comes... To me, I feel like a lot of it comes back to some of the forces out there around tech language and around the language of who is technical that's... If you want me to go off on a total rant, someone will say that someone isn't technical because they don't code, because what does technical mean? It means you use a tool to accomplish a task. That's what it means. And so when we gatekeep words like that, I think some of the residual effects is that it makes people second guess some of the titles out there, second guess themselves and their legitimacy in claiming some of those titles and what it means for them.
Whereas I feel very strongly like if you can build something with a tool, then you are technical. You might be a marketing expert in building a complex email campaign. You might be building out a bunch of automation for your social channels as a social media professional, that means you're technical. And so I think the more that we move away from gatekeeping some of the words that are out there, I think that makes it feel safer for people to really embrace and feel like, J you said pride, and I feel that really deeply, feel pride around their accomplishments as a Salesforce admin, for example.

J. Steadman: I imagine these bubbles floating above all admins, right? And they are the various responsibilities that they have at work. And everyone has different bubbles colored in. One bubble is reports and dashboards, one bubble is data cleansing, one bubble is integration specialist. You can go on and on and on about the various core responsibilities they may have in a day-to-day. But when I look back at my previous work life as an admin and the various titles that businesses can give to that role, but I was working as an admin. I had a peer who had full access to production and who was entirely responsible for interacting with our users there, but I was his peer and I didn't even have access to production. My entire life was in our low environments and doing discovery and building things, using Flow Builder, using Process Builder at the time.
And those are two very different things. If somebody at that org had asked me to build a report for them, I would've had to scratch my head and be like, "Can you tell me more about what you're trying to do?" And I bring this up to say, no matter how many bubbles you have filled in, no matter what your core responsibilities are, no matter what cloud you might be working in, you are a Salesforce admin. Our platform, it's like an ocean of stuff. And maybe when we're trying to differentiate ourselves, we focus more on the conversation about what our, "Hey, this is a responsibility I have. I'm a Salesforce admin at X, and I am in charge of A, B, C and D."

Mike: I like that. LeeAnne, your concept of technology and the level of technology in terms of the tool that we use, I think is very interesting because I love to equate things. And I'm thinking back to when the printing press was invented. And if you look at probably most of the history books throughout the world, it's referred to as a technological advance. But if I were to give somebody a printing press, somebody a typewriter, and somebody a computer, who's the most technical? And it depends on the decade or the era that they're in, but all of them arguably, you could have somebody behind it, who's an editor. And it doesn't change the fact that they know how to edit. The way they edit changes, but all of them are proficient in the tool and the capability of the tool to use it.
And I bring that up because they're extreme examples, right? You go back 10 years ago with Salesforce and to automate something, you had workflows on the declarative side. On the code side, of course you could have wrote triggers. I forget when S-Controls were finally put to rest, but you had different tools.

LeeAnne Rimel: RIP S-Controls.

Mike: Yeah, but that doesn't change the fact that you knew how to do something, right? The way that an editor edits a document meant and prints it doesn't change that they're an editor.

LeeAnne Rimel: I agree. And I think a way language changes and we have to... The purpose of language is for us to be able to communicate with one another and have shared understanding. And I feel like a good barometer or a good self test because there might be people out there that are like, "Well, I'm going to be out here talking about admins and I'm not sure the right language to use, or I want to talk to the entire technical community and what's the language that I should use?" And a lot of my opinion on this or I would say, where I feel like I learned a lot was... Actually there's a woman named April Wensel and she's on Twitter. We'll make sure to include her Twitter link in the show notes.
And she founded this organization called Compassionate Coding. And so she's out here talking a ton about just building compassion into our practice as technologists and everything that we do. And what does that look like? What does that look like in presentations? What does that look like in the communities that we seek to create? And what does that look like in language?
And this was years ago, I'll try to find the thread, I honestly don't know if I'll be able to find it, but she actually did a thread talking about the gate keeping around the language, when we say who's technical. And it was really interesting because I think a good gut check is always, "Why am I modifying language in this way? Why am I using this language? Am I using it to call people into this conversation and to include them to participate or to help them feel like they belong or to notify them that they're in the right place. You found your technical community, because I'm talking about Flow Builder for example, right? Are we choosing our words to call people in and to be compassionate or are we not doing that? Are we doing it for... Maybe we're being absent-minded and we're not really thinking about, we're not being intentional with our language or maybe we're doing it to make sure another community feels special quote unquote.
I think it's just important if you're out here and maybe you write about Salesforce admins or you create content for Salesforce admins, I think, thinking through that exercise of compassion of, am I using, and am I making conscious decisions to include members of the community or am I... And I think what's tough is there's a lot of unintentional and the intent is not malicious, the intent is often just absent-mindedness or just ingrained toxic elitism. But a lot of times, if we don't think about it consciously, we do create exclusive language that doesn't call people in.
And so, I don't know, that's a lot of... I highly recommend looking up April, but I think that we can, as Salesforce admins, think about how we build that into our language. Are we seeking to include people, to help people find a language for their job, for their duties, for their identity, for their community? Or are we creating language that might make people feel like they don't belong?

J. Steadman: LeeAnne, are you familiar with crabs in a bucket?

LeeAnne Rimel: I have seen crabs in a bucket in real life because I'm from the San Juan, but I feel like you're talking about something else.

J. Steadman: Just in general, the idea of throwing the crabs in-

LeeAnne Rimel: I have put crabs into a bucket before, but I feel like you're talking about something more specific than that.

J. Steadman: Yeah. So I ask because I certainly don't want to explain something or review a concept that's already been discussed. So there are two things based on what you're saying, LeeAnne that really occurred to me as being important. The first is we've mentioned technical a number of times, so I dictionary-ed technical because I just want to make sure that we're all drawing from the same definition. And this is mostly for folks in the audience, let's demystify the word technical for a minute, because you'll get people saying, "Hey, are you technical?" Or you'll hear in passing, that person is slash is not technical. So when we say, "Hey, I'm technical," the definition of the word technical is relating to a particular subject, art, or craft or its techniques requiring special knowledge to be understood. That's where it ends. So there's nothing in the definition that's like must be able to use the command line.

LeeAnne Rimel: It's just passion.

J. Steadman: Knowing how stuff works and being able to use it or explain it well. That's the definition of the word technical. When I bring up crabs in a bucket, I think that this is really important because it pertains to some of the gatekeeping or the toxic elitism that you've you've raised here.
So there's a natural behavior, and I haven't actually tested this because it sounds cruel to me, but to my understanding or at least the legend or the myth goes, if you take a crab and you put it in a bucket and it tries to get out, and if it can hook a leg over the edge, it'll get out. There won't be any problems. If you put a couple of crabs in a bucket, and one of them tries to get out, if the first crab that's in the bucket has previously failed, it will actually grab the second crab and pull it back from getting out of the bucket. This behavior will continue if you add more crabs to the point where people like crabs will actually yank each other's legs off. And what they do is they enforce everyone to stay inside the bucket. You can't get out because I tried to get out and I couldn't.
This is apparently a thing that really happens in life, and I think it's a great metaphor for people that have experienced difficulty, challenges or adversity where they believe, "Well, I had to go through A, B and C to get where I am today. Therefore, other people must as well, or it is not valid." And I empathize deeply with that point of view. I went to college and I stupidly racked up way too much college loan debt. If somebody else were to tell me that they got to go to college for free, the initial response that I used to have was like, "Oh really?" That isn't right. But the fact of the matter is if somebody could go through college and not have to pay any dollars at all, that's great for them. And just because it didn't happen to me, that's all right.
And I think that this applies to our jobs as well. And I think we need to be really, really cautious about saying, "10 years ago, this is a thing that could only be done by writing code." Therefore, if it's done in a different way, now it is somehow intrinsically less valuable. I just don't think that's true, and I think we have to challenge ourselves to find those moments and ask ourselves, "Am I actually responding to this situation, because I went through adversity in the past, and I think that one must go through adversity in order to thrive? Can I actually celebrate? Or can we totally flip the model on its head, and can we be a crab that helps other crabs out of the bucket?" Because at the end of the day, I don't think the crabs really want to be in the bucket. I don't think the bucket ends up... That's not good outcome for the crabs. I think the finale is probably a pot somewhere and then someone's belly-

Mike: And [crosstalk].

J. Steadman: So that's crabs in a bucket.

LeeAnne Rimel: I appreciate that explanation. I definitely will always remember that now, and now I wish that when I had actually been crabbing and put crabs in a bucket, I paid closer attention, because I don't feel like I remember this, but I appreciate learning about it. And I think it's a really good point. I think it's thinking about how do we revisit, be in that growth mindset where we're constantly updating our knowledge of the platform, our knowledge of what's possible and a career path, our knowledge and our perception of what roles do. Because I think just as I've been in this ecosystem for 14 years and you both have been in this ecosystem a really long time as well, and the growth and the change in the ecosystem is just... and in the role is just massive. So we have to be constantly updating how we think about it.

Mike: I think so J, listening to your crabs in a bucket scenario, and LeeAnne you're familiar with this, what I heard was the hero's journey, which is really hard to unlearn. I'm not saying we can't unlearn it, I'm not poo-pooing on the idea, but to your example, J, of going to college and racking up a lot of debt versus somebody that went to college and didn't rack up a lot of debt, congrats for them. What's hard for the person that went to college, racked up a lot of debt, paid it off and has a great job is they feel they somehow earned it more. Have you ever heard that they paid their dues?

J. Steadman: Yep, hundred percent.

Mike: Paid your dues, right?

J. Steadman: A hundred percent.

Mike: And that is so ingrained into every storytelling system built, right? The hero goes on a journey, something happens, they have to go into the special world, they have to learn something and they have to come back. They have to-

J. Steadman: There must be conflict.

Mike: There's got to be conflict, they have to come back, they have to defeat that. And then they bring with them the solution. They had to earn that solution.

LeeAnne Rimel: This is where we come back to leading with compassion.

Mike: Yep.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

LeeAnne Rimel: Because I think that, for me reading about this compassionate coding was life changing because it really caused... I think examining, everyone has a different journey to get to where they are, everyone has a different breadth of expertise. Someone might be in their first year as an admin and they might have a huge amount of expertise in other areas, maybe they manage a restaurant. So maybe they know a ton about POS systems and different types of supply chain planning for food products. Everyone has... And I think that that whole leading them with compassion piece and respecting and honoring that we all have these really different backgrounds and different things that were probably difficult for us to learn, or to overcome. And trying to always center on that, I think, helps mitigate a lot of those complicated feelings around wondering who deserves to be where, because I think a lot of times it's what it boils down to is if we spend time thinking about who deserves to be where, who worked harder to be in this conference room that I'm in?

J. Steadman: And this is something... So I've got a kid and she's not even two, she'll be two in January. And when I look at her, and her experience might not be all experiences, and she's my only kid, so kid two might be different if we have kid two, but she certainly isn't sitting there going like, "How hard am I working compared to the person sitting over there?" She's just like, "Hey, can I have a good time? Hey, can you have a good time?" And I think this idea of like, I need to compare how hard I've worked to how hard you've worked, and then look at the outcomes of how hard we've worked, and is it the same? And if it's not the same, that's not right. I don't know. There's something in that that seems forced upon me.
If we're a part of a community, if you are successful, fantastic. If I am successful, fantastic. No matter how hard we've had to work to get there. I think sometimes because we've suffered, we look at somebody who hasn't, and we think, "I got dealt a really bad hand. And it really bums me out that that happened to me. And it would've been so much easier for me if I hadn't been dealt this bad hand." And so we start to become angry. And speaking as a person who's gone through my fair share of downs, I totally understand that point of view. And I think it's our responsibility to look at ourselves and say, "Hey, I'm having this reaction right now. What is this reaction?"
And I'm going to use a totally ludicrous example. I listen to a lot of music, and I used to be a musician professionally, and I listen to a lot of music that's coming out right now. Because one thing I never wanted to do was be a person that was stuck on the bands that I loved when I was in high school, which coincidentally, I still am, but I also want to love modern music. And I want that to be true forever, which means that I've got to face down trends. And sometimes, I'll hear a song and I won't just dislike it. It'll be doing something musically that just makes me angry like, "What is this?" And I make it a point to myself to stop and say, "What is it about this song that is grinding your gears?" And I'll actually take that song and put it on repeat over and over and over again for a day. I once listened to Corey Feldman's album-

Mike: Oh, wow.

J. Steadman: ... Angelic 2 the Core on repeat for an entire week.

LeeAnne Rimel: It's like auditory self-flagellation.

J. Steadman: Yeah, so I could understand. And I have to be honest with you, it truly is just a terrible, terrible album, but I did this for a week so that I could understand. And you know what? Sometimes you're right not to like something, but a lot of times, especially when it's new stuff or changes, it's because of this thing that you're bringing up the end, this idea of, "Well, I understand music to be," and then you insert your own definition. And the thing that makes me angry, calls itself music, but it's doing something different, and that's not right. And so I encourage everyone that's listening when you're looking at any term that defines anything in your reality, because we are going deep on this podcast. I think it's important to ask yourself, "What is it that's making me angry about this?" And rather than spending your time expressing the anger, hopping on social and talking about the differences between generations, which is a very common thing that I see, that's a good example of it. Instead of doing that, ask your self, why it is causing you discomfort or anger or frustration?
And I think in exploring that, I think that you'll find something more valuable than the expression of anger itself. I find anger or frustration, that's an opportunity to better understand yourself and hopefully come to a place of improvement.

Mike: I like that. That's really cool. I don't want to end on the subject of anger, but I feel like we're in that realm. I'll give you this. Can each of you share a final thought for Salesforce admins?

LeeAnne Rimel: Sure. I will say, having been in this ecosystem for a long time and being a Salesforce admin myself, I think this is a really amazing and growing role in ecosystem, and the job duties are expanding and growing and getting more interesting and more flexible. And I would encourage everyone out there to embrace it, to embrace their Salesforce admin role, and lean into that community. We love meeting new people in the community. So very selfishly, I love seeing more admins in the community, and seeing what they're working on, and seeing the things that they're sharing with other admins. And I'll just reiterate what I said before, if you're out there talking to admins, talking to the community, if you're someone in a role where you're helping create content and communications for admins, I would ask that you just think about, what does it mean to call people in? And how can we actively, with any role that we're working, with our developers, with our architects, with our trailblazers, with our admins, how are we really perpetuating this inclusive community and calling people in and really using thoughtful language with compassion?

J. Steadman: I think my final consideration following up after LeeAnne's amazing wisdom here is when you find yourself running to a different word, stop and explore, ask yourself why, and find the real reason, and if it's a good reason, great stick with it. And if it's not a great reason, then change. And I can promise too, that myself and the other folks that are here in the admin relations team, we are constantly examining the things that you're responsible for as admins. And we are trying to ensure that we are defining that role well in ways that employers and companies and other admins can see, and that definition will evolve and change over time. And we'll do our best work to try and support you and make sure that you don't have to go out of your way to justify the work that you do. And instead that the title can bring with it, the things that you do.

Mike: That was very cool. I'm glad both of you had the opportunity to spend the time with us today, so chat about the admin ever changing admin identity.

J. Steadman: Thank you, Mike.

LeeAnne Rimel: Thanks for having us. This was fun.

Mike: So I enjoyed that conversation with LeeAnne and J. We'll be sure to put the link to April's Twitter on the show notes. And of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. We've got some pod in the Trailhead store. Really cool swag, I like it. I drink my coffee every morning out of that podcast mug, of course we'll include the link in the show notes. You can stay up to date with us on Salesforce admins on social, we are at @salesforceadmns, no i on Twitter. Of course, you can follow my co-host Gillian, she is @gilliankbruce. I am @mikegerholdt and I will also put LeeAnne and J's Twitter on there as well so you can give them a follow.
And with that, I want to remind you next week is our admin retro episode for December so we're looking back at everything content-wise for December. Also, the last podcast for 2021 so we're going to bid 2021 adieu and get ready for 2022. So with that stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Admin_Identity_with_LeeAnne_Rimel_and_J._Steadman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

For today’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we listen in on a conversation between Lead Admin Evangelist J. Steadman and Architect, Developer Relations, René Winkelmeyer as they discuss the importance of Governance within an organization.

Join us as we talk about why it’s a challenge, not a problem, why the people are the process, and how to recognize when it’s OK to start with an imperfect solution.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with J. Steadman and René Winkelmeyer.

Why Governance Is Important

As organizations across the globe are attempting to affect digital transformation, “moving things from paper and manual processes into systems that everyone can access wherever they’re working from,” as J. says, there are some challenges with coordinating around new platforms and other solutions. Everyone needs to know what everyone else is doing and understand what the goals of each piece of technology are.

Governance is the process to solve this collective challenge and help everyone get on the same page. Salesforce is actually a great example of Governance in action, with new people coming in from acquisitions all the time and the need to get everyone in an organization of 75,000 working together effectively. “Governance is really the focus on solving a collective challenge,” René says, “and a big portion of Governance should also be the people—not only the processes.” Governance allows all of our specialists within the organization—sales, service, etc.—to come together and be bigger than the sum of our parts.

Start With a Vision

There are some key principles behind Governance that make it work. The first thing is accountability, responsibility, fairness, and transparency. As René puts it, “who owns what? And can we make a fair share of everything for everyone?” What’s important is being clear about who owns what and giving them the autonomy they need to do it, but also following up with accountability. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

“It may be an overused term, but I think that everyone starts with a vision,” René says, “and it may be something simple—sometimes things are right in front of your face and you don’t see them.” Sometimes it’s as simple as comparing what your current challenges are with why the technology was purchased in the first place. The important conversation that doesn’t always happen is whether or not everyone is on board, and how to get people there if they’re not already.

Why It’s Ok to Get It Wrong

Getting everyone together means starting with a shared understanding of where you need a process and who the expert in that is. “You have to have the courage to let go of your own ego in these conversations to make sure that you are hearing everyone’s perspective,” J. says. Start with the challenge you’ve observed and then ask the team if there needs to be a process to help with it.

At the end of the day, the goal is to put a new system in place that helps you achieve what you’re trying to do. You want to expand ownership and help people be effective together. It’s a conversation, and you need to pay attention to when you should step back and when you should step forward. Sometimes, it’s about helping people gain a broader perspective of the context in which they’re working. Sometimes, it’s about accepting something that might not be ideal now and being ready to change it as things go forward. 

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. Hey, this week, we're joining in on a conversation with Lead Admin Evangelist, J. Steadman, and Architect Dev Evangelism, René Winkelmeyer, as they talk about the importance of governance in an organization. And let me tell you, they really cover a lot of things. I took a lot of notes during this. I'll include a lot of information in the show notes. It's a very cool conversation. And after they're done, I'll jump back in and give you some final thoughts and highlights. So with that, please welcome J and René to the podcast.

J. Steadman: Thank you, Mike. I'm super happy to be here. I am J. Steadman, Lead Admin Evangelist here at Salesforce. I am joined by René. René, would you like to introduce yourself to our audience of awesome admins?

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah, absolutely. So my name is René Winkelmeyer. I work at the same company that J does, surprise, surprise, and I'm an Architect in the Developer Relations team.

J. Steadman: And thank you so much for joining us, René. Folks out there that are listening, René and I recently started a series of meetings and we just kind of sit down and have coffee and talk about things that are on our minds. And we got into a little bit of a conversation around governance that I found really, really fascinating. And we had a chat with Mike to see whether or not it would be of interest to the admin community. And so, today, what we're going to do is we're just going to talk about the concept of governance, right? Especially in 2021, when Salesforce instances are starting to become really wide and deep technologies and organizations are really trying to kind of move forward with this idea, and we hear this a lot as a buzz word of digital transformation, right?
But really what that means is moving things from paper and manual processes, into systems that everyone can access wherever they're working from. And the challenge that these digital transformations can really cause is making sure that everyone knows what each other are doing. Everyone understands the objective of a given piece of technology, such as Salesforce. And ensuring that all of our valid stakeholders are all aware of that objective and are also contributing to enhancement requests, features, bugs that they might be encountering and making sure that we know what each and every system is doing in a greater context, right?
René, I think has a fantastic perspective on this. And this is a concept that we explore a lot here at Salesforce. Salesforce has grown in a really huge way in terms of the number of employees that we have. We're somewhere around 75,000 employees now. But when I joined the organization just a few years ago, we were around 50,000 employees, right? That's a massive increase. And when you consider the number of companies that Salesforce has acquired, like Slack, like Tableau, governance becomes this really incredibly important concept, right? It's not necessarily a technology skill, but it is really, really important that all of the 75,000 of us here at Salesforce have an understanding of what we're doing and why we're doing it.
René, you'd been talking about some of your experiences in our private conversations, specifically with working with some of these teams like over at MuleSoft, over at Tableau, and trying to get an understanding about what everyone was doing just from an audience relations perspective or an evangelist perspective. And I just thought it would be a great conversation to bring in front of our admins, right? I think sometimes governance gets this reputation of being an uncool word or kind of a dry topic. But what I found in our conversations, René, is that it was actually quite the opposite. I find it to be really engaging. So that's, I think a good intro to the concept that we wanted to discuss today. René, can you talk to us a little bit about how you're approaching this idea of various different stakeholders, all coming together to try and kind of steer the ship, even though we're controlling different parts of that ship?

René Winkelmeye...: Sure. I mean, funny that you meant that you joined with 50,000 when I joined with 19,000.

J. Steadman: Holy smokes.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah, it's a crazy train ride. It's a great train ride. So the first question is really to understand what is governance, right? And I think this is a term that is used often in different contexts. And so I want to define first what I see as governance and other people may have different opinions, especially also different countries or languages or cultures, what governance can be. I think governance is really, in my opinion, the focus on solving a collective problem, right? This is what we try to achieve. Or a challenge, I think is even the better word, because I don't like the word problem. Yeah. No, it's more a challenge, right? So is there something that is relevant to us as a group that we want to put in some form or shape, right? This is how I try to approach it at least.
And when we see this in our company, and you mentioned that before, we have quite a couple of companies, we have sibling teams, we have developer relations. It's like Mule and Tableau. And we're here at Salesforce and we're all catering our own audiences, right? Because someone who develops with MuleSoft, for example, it's totally different than, for example, a developer who works on the Salesforce org and develops with Apex and Lightning Web components, right? It's totally different use case. But at the same time, we are just talking to developers, right? And we try to make them successful in what we do.
So the really question is what is the best way on how we can come together, really? Right? And this is something that I feel falls really well under the realm of governance to actually look on what do we have, right? What are the principles? What are our procedures? What are the structures? What are the processes? People, right? Personally, I believe a big portion in governance should also be the people and not only the processes, right? I think this is something where, what you just meant, this negative sound of governance is always felt like, oh, we put a process in place for something. Yeah, but it's not everything, I believe. Right? Because I think that people, especially in our company make a huge portion on what really make governance, in my sense, successful. If that answers your question.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I think that's a really interesting and important thing to distinguish, right? This idea that governance is a thing that is done, right? We govern our technologies in the effort to achieve or solve a given problem or a challenge, right? Now you'd mentioned that you don't like the word problem. I really like that. So like we govern to solve a challenge. I was wondering, can you talk to us a little bit about why you don't like the word problem and why you prefer challenge over problem?

René Winkelmeye...: I just feel, it sounds negative.

J. Steadman: Sure.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? So when someone's like, I have a problem, it's just like this... No, I feel a challenge is something that I would love to approach always.

J. Steadman: Ah-ha.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? It's something that is really there like, okay, I can solve this and I can tackle this. And problem sounds always so negative to me. So I'm pretty sure whenever you find a recording, a video or just we have a chat, you will really rarely hear that I will say problem, right? I really try to avoid that because there is no such thing as a problem.

J. Steadman: I'm making a note to review everything that you've ever recorded, and I'm going to find every instance of the word problem that you've used.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah. You do that.

J. Steadman: I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.

René Winkelmeye...: Well, that'll be like, whatever. Binge watching René 200 hours sounds really amazing. Right? I would not do that to myself.

J. Steadman: Yeah. I love this idea, right, is we're working with various different stakeholder groups, which is what we're talking about when we're talking about how we govern. I think the cultural aspect of that is really, really important. You mentioned that it is people as well as processes that we follow. When you look at using Salesforce as an example, of course, there are those of us that may be on the Salesforce, like core side of things. There may be folks that are coming from Slack as you called out. And as we communicate with them using terms like challenge, instead of problem, what we're doing is crafting culture, right? We're creating a vocabulary to communicate with others that I think, it actually is powerful and it fosters this idea of collaboration. So I'm going to keep that in the back of my head, as we explore the rest of this conversation, like where can we make these little adjustments that can improve the way in which we're communicating across these little gaps between functional groups. I like that a lot.
You also called out something that I think is really important, where at any company, admins out there at your company here at Salesforce, employees that sit in a certain role, it is really likely that we specialize in something, right? As a Salesforce admin, you specialize in Salesforce. And it's likely that you may specialize just in core. Maybe you've got a lot larger footprint where you're using sales and service and marketing, or maybe you are using Slack. But nevertheless, we tend to specialize, right? But the entity of a company or a Salesforce customer, they don't specialize in one particular piece of their enterprise technology. They specialize in the product or the service that they sell, right?
So governance allows all of our specialists, our Salesforce specialists, our Tableau specialists, our Slack specialists to all come together and become a whole that is greater than our parts, right? And I think that that's a really important concept to highlight here. The reason that we're reaching out is because we want to make sure that we're benefiting from everyone's specializations and that we're coming together to create this cohesive whole. I really like that idea quite a bit.
So what do you think, René, when you're talking about the pieces that are important, you've mentioned that people are really, really important to this idea of governance, as you're considering the people that are involved in governing a piece of technology or several pieces of technology, what do you think the important things to consider are when we look at the concept of people in relation to governance?

René Winkelmeye...: So I think, from my perspective, there are a couple of principles what make governance, right? The first one that comes to my mind is accountability or responsibility and fairness and transparency, right? So these are things where I really look at, if we want to set up something that falls into, for example, building a service, working around a process, it's really coming together as a team and following these principles on who owns what, right? And can we make a fair share of everything for everyone, because at the end... I make a small segue.
In my history, in my career, I worked for a really long time in the financial sector. And it was highly regulated, not only on what the bank had to do, but also on what people had to do, right? Because everything was structured, everything was organized. You want to do A, no, here's a guide for that. You want to do B, here's a guide for that. And at that time, I really felt that it's good to have processes to ensure consistency and all the good stuff that comes with governance, but at the same time, it can also be overwhelming for people, right? And I think we can just win with all of that, especially when you want to ensure certain things like quality and processes and optimization and efficiency if you take the people on board and not only focus on the aspect of really the organizational process. If that makes sense in this case.

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: Right? It's really a conversation. It's really a conversation to figure out, we want to do A, okay, let's see how we can do that and who will own that, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm a big fan of saying, okay, I'm giving you a bit more leash, right? That's more how we say it in Germany. You have more freedom to do something, but you're also accountable and responsible for that, right?

J. Steadman: Sure.

René Winkelmeye...: Compared to, oh, I put more structure around you so that you can't move left and right. But that then just decreases the accountability and the responsibility. That's not fair to people. And also, that really prevents from growing great humans, right? So more freedom is great.

J. Steadman: Yeah. Growing great humans. I like that phrase a lot, growing great humans. Something that pops out to me, René, in the way that you're explaining this is, the way that you have explained process and procedure, in some cases sounds a little bit like a confinement, right? Whereas people coming together and collaborating with one another, having conversations about what it is that they want to do and how they want to do it, there is some freedom in that, right?Now with freedom comes responsibility, the old Spider-Man or Peter Parker adage, right? I am trusting you to go and do this thing. So now you're accountable to do that thing. So do it responsibly, do it safely and do it well.
But there's a thing there that's new to our conversation and for our listeners, how do we bring these various people together that can trust us to make these choices or to go and do a thing outside of process, outside of procedure? In other words, how do you assemble your Avengers? How do you get people to the table? Let's use a hypothetical situation where you are a developer, I am an admin, we've had a private conversation where we understand that our organization could benefit from coming together and kind of steering Salesforce together rather than apart. How do we get other people on board? How do we start conversations? How do we select who should be a part of those conversations? From your perspective, how do we get that people element kick started and humming along?

René Winkelmeye...: That's a big question to answer. It may be an overused term, but I think it really starts, everything, with a vision, right? You have to have this idea on what you want to achieve. And maybe it can be something super simple, right? Sometimes though things are just in front of your face and you don't see them, absolutely not. And I think the really important part is to have this compelling vision that must not be earth shaking, but really focusing on the challenge to solve. And that is just transparently meeting with people and figuring out if they would buy in or not, right?

J. Steadman: Yes. Yeah. Okay.

René Winkelmeye...: It's just simple that. And it's okay to receive a no, right, because then your idea or vision may be not that great, or they may be not the right people. And then that's fine, right? I think all of that belongs also into this, just because I think my idea is great, it doesn't mean that you have to find my idea great. Right?

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah. I love this idea. In my life, as an admin working in my own Salesforce org, that was also in a highly-regulated industry, I found what you're talking about to be absolutely true in our experience. At my company, we needed to present the challenge that we were facing, right? So to be specific about my use case, I had many business units that each shared this one multi-tenant Salesforce org. And we had like 13 different companies that were all sharing this one org, they were all owned by the same parent company. And we weren't talking to each other at all. We were all just in an org and doing stuff, right? And it took people, an admin or two talking to a developer, maybe at the water cooler, maybe in the lunchroom identifying a challenge.
And then what we did is we actually went to an executive, right? And we said, "Hey, here is our challenge statement. This is something that we think is negatively impacting this technology that all of us are using. And when we compare that to the reason that the technology was purchased, there's a gap. Do you agree?" Right? And to your point, René, not everyone agrees with a hundred percent of what you're saying necessarily, but by shopping around this challenge that you have, you'll find people either start to say that they're not interested, which is fine, or they'll start to collaborate with you on that challenge statement, right? Because each of us specialize, for example, I'm an admin, you are a developer, well, you're an architect, but representing the developer persona, right, I think it's in important for us to remember that we need the perspective of other people that are sitting in different seats so that we can make the best choices possible, make the best solutions possible, and steer our technology in the right direction, right?
So when we went to the executive and we were like, "Yo, we think that this is the challenge. Do you agree," we received some modifications to our challenge, but we also got a lot of insight because this executive was privy to a bunch of business goals that we had never heard of before, right? And once we got them on board with this modified challenge statement, it was much easier for us to go to stakeholders in each of these business units and start to introduce the idea to them, right? And as we went to each different business unit one by one and had conversations and introduced this topic, suddenly we found it was becoming enriched. It was becoming a deeper conversation. And we started to find a lot of common issues that everyone was having in relation to this challenge that we observed, right?
So put another way or to summarize, by taking a challenge, shopping it around to various stakeholders and finding a business sponsor, somebody that's got some decision-making authority or some social clout at the organization, getting their buy-in and then bringing that to the rest of the people that we think could be interested in the conversation, suddenly we had our team of superheroes. They were all really interested in moving our platform in a direction that would benefit everybody, right?
And that leads to some of the things that you had previously called out. Things like optimization, things like efficiency, things like procedures and processes or shared services, right? But it took all of that conversation amongst people, which admittedly can be really messy, right? Not every conversation between these folks was super clear cut, right? Maybe you could talk about that a little bit, because we're starting our conversation at the people aspect. And I'd love for you to just call out some of the common challenges or obstacles that one could expect as you're trying to work through a challenge with a bunch of different human beings, because we want to grow good human beings, but human beings are messy, right? We don't always agree. We don't always see things the same way. So do you have any tips or tricks when you're having those person-to-person conversations? Like what are common pitfalls and how do you think you can avoid them?

René Winkelmeye...: Oh, that's also another big question. I feel this is a podcast of the big questions for René. You should prewarn me, I believe.

J. Steadman: Oh, I'm sorry. [crosstalk]. I just sent René a message on Slack and I was like, "Hi, I'm J, come do this podcast." And that's how we got here. That's how we're here right now.

René Winkelmeye...: Absolutely. I will pay you back once we're back in person, I hope. Really, the way that I approach it over time, and I had to learn that when I was a consultant back many, many, many, many years ago, it's really not trying to force, right? I think this is really the most important aspect that I try in everything that I do is not to force my idea, right? It's really, here's an idea. Here's something that I think we should solve, or here's an opportunity actually on how we can do things better. And it needs to be an open conversation without trying to press it. That's really what it is, right?
Often I have conversations that I start with, okay, here's the thing, if you want that, that's great, but it's purely optional if you want to, right? I want to give other people just the room to breathe and that they then can decide on their own and without feeling that they have to do it because it's my proposal or it's coming from a org or from the vendor or whatever. It's really about just giving them room to breathe and to figuring out on their own, do they want to do this or not just based on the facts that I'm showing, right? It's also facts, really important.

J. Steadman: This is really fascinating to me. I'm a very passionate person, right? Like I get an idea where I identify what I see as an obstacle. And one of the challenges that I have just as a human being is, I'm like, yo, here's this thing. We need to solve that. Yo, everyone, let's go and do that right now. Right? In other words, I get really passionate. It's hard for me not to force an idea. It's hard for me not to see this opportunity to improve and hope and push for a conclusion to that as I have my conversations, right? And like you, I'll highlight some facts and I'll bring it to the table.
I guess what I'm asking here is, how do you manage... Let's say that you've identified something that's super important, right? Using the hypothetical that I brought up, not hypothetical, but my past experience as an admin. We were identifying some really big risks to our instance, right? And it was really important that we solved those. Do you have any tips? That's a good way to phrase this. Do you have any tips to help keep those conversations open, unforced, full of ease and fact based? If you have any, what would your tips be for that?

René Winkelmeye...: Well, I wish I would have like the golden solution for that because it's always, as usual, not easy.

J. Steadman: Yeah, of course.

René Winkelmeye...: The way that I look at that when I, and not looking at the small things, because the small things can be solved pretty quickly, maybe it's because I'm German, right? So, prewarning for that. But I'm a big fan of having everything data driven, right, because then you have a solid, common understanding, which I think is the first really important part that everyone understands the problem, that it's not, oh, René had this assumption. No, it's like here are the facts, then enrich that eventually with assumptions, right? And this is what you mentioned really well before, J, is then getting feedback on those assumptions, potentially from those groups or other stakeholders, your people leader and refining that. And then laying that over with what are the challenges that we try to solve with that, that we see, maybe in your case, this instance, and here's your solution that we want to apply. But at the same time, also, highlighting the risk that may go along if you don't do that.

J. Steadman: The cost of doing nothing.

René Winkelmeye...: Yeah. I would say I disagree, because there is not a cost of doing nothing. I think it needs to be a good... You have to understand where is the higher risk, right, if you don't do something or if you do something, which I think is really important, right? If you have the status quo, which you don't like in your case, right, you think the status quo is to change, then you have to assess the risk, right? What is my risk tolerance for not doing it and leaving as is, or what is the risk when we do that and which risk is higher and which risk do I want as the person or the group or the organization that owns that actually to take, right? Because sometimes it's totally fine to take a certain risk by not doing anything.

J. Steadman: This is I think, really important information for admins out there, right? So I just want to summarize what I've heard and, René, please correct me if I'm getting any of this wrong-

René Winkelmeye...: Wrong, wrong, wrong.

J. Steadman: But as we think about having conversations where we're trying to introduce the challenges that we may face, it's really important to start those conversations with our understanding of the facts and the data and share those facts and those data with other stakeholders that we think would be important to the conversation. We want to enrich those observations with some assumptions, which we can also introduce in these conversations that we have with various stakeholders. Then we want to see what they have to say about it, which is going to refine our observations and assumptions. And hopefully, at that point, we're getting people together, they're having conversations. And that's where we're starting to take a look at potential solutions and also assess the risks of doing something different or not doing something different. Is that a pretty fair representation of the way that you just explained things?

René Winkelmeye...: That was perfect. I couldn't have done it better.

J. Steadman: Well-

René Winkelmeye...: Maybe you can do it next time.

J. Steadman: I love being told I'm perfect. I want to be very clear. You're free to ask me questions too. If you've got questions for me, I'll answer those questions to the best of my human ability.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm totally fine with that. And on purpose, I avoided the word perfect, which you potentially recognized. Right? There are a couple of words that I try to avoid, which is problem and perfect, because none of that should exist.

J. Steadman: Yeah. No, absolutely. Perfection is a fiction, right? So this is great, right? What you've introduced to us is a way that we can... Like that's a framework that we can use if, like me, admins out there are really passionate about trying to improve things. And sometimes that passion can actually get in the way and cause some noise in our conversations, right?
So I just want to reiterate to admins out there, especially if you're approaching this cross-functional governance, where we're going and talking to a bunch of different people to get them on board with an idea, make sure that you prepare before you go into those conversations. And by preparation, I mean, bring the data that you need, right? If it's from the org, great. If it's from some other system that you're using, great. But bring the data that you need to support this challenge that you have observed.
Second, be prepared to encounter people who may not agree with you and be prepared to give that plenty of space and room, right? To René's suggestion, what we're saying here is I have observed this challenge. Here's the data that kind of brought me to that. And based on that, here are some assumptions that I've made. What do you think? And if somebody says, hey, I disagree and I'm not interested, sometimes we just have to accept that. There may be somebody else who's willing to gear those things, right? And sometimes getting that rejection of an idea or that disagreement, which I think I like better than rejection, it will inform whether or not that challenge statement is solid, right? Your challenge statement needs to survive these various conversations.
So we've talked about the people aspect. We've talked about how we prepare for conversations between stakeholders that have different perspectives. And I think I'd like to move, René, from the people part of the conversation into some of the other things that you've called out, efficiencies, processes, optimizations. Once we start growing good humans, having good conversations, and we've got people on board, we've got a bunch of people in a room now, how do you approach this idea of optimization or efficiency with a cross-functional group? How do you make a process, for example? What is a framework that you look to, if you have one, that can help you along with that?

René Winkelmeye...: Another big question. Thank you, J. Thank you.

J. Steadman: You're welcome.

René Winkelmeye...: I hope I have a radio voice. Yeah. Yeah. So I would say the biggest question that I always ask myself, do we actually need a process, right? And I say that as a German, do we need actually a process? Or do we need a regulation around that? When you bring the different people together, you actually have the opportunity to shape your original idea and potentially realize it or make it something totally different. But when you bring those people together, it's really taking those different perspectives, as you mentioned, not only from the, I would say socializing and scoping phase, but also then in the relation phase on what do we really want to do, right? What is the business benefit if we really take this? Because often when we try to implement something, it is first that we have this idea. We define the value. We potentially have some ideas on ROI. I think this needs all to be on the table to figure that out, if this really comes together, like the assumption that we made, the solution that we potentially already provided is the real thing.
And what I want to say now with many words is actually I don't have a good framework. I really try to approach this in a conversational approach and sit together with those humans who hopefully are all smarter than I am in this specific problem... Sorry, challenge area. Yeah. Okay. You got me, but this is actually a real word. [inaudible] does not exist as a word. It happens when you're not native. Yeah. That's actually how I approach it, right? Because I hope always that people are smarter than I am and have the potentially better idea on how to approach that. And also, often I'm not the subject matter expert transparently, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: I have maybe a good idea on that, but there is then that person who actually does that day by day, right? And those who will be affected by some governance that we may implement. And I feel those should have a big say. Coming back to what I said in the introduction, it's about humans, right?

J. Steadman: Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: We don't want to create bad processes for good people. It should be that we create good frameworks for good people. And it's really important to have those always on board and have a good say. Definitely. Right? So not top down, it's not a top down approach.

J. Steadman: René, you're a genius. I'm sitting here and writing a lot of notes just to make sure that I can actually summarize. What's brilliant, I think about the way that you just explained that is, you laid out this amazing framework and then you're like, I don't really have this framework to work from, but... So there are a few things that I want to highlight about what you said, and then I want to try and summarize it. And again, you tell me if I get anything wrong, right?
But there's one concept that you discussed in your answer that I think is really important to Salesforce admins, but I also think to people in the world in general, no matter what it is that you do, and it's this idea of vulnerability. You said several times that you're not the subject matter expert. You hope that the people in the room are smarter than you. I mean, frankly, I share this with you, right? All the time I walk into a room and there are just these brilliant people that I'm working with, right? I think sometimes as we're working through problems, it can [crosstalk].

René Winkelmeye...: Challenges, challenges. Sorry, challenges.

J. Steadman: Thank you. Thank you, René. Thank you. I love it. We should have like a sound effect, like... As I'm working with challenges with a group, we can start to get really possessive of our ideas or possessive of being the person to solve. And oftentimes that can come from being afraid that maybe we don't know the right answer. So first I'd say, as we're approaching the idea of having conversations around, do we need a process, et cetera, be vulnerable. Walk into the room, recognizing the amazing people that you're working with, whether or not you get along with them personally. There are brilliant people that you are interacting with and you have to have the courage to kind of let go of your own ego in these conversations to make sure that you are hearing everyone's perspective, right?
So I'd say first we start with vulnerability. Then we ask the question, hey, everyone, here is a challenge that we've observed. Do we need a process for this? And the ensuing conversation, where hopefully everyone is vulnerable in letting subject matter experts do their thing, that starts to shape the idea, right? We're socializing the idea to a number of really great people. Getting their perspective, gives us a scope for what this potential solution could be. We want to make sure that there's actually a business benefit to solving a problem or putting a process in. And that depends on actually defining what the business value is and defining what the business ROI might be. And just to be fair to those folks out there who are not acronymic... We have like a million acronyms here at Salesforce. But return on investment, right? If we're going to invest the time and resources to do this thing, will we get a benefit back? And what is that benefit? And does this actually solve our problem, right? Now you said you don't have a framework, but this to me sounds like a great framework, René.

René Winkelmeye...: I'm not sure if it's a framework, right? There needs to be a structural... I feel a lot that comes back to the time when I was a business process consultant, where it was really about... That's like, what, 12, 30 years ago, where I was organizing loan departments and service centers and banks, and really trying to make those people who worked there and, also, the companies transparently successful and efficient and effective. That was not only like, oh, here's a consultant. Here's my predefined concept. That's how you're going to do that. Right? It was really sitting together with those people and doing what you really do, right? You interview people, you do the on-the-job observations, all that stuff that you do to really understand on how it goes. And then workshop with them for often weeks on really, how could the new shape look like, right? This is really the common approach to say... I had no idea about some of their business, period. Right? But I had to know how to steer the group to actually come to a hopefully good result, right?
And this is maybe also a question on what you actually want to achieve with whatever you want to govern, right? Do you just want to spark the idea and hopefully have some ownership in that and bring those people who would be affected together? Or are you really part of the process, right? Because I think this, also, can be a totally different approach, right? Currently, I'm having a project internally, where I'm super excited about, right? I have a good part of ownership. I'm not the SME in many areas and that's great, right? Another area I am also really invested because it affects my own work and this can be a totally different approach that you will take on that. It still needs to be this open conversation and bring those who will do the work together. That's what it is, if you have the opportunity transparently, right? Because sometimes you have to fulfill some compliance, right, that ends in some governance and you just don't have a chance also.

J. Steadman: Sure. Sure. There is so many ideas that you've touched on in that response, right? So this idea that you've just introduced, sometimes you are involved actively, right? You've actually got a hand in things and sometimes you're just there to kind of help facilitate conversation, right? Facilitator as opposed to doer or being the glue of a conversation, trying to help connect people together so that a problem can be solved versus being a subject matter expert who may actually be hands on in crafting what the solution is, that speaks to this idea of flexibility, right? Being open enough to know when you can step back, when you can step forward, hearing when there is an opportunity for you to be the subject matter expert, hearing when there is an opportunity for you to step back and listen a little bit more and connect somebody, who's a subject matter expert with somebody else who might be able to assist in crafting the solution.
I think that this speaks to a kind of approach toward work. There's a lot of wisdom in that, right? And I think that Salesforce admins can really take advantage of this kind of conversation approach as well, right? We are very often subject matter experts, but we're in a lot of conversations where we might just need to connect people together or facilitate some conversations. We're not always in a place where we have the most power in the room, for example, in terms of decision-making authority. But that doesn't mean that we can't positively impact a solution that's chosen or introduce some considerations. I really like this idea of letting your role in a room shift based on what our mutual objective is in the room. I think that that's a really great perspective and a really great way to think about how we overcome these challenges that we're facing. I do have a question for you. In terms of the... You introduced this idea that I love and something that we're talking a lot about here on the admin EV team. We talk a lot about-

René Winkelmeye...: EV team? EV? EV-

J. Steadman: Evangelists. Evangelists.

René Winkelmeye...: No acronyms. We just learned that. Thank you.

J. Steadman: Thank you. Thank you.

René Winkelmeye...: We don't say problem.

J. Steadman: René, thank you. I really appreciate you highlighting these things and bringing them to my attention. That's very kind of you.

René Winkelmeye...: You're welcome.

J. Steadman: There's that sound effect again. We talk about the idea of observation, right? Like user observation, so that we can ride along with our users, understand what they're trying to do day by day, week by week, so that we can use that information that we gather in order to maintain, enhance our Salesforce instance. And you brought up the idea that, as a consultant, you could ride along with a stakeholder for sometimes weeks, right? And as a consultant, I found myself in a similar situation, right?
Like the whole purpose is, let's come in, let's observe. And after the observation, then we can start to put together a solution. But that observation, it costs time. It costs money. How do you balance that, right? Because the business very frequently is like, yo, we don't have all the time in the world. We have our business priorities. We really need this next month or next week or tomorrow. So how do you manage that expectation in terms of delivery versus taking the time that you need to discover the things that you need to know so that you can even make a solution that solves the problem or the challenge?

René Winkelmeye...: I love this sound on my mobile phone.

J. Steadman: I'll send you an audio clip.

René Winkelmeye...: Amazing. Thank you. I'm not sure if I have a really good answer on that transparently. I think it really comes to the point on where I feel that I have enough information or I have the room for that. It also comes up to being open and transparent and to say, okay, if we do this, we will do that with less information than we should have to make an educated decision. Right? If you're grown up, you should be able to do that, definitely. Even if you sometime think you should not, depending who has requests, but I always felt empowered for whom and who I worked with to say, yeah, but we can do this, but we should not. And potentially just wait, which is sometimes not an option also, right? And then we just have to juggle along.
I think there's no perfect formula on how to solve this, but if you feel strongly that it is not the right thing to do at this point in time and you will need three more days or two weeks to actually be able to provide a real good solution, I know it's something that is hand wavy, then you should speak up. Right? I think this is what everyone appreciates, right? Because sometimes those who demand change, they may not have the whole picture, right? It's like, oh, we've got to do this. And sometimes it's also fine just to juggle along, right? And just to do it tomorrow with it back in your head that you will change it and format anyway, right? It's like sometimes in software development or in general is, you accept technical debt because you will know it will change in a certain time.

J. Steadman: Yes.

René Winkelmeye...: Right?

J. Steadman: Yeah. Yeah.

René Winkelmeye...: That's also buying in the risk, right? It's like, okay, we've got to do it now. And then we have a better business outcome and we're going to change it for even better in four month. Right? So it's an interim solution and that's totally fine.

J. Steadman: I'm hearing so many of the ideas that you're talking about interacting with one another, right? In full disclosure for everyone that is listening, when we came together for this conversation, A, all of the questions that are being posed here, they're totally spontaneous. And B, we don't have any answers written down. So when René is like, huh, I don't have an answer for that, that's because I've totally ambushed René with a variety of questions that I think are just interesting to explore. And I don't even have an answer in mind myself, right?
So I love that you started this part of the conversation out with like, hey, I don't know if there's a great answer for this. What we should do is approach these conversations with transparency, with honesty. And I actually want to call back some of the things that you've previously listed out, René. If we're going to go ahead and do a ride along, right, if we're doing our user observation, if we're talking to business leaders, it's really important that we stay data driven, we're collecting information so that we're better informing the challenge statement, right? And so if somebody comes to us and says, yo, time for observation is finished, we can then take whatever it is that we found at a certain point and we can say, yes, I agree, or I don't agree. And here's why, right?
And the benefit of having recorded that works both ways. If it's time to move, to actually designing and building your solution, you've got great documentation for what you need to get something built. If it isn't time and that's what you're representing back to whoever is making the decision and they tell you, well, thank you for presenting that. Too bad we need to move forward anyway, you've just documented, as René called out, the debt that you're going to have to pay off later, right? You've become aware of that thing, that down the line, you're going to have to go back to the risk that you have accepted. And I love this idea that really all you're doing is you're being a vessel for what you've discovered, right? And you're trying to interfere with that as little as possible. You want to enhance it and make it better, but you want to stay transparent. You want people around you to know the facts so that all of us are making the best decision.
I've really enjoyed this conversation and I'm taking a look at time and I feel like we're probably at a good point to end for the pod this time around. But, René, fair warning. I think that there's more to discuss around this topic sometime in the future. So you may find that I come knocking again, sometime in the very near future.

René Winkelmeye...: Only if you promise to never say the word problem again.

J. Steadman: I can promise to try my best, to raise my awareness, to abolish the word problem from my vocabulary.

René Winkelmeye...: It'll take time. I can tell you from my own experience, right? But yeah, I believe in you.

J. Steadman: Just being transparent with you. I can try. I'm just being transparent. I'll try.

René Winkelmeye...: Thank you. I believe in you.

J. Steadman: Well, admins, thank you so much for sitting through our conversation and joining us today. I always love the opportunity to sit down and chat with y'all. If you have any questions, thoughts, concerns, things that we missed, things that you think, please do reach out to us on social. We are on Twitter. I am on Twitter. René is on Twitter. And we want to hear from you. So please do reach out to us.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was great to have J and René on the podcast. Wasn't that a fun conversation? Boy, they know a lot. I took a lot from that conversation. I think a few things tongue in cheek, it's a challenge, not a problem. So let's look at things that way because problem does feel negative. And I think it's very important to consider governance is important, the people as the process. I really enjoyed that topic. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I thought it was neat. I'm trying to introduce different and unique content to the podcast. So let me know your opinions. Feel free to tweet us out. And of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to to find more resources.
Hey, we got some podcast swag on the Trailhead Store. So be sure to pick that up. I've got the link in the show notes. And as Jay mentioned on the show, of course, you can stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can give Gillian a follow. She is @gilliankbruce. And of course, I am @MikeGerholdt. I'll also include the links to J and René, who you can give them a follow on social as well. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Governance_with_J._Steadman_and_Rene_Winkelmeyer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have Joe Sterne, Solutions Architect at Salesforce.


Join us as we talk about learning and becoming a Salesforce admin while neurodivergent, and how we can be compassionate and give space to each other when we work together.


You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Joe Sterne.

Working with ADHD.


Joe is a Solution Architect at Salesforce in the Solution Consulting Group. “Long story short, I’m client-facing—I help clients either implement or fix their Salesforce instance,” he says. When Mike was looking for topics for the pod, Joe approached him with an idea to talk about being neurodivergent in the Salesforce ecosystem. Joe was diagnosed with ADHD in middle school, and he’s been managing it his entire life.


Everyone has an attention bandwidth: how many things you can pay attention to or how much you can focus on one thing. People with ADHD are very focused on managing their attention bandwidth, which can make some tasks and environment more difficult but also has advantages as well.

How to stay on task in Trailhead.

“The number one thing I tell people when they are signing up for Trailhead is to understand what you’re looking to get out of it and make sure that you are staying on topic when you’re trying to learn,” Joe says. With badge recommendations and the flow of the platform, it’s incredibly easy to go down a rabbit hole picking things that sound fun. “3 hours later, you realize that you’re trying to code in Apex when you were trying to learn about leadership,” he says.


Joe’s advice is to rely on Trailmixes and, honestly, tabs. Have the Trailmix in one tab and the badge in another and “as soon as you’re done with that badge, close it and open up a new tab with the next badge,” he says. Another effective strategy is timeboxing: giving yourself a deadline to complete what you’re trying to do.


This doesn’t mean you should never follow your fancy—it’s just about knowing when to put them on a list or favorite them so you can stay focused on the task at hand.

Working with neurodivergent team members.

One thing that’s important in these conversations is that everyone is different, and neurodivergent conditions don’t show up the same way in everybody. “Give people space to talk and grow without making assumptions about what they’re going through,” Joe says. That also could also mean creating internal groups to give people the space to talk about it and not feel alone.


Another practice that can be helpful is for each member of your team to fill out a “working with me” document that includes information like helpful ways to communicate, what to keep in mind, and how you can help them succeed. It’s a practice we do on the Admin Evangelist team that we’ve found very helpful whenever we add someone new.

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Direct download: Being_Neurodivergent_in_the_Salesforce_Ecosystem_with_Joe_Sterne.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Ashley Sisti, Sr. Manager of Business Strategy and Operations at Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about translating your admin skills, career progression, and having honest conversations with your manager about your skillset.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ashley Sisti.

An Admin origin story

Like a lot of folks we have on the pod, Ashley started out as a Salesforce admin. What began as customizing leads ended up as an opportunity to learn everything she could, and enabled her to make a career pivot into a position at a company that was migrating to Salesforce. She learned a ton about implementation and building things from scratch.

Later on, Ashley worked with a larger Salesforce team as a business analyst, where she got to put her work in context with a developer, project manager, and be an expert in specific parts of the business. Now at Salesforce, she works in business operations, working on systems, technology, and processes that support our customer-facing teams. Essentially, she works on how Salesforce uses Salesforce.

Why admin skills are transferable

“Learning to be a Salesforce admin is also really transferable to a lot of other parts of working in a business,” Ashley says, “it’s a really good way to learn about business and how businesses operate in a less scary way.” You’re solving problems, but you’re having a lot of conversations that are really about business transformation.

Half your job is asking questions to get to the why behind what they want you to do, and that can help you learn a lot. This translates directly to something like the five whys, a common tool business analysts use to get to the root causes of a problem and figure out how to fix them. (and you can check out a past podcast episode we did about that). 

Having hard conversations with your manager.

One thing that happened as Ashley grew her career is she started to encounter problems that couldn’t be solved just by tweaking something in Salesforce. Sometimes you need more people, or more budget, or a broader scope. “You have to start thinking about how does the company, overall, solve this problem and not just how do I go in and execute on it,” she says, “but when you get comfortable with thinking on things on a larger scale you can really start to grow your career.”

You also need to be able to talk honestly with your manager about your skill limitations. “A good manager will be happy when you come to them because they can help you identify how you can grow those skills,” Ashley says. But how do you know they’ll be supportive? Ashley runs through what to look for, and how to make the tough decisions to grow your career.

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Direct download: From_Admin_to_Business_Operations_with_Ashley_Sisti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT