Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we're back with more of our live episode from TrailheaDX. The conversation gets deeper with LaRon Butler, Technical Account Manager at Litify, and Kelley Babbs, Technology Director at Blue Star Families, as we talk about getting hired as an admin and what traits organizations are looking for.

Join us as we talk about the ins and outs of interviewing and hiring, how to cultivate confidence, and transferring your skills from a military background to get hired in tech.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LaRon Butler and Kelley Babbs.

Eight long months of interviews.

We wanted to take this opportunity to talk about getting hired and marketing yourself as an Awesome Admin because LaRon and Kelley both have unique perspectives. LaRon is early in her journey, while Kelley started as an admin but has transitioned into leading a team that includes them. “It feels great until you don’t get the job or you find out you don’t have enough experience to get the job,” LaRon says, “I thought I was going to save the world when I got my certification and it was going to start tomorrow.”

Instead, it took LaRon more like eight months to find a position that worked for her. She had worked in IT for the Army and the government, “I just assumed that my experience and my transferable skills were more than enough,” she says. “Eight months is entirely too long for someone like me who has a technology background to land my first job,” she says, “and if it wasn’t for this community I would have given up.”

LaRon kept making it to the later rounds of interviews only to not get hired. Eventually, she realized that she needed to ask for help from her peers and mentors. Military folks need to translate their skills a little differently to really make it clear just how much they’re responsible for. She also realized she needed to level up her skills beyond the Admin Certification, so she went back to VetForce for help. She’s now builder certified and community cloud consultant certified and has set her sights on customer success next, and those skills helped her land her new position.

Looking for that Awesome Admin.

For Kelley as a Director of Technology, we wanted to hear what she looks for on the other side of the table when she’s trying to hire that Awesome Admin. “First and foremost, I look for someone who’s excited,” she says, “if you’re not excited about the tools we use then you can’t get our users and our volunteers excited.” As we talked about last week, it’s not necessarily important that a new hire knows anything and everything, but they do need to know how to learn more.

Kelley is also big on personality: “Be a fun human because we have to work together all the time.” That comes down to confidence and being able to make a strong connection in the interview process. Finally, she pays special attention to the VetForce community because for Blue Star giving back is central to their values. “The person who has ten Salesforce certs always looks at you, they’re always willing to share how they got there and what they know,” she says.

For LaRon, she’s changed her attitude coming into interviews. “Initially, I didn’t want to brag or be overconfident,” she says, “now I take control over the conversation a little bit more, I ask them engaging questions, I showcase my personality, I let them know that I’m excited about what they do and that their work is important.” Focusing on the conversation helped her get out of the mentality of “being a dictionary” and worrying about having all the answers instead of building a relationship.

Learning to translate your skills as a veteran.

"I forget all the time that no one speaks the same language as me,” Kelley says, “so I can’t say, ‘My husband’s going TDY and then he’s going to PCS.’” One of the ways that she helped herself when she was starting out was by making a Salesforce glossary. “As far as translating skills, veterans and military spouses are kind of really dope people. We’re adaptable, we’re agile, we’re committed, we’re not afraid of new situations—that’s a big one—change is constant for us.”

“We pretty much are project managers,” LaRon adds, “from the private to the senior officer we’re managing projects that are given to us at the last minute.” You’re often in a situation where you can’t go home until you get the job done, and veterans learn these skills from a young age. “When you develop as an adult at seventeen, eighteen, or twenty-one and those are the skills you’re using each and every day you have no choice but to be super awesome.”



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce admin. I'm Gillian Bruce and today folks, we are listening to the second part of the live recording we did at TrailheaDx just a few weeks ago, featuring LaRon Butler and Kelly Babbs, both part of the Vetforce community but both with very different perspectives and experience in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: Last week we heard a little bit about their stories, about how they found their way into Salesforce and what they do now. This week we're going to focus on the second part of the conversation, which was a lot around how do you make yourself a more attractive, awesome admin to get hired, how you look for traits as a hiring manager in admins, because Kelly actually manages a team at Blue Star Families and LaRon was really deep in her search to find that amazing, awesome admin job, which she has since found since this recording. But we had a really great conversation about how to market yourself, market your skills, transfer skills to the Salesforce community from other industries. So without further ado, let's get right into that conversation and please welcome back. LaRon Butler and Kelly Babbs to the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, so let's get back to it. All right, so for this part, for this podcast, I'd really like to talk about, you know, the ecosystem for the Salesforce admin career. We have LaRon and Kelly, you're both in very different spots in your career, but you are very familiar with building your career in the ecosystem. LaRon, you're very early in your journey in establishing yourself as an awesome admin. And Kelly, you started as an admin and now you're actually leading a team that includes admins. So LaRon, I'd love to know from you, what is the experience like? You know, you get your certification, you feel like you're ready to go, you got a bunch of Trailhead badges. How does that feel?

LaRon: It was great until you don't get the job or you find out you don't have enough experience to get the job. So I thought I was going to save the world when I got my certification and it was going to start tomorrow. I have this job fair tomorrow and I'm going to walk away, you know, with a job, you know, and that was eight long months ago.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Okay. So tell me a little bit about what's going on in those eight months.

LaRon: Well, so let's just back it up just a little bit. So one, I was a cable dog in the army, so I ran cable, right?

Gillian Bruce: Oh my gosh, I think this is the first time we've ever had the cable and stuff like cables.

LaRon: So I was a cable dog, that was my career. If you're army where I was in Lima signal, all that morphed into IT. And I even, my last role was in the government as IT director as a GS 12 and I walked away from that career and I decided to go take, you know, take a risk. And I did that. And when I realized I need to take a step back, I'm okay with that. I'm okay with doing the hard work. And I just assumed that my experience and my transferable skills were more than enough. And there's this disconnect that I experienced and I'm here to rally for and be an advocate for everyone.

LaRon: That's going through this because eight months is entirely too long for someone like me, who has a technology background to land my first job. And if it wasn't for this awesome community, I may have given up on almost three, at least three different occasions. The interview process was four and five interviews at a time. And sometimes there's so much work that goes with it. You don't have the opportunity to juggle two and three companies at a time. And so there's the HR screens and the tech reviews and the peer reviews and the manager reviews and the VP's. And I made it to the fifth rounds and I'm like, okay, I've got a job but I'm one of three, you know, or two. And my experience just wasn't enough. And I was getting called from top companies, things like that. So my resume was getting me there.

LaRon: So going forward I knew, I came to my peers and my mentors and said, "what am I doing wrong?" There were several things as military folks, we have to translate our skills a little bit differently. But in addition to that, just the matter of saying one word differently and confidence, right? I didn't have the confidence and I'm here, I just want to ask, you know, the community, there's architects, solution architects here, you know, all these senior roles. If we have you to support us, why can't you take a risk on a junior admin or someone new into the ecosystem with proven skills, project management skills, scrum master skills, all of these things? And so five interviews, one company, the first time I was devastated. I was like, "oh no," you know, and I put my big girl panties on and I went and I did it again, and again, and again.

LaRon: And then, you know, there were times I wanted to give up and I realized admin is just not enough. Okay. Maybe for some it is, but it wasn't working for me. So I went to level up and skill up and I came back to Vetforce.

LaRon: They just opened up additional programs, but if they hadn't, I probably would have went through all of them because that was how committed I was. And in the last 90 days I've gotten two additional certifications.

Gillian Bruce: Congratulations.

LaRon: I'm now at builder certified. Thank you. And community cloud consultant certified. One thing that I like, me personally, is I love people, I love the people and I really wanted to take on a role that would have me in the community engaging with people, being around people, showcasing and helping other people as well. So, and someone pointed out to me like, LaRon, you may do really well in customer success.

LaRon: It's a bridge between technology and people and communities and things like that. So that's where I'm headed now. Marketing, I have some background there. I'm headed into the marketing space, but I knew I needed to get the foundational level covered and I needed to grow my implementation skills so that that's something no one can ever take from me. And I just had to kick in the doors and I wasn't taking no for an answer.

LaRon: And I didn't care if it took five interviews or fifty. However it is, I tell people it's hard... It's not hard, but it can be difficult. Or maybe I'm saying that backwards, but the work, the work can be done and now there is, there's levels to the journey, right? There's the work, there's the entry to the door, getting the admin and then there's also, the communication skills, the networking and the community. And why I've drank the Koolaid is because of these, you all the awesome people in this room. The people that encourage me, the people who are by my side and encouraging me every step of the way and they won't allow me to give up.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. Yeah, that's, yeah. It's okay. You can clap. Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Well we're going to continue on your story just for a second.

LaRon: Okay, okay.

Gillian Bruce: But Kelly, I wanted to talk to you a little bit because you are in a role where you're actually hiring Salesforce admins and you're a director of technology. Talk to me a little bit about what you look for and what you kind of observe in terms of looking for that awesome admin and what kinds of things do you look for, what is that process like?

Kelly: So first and foremost, I look for someone who's excited. If you're not excited about the tools we use, than you can't get our users and our volunteers excited, right? So I looked for somebody who's excited and resourceful. Again, back to that you don't know have to know everything, but tell me how you're going to find it. Right? I look for people who are problem solvers first and foremost, and also people who are ... just the attitude, right?

Kelly: Like be a fun human, like these people work together all the time, a lot, like, for of our waking hours. So a good fit is also really important. And that's to your point LaRon, when the confidence comes through in the ability to make that connection, So that we can kind of see. And then I do look to our Vetforce community of course, because it's also our job to give back just the same.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So a couple of things I'd love to touch on from what both of you said. So confidence is a big thing, right? And I think a lot of people battle the imposter syndrome, no matter what role you're in, regardless if it's Salesforce or not, or Salesforce admin or management. How do you kind of battle that? What helps you? I've heard you, LaRon, talk about the community a little bit, but you know, you want to feel like you own this and that's going to give you a leg up.

Gillian Bruce: Right? So Kelly, what helped you with that?

Kelly: I feel like a broken record. My community, like it's looking to the left and the right and the person who's got 10 Salesforce certs never looks like this at you. Right? They never looked down. It's always at you. They're always willing to share how they got there, what they know.

Kelly: And it's not different than anything else. When you know you're supported you then you know you can't fail. Right. So it's, the impostor syndrome is real.

Gillian Bruce: Oh totally

Kelly: Right? Of course that's a thing. But no, I look to my peers, my friends, I mean they're kind of my family now.

LaRon: Absolutely.

Kelly: They'll always pick you up and be like, "girl, you got this. Go do it."

Gillian Bruce: So I call them the Ohana. Right?

Kelly: Literally, yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So LaRon, you're kind of, you're just breaking through that a little bit. So aside, is there anything in addition to the community that's helped you?

LaRon: Well, definitely self-confidence. Initially I didn't want to be brag. I didn't want to be overly confident. I didn't engage in conversation as well. I, if they asked a question, I answered it. If there was a gap, I let them fill in the gap. Now I take control over that conversation just a little bit more. I asked them engaging questions. I showcase my personality. I let them know that I'm excited about what they do and that their work is important, that I've done my research on their website.

LaRon: And one, one interview I went on, we happened to go to the same college and we spent, it was the tech interview and we spent our time laughing and joking pretty much most of the interview and I got pushed forward to the next round. And I don't think he asked me one technical question, because of the engagement. And because I asked a few questions initially, he knew that I knew what I was talking about and that I was confident in the space and he didn't ask me what's a record type, you know, and what is an object, you know, and what are the three, you know, it didn't go there, but initially those were kind of questions I was getting.

LaRon: So I was more like, trying to be a dictionary. Like, this means this and this means that, and now it's more conversational. And I had to dig deep and see what I could do differently. And once I examined what I could do differently and I elevated that, the engagement got easier and the interview process also became easier.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. That's great tips. Yeah, I mean sometimes it's about those relationships. Sometimes it's always about the relationships, right? Yeah.

LaRon: Yeah, absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. That's great. So another thing that I wanted to touch on based on kind of what both of you had just talked about. I mean the Vetforce is an incredibly rich community of very talented individuals. But both of you had to transfer your skills from that very specific industry, into a totally other industry. New language, different jargon, different skills, I mean, putting together a resume and having an interview, that's not something you have to do in the military very often, right? So tell me a little bit about, kind of what you've learned in transferring those skills and kind of how to communicate, because that is for any, career changer, I feel like there's something they can learn from that. Kelly, do you want to start with this one?

Kelly: Sure. So it's a lot, I guess it's recognizing ... I forget all the time that no one speaks the same language as me. So I can't say like, "my husband's going TDY and then he's going to PCS" and everybody kind of looks to me like, "what are you talking about?" So there was kind of already like a natural ability to translate.

Kelly: I actually, and I don't know if I'm answering your question right, but I actually made a Salesforce glossary and that's kind of what I lived by at first. So anytime I didn't know a word, I mean I guess you could Google it, but I just had it right there and I had broken it down into like my terms, what I understood.

Kelly: And then as far as transferring skills, I mean veterans and the military spouses are kind of really dope people. So like we have really good skills that transfer. Like we're adaptable or agile-

LaRon: Committed.

Kelly: -we're committed, we're not afraid of new situations. That's a big one. Change is a constant for us.

LaRon: Absolutely.

Kelly: So I think it wasn't necessarily transferring those skills, but recognizing that those were positive attributes. Not a barrier. Absolutely. Yeah. On anything.

LaRon: I mean we pretty much are project managers. Like now that the world is all, [inaudible 00:14:04] project management focus, that's all we do. From a private to the senior officer, we're managing projects that are given to us at the last minute. "Do this today. I need it done by five. If you don't have it done by five, you don't go home."

Kelly: And then we execute it perfectly.

LaRon: Guess what? We execute, we figure it out, we mastermind it, we find the resources and we get it done. So we have this can do spirit and no one is going to take that from you, right? You don't really have the option. And when you, I started in the military at 17, when you develop as an adult at 17 and 18 and 21 and those are the skills that you're using each and every day, you have no choice but to be super awesome. Right? And so that's really it, right? And for each and every one of us. Some are more outspoken than others, but the basics of how we all operate in our can do spirit, we all have it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, absolutely. I mean that it comes across. Yes. It comes across form every Vetforce member I meet. And I think for any career changer, understanding that what you have done in your previous career or careers is absolutely valuable to bringing to the Salesforce ecosystem. You know, just cause you're switching lanes a little bit does not mean that all of that doesn't, is not relevant. It's very, very valuable and it will really actually help you get a leg up in terms of building that career in the Salesforce ecosystem. All right, so amazing. Thank you both for sharing what that, as we come to the last few minutes of our session here, I think you both know what time is, what time is it? Lighting round time. Okay, so we have some special lightning round questions today for the live podcast, which is pretty fun. All right, we're gonna start with you LaRon. All right. What would be the title of your autobiography?

LaRon: The Journey is Real.

Gillian Bruce: I like it. I like it. It's pretty good. Okay. Kelly, I'm going to switch it up on you, were going to do a this or that for you. Are you a movie at home person or movie in a theater person?

Kelly: Movie at home. I'm not paying to fall asleep.

Gillian Bruce: I agree with you. You can pause and take bathroom breaks. It's great. Right? Yeah. Well. I also, at this point, I would love to open up, we have some amazing audience members here with us in this session. If anyone has a, maybe, we have time for maybe one question, so it better be really good.

Gillian Bruce: So if you have a question, come on up. We've got a microphone right here. Who's, who's a brave soul. Oh, we got silence. Okay, well I can just ask more lightning round questions. It can be a lightning round question too, by the way.

Gillian Bruce: All right, so another good lightning round question. I was, if you were at the keynote yesterday, we were all about getting ready to rock TDX. All right, Kelly, I want to know who's your favorite rock band?

Kelly: My favorite rock band?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Kelly: Favorite of all time. Nirvana.

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Kelly: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: A little Nevermind.

Kelly: Maybe a little Aerosmith too.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, okay!

Kelly: That's so hard. Yeah, Nirvana, final answer.

Gillian Bruce: Pretty good. Smells Like Teen Spirit?

Kelly: Absolutely. Yeah. Oh yeah.

LaRon: [inaudible 00:17:19]

Gillian Bruce: You have to say that you're like legally obligated.

Kelly: But I genuinely like them.

Gillian Bruce: That's good. LaRon, how about you? Do you have a favorite metal band or a rock band? No?

LaRon: No mam.

Gillian Bruce: A favorite band?

LaRon: Rock may have been just a little before my time.

Gillian Bruce: Rock is eternal.

LaRon: No. There was a favorite song, I had that I grew up really loving and I don't know if it's by a rock band, but it's called More Than Words.

Kelly: Oh yeah that's the Everly Brothers.

LaRon: So that was a song, it's not a rock-

Gillian Bruce: Good thing Kelly's here.

Speaker 5: -but I absolutely love that song. And if you played it today, I would sing even with a hoarse voice right now.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Okay, well maybe we'll have to make that happen in the hallway. Anyway, thank you so much ladies for joining us on the podcast. It's been a pleasure to have you. Thank you for joining us in person.

LaRon: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: And we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Gillian Bruce: So huge thanks again to both LaRon and Kelly for braving the stage with me at TrailheadDx for this live recording. It was really great to have them in person and to have all the listeners there in person If you were able to make it, thank you for joining us and if you tuned into the live stream, thank you for joining us that way as well.

Gillian Bruce: If you want to view this amazing podcast that we did in person and you can find it on our Facebook live channel. So you can kind of get a piece of the fun that way. But to recap some of the amazing conversation that we had in the second part of our live taping, it was a lot about interviewing and hiring.

Gillian Bruce: So first of all, I loved, you know, kind of what both LaRon and Kelly said about confidence. It's very hard to go in, especially if this is your first interview with a, for an admin job to have confidence. But in order to gain that, doing some research, understanding what the company is about, especially looking at company values, are those values that match your own?

Gillian Bruce: What are their goals? Going in with that information is really going to help you with your confidence. Even if you feel like, "I don't know all of the things on the platform," which is okay. We talked about that a little bit in the last podcast was, it's okay not to know everything, as long as you know how to get to the answers. Being resourceful. The next thing that we focused on was really talking about transferring your skills. Both LaRon and Kelly came from military backgrounds doing very kind of, different work and they were able to figure out how to transfer and frame those skills to well position them in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: So some of the things that they were able to really kind of focus on was the adaptability, the agility, the commitment, the fearlessness. Those are really strong attributes that made them successful in the military careers,, that have transferred really well into becoming a Salesforce admin and now a technology director in Kelly's case.

Gillian Bruce: So think about the things that you're doing in your current career, if you're looking to switch or things that you've done with previous jobs, that really are attributes that will apply really well to this Salesforce ecosystem, you'll be very surprised. I get a lot of questions, folks who are changing careers, you know, after 20 years in one industry, "hey, how do I get into the Salesforce ecosystem?" Well, don't discount what you've done. You've got an incredibly valuable set of skills and experience from your existing career. So don't hesitate to bring those on over and talk. Think about how you can frame those in a way that's really going to help position you as someone who knows a lot and can add a lot of value to the Salesforce ecosystem. Also, one of the biggest messages from both Kelly and LaRon was don't give up.

Gillian Bruce: This idea of being committed to really yourself, being committed to finding that next job, making that switch. If things were easy, they really wouldn't be worth it. So use the resources that the Salesforce community has given you. Don't be afraid to ask questions and keep asking. Passing the Admin cert can be tough. Many people do not pass on their first time. LaRon talks about that, about how she didn't pass her first time, but she went back immediately to take it again. So don't get discouraged. You know, trying once, try again. You're going to get there. As long as you put the work in and the dedication, you are going to make this work. So don't get discouraged. Rely on your community groups and your contacts within both your personal life and professional life to help support you and push you along.

Gillian Bruce: If you want to learn a little bit more about some of the things we chatted about today on the podcast, we've got some great resources for you. First of all, you can check out Vetforce, which is an amazing program to help military community members get exposed to Salesforce, get trained up on the Salesforce platform, and then get connected with jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: Even if you're not a military community member, this is a great resource for employers, as you can see, hear, rather, military veterans and their spouses and military community have a lot of amazing skills to offer as a Salesforce admin or a Salesforce developer. Any role that you have at your company, there's a lot of great skills that a vet can bring into your company to really help add value.

Gillian Bruce: We also talked about Blue Star Families, which is the organization that Kelly Babbs works for, so you can check them out. We've got the link in the show notes.

Gillian Bruce: If you want to learn more about maybe preparing for your admin certifications, great news. We've got a trail for that, so you can actually go on Trailhead and there's an entire trail called Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credentials. So that'll help take you along the path and help you learn all the things to prepare for that certification. Certification is an amazing way to prove to employers that you know what you know, make you attractive, kind of get those Linkedin job offers coming through. It's also a really great way to verify and get your confidence up yourself, right? Verify that you know what you know and getting that first certification is the biggest step, because then there's so many more you can get, but getting that first one were really sets in an amazing direction and opened up some doors.

Gillian Bruce: If you want to learn more about being an awesome admin, make sure you go to where you can check out more blogs, webinars, events, and even more podcasts. Also, please make sure you subscribe to the podcast, so you can get it delivered directly to your platform or device of choice so you don't miss a single episode. I actually have a huge call out. If you've got a podcast listening platform that you cannot find us on, I would love for you to let us know. We have made a very concerted effort to make sure that we get this podcast on all the platforms to enable all of you to access it easily and share it easily. So if there's a podcast platform that you're not finding our podcast on, please let us know.

Gillian Bruce: You can find us on Twitter @Salesforceadmns, no I. Our guests today, were LaRon Butler. You can find her on Twitter @Laronmarkets__c, fun Salesforce Twitter handle there. And Kelley Babbs, she's @kBabbs77. That's K, B A, B B s 77 and you can find myself at @GillianKBruce. Thank you so much for listening to this episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Marketing_Your_Skills_with_LaRon_Butler__Kelly_Babbs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:19pm PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re coming with the first of a special two-part episode, live from TrailheaDX. We sit down with LaRon Butler, Technical Account Manager at Litify, and Kelley Babbs, Technology Director at Blue Star Families, to talk about entering the Salesforce ecosystem, how to capitalize on the skills you already have, and changing careers.

Join us as we talk about the power of community supporting each other, how VetForce helped them build a career in Salesforce, and the challenges they faced along the way.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LaRon Butler and Kelley Babbs.

Wish fulfillment through Salesforce.

Growing up, LaRon dreamed of becoming a radio broadcaster, and we’re happy to give her a little wish fulfillment by bringing her on the pod. In the meantime, LaRon joined the Army in 1998, “and I pretty much spent most of my adult life working and serving in the military in one capacity or the other,” she says. “More recently, I decided it was time for a career change.” She got back from Korea in 2016 and tried to get into sales. She had a background in IT as a system admin and, because she spent a few years in real estate, she realized she needed to update her skills, and all of her research pointed towards Salesforce.

“I kept calling Salesforce over and over until someone returned my call,” LaRon says, “I kept seeing courses online and all I wanted to know was if I could use my GI Bill to take the classes.” When she heard back the rep told her about a free program called VetForce. “Once I got certified in October, 2018, I went to my first job fair the next day,” she says, and also ended up connecting with the Merivis Foundation, which has supported her through forty-plus interviews (!).

Building a career that can move with you.

Kelley, on the other hand, always wanted to be the first female president. She also spent time serving in the Army, both directly and as a military spouse, which meant a lot of moving. “I kept trying to reinvent myself every time we moved somewhere,” she says, doing everything from teaching to being a cable installer. She had a teaching gig lined up in Massachusetts when they got orders to relocate to Texas, which meant she needed all sorts of additional training to be able to teach again. “I felt defeated,” she says, “I was like, ‘when am I going to have a career?’”

Kelley reached out to someone she knew at Blue Star Families to see if they had any volunteer opportunities. Instead, she was encouraged to apply for a role where she could spend a year learning Salesforce part-time from home. She started out working with a Certified Admin, but when they moved to a different role the job fell to her—another accidental admin. She needed help, and that’s when she came across VetForce. She passed her certification in 2016 and her role just kept growing with the organization.

Learning Salesforce step-by-step.

One of the first things LaRon built was an app to help her with her real estate transactions. “I got the idea from some people who kept saying, ‘Build something that means something to you,’” she says. For Kelley, she needed to tweak an object in Blue Star’s org that didn’t use contact data correctly. She was able to make a small tweak that eliminated tons of manual labor, which so clearly demonstrated just how powerful Salesforce could be.

For LaRon, the main challenge with learning the platform was taking use cases and putting them into practice. “That’s why it was important for me to get to work,” she says, “not only to pay the bills but to really showcase my talent and my mind.” For Kelley, it was validation rules. “But also, just knowing that I didn’t have to know everything,” she says, “you just have to know where to find it, you don’t necessarily have to know the answer.” You can always reach out to the community for help, whether it’s VetForce, the Success Community, or just your friends, “and that makes you feel comfortable enough to not feel like you have to know it all.”



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce admin. I'm Gillian Bruce, and today, listeners, we have a very special episode coming in for you. This is a live episode that we recorded at TrailheaDX just a few weeks ago. It's the first of two episodes that we are splitting this live session into, because we had so much great content, so much great conversation.

Gillian Bruce: I wanted to focus the first part of this series on talking about some special stories of entering the Salesforce ecosystem, realizing how to capitalize on skills that you already have, and changing careers basically midpoint later on. After you've already had one career, how do you create another? And in order to talk about these amazing topics, I had the incredible LaRon Butler and Kelley Babbs join me. They are both members of the Vetforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: LaRon Butler is actually newly a Technical Account Manager at Litify. She just started that position not long after this interview, in this interview she had not yet secured a role. So you're going to hear her at an exciting time in her life. And we had Kelley Babbs, who's the Technology Director at Blue Star Families, which is an amazing organization that helps serve the military community.

Gillian Bruce: Definitely enjoy listening to these interviews, we had a lot of fun talking with the both of them on stage at TrailheaDX, and I hope that you can listen to some really great tips and some really great insights about switching your career.

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about products, community, and careers to help you be a more Awesome Admin. I'm Gillian Bruce. Today we are live from TrailheaDX 19 here in Moscone Center in San Francisco. Everybody excited to be here?

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. We're joined by some amazing listeners who are here in the room, we're going to have some fun today. We have some amazing guests to bring up to share their stories and talk about being an Awesome Admin. They happen to be two amazing Vetforce stories as well, so shoutout to Vetforce, all the Vetforce people.

Gillian Bruce: So my first guest that I want to introduce is LaRon Butler. LaRon, come on up.

Gillian Bruce: Lauren is an amazing Awesome Admin. She is early in her admin career, and we're going to hear a lot more about your story in just a minute. Welcome to the podcast.

LaRon Butler: Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, talk into the mic. We've got two mics going on, it's a complicated process. As long as this one records, we're good.

LaRon Butler: Okay. Can you hear me?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, speak up a little. We also have some water down here. Our next guest we're going to introduce is Director of Technology at the Blue Star Families, and she also started her career as an Awesome Admin. Please welcome Kelley Babbs. Kelley, welcome to the podcast.

Kelley Babbs: Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: So glad to have you here. Ladies, thank you so much for joining me in this live session, I know this is a little different than just doing a normal podcast recording, in private, safe space. You're still in a very safe space, with lots of friends ... friends, supporters, listeners of the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: So, having the both of you up here, I want to share a little bit about your stories. LaRon, I'd love to start a little bit with you. You guys know the first question, right? What did you want to be when you grew up, LaRon?

LaRon Butler: So, for all my New Yorkers out there, and for everyone who watches daytime TV, Wendy Williams was the best radio host in the New York City area, and I used to want to be a radio broadcaster.

Gillian Bruce: Well, here you are, you're radio broadcast broadcaster now. Congratulations.

LaRon Butler: Thank you. I finally get to do it, I finally get to do it.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome, that's awesome. Well Kelley, I am going to ask you the same question.

Kelley Babbs: I wanted to be the first female president.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, it's not too late. We need them.

Kelley Babbs: And Judge Wapner. Either one, I would've been happy with either one. Still working on both.

Gillian Bruce: I love it, you never give up, that's great. All right, so LaRon, let's talk a little bit about your journey. How did you go from wanting to be a radio broadcaster, which your dream has come true, to working in the Salesforce ecosystem? Tell me a little bit about that path.

LaRon Butler: It started way back in 1998 when I decided to join the army. I did a few years in the army, I pretty much spent most of my adult life working and serving in the military in one capacity or the other. I've been a soldier, I've been a military spouse, I've been a contractor, I've been a DOD civilian. And more recently I decided that it was time for a career change, I came back from Korea in 2016 and I decided to get into sales. As a single parent, I realized that not having a stable income was probably not the best thing to do.

LaRon Butler: My background was IT. Previously we worked on legacy systems, so Microsoft, things like that, I was the system admin then. And I needed to update my skills. So I started looking around the Internet, and I kept coming across Salesforce. And just to share, I pretty much kept calling Salesforce over and over until somebody returned my call.

Gillian Bruce: The 1-800 Salesforce Number?

LaRon Butler: Yes, leaving messages. I kept seeing courses online, and all I wanted to know was if I could use my GI bill to take the classes. So someone finally called me back, and they were like, "You're a veteran, right?" I'm like, "Yes, I want to use my GI bill." And they're like, "Well, we have a program called Vetforce, and it's free."

Gillian Bruce: Done.

LaRon Butler: Done. So I was like, "Okay." So that was really how I got connected with Vetforce. And the journey through Vetforce has been amazing, the training that's been offered to me and my counterparts. I can go on forever, so-

Gillian Bruce: I'll ask you some follow-up questions, so this is how you found Salesforce, was through Vetforce.

LaRon Butler: Through Vetforce. And I needed to update my skills because when I looked online everything said cloud computing, so I had to update the skills to come back. I had been out for two years doing real estate, and so pretty much ... I started probably almost two years ago, and it was one of those things, I didn't drink the Kool-Aid at that time, I just signed up. That's what I like to refer to it as-

Gillian Bruce: It takes a while.

LaRon Butler: So I pretty much started a few trails here and there, tinkered around, put it on pause until things got serious for me. Deals fall apart, they take forever, and financially I was in hardship. That hardship, I pretty much have been living out of my retirement for the last two years, year and a half or so. And more recently, once I got certified in October 2018 I went to my first job fair the next day. It was a military job fair held in Atlanta, and I worked the room, and I was just like, "I have to do this."

LaRon Butler: So, for all the people who may have been certified and failed, I too failed the first time. Three days later I went back and I did it again, and I was grateful that Vetforce supported me in that journey. Also, going forward one more step, I kept hearing about Merivis, this group, a lot of veterans are involved, and I was like, "How can I level up, what can I do?"

LaRon Butler: I had to borrow to get to Texas, but I got there, and I made the most of it, I met some amazing people and I see these people around the community. But just to shine light on these people in the front row, they've really made an impact. And I'm going to mention David Nava, he's been my inspiration.

Gillian Bruce: That's a familiar name to the podcast.

LaRon Butler: Absolutely, he's been my inspiration. He's hardworking, and as I interviewed - and I've done probably 40+ interviewers-

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, we're going to talk about that in a little bit, I definitely want to get that experience captured. So you got certified, you didn't pass your first time, you tried again. Congratulations, by the way, because that can be very discouraging, but you did it, and you really kind of made this a priority and are going after it.

LaRon Butler: Absolutely, there was no turning back. I was committed, I was all in.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, so we're going to pause there because I want to kind of interject in here, Kelley, some of your story as well. So how did you go ... Well actually you still want to be female president, and I fully support you. Kelley Babbs 2020, here we go.

Kelley Babbs: Awesome.

Gillian Bruce: But how did you go from wanting to do that as a child to now here you are, still wanting to do that, but working in the Salesforce ecosystem in a big way?

Kelley Babbs: So I was in the army as well, got out a long time ago. I was still a military spouse though, so still serving alongside my soldier. And we move a lot, I think a lot of people have heard that at this point. And I kept having to reinvent myself every time we moved somewhere. So I've been a correctional officer, I've been a mail clerk, I've been a teacher, I've been a teacher's assistant, I've been a cable installer, not fun.

Gillian Bruce: Nobody likes the cable installer.

Kelley Babbs: No, it's gross, there's spiders, and ... it's bad. So we moved from Massachusetts, where I had a teaching position lined up and I was so excited. We got orders, "Surprise, you're not teaching in Mass." We went to Texas and nothing transferred. I was facing taking more classes even, because I don't know Texas state history, so you can't just go take a test.

Kelley Babbs: And I was kind of exhausted, right? I felt defeated, I was like, "When am I going to have a career?" I sent a colleague at Blue Star Families an email - well, not colleague, an associate - and I said, "Hey, I'm in Texas now, if you have any volunteer opportunities, I'm not doing anything."

Kelley Babbs: And she replied back really fast, which was exciting, and she was like, "We're actually hiring for this role. It's called the Technology Fellow, and we're going to teach you this thing called Salesforce for one year." And it was part time from home, so I was like, "Okay." I was Googling Salesforce, I was like, "What is this, what's a CRM?"

Gillian Bruce: I'm still trying to figure it out myself, so ...

Kelley Babbs: Yeah, so I was like, "You know what? I like tech, okay." So I started at Blue Star Families, and it was under a training program with a certified admin. At some point they moved on to a different role, so then I kind of became an accidental admin and I was like, "Oh gosh, this is fun." So I started researching, and that's when I found Trailhead Vetforce. And I was like, "Look at this community so ready to support this random little person in Texas who's panicking right now."

Kelley Babbs: So then eventually we hired another admin, and that person really became a mentor for me, military spouse as well. She was like, "Are you in Vetforce yet?" And I'm like, "I am." So the path just kind of went from there, and I took my certification in 2016, passed, and probably I felt more accomplished with that than with college.

Gillian Bruce: That's fine, we'll take that on the podcast, absolutely.

Kelley Babbs: And then my role just kept growing from there. As the organization grew, using Salesforce kind of prepped us to scale, and we'll get into that later. But yeah, so my role's just grown, and I'm now the Technology Director of Blue Star Families, but we are heavily in the Salesforce ecosystem, so Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Social Studio all day.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So, for listeners who may not know what Blue Star Families is, can you tell us a little bit about that organization?

Kelley Babbs: Yeah, absolutely. We're a chapter-based nonprofit that serves military families all over the country. Our goal is to connect military families with the civilians and the rest of their community to reduce that sense of isolation that we can feel moving all the time. We do that through a variety of resources, events, and then a lot of work in the military spouse career space because ...

Gillian Bruce: Because there's a lot of work to do, yes. That's awesome. And I know Blue Star Families has been not a stranger to the podcast. We've had Katherine Clark, who came from Blue Star Families, on the podcast twice now, once at Blue Star Families, and now in her position at Salesforce with Vetforce. So let's talk a little bit about that first Salesforce experience. LaRon, what's one of the first things that you did in Salesforce, or built in Salesforce?

LaRon Butler: It's still a work in progress. I'm trying to build a real estate ... To track all of my transactions and deals, it was like that. I still find old data that still needs to be inputted in, but that's what I try to work on.

Gillian Bruce: So you're building an app, essentially, for the business that you have experience in and have worked in. That's great. What are some of the things that you've put in the app?

LaRon Butler: I actually got the idea later on from some people, they kept saying build something that means something to, build something that's important. So how long had it been, when I first got a new client, when they were referred to me versus when we actually signed a contract, or how long the deals took? Just trying to get better at reports and things like that, and understand. It's not a large amount of data that goes in it, so that's why I say it's a work in progress.

Gillian Bruce: But that's great, it's a great way to get experience using the app, building something for what you know and capturing that instead of having it be in your head, or in an email, or, God forbid, spreadsheets, and putting that into an app. That's a great way to kind of learn and establish that knowledge.

LaRon Butler: Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: Kelley, what's one of the first things you did in Salesforce?

Kelley Babbs: It was so basic, but I was so excited about it. We had an object that was intended to hold people interested in a certain program, but there was no lookup to the contact, so it was just contact data being rewritten. So, figuring out that what it needed was a lookup to the contact, and then building that, and then transforming all that data so that it was actually an object with a lookup to the contact, was exciting. Because prior to that we were manually putting 250 people in a campaign, and I was like, "There has to be a better way to do this."

Gillian Bruce: And that's great that that's one of the first things that you did in Salesforce, understanding, "Oh hey, we have this thing, we can make this a lot easier." That's really awesome.

Kelley Babbs: That's kind of why I drank the Kool-Aid.

Gillian Bruce: We joke about the Kool-Aid, but it's real, when you get hooked, you're hooked, right? When you see, "Oh, I can do all these things," the light goes off, the blue light maybe, I don't know.

Gillian Bruce: So LaRon, let's talk a little bit about maybe some of the hard things about learning Salesforce. You've been doing this for a couple years, trying to kind of get established, you took the Cert exam, you passed, congratulations. What were some of the hardest things about learning Salesforce as an admin?

LaRon Butler: The learning part was pretty easy. However, I wanted to use it in practical use cases, and not do the step by step, you know? So just looking for the job experience to really putting into practice what I know, and showcasing that on the next level.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I know for me I still have a problem sometimes with formulas because my brain doesn't work that way. I think I've retaken that Trailhead module I don't even know how many times, almost as many times as I retook Calculus in college. Anyway. But yeah, having that mind shift to understand how this works can be kind of a challenge sometimes.

LaRon Butler: Absolutely, absolutely, which is why it was important for me to get to work, not only to pay the bills, but to really showcase my talent. In my mind it's easy, I know there is some complicated work out there to be done, and I just needed the opportunity to showcase the talent and to improve my implementation skills. Sorry guys, my voice is really-

Gillian Bruce: You're doing great. A whole day of Salesforce event will do that to you. Especially if you went to Macklemore last night.

LaRon Butler: I was in the front row, I wanted to win the dance contest, so I was like screaming so he could notice me.

Gillian Bruce: Good, I'm glad that you represented well, that's what you should be doing. Some of us can't do that right now, so I'm really glad somebody did.

LaRon Butler: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So Kelley, how about you? When you are learning to become an admin, it kind of fell into your plate. What were some of the challenges that you found along your journey?

Kelley Babbs: Validation rules. I still don't love them. My brain doesn't work in the opposite, so remembering to flip them ... I don't know, I still don't love them. But validation rules were pretty tricky for me, and also just knowing that I didn't have to know everything, accepting that, being okay with the idea that you just have to know where to find it, you don't necessarily have to know the answer. And I felt like I always had to know the answer. So overcoming that feeling of having to know it all.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, so tell me a little bit actually about that, how did you overcome that? Because I think everyone feels that because there's so much in the platform, right?

Kelley Babbs: I'm still kind of working on that. Again, the community, right? Salesforce itself has this amazing community, and then within that we have Vetforce, which is ... amazing-er, can I say that? An amazing-er community?

Gillian Bruce: I am totally a fan of making up great words like that, yes.

Kelley Babbs: So realizing that it's not ... A lot of businesses have a very "dog eat dog" kind of mentality, and it never feels that way. I can always ask a question, I can always reach out to the success community, my Vetforce community, my friends, I can text them and be like, "Hey, how would you do this?" And that makes you feel comfortable enough to not feel like you have to know at all.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. LaRon, anything to add to that?

LaRon Butler: That's what I'm experiencing right now. The interview process was challenging, and I thought I had to know everything, there was so much pre-studying that went along with the interview and all of that. And I'm realizing now that it's just knowing the basics, knowing where to find it, knowing how to research and get the material. And also accessing this great community of top talent that we have access to is amazing. Each and every one of these people will drop anything to help me and everyone else, it's amazing.

Gillian Bruce: That's the power of the Salesforce community, and it's especially strong within the Vetforce community, is what I've found as well.

Gillian Bruce: All right, so let's talk a little bit about being an Awesome Admin. We talk a lot about how being an Awesome Admin is an amazing career. They're my favorite people, so there's that, but let's talk about some qualities that you think help people become an Awesome Admin. What are your favorite parts of being an admin? LaRon?

LaRon Butler: The commitment to getting it done. Just knowing that you don't know, but it still has to get done, and being resourceful. Pretty much.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you get to solve problems, right?

LaRon Butler: Absolutely. And knowing, when your customer's happy, that you got it done for them. I look at other examples in my community, we have admin Ella [inaudible 00:21:00] in our community, and I know that she's the go-to for her people, and just the satisfaction ... I haven't had the opportunity just yet to be that for my team members, but I will be very soon.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. And Kelley, how about you? Because you started your career as an admin. What's one of your favorite parts of being in that role?

Kelley Babbs: It's when you either identify a need or someone brings a need to you, and the thinking through it, the problem solving. I love all those parts and those are all super duper important. But then when you give it to them, and that look on their face when they're like, "You're the Wizard of Oz. "And I'm like, "Yeah, I am."

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you can brag about that. What's the word again?

Kelley Babbs: Wizard of Oz.

Gillian Bruce: Wizard of Oz, yes. Love it.

Kelley Babbs: But just the satisfaction and the joy, it's actual joy when you make someone's work life a little easier. And I love to do that, I still love to do that today. Catherine and I used to work together and I would steal things from her, I'd be like, "I know you're the Admin, but I want to build, give me something to build." So yeah, it's making people happy.

Gillian Bruce: That's great, that's a good motivation to be an admin. And I think the feeling that you're helping people do their job better, or make their lives easier, is really core to what I've heard in every Awesome Admin, right? I mean, you're making people happy, who doesn't like to do that?

LaRon Butler: Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, if you don't like to do that ... I'm sure there's a few, you don't want to know those people.

Kelley Babbs: They're not Awesome Admins.

Gillian Bruce: So we're going to take a quick little one-minute break because, as you all know, we don't like doing super long episodes on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, do we? So we're going to take a quick break and we're going to shift gears into talking a little bit more about career, what it takes to be an Awesome Admin, getting hired, and interviewing, and all that good stuff.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to both LaRon and Kelley for being brave and hopping on the stage at TrailheaDX with me to do a live recording in front of a live audience for this podcast. We are going to continue the discussion next week when we talk a little bit more about what it's like to actually get that job as an Awesome Admin, both from a Hiring Manager perspective, from Kelley's point of view, and from LaRon's point of view who is currently in the process, talking about really what makes an Awesome Admin and how you can attain that role.

Gillian Bruce: For some of the highlights from the panel that you just listened to, I wanted to focus on the power of the community. Both LaRon and Kelley absolutely used the power of the Salesforce community by learning about Vetforce, getting involved, and really taking charge of the trajectory of their career, seeing the opportunity that Vetforce helped them get exposed to Salesforce, get those skills connecting with other people in the Vetforce community.

Gillian Bruce: Both of them made it very, very clear that the 'ohana, the other people they've met, were the ones that kept pushing them and inspiring them to pursue their career and to take those big leaps. Transitioning from a military career to a technology career can be very intimidating. A lot of the things like, "Hey, I've never had to interview, I've never had to put together a resume, but I've got all these great project management skills and things that I've learned being in the military. How do I translate that? How do I transfer that?" And both LaRon and Kelley really used the power of the Vetforce community to help them through that.

Gillian Bruce: There were also some challenges that they found in learning how to become a Salesforce admin, and a lot of that was fear of just not knowing the right thing, not knowing the answer. And they, again, overcame that with the power of the community and the relationships that they made in the Vetforce community.

Gillian Bruce: Understanding how you can go find the answer if you don't know the answer on the top of your head is very important. Definitely make sure that you think about shifting your mindset from having to know all the answers to being able to leverage that amazing community that you build in the process of learning Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: And some final tips about being an Awesome Admin. Being resourceful is so key to your success, both LaRon and Kelley made that very clear. Being able to solve problems of your customer and make them happy. Whether your customer is your end user, your executive, or an actual customer buying something from your company, your whole job is an Awesome Admin is to make them happy.

Gillian Bruce: And so being committed to getting that done is very important, I think that's one of the huge traits that you find in a lot of the Vetforce community members: being committed, not giving up, being tenacious. That's definitely a huge value that will serve you well in Salesforce ecosystem as well.

Gillian Bruce: So if you want to learn a little bit more about some of the things we chatted about in this discussion, make sure you check out Vetforce. It is a great resource for military and their spouses to learn about Salesforce, to understand about the Salesforce ecosystem, how to get jobs and training. Even if you're not in the military or a military spouse, this is a great place for you to learn more about the program, how you can help out, how you can get involved.

Gillian Bruce: Maybe even hire a Vetforce member, they are very skilled and very awesome hires. As you can see, LaRon, she got hired between the time we recorded this at TrailheaDX and its going live today. You can definitely understand that these are highly in demand, skilled, very talented workers, so make sure you look at the Vetforce community if you're trying to build out your Salesforce team.

Gillian Bruce: I also put the link to Blue Star Families in the show notes, so if you are interested in learning more about that incredible organization that helps out the military community, you can check that out. That's where Kelley is the Technology Director. And if you want to learn a little bit more about specifically strengthening and diversifying your workforce with military veterans, we have a trail for that.

Gillian Bruce: So go onto Trailhead, I've put the link in the show notes for that trail. It teaches you all kinds of things about the special skills that the military can bring to your organization, about how to reach out to that community, and about hiring maybe military spouses. Especially in the Salesforce community, working remote is a huge possibility because all you've got to do is really have a computer to do most of the work, and have an Internet connection.

Gillian Bruce: And for a lot of these military families, they have to bounce around a lot, and like in both Kelley's story and LaRon's story, being able to be mobile is one of the greatest things that they realized, the flexibility they could have with the Salesforce ecosystem. So definitely check out those resources.

Gillian Bruce: If you want to learn more about becoming an Awesome Admin, make sure you go to where you can find blogs, webinars, events, and even more podcasts like this one. And in fact, if you like this podcast, I highly encourage you to subscribe, to share it with your friends. We are on all the platforms, you name a platform, we are on it. iTunes or Apple Podcasts, Google Play, SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, Spotify, You name it, we're on it. If you have a platform we're not on, let us know. But make sure you subscribe so you get the latest and greatest episodes delivered directly to your platform or device of choice the moment they are released.

Gillian Bruce: Also a reminder, one thing that both Kelley and LaRon talked about was getting certified. It is a great goal for you to have. So not only can you use Trailhead to learn about very specific skills, but it's also a great way to prepare for your certification. If you've got no certifications or you've got 20 certifications, I still encourage you to make it a goal to get certified before the end of the year. It is a great way to show off your skills, to learn more in the process as you study. Getting Salesforce certified opens many, many doors for you in your career.

Gillian Bruce: If you want to find us on Twitter, we are on there @salesforceadmns, No I. Our guests today where LaRon, she is @LaRonMarkets__c, and you can find our other guest, Kelley, @kbabbs, that's K-B-A-B-B-S, 77. Both those links are in the show notes, and as always you can find myself @gilliankbruce. Thank you so much for listening to this episode, and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Vetforce_Bravery_with_LaRon_Butler__Kelley_Babbs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:43pm PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have the first of several live interviews Gillian recorded at the Salesforce World Tour in Washington DC. In this episode, we talk to Toya Tate, Salesforce Consultant at Slalom Consulting, Salesforce MVP, and leader in the DC Women in Technology User Group. We talk through her amazing career journey and how the community was there for her every step of the way.

Join us as we talk about how Toya got into the Salesforce, the amazing role the community played in her career path, and how she made the jump to become a Salesforce consultant.

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

Getting hooked on Salesforce.

At college, Toya majored in mechanical engineering, “but when I got to my Junior year I realized I didn’t really like engineering like I thought I did.” She ended up working for a venture capital firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they were using a platform to keep track of their investments, applicants who were looking for funding, and more. “One day, my boss came in and told me, ‘Hey, we’re going to use Salesforce for this process now.’‘OK,’ I said, ‘Sure. That’s great. I don’t know why you’re telling me but great.’ He said, ‘I’m telling you because you’re going to run it.’”

As soon as her boss walked away, Toya started frantically googling because she had never heard of Salesforce before. They worked with an implementation partner to get started and she quickly fell in love with the platform. She was able to go to New York for a week for more training, and the rest is history. Going to Salesforce from their previous tracking system was night and day. “Tracking was coming from six million different sources before,” Toya says, “once everything got in Salesforce I could just run a report and everything was right there, I didn’t have to spend hours compiling reports every week.”

How Toya discovered the power of the Trailblazer Community.

“One day I had a question and my powers of Google failed me,” Toya says. She stumbled across the Success Community (now the Trailblazer Community), “and I found the answer to my question but I also found that there was a Cincinnati User Group and they had a meeting coming up.” The person who answered her question was actually at the meeting. “From then on,” she was, “I was fully one hundred percent committed.”

Toya spent most of her free time diving into the platform and learning more. One day, she was browsing the community and realized she could answer some of the questions people had. “People don’t believe me but I am an introvert,” she says, “so it was much easier for me to interact online where I could determine how I wanted to interact and how much.” She moved from only answering the questions she was absolutely certain she knew well to learning more about new areas as she helped people.

As Toya got more and more knowledge, she wanted to focus on Salesforce full-time and not worry about any other responsibilities—she was still doing other parts of her old job in addition to managing their org. She got certified and started looking for her next move. She saw a posting for a job in DC on the community. “I just took a leap and sent the person who posted it a note,” she says, and they responded back within the day and said that they had seen her active in the community and were really interested in talking to her.

If you’re an admin, you’re already a consultant.

When Toya got to DC, she connected with Rebeca Lammers, who she had previously known through the community. Rebecca kept trying to recruit her for a new role, and eventually, Toya said, “I’m really not looking but I will meet with the recruiter just so you can stop harassing me.” She took the meeting and, long story short made the switch from an admin to a consultant. “I realized I really was looking for a challenge after eight years as an admin,” she says, “so throw some stuff at me that I’m not familiar with so I can keep growing.”

When Toya was interviewing for the job she had one major concern, which was that she’d never been a consultant before. “The person who was interviewing me said, ‘Yeah, actually, you have,’” Toya says, “‘an admin is an internal consultant. You gather requirements, you iterate in your sandbox, you test it, and you release to production and you do it all over again. That’s the Agile process; you’re a consultant you just didn’t know the terminology but that’s what you’ve been doing for the past eight years.’” As soon as she realized that, she knew she could do the job.

“It’s a mindset shift,” Toya says, “instead of thinking of yourself as ‘just’ an admin, there’s no such thing. You’re a lot of different things: you’re a business analyst, you’re kind of a quasi-developer, you do change management, you do all the things that consultancies do.” Toya’s not introverted on the community, so feel free to reach out to her to learn more.

Getting involved in Women in Tech.

One other major thing that Toya works on is the DC Women in Tech community. “I can’t tell you how many people have come to the meetings and come away feeling empowered,” she says. When it comes to balancing the community with her career, Toya views it as a part of her job: “These Women in Tech meetings are a couple of hours a month, I can make that commitment to my career and I think most other people can for the return that you get.” If you’re in the DC area, be sure to reach out!



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce Admin. I'm Gillian Bruce. And today, listeners, we have the first of several interviews that I was able to record while I was at the Salesforce World Tour in Washington, DC. Not too long ago, I got the chance to sit down with one of my favorite people in the Salesforce community, Toya Tate. Toya is an incredible human being. She's got an amazing Salesforce story.

Gillian Bruce: She is currently a Salesforce consultant at Slalom. She's an MVP. She's a leader for the Women In Technology group in Washington, DC. And she has completely transformed her career thanks to the power of using the Salesforce Trailblazer community. So, I will let her tell her story. So, without further ado, please welcome Toya to the podcast. Toya, welcome to the podcast.

Toya Tate: Thanks for having me, Gillian. I'm really excited to be here.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, well, it's been long overdue. So, I'm glad to finally get you on.

Toya Tate: Yes, I'm super excited. Let's do it.

Gillian Bruce: Let's do it. All right. Well, we are here in DC, at the DC World Tour, one of my favorite World Tour stops, because I love the DC community. It's the people like you I get to see in person. But I wanted to introduce you a little bit to the audience who may not know you. So, Toya, tell us, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Toya Tate: When I was growing up I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, believe it or not.

Gillian Bruce: Making people feel real good.

Toya Tate: Well, mostly because they wouldn't talk. So, it was perfect for me.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. I love that. Okay. All right. So, wanting to be an anesthesiologist to, now, working in the Salesforce ecosystem, connect the dots for me a little bit. Tell me about your career trajectory.

Toya Tate: So, there is no connection of the dots. It was all completely random. So, I wanted to be anesthesiologist, but I majored in mechanical engineering. Don't even ask me. So, got to my junior year and realized that I didn't really like engineering like I thought I did. So, I was aimless for a while and just kicked around and tried to figure out what I wanted to do. And I ended up working for a venture capital firm in Cincinnati, Ohio where we were using a different system to manage our investments and our applicants that were coming in looking for funding. One day, my boss came in to me and said, "Hey, we're going to use Salesforce for this process now." I said, "Okay. Sure. That's great. I don't know why you're telling me but great." He said, "Well, I'm telling you because you're the one that's going to run it." I was like, "Oh, that's awesome." So when he walked away, I started Googling, because I had no idea what Salesforce was. I had never even heard of it before.

Toya Tate: So, we worked with an implementation partner to get our org set up. And once I got in there and started playing around, I realized I really liked it. So, I told my boss, "I really like this. You need to send me to training, because I don't know what I'm doing." And he did. He sent me to training in New York for a week. And that kicked off the entire love affair. So, that's how I got started in Salesforce almost, oh, God, 10 years ago now.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, my goodness.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. All right. So, the platform was a little different 10 years ago.

Toya Tate: Yeah. Slightly.

Gillian Bruce: Slightly different. But that's really cool how you were exposed to it, totally unintentionally.

Toya Tate: Completely by accident.

Gillian Bruce: And then you're like, "Hey, I kind of like this. I can see how cool this is." What were some of the things that struck you about when you first got into Salesforce and start playing around on the platform?

Toya Tate: So, what I really loved was, I was the one that was in charge of all of those tracking things before, and it was coming from six million different sources. I can sort of be sure that this looks right based on what I knew. And once everything got in Salesforce, I could run a report. And all the stuff was right there, and I didn't have to spend hours compiling reports every week or every month or on the fly based on what somebody needed to run to a meeting. So, I was in love. I'm like, it saved me time and aggravation. I'm onboard. Sign me up. So, that was what I loved about it initially.

Gillian Bruce: So, you didn't have to be a human report. You could actually use the technology for that.

Toya Tate: Imagine that. And it freed me up to actually do other things. But then I realized I didn't want to do those other things. I just wanted to do Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. Okay. So, you did the training, you are all in on Salesforce. Now, you're a Salesforce admin, right?

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, then what happens next for you?

Toya Tate: I discovered the community. So, I had a question. I can't remember what the question was, but my powers of Google failed me. And I stumbled across what was then the success community, what's now the Trailblazer community. I was like, "Oh. This is great." And I found the answer to my question, but I also found that there was a Cincinnati, what was then, user group. And they had a meeting coming up. So, I moseyed on in there. I sat in the front, because I always sit in the front, even though I was [crosstalk 00:05:15] like, "I don't know anything. But I'm just going to sit here and see." And the person who answered my question in the community was there at that meeting.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome.

Toya Tate: I was like, "How often do you guys have this? There's no membership fee. I could just show up?" They were like, "Yeah." From then on, I was fully, 100% committed at that point. So, I was going in the user group meetings and figuring out what I wanted to find out more about, stuff that I wasn't even using in Salesforce but I knew was there. So, I was spending a ton of spare time where I wasn't working just finding out more about Salesforce, just because I was interested in it.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So, you have this curiosity about the system and trying to learn more. This is a theme I hear from a lot of awesome admins.

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, you are learning more about the platform, maybe beyond your current job scope and what you were charged with.

Toya Tate: Right.

Gillian Bruce: The community made it real for you. You actually met the person who answered your question, which must've been surreal. I have a couple of stories that I've heard of people who are like, "Yeah. So, Nick helped me, went into my first question, and I met in person at Dreamforce and it was like, I didn't think it was real and it came together."

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: It's a powerful story.

Toya Tate: It is. And then I realized that from perusing the community, I can answer some of these questions. So, that's how I really got my feet wet, because people don't believe me, but I am an introvert. It was much easier for me to interact online where I could determine how I wanted to interact and how much and who I wanted to interact with. And I could be okay. I definitely know the answer to that question. I can answer that and not feel like, well, I don't know, not really sure Let me try to put this out there. At first, I stuck to the stuff that I definitely knew. And then I was like, "Oh. I really love this. This is cool." So, that was just my whole awakening to the community.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's a whole different way to learn, right?

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Because you get to build your confidence by answering the questions you know. But [inaudible 00:07:13] you said that's were you started ...

Toya Tate: Right.

Gillian Bruce: ... and then, maybe, you start dabbling into questions you're not sure you know?

Toya Tate: I'm like, "Well, I don't know this area, so let me go over here and see what they're talking about." And then I realize that, maybe, I knew a little bit more than I thought I did. And then it just snowballed from there.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, now you have this momentum going. You're learning a ton. You're feeling more confident on the platform. I mean, how long were a Salesforce admin for?

Toya Tate: Oh, God. I was a Salesforce admin for eight years.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. All within the same company or ...

Toya Tate: No. So, that first venture capital firm, I spent 10 years there. But we only started doing Salesforce, probably, my last five or six. So, about halfway through my tenure there. But the more I learned about Salesforce, the more I realized this other stuff, anybody can do that. It's boring and I don't want to do that. I want to do the Salesforce piece. And talked to my boss about it several times. He's like, "Well, we're a small organization, and everybody's got to wear a lot of hats." I'm like, "I don't like those hats. I want to wear this one hat. So, work with me." So, it became more and more of my job, but it wasn't my title. It wasn't what I wanted to do. So I'm like, "Well, it's time for me to figure out where I can go where I can just do Salesforce all the time." So, that's what I did.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, tell me about that leap. Because, I think, a lot of admins I talk to get Salesforce thrown on their lap, or they discover it or they inherit it. But, like you said, it's not their job title, right? They're not officially the Salesforce admin even though they have that on top of the other five hats that they were.

Toya Tate: Right.

Gillian Bruce: So, how did you prioritize saying, "Hey, this is what I want to be, a full-time Salesforce admin." And then how did you make that happen for yourself?

Toya Tate: So, what I did was, in my spare time at work or, even at home or on weekends, I would start studying, because I knew I wanted to be certified. So, I got my certification, I think a year after I took the class. Not recommended. [crosstalk 00:09:19]

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it's a lot of lag time there. You get rusty.

Toya Tate: I had to learn three new releases. I'm like, okay, I won't make that mistake again. So, I'll tell all of y'all out there don't do that. It's a bad move.

Gillian Bruce: Take your cert as soon as you can.

Toya Tate: As soon as you finish the class, take the cert. So, I got certified and I started looking for jobs that were just Salesforce. And, on the community, I saw a listing for a job in DC. I'm like, "I can do that job." And I'd been wanting to relocate to DC for years. So, I just took a leap. I sent the person who posted it a note in the community. It said, "I don't know if you'd consider somebody from outside of the area, but this is my background. This is what I'd like to do. I'd love to talk to you about the position more." And they responded back within the day and said, "We've seen you really active on the community. We'd love to talk to you." And they flew me out, and within a month, I'd had, I don't know, a couple of phone and Skype interviews and an in-person interview. And I had a new job within a month. [crosstalk 00:10:19] And I was able to relocate.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So, you totally were just able to relocate, because you saw an opportunity on the community. And because of what you had done on the community, you already had a shoo-in, essentially. They knew who you were because they saw what you were doing, which is really awesome.

Toya Tate: Yeah. Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: It's great to hear that. We talk about that a lot like, "Go, establish yourself on the Trailblazer community or in Twitter, because people are going to Google you. And that's what you want people to see." But they already knew you before you even said anything.

Toya Tate: Yeah. It is a true thing. People think that we say because that's just like a marketing thing. No, it is actually true. I couldn't tell you how many people I know that have found jobs through the community. And even now, people or even me, don't have to look for jobs. Your reputation precedes you, and people come to you. And who wouldn't want that? Where you can just pick and choose your opportunities.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. That's awesome to have complete control and power there, right?

Toya Tate: Exactly. I love it.

Gillian Bruce: So, let's talk a little bit more about that. So, you relocated to DC. You now are a full-time Salesforce admin, but you are no longer in that role.

Toya Tate: I am not.

Gillian Bruce: Tell me about that next step.

Toya Tate: So, my next step. I relocated here about six months ahead of someone that you probably know, Rebecca Lammers.

Gillian Bruce: I have heard her name before. I believe she's been on the podcast too.

Toya Tate: Maybe you're familiar with her. And Rebecca relocated here as well to work for a consultancy. And soon after she started, she came to me said, "Hey, we're both here now." We'd known each other through the community, I think, by then for three or four years. She's like, "This place is really great. I think you'd be a great fit." I'm like, "Nay, get out of here. I'm not looking for a new job. I'm really happy with where I am." She's like, "Okay. That's fine. You can say no." And then three months later, she asked me again. She's like, "Well, you can keep saying no, and I will just keep asking you until you say yes." Fine Rebecca. So, I'm like, "I'm really not looking though, but I will meet with the recruiter just so you can stop harassing me." She's like, "Sure. Meet with them. No problem."

Toya Tate: And then once I met with them and realized that, I really am kind of looking for a challenge after eight years as an admin, always in Sales Cloud, know Sales Cloud in and out. I want some new challenges. Throw some stuff at me that I'm not familiar with so I can keep growing. About a year and a half ago, I made the switch from an admin to a consultant.

Gillian Bruce: Well, congratulations.

Toya Tate: Thank you very much.

Gillian Bruce: So, it sounds like you got poached a little.

Toya Tate: I did. I got poached. I did.

Gillian Bruce: As you said would happen, because your reputation starts preceding you.

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, tell about that transition because I think a lot of admins may be thinking about a similar move or maybe haven't even thought about it as a possible career possibility. But you said something that struck me, is that after eight years of being in Sales Cloud and knowing Sales Cloud in and out but not being able to really use the other parts of the platform, that curiosity was getting to you. You wanted to test and learn more. So, how is it different from being a full-time Salesforce admin to now being a consultant and working on a bunch of different projects?

Toya Tate: So, that's a really great question. When I was interviewing to be a consultant, that was what they were asking. "Well, you have any apprehensions?" I'm like, "Yeah. I've never been a consultant before." And the person that was interviewing me said, "Actually you have. An admin is an internal consultant. You gather requirements. You iterate in your sandbox. You test it, and you release it to production. And then you do it all over again. That's a agile process. You're a consultant. You just didn't know the terminology. But that's what you've been doing from the past eight years." I'm like, "Oh, you're right. I am." Oh, yeah. Okay. I can do this job. It's just a mindset of how you're thinking about it. And it is definitely challenging, because you're going into new environments. So, you have to learn business processes. You have to learn personalities. You have to juggle that and be ready to be client-facing and always be on, which anybody can manage that. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. You say you're an introvert. I don't know if I believe it. But you cover it up really well if you are.

Toya Tate: I just think its a mindset shift. Instead of thinking of yourself as just an admin, there's no such thing. If you're running a Salesforce admin, you're a lot of different things. You're a business analyst. You're quasi developer. You do change management. You do all the things that consultancies do. But you're all wrapped up in one package. So, why not just put yourself out there and see what happens? You'd be surprised.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I think that's great advice. And I think it's a really interested idea because if you're an embedded admin, so to speak, right, you are. You are performing all those functions. You are an in-house consultant [crosstalk 00:15:09] essentially, right?

Toya Tate: Exactly. I was a solo admin in the instances that I worked in. So, if you can be a solo admin, you can definitely be a consultant.

Gillian Bruce: I love that.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it's a great career trajectory to think about. We have not talked about it on the podcast very much.

Toya Tate: Oh. Excellent.

Gillian Bruce: I know there's a few people who made the jump, so I really appreciate you sharing with us.

Toya Tate: I am always happy to talk about that leap. Other people can do it. If I can do it, trust me, anybody can do it. I'm happy to talk about it anytime [crosstalk 00:15:40] especially with you.

Gillian Bruce: Well, hey, and now people will find you on the community too. [crosstalk 00:15:44] So, there you go.

Toya Tate: Yes, find me on the community, on Twitter. You can find me anywhere.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. You're not introverted on the community.[inaudible 00:15:50]

Toya Tate: No, I'm not. Just in real life.

Gillian Bruce: So, Toya, one other thing that I know is really important to ... speaking of community. There is a very strong Women In Technology community here in the DC area. And it's one of the reasons that I love coming to the DC World Tour. It's because that group is full of absolutely incredible men and women really giving back in big ways and very connected. And there's just a really strong vibe there.

Toya Tate: Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to me a little bit about your involvement in the Women In Technology community here in DC area? And then overall, how that fits into your career and how you make that all work together.

Toya Tate: Absolutely. Happy to do it. So, here in DC, the Women In Tech community group is run by two phenomenal, amazing women that I'm lucky enough to call friends, LeAndria Streeter and Rakia Finley, who come up with amazing content and programming every month that we all benefit from. Can't tell you how many people have come in the meetings and come away with feeling empowered and gotten help with issues. They put together groups to help nonprofits for free to give people volunteer experience. I just can't talk enough about the Women In Tech community specifically. So, if you're in DC and you're not part of this community, you definitely need to find on the Trailblazer community group site. Definitely come ... It's nothing but an enriching experience.

Gillian Bruce: And it's not just for women, right? Men are welcome as well?

Toya Tate: Oh, yeah. You guys can come to. Yes. Most definitely because we can't just talk into an echo chamber, right? We got to have some people in the room to represent us and what's important to us when they're in spaces where we're not. So, we happily welcome men. We have men at every meeting.

Gillian Bruce: I know. But I love it.

Toya Tate: We have a great time.

Gillian Bruce: It is a great time. I love going to your meetings when I'm in town. But let's talk a little bit about how you balance that. So, I know a lot of people look at the community and may be like, "Oh, this is so awesome, but there is a lot of stuff. I also have my job, and I also need to keep trainings." So, how do you incorporate your involvement in the community with your career and make it all work together?

Toya Tate: So, to me, I think it's all part of the same puzzle. I don't really separate my work in the community from my job. I think it's part of my job. So, these Women In Tech meetings, they're a couple hours a month. I can make that commitment to career. I think most other people can for the return that you get. And the involvement in the community. I have evenings, I have weekends. I can hop on Twitter real quick and look at the [inaudible 00:18:29] hashtag or go into the trailblazer community and check in on groups that I'm in, answer questions, either technical questions or about the community. It doesn't take that long, especially since I just consider it part of what I do. So, I don't think it's really that much to balance.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. I love how you consider it part of your job, because I also consider it part of my job but it is. Like you said, you get a lot out of it. You learn a lot. You make the connections. I mean, who knows, next job opportunity is probably in that meeting [crosstalk 00:19:02] right?

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: [inaudible 00:19:03] as Ms. Consultant, right?

Toya Tate: Your next whatever could be right at your next community group meeting. [crosstalk 00:19:10] I'm just saying.

Gillian Bruce: So, one other thing that I wanted to get from you, especially with all the experience that you had, is some tips and advice for admins who, maybe, have been an admin for a couple years and are thinking about, what else can I do? What's next? What are some tips and advice you have for those folks?

Toya Tate: So, definitely join the community. You will find people who have been where you are or who are where you are right now that you can bounce ideas off of. It's a way to stretch yourself. One of the things that I did was I joined the Rad Women group. We're learning about Apex and development. I'm not a developer, but it's still something that added to my skill set to round me out, so I could talk to developers and we could talk the same language. So even if you don't think you want to do something, just jump into the community and just expand your world view. It will definitely help you. So, that's first. Get involved with the community. Reach out to people who are really visible. If you want to have questions, or you just want to sit down with coffee. Everybody that I found is really helpful, willing to give their time. So, definitely get involved with the community, and that'll open up the door to so many other things.

Gillian Bruce: Great advice. The community unlocks all of the things.

Toya Tate: All the doors. Trust me.

Gillian Bruce: All right, Toya. Well, before I let you go, I have to do a lightening round.

Toya Tate: Lightening round.

Gillian Bruce: So, three questions, no right or wrong answers. First things that come to mind.

Toya Tate: Okay. No pressure.

Gillian Bruce: No pressure. So, the first question is a this or that question.

Toya Tate: Okay.

Gillian Bruce: So, the question is, toilet paper, over or under?

Toya Tate: Over.

Gillian Bruce: Over. I agree with you. I don't know the weird people that do under.

Toya Tate: Savages.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Your next question is a would you rather question. Would you rather be able to see 10 minutes into your own future or 10 minutes into the future of anyone but yourself?

Toya Tate: Anyone but myself. I'm predictable, so I don't need to know.

Gillian Bruce: Love it. Okay. Your final one. Well, first, I should probably ask this. Do you have a pet?

Toya Tate: No. I have a pet by proxy.

Gillian Bruce: A pet by proxy.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, let's try this one and see if it works. If you could ask your pet by proxy three questions, what would they be?

Toya Tate: Do you like living with your owners? What do you do all day? And are you mad that can't get table food?

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome.

Toya Tate: It seems random, but she always looks pissed that she can't eat what I'm eating, and I just want to know why. You've got plenty of food, leave mine alone.

Gillian Bruce: Clearly, whatever you're eating looks better.

Toya Tate: Obviously. It's like a baby.

Gillian Bruce: I guess I will find out about that soon.

Toya Tate: Yes, you will.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Toya, thank you so much. Thank you so much for the contributions you've made to the community and are continue making and thanks for sharing with us the podcasts today.

Toya Tate: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. We'll talk to you again soon.

Toya Tate: I'll be ready.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Toya for taking the time out the busy day during the Salesforce World Tour in DC to chat with me. I wanted to pull out some of my favorite parts of our conversation to highlight for you listeners. First, Toya learned about Salesforce from a manager. She had no prior knowledge of the platforms. But when her manager introduced it to her, she started playing around with the tools, went to a training in New York, and boom. "The love affair had begun," she says. Secondly, the power of the community. So, the community played such a critical role in Toya's career path. Not only was she able to find her local user group, which then helped her gain the confidence and help her discover her commitment to Salesforce. But she also really used the Trailblazer community to establish herself by engaging in questions and conversations in the community, trying to share knowledge that she already had but also digging into topics that she wasn't so confident in and trying to answer those questions to gain knowledge, to gain experience, to really help her grow skills in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: She realized that she knew a lot more than she thought she did. And what's amazing about that is because she had established herself so well on the Trailblazer community, it actually enabled her to take a job and relocate from Ohio all the way to DC. That's where she wanted to go. She didn't really know that she was going to be able to do that, but, hey, she had established herself in the Trailblazer community enough so that when that job opportunity popped up, the employer looked at what she done in the community, and boom. She had the opportunity to really transform her career and make the jump and make the move. Now, Toya also knew that she was ready for a challenge but wasn't quite sure what that looked like. And she actually got poached. So, Toya was actually introduced to a consultant firm. She had no intentions on applying for a new position, but a recruiter quickly realized that Toya had all of the great qualities that would make her a good consultant.

Gillian Bruce: So being an amazing and awesome Salesforce admin, those skills that you have can really apply to being a consultant and taking your skills to other companies and helping other organizations implement Salesforce. So, seeing that as a great opportunity, Toya, then, switched her mindset and went for the challenge. And that's why she's now [inaudible 00:24:49] She's been a consultant for a little over a year now.

Gillian Bruce: So, if you are an admin and thinking about what your next career move might be, maybe being a consultant might be something that you hadn't thought about before. Take a look into it. It really worked for Toya. It was several others that it has worked for as well. Again, it's not for everybody but, hey, it's a great way to, maybe, transform your career and grow it should you choose to do that. If you want to learn more about some of the great things that Toya and I talked about on the podcast today, good news, as we've content on Trailhead for that. We have a whole slew of content about helping you grow your career. I put the link to that in the show notes. And as always, you can find more about being an awesome admin at You can find blogs, webinars, events, and even more podcasts on that amazing website. And the best thing about Trailhead, not only can you learn more about how to grow your career and learn Salesforce skills, but it's also a great way for you to prepare to take your next certification exam. So, whether you have zero certifications or 15, there's still another certification for you to get.

Gillian Bruce: And Trailhead has all the great content to help you prepare for that. You can even find courses. If you want to register for an actual in-person course, you can do that as well So, make getting another certification this year a priority. It really helps open doors for you professionally. And it helps you prove your skills, beyond the Trail Head badges that you earn.I'd also like to remind you to please subscribe to the podcast and share it with your friends, so that you can get it delivered directly to your platform or device of choice the moment it is released so you don't miss a single episode. We've got lots of good stuff coming your way. You can find us on Twitter at Salesforce Admns. Our guest today was Toya Tate. You can find her on Twitter at Toya_L_Tate. And you can find myself at Gillian K Bruce. Thank you so much for listening to this episode, and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Taking_the_Community_by_Storm_with_Toya_Tate.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:43pm PDT

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking with Peter Boyle, Partner Relationship Manager at Quicken Loans. We’ll learn how he manages twenty-two Salesforce instances for everything from Rocket Mortage to football helmet-maker Xenith.

Join us as we talk about how Peter transitioned careers with the help of great corporate culture, how his advocacy for Salesforce in the Rock Family of Companies paid off, and how you can get involved.

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

How great company culture helped Peter find Salesforce.

Growing up, Peter wanted to be a firefighter and actually ended up doing that for about five years before getting into the Salesforce ecosystem. “There’s a lot of passion in that career field and in helping people,” he says, “but as I was approaching 30, it became time to be reflective about where my career was going longterm.” He reached out to a friend and was able to get started at Quicken Loans on the Business Development team managing leads and auditing loans. “I think it was not something I was very good at,” he says, “but I did fall in love with the company and the company culture.”

“If you’re a good culture fit and you want to be here and have enthusiasm and passion for driving the business and doing what we’re doing here, we will work to find you a place,” Peter says. So even though the job wasn’t necessarily a good match for his skills, Peter’s manager helped land him in a different department as a Business Analyst in the IT Group. There, as luck would have it, he was paired with a Salesforce Engineer who needed some help. “He was an MVP-type guy and had been in Salesforce for the better part of a decade, so I was really just able to learn by osmosis with him, with a little bit of Trailhead mixed in,” Peter says. When he moved on, Peter found himself in a Salesforce Admin role.

Making an impact as a beginner admin.

Coming into Quicken Loans’ oldest Salesforce instance, Peter needed to take stock of what was going on. It had only ever been worked on by one person, “so there was a lot of legacy code and things that had been done over the years that maybe weren’t done correctly or we could have done better.”

Working with business leadership, they found some really easy wins that would make things much more efficient for the sales team. For example, their reps were manually changing the status of the opportunity—Peter was able to use Process Builder to automatically do that if other fields were true. It not only made things easier for the sales team, it also changed their reporting because they could immediately see the status of everything. “It was a small, quick thing that I did,” he says, “but it showed me the impact you can make on this platform even as a beginner or a junior-type admin.”

Salesforce advocacy on a larger scale.

Quicken Loans is a part of the Rock Family of Companies, all based in downtown Detroit and straddling a dizzying array of verticals. In addition to Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage, there’s StockX, “the stock market of things,” and Xenith, which creates football equipment. When Peter got started, he was just focused on his one instance, but as he developed his skills he got in touch with the part-time admins and pseudo-admins managing other instances in the Rock Family. They basically created their own user group to support each other.

“It became clear that, more and more, the use of Salesforce was growing up and becoming more mature and more people were adding on within the family,” Peter says. He started to evangelize on the platform: “I thought that it could be a gamechanger if we all bought in on the platform, and so I started driving those conversations.” They started adding more and more instances, and with the support of a VP, they were able to get the CEO and CIO out to San Francisco to understand everything Salesforce could do for them. “Eventually, if you really believe in something, there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving it.”

How Peter manages twenty-two Salesforce instances.

Today, Peter’s role is to lead an internal consulting group for Salesforce for the entire Rock Family of Companies. That means managing twenty-two instances for all sorts of different business verticals with more on the way. They’re beginning a large implementation with several thousand licenses for the core Quicken Loans group, which includes some exciting things like Einstein, Financial Services Cloud, and more. They’re also in an ongoing process of migrating older instances to Lightning.

“Truly, as a family, we’re very interconnected, so if we’re all on the platform the sky is truly the limit with what we could be doing in terms of connectivity between the instances,” Peter says. “Shameless plug: we’re looking for admins and developers to help us,” he adds, “I would argue it’s probably one of the more interesting and exciting places to be if you’re somebody that wants to do revolutionary things on the platform.”



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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce Admin. I'm Gillian Bruce and today listeners, we have a guest from a company that most of you are probably very familiar with. It's a household name. We're going to be talking with Peter Boyle who is at Quicken Loans. He is a partner relationship manager who is actually building out quite a system to manage over 22 instances of Salesforce because Quicken Loans is a member of a group of companies that spans everything from Rocket Mortgage to Xenith, which makes football helmets. Anyway, you'll hear Peter talk much more about this. He has a great story and I'm very excited to share it with you on the podcast, so without further ado, please welcome Peter to the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Peter, welcome to the podcast.

Peter Boyle: Hey, happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I am very happy that you're taking the time to chat with us and excited to welcome a new voice to the podcast. To welcome a new voice to the podcast, I like to start off with a question that I think is a fun way to get to know somebody. Peter, what did you want to be when you grow up?

Peter Boyle: I think like any young boy, I want to be a Salesforce Administrator at America's largest mortgage company.

Gillian Bruce: Obviously, there you go.

Peter Boyle: Obviously, like everyone. Now, I wanted to play professional baseball until I realized that wasn't possible when everybody else kept growing and I didn't and then I wanted to be a firefighter and work in emergency medical services and I ended up doing that.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So you had that fire... I think being a firefighter is something that a lot of kids identify with too, is the young anyone to do something fun and helps to help people. Then you actually ended up making a career for yourself in that, and so how did you go from working in emergency services to now working in the Salesforce ecosystem? Tell me a little bit about that journey.

Peter Boyle: So I worked in a suburb of Detroit called Pontiac, Michigan as a firefighter and emergency medical technician for about five years, most of my late 20s. I enjoyed the job, certainly an adrenaline filled job, which I liked, was a lot of passion in that career field in helping people and like you talked about earlier is something I was wanted to do. So it was a job I really enjoyed. But towards, I would say the fourth or the fifth year as I was approaching 30, I just became time to be reflective about where my career was going long term. Unfortunately, the downside to that type of job is the hours are terrible.

Peter Boyle: You end up working, I think I worked every Thanksgiving and Christmas and new years for the better part of five or six years and I'm working overnight and the pay is unfortunately not very, very good. So it was just time. I looked at my friends who had more corporate jobs and more normal jobs and they seem to just be enjoying life a bit more. So I was hesitant about it, but it was something I wanted to do, and so through a family friend I was able to get a job here at Quicken Loans.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. I personally been in a similar role where I was working in the bar and restaurant industry for a while. The money was good, but like you said, you never get your nights and weekends off and its good money, but it's not great money. So you hit this wall. So you had a friend get you a temp job at Quicken Loans, how did you feel about that? Were you like, "Oh, here we go." Or like, "this isn't really what I want to do" but hey, it's a way to get a better paycheck. Tell me about that feeling and that transition for you.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, so I think at the beginning I was begrudgingly there. I knew what it was the right move but it takes adjustment. Like to your earlier point, working in bars, restaurants, working EMS, these high paced jobs they're fun, they're interesting environments and something's always different. So it's hard not to miss that, but when you look at things objectively, it was time. So the first job was in what's called our business development team, allocating leads into a system that was not Salesforce at the time and auditing loans and I think it was not something that was very good at but I did fall in love with the company and the company culture.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. Well, so I think that's a really important point. So it wasn't so much about the work you were doing, but you discovered this company, this group of people in this culture that pulled you in a little bit. What were some of the things that struck you and got you more invested in maybe this path?

Peter Boyle: Yeah. So, we'll talk a little bit more about it later, but one of the great things about Quicken Loans and Family of Companies is the opportunity provided here. So if you're a good culture fit and you want to be here and have enthusiasm and passion for driving the business and doing what we're doing here, then we will work to find a place. When it became evident that that lead allocation and loan auditing job really wasn't for me, my team leader at the time helped me find a job as a business analyst in our IT group and just by pure chance or maybe serendipity if you will, I got placed with a Salesforce engineer who badly needed a BA to help. I was thrown into the fire and luckily enough, he's MVP type guy and he's been in Salesforce for better part of a decade. So I was able to really just learn by osmosis from him mixed in with a little bit of trailhead over a period of six or seven months.

Gillian Bruce: I love how you said you were thrown the fire. It's similar to your previous job, right?

Peter Boyle: Yeah, maybe there's some connectivity there.

Gillian Bruce: Well, cause this was all new to you. Even this role of being in business analysis was a new thing. So you're learning that in new and you're being exposed to this new system, Salesforce, was probably a lot to take in at the same time, right?

Peter Boyle: Yes, completely new. A few years ago, as much as really three or four years ago, I would have no idea what Salesforce was or even what anything with it was. I'm not from a technology background clearly. I alluded to before, I think this place is a good place to work because even if you're 75% ready for the job that you're in, they'll allow you the time to close at 25% gap and the time with this engineer was that time for me and so I ended up learning Salesforce and picking up things from him and tinkering on my own in a sandbox and then he moved on and I ended up in a Salesforce Administrator role.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, so here you are now as a Salesforce Administrator, still pretty new to the platform, new to the technology as a whole, tell me about some of the first things that you built in Salesforce that made things quick for you or that you're like, "Hey look, I did this thing."

Peter Boyle: So going with the theme of being of thrown into the fire right or are asked to step up, when he left at the time, and we'll talk more with this later, I was only working on one Salesforce instance of the many that we have, and that instance had been around for a long time and he had been the sole person to work on it. So it was on me to pick up a slack in not a greenfield space where there was a lot of legacy code and things that had been done over the years or they weren't done correctly or if that we could have done better. The first thing was really evaluating where we were at and out of that, working with the business leadership, we figured out that there were some very easy things that could be great efficiency games for the sales team that we just hadn't thought of or didn't take the time to do.

Peter Boyle: So an example of that and they set it up be the first thing that I had success with was our sales reps were manually changing the status of the opportunity. So they would switch it from pursuing to closed or whatever it might be. So using Process Builder, we just simply build a process that said, where I'd rather I should say I that just said that if you know x amount of fields equal true, then change the steps you know the sales status and it was such an easy thing to do that I think it even surprised me, it probably only took me a couple of days and then to work it up, through the sandboxes and into production and it was like this smash hit to the sales team.

Peter Boyle: It was like something totally different that they had never done before that they now didn't need to worry about. It also changed our reporting. So now we were able to just automatically see where all of our statuses were rather than going to a business rep and saying, how is this still in pursuing? And then being like, "Oh no, I just forgot the social status." So it was a small, quick thing that I did. It was the first thing I did, but it I think showed me the impact you can make on this platform even as a beginner or a junior type Admin.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, absolutely. I love that Process Builder as your first example because I feel like Process Builder is the number one most awesome admin tools that we have. Because as you said, if you can click around and understand what you're trying to automate, you can pretty much build really great things pretty quickly using Process Builder. Then I love how you described the impact that it had. People loved it because it eliminated a lot of that. Even just that one manual task of having to update the status, you point out, "Oh, now we can run reports." Do I have to chase down people to say, hey, why is this still in this old status?

Peter Boyle: Yeah, that's exactly right. That's the power of the platform, is that you can do those types of things and you can do them much quicker, and deliver much more value than in some other systems. Such systems that require a lot more code and I think that's probably what a lot of admins really enjoy about the job and it's once the business to see the value in the platform.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. Well, what a way to get your feet wet and stand up on your first awesome accomplishment using Process Builder, but that was a while ago. Tell me a little bit more about what you're doing now with Salesforce at Quicken Loans.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, so it's been quite a journey here. When I started as a Salesforce Admin back then, I think we had about... so Quicken Loans is part of the rock family of companies. So we actually have a bunch of different companies that we are truly one big family rock. We're all connected all on the same network. We're all right here in downtown Detroit, and we're all completely varying verticals of business. So we have everything from Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage, as you may know and all the way to things like StockX, which is this new ideas where the fastest growing startups that we have, it's really the stock market of things to bedrock, which is our real estate arm to Xenith, which sells football helmets and everything in between. So we are truly a varying family group businesses.

Peter Boyle: I give that context because at the time that I was working as an administrator, I was just really focused on one instance out of the 13 or 14 that we had back then, but through the community that is the Salesforce ecosystem, I began to get in touch with some of the other folks who were parttime admins or pseudo admins for some of these other instances within our family and we started to build our own internal community, and the time, I wasn't part of the Detroit area user group, so we just created our own family of companies user group, started having meetings and they're starting to be this connectivity and something, we'd like to say around here is you like to tie threads, find those things that we could do together.

Peter Boyle: It became clear that more and more the use of Salesforce was growing up, becoming more mature and more people were adding on within the family and so I started to evangelize on the platform and speak up and see the vision that I thought we could do a lot more with it. I thought that it could be a game changer if we all bought in on the platform. I started driving those conversations, and slowly but surely over the last, let's say, year and a half or two, we started adding more instances and more instances and it built to a fever pitch where everybody was using Salesforce except for at really Quicken Loans proper.

Peter Boyle: I had a VP at the time who has been at the company for a long time, I'm very well connected and I think he believed in me and my vision and he was able to take that to our CEO and our CIO and convince them to take a trip out to San Francisco, maybe about a year and a half ago now, so a few of us went out there, myself included and went to what used to be called the executive briefing center and that started down a path of where we're going now and where we are today.

Gillian Bruce: That's amazing. I love how you took it upon yourself to discover your other Salesforce people within this large group of companies that I had no idea that you're making football helmets was also the spectrum of the different industries that group of companies is then it's incredible. God, who can forget those rocket commercials? I see them all the time.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, that's right.

Gillian Bruce: It's fun to see that they're all connected, but you took it upon yourself to discover your Salesforce people within that group of companies and bring them together which is so core to the idea of what it is to be part of the Salesforce ecosystem with Salesforce Ohana. Then right as you said here, you are now taking the lead and really you got executive buy in, you had a vision that you were able to really describe and share in a way that got your senior leadership of this whole group of companies to get excited. So, that's really impressive. Congratulations, cause that's a big accomplishment.

Peter Boyle: Well, I appreciate that. It wasn't always an easy journey. I think it's important to be honest about it cause you can make it seem like all you have to do is just evangelize and now here we are, but we're really I was told no a lot of times and not for out of malice or any bad reasons, people just didn't quite see the vision the way I did but we as a company of [inaudible 00:14:12] we operate off of these guiding principles that we call our ISMS and one of those ISMS is you'll see it when you believe it. So even though I was being told no, and a couple of the other folks that I share the vision with actually ended up leaving the company because they didn't think it was ever going to work out, I have to really ask myself like, do I really see this? Like, do I really believe it? And if I do believe it, then it'll come true.

Peter Boyle: Another one of the things, one of our reasons it's to do the right thing, so I just think to myself, am I wrong or am I just early and I determined that I was just early and at the right thing to do is to stand by the vision and keep going through and eventually, with some allies and some friends who bought on from some of these other family of companies and some, some senior leaders like I mentioned earlier, we got to a point where we got buy in from the CEO and now we've made a large investment in the platform and we're looking at switching over a good amount of Quicken Loans folks too from their legacy system that was in house to Salesforce and now we're even looking at it as across the entirety of the family and that's my role now is to lead and build up a center of excellence team that truly is like an internal consulting group for the entirety of the family when it comes to the Salesforce platform.

Gillian Bruce: That is awesome. I'm also really impressed that you did as somebody who... typically I feel like someone who is taking this kind of leadership role and pushing this vision tends to be like a CTO or a senior level architect or something and here you are self taught in the platform for the most part came into it, fall in love with it and really developed your own vision, was able to sell it, and pitch it over a period of time, clearly in staying true to that, but being able to establish yourself as that visionary and as that leader without necessarily already having that authority or in that role is really amazing. I think it shows what's possible as being somebody who learned Salesforce who becomes a Salesforce Admin. People can do this.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, they really can and it helps if you have a company culture like ours, but I think you can adapt it to anywhere if you really believe in the platform and what you can do and it does take... it's hard sometimes to get to executive level folks and you're right, I think you do need like CTO or CIO, CEO buy in, especially if you're going to really make waves, but you can get to there and you build your allies along the way, they can help you get there. I think eventually if you really believe in something for the most part, there's nothing that can stop you from achieving it.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. That's an amazing quote. I'm probably going to pull that out and put that all over the place. I think that's great. Well, so I would like to dig in a little bit more Peter and talk about some of the specific things you've done since your first process builder day to talk about some of the things that you're doing with Salesforce, with your role and at your family of companies in general. I know you mentioned a little bit about a letting migration getting more Quicken Loans folks onto Salesforce, but can you give me a little bit more detail about some of the specific things that you're working on right now?

Peter Boyle: Yeah, so there's two parallel paths. We are currently in the process of beginning and implementation, a very large implementation, several thousand licenses for the core Quicken Loans Group. So that is really is own project within itself and there's some exciting things happening. There are some use of Einstein, some use the financial services Cloud, which is relatively new and so that's this big interesting project that's taking a lot of manpower and a lot of time. Then at the same time there are a lot of both instances that have been around for while and need help in migrating to lightening and need help in refreshing the way they use the platform.

Peter Boyle: Then there are new instances that are coming online. So we're up to 22 instances that are active today. We have I think three or four more that have put their hand up three or four different teams or businesses and so we want to come online. While the larger IT team is working on building out the financial services cloud implementation, myself and eventually my team when I'm able to bring to people on, we'll work on helping all the rest of the instances that maybe can't afford a full time admin.

Gillian Bruce: That's a lot of instances of Salesforce.

Peter Boyle: It's a lot. So you can see it though how the vision can be grand because I truly as a family, we're very interconnected. For all on the platform I think the sky is truly the limit. Its use the cliche of what we could all be doing as far as connectivity between the instances.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, that's awesome and you mentioned Einstein. You've got a lot of really fun exciting stuff going on so.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: It'll be fun to talk to you a year from now and see what else you've got going on.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, there's a ton of stuff in our work. We need a lot of people to do it. A shameless plug which are certainly looking for people to do it, to help us admins or developers and I would argue it's probably one of the more interesting or exciting places to be if you're somebody who wants to do revolutionary things on the platform.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you can hear it in your voice and clearly by what you've been able to contribute towards for this transformation that this whole group of companies is going through your Family of Companies. For people who are passionate about the platform and being able to try new things and do really impactful work, it sounds like a great place to be. I'm not going to lie.

Peter Boyle: Yeah. It should come check it out sometime. It's pretty awesome. There's also like I mentioned before, I think some of these companies within themselves nevermind being on Salesforce are just really interesting and exciting. I mentioned StockX earlier, but if you go to checkout or if you go and check out another podcast that our chairman does, Dan Gilbert called Speed Of The Game, you get that like on iTunes or anywhere latest episode, he interviews the CEO of StockX, Josh Luber and the things they're doing as a company are unbelievable, but then also like for our audience, your audience here they are also beginning and implementation of Salesforce and driving that tremendous growth of their business by using Salesforce. There's a lot of stuff happening.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. Well, we'll definitely make sure to put those resources in the show notes so people can absolutely find all the cool things that you're mentioning putting there in that he podcasts and that specific episode and whatnot.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, thank you.

Gillian Bruce: So I'll make sure that they get all that in there. Before we head towards the latter end of this, I feel like we could talk forever. I have to ask you, Peter some lightning round question.

Peter Boyle: All right, let's do it.

Gillian Bruce: All right, so nothing to do with Salesforce. We have three different questions. The first question is a this or that question. Movies at home or movies at the theater?

Peter Boyle: Movies at home, for sure. Although, with these theaters are doing lately with these huge lazy boy style seats I don't they got that going on in San Francisco, but that's the trend here at Detroit. It's a lot better, but I'm going to go with home.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and then the new ones too sometimes they have ones where they'll bring you food and drink to your seat thing and place them.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, I know. It's wow. I'm still going home though.

Gillian Bruce: It's almost like being at home, you just have to pay for it.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, it's like $25 too, but anyway.

Gillian Bruce: It's a little more expensive in San Francisco, but yeah

Peter Boyle: Oh, I bet.

Gillian Bruce: So the next question is that, would you rather have a rewind button in your life or a pause button in your life?

Peter Boyle: Oh, that's tough. I would say a rewind. I'm going to say, although there's not anything specific that I can think of that I'd want to go back and do, I do sometimes think wouldn't it be cool to have all the knowledge that you have today and be able to go back and be 21 again and keep it.

Gillian Bruce: Oh my gosh, totally feel you. That would be amazing.

Peter Boyle: I know. So they would be, yeah. So I'm going to go rewind.

Gillian Bruce: Okay, I like it. Is your last question, what is something on your bucket list?

Peter Boyle: That's tough. I would say going to every major league baseball stadium, so I'm a huge baseball fan. If I travel for work, I try as hard as I can to make it to a game in whatever city I'm in. So I think that's something that I would like to do, but it's also something I would like to do with my dad. That's where I got my baseball fandom from and I think it'd be a real cool thing for us to do together.

Gillian Bruce: That would be awesome. I agree with you. That's always been something I want to do. I've been able to visit a fair number of the older stadiums, but I have not made it to all of them. I'm spoiled with 18 or I guess now Oracle, excuse me, Park here in our backyard where the Giants play but, that's okay.

Peter Boyle: Yeah, I was just there for the first time last year at Dreamforce. It's a very, very, cool part.

Gillian Bruce: It is.

Peter Boyle: Let me know when you want to come check out Comerica. We'll make sure we hook you up with some tickets.

Gillian Bruce: It's on my list. Like I said, I want to get to Detroit. I've never been, so I'll let you know.

Peter Boyle: It's worth it. Trust me.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, Peter, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast, and I am so thankful for you sharing your story about what you've been able to do with Salesforce and your career and the exciting things that you're doing at Quicken Loans. It's pretty awesome to hear, so congratulations and thank you for joining us.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Peter for joining us on the pod this week. Some of the things I wanted to highlight from our conversation which I thoroughly enjoyed was first that it was so clear that Peter has a passion for helping people, even has an adrenaline from it, and after five years of really honing that in emergency medical services, helping people in really big ways, he realized he was ready for a change and then through some personal connections, he was able to get a job at Quicken Loans, and his first role was allocating leads and auditing loans. Now, great way to get your foot in the door. He quickly learned that maybe that wasn't exactly what he wanted to do, but because of the great company culture, he was able to pivot into another role where yes, he's still helping people. So one of the most important things that Peter learned quickly at Quicken Loans was that he totally loved the company, he loved the company culture.

Gillian Bruce: Now that's something really important, especially when you're looking to make a switch. What are you going to be working with both people-wise and company-wise? He loves the culture at Quicken Loans. It really encouraged him to try new things. He actually got a really great supporting and strong relationship with his manager who helped open the door for Salesforce for Peter and when Peter was asked to step up on one of the instances of Quicken Loans, automating some basic processes with Process Builder, it created a huge impact in the reporting process, and he could see the impact it had on his salespeople and that just shows how he ceased an opportunity to drive internal conversations about the growth of Salesforce. He has taken this to the whole family of companies becoming a Salesforce Evangelist across this huge group of companies that does very lots of different industries, lots of different functions.

Gillian Bruce: Now, Peter had a vision, and I think this is very important to [inaudible 00:25:42]. You can all be visionaries. He had this vision, he took it full force, took them some time, he had to kind of be a broken record and continue to sell this vision, pitch it. But over time, he did get some executive support, got support from C level to really use Salesforce across over 22 instances. Now, Peter is taken on the role of bringing those 22 instances and then some together in a center of excellence. So he's really taken on that role as an internal consulting group for the entire Family of Companies that includes Quicken Loans, and it's really exciting to see what he's done. He's got a great vision. So Admins remember that if you love the platform are finding new ways to use it, you can be a visionary for your company just like Peter has been able to do.

Gillian Bruce: Now if you want to learn a little bit more about some of the things we talked about with Peter, we've got some great resources for you. So first go to Trailhead. There are a couple of great trails that highlight some of the topics we covered. There is a cultivated quality at Work Trail which is a great way to look at how you can help build company culture, understand company culture. There's also a Trail about learning to work in the financial services Cloud which is something that Peter is working on which is exciting. We haven't talked much about that on podcast. I encourage you to go check out this Trail. There's also another Trail called Get Smart with Salesforce Einstein, so he talked about how he is implementing financial services in an Einstein with some new use cases at Quicken Loans and and The Whole Family of Companies.

Gillian Bruce: So you want to learn a little bit more about that, go check that out on Trailhead. If you are actually interested in learning more about joining Peter's team, he is hiring, so I put the link to Quicken Loans job opportunities in the show notes. He's building a team. It sounds like a pretty cool place to be, so if you're growing your career, maybe looking for a switch, check it out. We also mentioned a company called StockX, which is in the family of companies that Peter is working with. Put the link in the show notes there. It's pretty cool. If you're a sneaker geek, check it out. You probably already know about it, and the podcasts that Peter mentioned, The Speed Of The Game, it's got some great content, some really interesting interviews, so I put that link in the show notes as well.

Gillian Bruce: As always, you can find more about being an awesome admin we have blogs, webinars, events, and yes, even more podcasts. Also remember Trailhead is a great way to prepare for your certification, so I hope everyone listening to this podcast has the goal of getting another certification this year. It's a great way, not only to prove your mastery of skills beyond Trailhead, but also really help you get more job opportunities or get that raise or get that promotion. So make sure you make getting a certification, one of your priorities this year and Trailhead is a great way to prepare you to do that.

Gillian Bruce: Also, please remember to subscribe to the podcast and share it with your friends. If you subscribe, that means that you are going to get the latest and greatest episodes delivered directly to your platform or device of choice the moment they are released. You can find us on Twitter @SalesforceAdmns. Our guests today was Peter Boyle. You can find him on Twitter @Boyle176 and myself @GillianKBruce. Thank you so much for listening to this episode everyone, and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Calling_All_Revolutionaries_with_Peter_Doyle.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54pm PDT