Salesforce Admins Podcast

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got another developer story for those of you thinking about careers and what to do next. This episode, we’re talking with Miranda Ragland, founder and CEO of M7 Unlimited. We caught up with her at WITness Success 2018 to talk about how she became a Salesforce developer and the work she does to help enable others to become proficient on the platform.

Join us as we talk about how Miranda built her career in programming and how trying to automate her timesheets eventually lead her to a career as a Salesforce developer.

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

Coding from the age of seven.

Miranda’s been a Salesforce developer since 2006. “I really really love taking advantage of the platform to make it easier for end-users to get their work done,” she says, “I tend to focus more on admins and consultants because I love building tools for their and it’s a fantastic platform to build on.”

“I’ve always been a curious person by nature,” Miranda says, “and I was really lucky to have access to computers when I was really young—early 80s. And just by being curious by nature I wanted to know how they worked, so I took apart our family computer.” She started coded when she was seven years old, creating a game in BASIC and even debugging it. “There’s this feeling of accomplishment when you figure out what’s going wrong,” she says, “when you have that aha moment and it works it’s an amazing adrenaline rush.”

How getting rid of extra clicks lead to a career.

As Miranda picked up more programming languages, she was constantly on the search for what would come next. As an early internet user (like 1991 early), she was curious about how things worked at a lower level, so she taught herself C and Visual Basic, and then moved on to assembly, C++, C#, and Enterprise Java. “I had to log into Salesforce log my time slips, and it wasn’t a particularly well-automated system back then in 2006,” she says, “so I decided I wanted to learn how to make this more efficient because I was tired of all the clicks so I learned how to write an S control.”

At this point, Miranda was working with a consulting company that just so happened to have a client that needed help with a Salesforce integration, which at the time meant using Java to push data into the platform. Just as she was getting to know and love Salesforce, Apex came out. “I absolutely fell in love, and I haven’t looked back,” she says.

Why you already have what you need to learn to code.

When we caught up with Miranda at WITness Success 2018, she was working with registered consulting partner ITequality, which she co-founded. “One of our goals is to change the face of consulting,” she says, “and bring awareness to mental health and LGBTQ issues.” Their first client was looking for a developer to update a Visualforce page with some static text in it. Instead, Miranda was able to show them how to make that content live in Salesforce in a way that they could update it themselves.

If you’re thinking about jumping into coding, Miranda wants you to know that you already have everything you need to succeed. “It’s just structured problem solving,” she says, “people look at code and they get intimidated by it, but really coding boils down to breaking things into smaller, more digestible chunks and then you tackle those smaller problems.” The more comfortable you get with the concepts, the easier it’ll be to pick up new languages.



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Direct download: Born_to_Develop_with_Miranda_Ragland.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got a special interview from WITness Success 2018. We have Susannah St-Germain, Technical Architect at Boston Scientific, to talk about how she made her career in a more technical area of the Salesforce ecosystem.  

Join us as we talk about how to tap into your passion to make a career, what helped her get the training she needed coming from a non-technical background, and the shift in mindset you need to make for coding.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Susannah St-Germain.

 From pro musician to Salesforce pro.

Today, Susannah is a Salesforce Developer and Technical Architect at Boston Scientific, but her path to getting there is unconventional, to say the least. She originally went to school for music, going for her masters in viola performance. “At some point, I think I realized that maybe I don’t necessarily see myself playing in an orchestra forever,” Susannah says, “so I decided to drop out of grad school.”

Susannah came out to Breckenridge, Colorado, to intern in the development department of an orchestra. “Little did I know at that time that that was going to be the first step on this path to where I am today,” she says. She started doing more work on the backend of nonprofits, and really enjoyed the work she did with databases to track fundraising.

“The data department would provide their frontline fundraisers with a big report that they called ‘The Beast,’” Susannah says, but she kept on obsessing over how it could be improved. “I realized I was much more interested in fixing this problem than going out and doing my fundraising work,” she says. She ended up as Director of Strategy and Operations at Citizen Schools, a nonprofit based in Boston, where they used Salesforce to track fundraising and volunteers. She got hooked on the platform and her next job was as a solo Admin and Developer.

Filling in a technical background.

As Susannah was diving into the developer side of Salesforce, she heard about a program called Rad Women Code. It’s a community-lead 10-week course for folks who are interested in learning more about coding in Salesforce. This was a gamechanger for Susannah to give her the bed of knowledge she was missing not coming from a computer science background. “It gave me the confidence and building blocks in order to better utilize tools like Trailhead and the Developer Forums,” Susannah says, letting her push her knowledge even further.

“I never would have imagined this six years before, but I ended up applying for a role in the tech department at a for-profit company,” Susannah says. “I reached out to the person on Success Community, and they immediately asked for my resume and brought me in to interview and the rest is history.”

The change in mindset you need to be a developer.

For Susannah, the biggest part of learning code and the other skills you need to be a developer comes down to mindset. “For me the hardest part, coming from being an admin,” she says, “is with coding you’re never going to do it once and have it work perfectly and not see any errors.” You need to embrace being happy when you get an error because it means you’re closer to figuring out how to get it working. “Embracing that mentality was probably the biggest shift for me,” she says, “just because I code something and it doesn’t work the first time doesn’t mean that I’m a failure, it means that I’m one step closer.”

Today at Boston Scientific, Susannah worked with their Latin American business to create a tool that allows them to route pricing approval through a special process that is different for each person. “One of my colleagues told me it used to take two weeks,” she says, “now it takes them a day.” On the other hand, there are some admin tools that Susannah is grateful to have under her belt.

“If you’re very comfortable with code and you’ve never been an admin, it’s easy to say, ‘We can do that with code, we can do anything with code,’” Susannah says, “but knowing when to use a declarative feature versus programmatic is such an important skill for developers to have. And sometimes, for admins, you can do something declaratively but you have to twist yourself in a pretzel to do it, but it takes three lines of code.”



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Category:general -- posted at: 4:18am PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the final live episode from the DC World Tour. We’re joined by Meghan McCoy, Senior Associate in CRM Applications at the Pew Charitable Trust. We’ll hear how she’s building innovative solutions for her nonprofit in Salesforce, and talk about the human side of technology.

Join us as we talk about how she approaches technology from the human side of things with her experience in anthropology, how she uses Agile practices to help get things done at a large organization, and how she’s customizing her org to better serve her constituents.

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

 Meghan’s unique perspective on technology.

Growing up, Meghan studied modern creative dance from the age of five to fourteen. She performed at festivals and worked in a special system called global somatics, which focuses on highlighting the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Her creative background led her to Howard University in DC, trying to figure out what to study. She ended up focusing on anthropology. “It’s really human-facing and it’s something that can be applied to various industries,” Meghan says.

The late 90s and early 2000s were an interesting time to be a college because of the explosion of technology: from Friendster to Black Planet to AOL Instant Messenger, college students were beginning to use the internet to connect in new ways. “There was a Computer and Sociology class,” Meghan says, “and once I took that I knew I was very interested in where humanity was headed, and so I took my anthropological skills and applied it to the IT realm. As soon as I graduated I started to work in the network equipment industry as an account rep.”

Using Agile with Salesforce.

Today, Meghan is happily employed as a Salesforce Administrator for the Pew Charitable Trust. “What I’m able to do in this role is operationalize a lot of customer delivery we’re providing as a Salesforce team,” she says, “I’m managing the day-to-day user permissions, onboardings, offboardings at an organization of about a thousand employees, which includes about seven hundred Salesforce-licensed users.” She doesn’t have to solo admin, and can instead focus on the relationship between her users and team members to make everyone’s job easier.

They use Agile methodologies as a team to get everything done. They get requests through ServiceNow, then pipe them into Jira to organize and assign the work and sort it into two-week sprints. There are specialized team members for grants, Marketing Cloud, and general requests come to Meghan.

The magic of the Salesforce community.

Coming from the network equipment industry to Salesforce, Meghan was looking for a different environment. “I wanted something a lot more diverse, a lot more inclusive in terms of a professional network to participate in,” she says. She started looking into the platform through a mentor and began attending World Tours where she connected with folks (including Marc Baizman) who kept saying, “you belong, even though you might not yet know the platform we know that because you keep showing up we’ve got something you can contribute to.”

With her team today, Meghan is working on a lot of innovations. “I call our instance a constituent management database,” she says, “and one of favorite projects right now is looking at how to connect activities to multiple objects within our instance.” They’re developing a tool on the platform so their users have a better way of tracking the lifecycle of an activity across the organization. Working with their Salesforce Success Reps, they’re trying to create some kind of identifier to keep the multiple records connected—almost an internal Salesforce record ID. It helps them keep track of when multiple users meet with the same constituent, and any other conversations that have happened between that person and the organization.



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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 Jillian Bruce. Today, listeners, we are wrapping up our series that we recorded while we were in Washington DC for the world tour, not too long ago. Today we are talking to Meghan McCoy who is a senior associate CRM applications at the Pew Charitable Trusts. She is amazing. She's so fun to talk to you. She's incredibly smart, incredibly passionate about what she does. And I wanted to get her on the podcast to share a little bit about some of the cool things that she's doing with Salesforce, how she's building some of these solutions and talk about more of this human side of technology. She actually studied anthropology and has found a lot of really great parallels between that and what she does in the IT sector and with Salesforce. So without further ado, please welcome Meghan to the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Megan, welcome to the podcast.

Meghan McCoy: Thank you. Thank you, Gillian. Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you for having me because we're actually in your hometown of DC. We're out here for the world tour and I am very happy that I get the chance to sit down and chat with you in person.

Meghan McCoy: Thank you. I hope you got a chance to walk around. Our city is absolutely beautiful. One of a kind.

Gillian Bruce: I am a huge fan of DC, and the community here and the town, it's really, it's really fun.

Meghan McCoy: It's an interesting juxtaposition between various city lifes throughout the US, it's kind of an amalgamation of what we have to offer in this country.

Gillian Bruce: That's very great ... That's a fantastic summary of DC, yeah. Well, we got some good spring weather now, so it's nice.

Meghan McCoy: Yeah. Next time you got to make it for the cherry blossoms.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yes. I did get to live in DC for a couple years. I got to be here for that and it is mind-blowingly beautiful.

Meghan McCoy: It is.

Gillian Bruce: Like cloud land.

Meghan McCoy: It is. It is like pink clouds.

Gillian Bruce: Wow.

Meghan McCoy: They're real, I thought those only existed in the Ohana Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: Right.

Meghan McCoy: Salesforce tours.

Gillian Bruce: Ohana lands. Yeah. Well, Megan, I wanted to get you on the podcast to talk about a whole bunch of things, but to introduce you a little bit to our listeners. I love to start off with a question. Megan, what did you want to do ... What did you want to be when you grew up?

Meghan McCoy: So, growing up, I actually studied modern creative dance from like the age of five until I was about 14, I wanted to be a modern creative dancer.

Gillian Bruce: That is so cool. So did you do dance most of your life growing up or?

Meghan McCoy: Yeah, I performed at various festivals. We had an instructor who really focused on what's called Global Somatics. So it was a form of movement that focuses on your body systems, whether it's your bones or your fluid systems. So I learned a lot about anatomy, and then how to kind of move my body to sounds that reminded us of kind of those anatomical natural movements.

Gillian Bruce: That is fascinating. That's so great. Okay, so then how do you go from dance and all of this amazing kind of very expressive creative land to now working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Tell me a little bit about that career journey.

Meghan McCoy: So when it was time for me to pick university, I was fortunate to have a really good mentor at the school I was attending in high school. I attended Scattergood friends school, Quaker boarding school in Iowa. And my mentor there, she kind of suggested based on what I was looking for, that I apply to a plethora of universities and Howard was what I landed on, which brought me to Washington in '98 and I've stayed since. And really, there, I was undecided, I was a bit nervous. I wanted to study dance, wasn't sure if maybe I'd switch from liberal arts to the fine arts program. And I ended up landing on anthropology really because I got in a debate with some students and they totally smoked me in the conversation. And I just said, "These guys are just so smart." They were from Philly and I asked my girlfriends, what are these guys studying? And they said anthropology. And I said, "Okay, this is for me because it's really human facing. It really is something that can be applied to various industries."

Meghan McCoy: And then, while I was at Howard, it was early 2000s, and really that's when IT was starting to really kick off where we were on AOL, we were on Black Planet, we were using, whether it was Friendster-

Gillian Bruce: I remember Friendster.

Meghan McCoy: And downloading music and chat rooms. So at that time studying anthropology and sociology, there was a computer in sociology class. And once I took that, I knew kind of, I was very interested in where humanity was headed. And so, I kind of took my anthropological skills and applied it to the IT realm as soon as I graduated, where I started to work in the network equipment industry as an IT professional, like an account rep.

Gillian Bruce: That is really fascinating because I love ... Clearly you are fascinated by kind of like the human experience, right? From doing the expressive kind of dance, creative dance. And then, I love how you say, you got smoked in that conversation.

Meghan McCoy: Oh yeah, toasted.

Gillian Bruce: You were like, I want to do that. And then, kind of delving into this human side of what is going on with kind of humanity at large and then finding that intersection of technology and all these digital transformations that are happening in the ... I remember Napster and Friendster and like all of that in college.

Meghan McCoy: Limewire.

Gillian Bruce: Oh my gosh, totally, totally. Oh all the hours spent downloading things.

Meghan McCoy: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: And so then, that kind of took you in this IT route. So I think that's really fascinating because so many people who are ... find themselves in Salesforce admin role, come from a very non-traditional tech background. But you came from the humanities side intending to go into IT in a little bit. Right?

Meghan McCoy: Right. So it really turned, once I took that computer and sociology class to where I started to understand technology was going to be kind of the future of human progression in the workforce. So when I thought about how do I want to apply my degree, I was sure I didn't want to go and become a professor and get a master's in anthropology, which kind of put me at risk for freaking out, which I did because I said, "Oh gosh, I got this BA and I don't know how to exactly transition it." But I just kept promoting the fact that I had great writing skills and I got picked up by an IT company to write the copyright for their website and customer facing interfaces.

Meghan McCoy: And as a result, not only did I excel in that role, but I was brought in as a manager then, to hire and train the workforce. As a result to kind of found my niche was operations. So I developed a lot of our quality control process and logistics around the work we were doing, which was primarily routing Cisco network systems around the world, whether it was to our federal customers or US-based customers and making sure we paired them and partnered their needs with the right technology.

Gillian Bruce: So I'm hearing so many things and your description of what you just said, it's you were able to be a translator between the technology and the people, which is a very valued skill because there are so many layers of jargon and understandings of systems that don't necessarily inherently make sense to a lot of people. And then the fact that you were brought into a management role because you understood kind of these relationships and how people related to the technology and the systems are related to each other. So this kind of training in anthropology really prepared you in a very significant way. Probably more so than a traditional IT training background to be ... to grow your career and be where you're at.

Meghan McCoy: Yeah, I recommend highly, as much as people have an opportunity to, to at least take one cultural anthropology class in your lifetimes. I really wish it was a prerequisite for business majors, because I really think it does help us navigate in those environments that are cultural at our institutions where we contribute as employees.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, that's fantastic. I agree with you. Could not agree with you more. It's like along the same lines, I always tell everyone, everyone should have a service related job at some point.

Meghan McCoy: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: To appreciate those who serve you at a restaurant or sell you the hat at the store or whatever. But-

Meghan McCoy: Exactly. We're constantly navigating social spheres, whatever they may be, whether it's we participate in hobbies, extracurriculars, our church communities, our neighborhoods, our workplace, parental groups, et cetera.

Gillian Bruce: Absolutely.

Meghan McCoy: It's very important.

Gillian Bruce: So let's talk a little bit about what you're doing now. So you kind of went the IT route. You were implementing systems for all kinds of different organizations, government, private. What do you do now? Tell me a little bit about your role.

Meghan McCoy: Yeah, so now I am very happily employed as a Salesforce administrator for a local nonprofit in the DC area. And I'm really proud of this transformation that I went through to get here because what I'm able to do in this role is essentially operationalize a lot of the customer delivery we're providing as the Salesforce team.

Meghan McCoy: As an administrator, I'm managing the day-to-day user permissions, onboardings, offboardings at an organization of about a thousand employees, which includes about 700 Salesforce licensed users. I'm also looking at our systems and meeting with the customer and the business to see where do they want to take the platform next, gathering those requirements and translating them into applicable technical solutions within the platform. And I get to work on a team of about six other administrators. So I don't have to play that really, really challenging role of a solo admin. Instead, I have kind of a more complex relationship to navigate with the users and then the various team members who each handle the different part of our Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. So I love how you kind of described that you're part of a team because there are ... We have many solo admins in the world, but we also have many admins who are part of a team. And you know, maybe you could tell us a little bit about how you work as a team to kind of divide up and like, you know, does everyone do all the things? Like how do you divide and conquer? I mean, 700 users is a lot.

Meghan McCoy: So essentially we're using Agile methodologies, scrum practices here at our organization, which I find very, very supportive and helpful to setting a cadence within the workflow of anything related to IT especially, but specifically Salesforce here for me. And in that regard, we really receive the business requests through a system that we're using here at our organization called ServiceNow, once those come in, we'll pipe the request into JIRA system and platform, where we can then assign the tickets out and assign the work, schedule the work. We'll put it into various two week sprints so that the work can be completed within two week periods.

Meghan McCoy: And sometimes the work being projectized, sometimes there's project related work, it's a bit larger, so that'll take a few sprints, but we're able to break it up into separate chunks, and so chunk the work. When the work comes in, we've got people who work specifically on our grants workflows. We have people who work specifically with our marketing cloud workflow, and we're able to assign the tickets to those specialized team members. General requests for uploads, et cetera, generally come to me, where I'm looking at things like de-duping, using demand tools as well as people import to make sure that we're matching the data to preexisting data or identifying data that's related, before we complete our upload to prevent duplication.

Gillian Bruce: So I'm hearing a lot of kind of data modeling, data management-

Meghan McCoy: Data governance, data quality.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, very important.

Meghan McCoy: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: Very important.

Meghan McCoy: Very important. The key.

Gillian Bruce: Right. So, one more thing that I would love to know. So you know, you mentioned you were working on Cisco systems kind of prior to this role. How did you find Salesforce? Because now you are in deep in Salesforce, you know Salesforce Admin, you have whole team. What, tell me a little bit about that first encounter you had with Salesforce and how that came into your life.

Meghan McCoy: So I was transitioning out of my career in Cisco. I really missed the opportunity in my career to really connect with other professionals. Being that I'm a woman, I'm also a woman of color. The environment that Cisco's ecosystem provided was really a lot of former IBMers, a bit good old boys. It was pretty vanilla, is the saying I think that's frequently used. And so, I wanted something a lot more diverse, a lot more inclusive in terms of a work professional network to participate in.

Meghan McCoy: So Salesforce got introduced to me by a mentor of mine, who kind of suggested I take a look at the platform. And when I went to my first nonprofit, I was the director of IT there and I thought, hey guys, we should definitely get a CRM in place because we were managing multiple spreadsheets and old databases. At the time though, they weren't quite ready as an organization. And as a result, I just continued my journey. I went to many of the world tours. I attended the NPSP day sprints where I was brought in by the likes of Judy Shalom and Mark Baizman and other fantastic participants like John Barsi, who's now in documentation at Salesforce. And they just said, you know you belong even though you might not yet know the platform, we know that because you keep showing up, we've got something you can contribute to.

Meghan McCoy: And they would position me for success in those environments where I was in say networking or contributing on documentation process for a new trail head or talking about addressing and the challenges there. So really, the community, my mentor is what kind of brought me into the Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: That's so cool. I love that that community was kind of your way in or exposure, forced exposure to Salesforce, because a lot of times people, you know, Oh hey, our organization bought Salesforce, congratulations, you get to implement it, or you get to be the admin and they're like, wait, I had never really heard of this before. So to get introduced via the community is actually a really special way to do that. And I think that's really awesome. And the people you mentioned are incredibly, incredibly great at that. In fact, Mark Baseman is now on our team as an admin evangelist.

Meghan McCoy: He's brilliant. One of my favorite Hi Mark.

Gillian Bruce: Me too. Hi Mark. So all right, so now you've got kind of into the community. You have got this really great role that you're working on a team and doing some really significant things. What are some things that you're building or working on that excite you?

Meghan McCoy: So right now we're ... I call our instance like a constituent management database because really we're managing the relationships either with donors or state and local governments. We're managing it with congressional members, we're managing our relationships with other constituents who may be donors or larger participants in the work that we do as an organization. And one of my favorite projects right now is this project where we are looking at how to connect activities to multiple objects within our instance. What we're kind of terming as interactions or activity links, how can we develop a tool within the platform, based off the standard functionality in support of the standard functionality of activities, whereby our users can link those singular activities to multiple objects, so that they have a better way of tracking the life cycle of an activity across the organization.

Meghan McCoy: It's fascinating. It's fun. It's challenging. We've met with our success reps at Salesforce who say, wow, okay this is a doozer we recommend you don't create a new object.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Meghan McCoy: That was great to hear. And instead we are really thinking about some kind of unique identifier that we can use when an activity's created to keep the multiple records that are created linked together, using one unique string of numbers, for each activity instance, across all of those records. So kind of creating our own internal Salesforce record ID.

Gillian Bruce: That's fascinating, yeah because I mean it's not quite like a campaign. Yeah, it kind of is a new way to think about how to connect all those data points together.

Meghan McCoy: And we have many various project teams ongoing at our organization. We call them programs. And those programs often are interacting with the same group of constituents or related constituents and it's hard for those groups in their own workflows to understand who else is relating within the organization to their group of constituents. And it's really important that we are able to bubble that information up to them.

Meghan McCoy: We've had it before the case where a program user will go out and meet with say a congressional member and they'll see another person from our organization walking out the door, and they'll realize that somebody else from our org just had a conversation with that constituent. They don't know what that conversation was based on and the constituent's kind of saying, hey, how do you guys come from the same organization and don't realize you were both meeting with me today? Even if it's on different subjects because they're usually from different programmatic areas of our org. Having a way for users to proactively understand the relationships happening on behalf of the organization instantaneously within their Salesforce instance, will increase user adoption here at our organization and provide them a tool that helps them be prepared to build successful relationships out in the rest of the world with our constituency. With a greater awareness of kind of our engagement with that constituent at any given time.

Gillian Bruce: That is awesome. I mean, that's a fantastic use case, because yeah, you want to look like you know what's going on. It's very similar to this idea behind customer 360 that-

Meghan McCoy: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Where it's kind of new at Salesforce, we've been talking about it.

Meghan McCoy: I can't wait for that.

Gillian Bruce: I bet. A lot of people can't. I also am quite excited to see how it's all going to work together, but yeah, it's a really cool, awesome use case. That's fantastic.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Megan, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today.

Meghan McCoy: You're welcome.

Gillian Bruce: But I'm not going to let you go without a little lightning round fun.

Meghan McCoy: Bring it on.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's the new, the new music for the intro to the lightning round. That was fantastic. All right, so three questions. First thing that come to mind. No right or wrong answer.

Meghan McCoy: Cool.

Gillian Bruce: First question is a this or that question, dine-in or delivery?

Meghan McCoy: Dine-in.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Meghan McCoy: I like that experience.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I like it. I don't blame you. Go sit down, a nice relaxing kind of thing.

Meghan McCoy: Atmosphere, get you out of your zone.

Gillian Bruce: All right. Next question is would you rather. All right, would you rather take an exciting European sightseeing vacation or relaxing Caribbean vacation?

Meghan McCoy: Relaxing Caribbean every time. I love the ocean. I love the vibes and I favorite genre of music. I'm genre agnostic is reggae, so Caribbean-

Gillian Bruce: Love it.

Meghan McCoy: Definitely.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I'm on the same page. I want to go relax with the cocktail on the beach in the water.

Meghan McCoy: Don't get me wrong. I've been in Dublin dancing the reggae before, but in the Caribbean they really know how to put it on.

Gillian Bruce: Totally agree. That's great. Okay. Your final question. What is the best present you've ever received?

Meghan McCoy: Really in a way my parenthood, it is a true gift, and I know it can sound a little cliche but it never stops giving. It's every day. And although it's the most expensive and burdensome gift at times, it is one that I will never ever want to transform or change from what it is.

Gillian Bruce: That's so beautiful.

Meghan McCoy: Yeah, parenthood, absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: Thank you for sharing that. That just gave me all the more fuzzies. So Megan, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I'm so ... I really appreciate your career journey and it was so fun to talk about kind of how anthropology set you up really well to be super successful in your role as a technologist and I really appreciate what you shared and hopefully it inspires a whole bunch of other admins.

Meghan McCoy: Thanks. I would just like to say one word to all these admins out here. You all just stay the course, make sure you build those relationships. We're here, I'm here in the community and you know, we just love engaging anyone who's interested, I can relate to when it begins. So begin your journey as you're ready and we are all here to welcome you to the community.

Gillian Bruce: On that note, thank you so much.

Meghan McCoy: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: I had an absolutely delightful time getting to know Megan while I was in DC and getting to hear more about her story and really got her passion for what she does and how she does it.

Gillian Bruce: Some of the highlights from our conversation, I loved how she approached and talked about technology from the human side of things. You know, as someone who studied anthropology, bringing in that human facing side of why we use technology. It's really important to think about because all of us as admins, that's really what it's all about, right? We are all dealing with humans, who are trying to work and accomplish specific goals and how do we help them do that? Well, we implement technologies, specifically Salesforce to help them do that. So it was really great to talk to her more about that, kind of get more of that perspective. It was also really cool to hear how she uses Agile and scrum practices at her various roles to really kind of get things done.

Gillian Bruce: A lot of us maybe work on teams and are trying to kind of implement change and work across different teams on different projects. Agile is a great way to think about approaching that. We've heard from a couple of amazing admins on this podcast, who have raved about Agile and how it has helped them. So if you are kind of struggling or maybe figuring out better ways to work with your team, definitely check out some Agile methodologies.

Gillian Bruce: She's building some really cool things to help solve some complex problems. Specifically tracking relationships. I mean we do call Salesforce's CRM, a customer relationship database, but it's not just limited to your customers, right? So your customers can be constituents, which is the way that Megan talks about it. Tracking really all the interactions between all the relationships across various groups and projects. Really important because you want to have this unified front of, we know everything that's going on as an organization about how we're interacting with you, congressperson or donor or volunteer. It's very important to have that perspective. So it's very cool to hear that she's using Salesforce in that way. If your organization is facing some similar challenges, might want to reach out to Megan and see how she's solving this problem at her organization.

Gillian Bruce: I also thought it was really cool that she was introduced to Salesforce via the community. You know, before actually being a Salesforce admin, she was welcomed into the Salesforce space because she was seeking something a little bit more diverse, more inclusive, more of a community feel, instead of being isolated in this kind of Enterprise IT space. So she was welcomed into kind of the Salesforce nonprofit space, thanks to some amazing community members, started attending events. And then, next thing you know, here she is being a rock star in the Salesforce ecosystem. So you can come into Salesforce a variety of ways you never can predict. I bet if you ask someone else who's working with you on Salesforce about how they found Salesforce, you'll find a very interesting story as well.

Gillian Bruce: So huge thanks again for Megan for sharing with us and taking the time to sit down with me when I was in DC. If you want to learn a little bit more about some of the things we've talked about on the podcast, we've got some great content for you. We have trailhead content on both Agile and on nonprofits, so make sure you check out the links in the show notes. Trailhead is a great way, not only to learn more about these specific topics, but also to prepare you for your certification exam. So I hope that if you have no certifications or 20 certifications, you have getting another Salesforce cert on your list to complete this year. It's so important. It's a great way to prove to potential employers or current employers your skills and really kind of amp up your career opportunities. So make sure you put getting a certification on your list of things to accomplish this year.

Gillian Bruce: You can also find more about being an awesome admin, where you can find blogs, webinars, events, and even more podcasts like this, to help you in your journey to truly become an awesome admin. Also, please make sure you subscribe to the podcast to make sure you get it directly delivered to your platform or device of choice the moment of its release. And share it with your buddies, share it with your friends. Maybe people who are thinking about a career change. This is a great podcast to expose them to this amazing world of Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: You can find us on Twitter @SalesforceAdmns, no "I." And our guest today, Megan McCoy is all over the Trailblazer community where you can find her and you can find her on LinkedIn as well. You can find myself on Twitter @GillianKBruce. Thank you so much for listening to this episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Staying_the_Course_with_Meghan_McCoy_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58pm PDT

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have another episode from the DC World Tour with LeAndria Streeter, Salesforce Consultant at Slalom, to learn about the work she does in the community and how you can apply change management principles to your own life.

Join us as we talk about how she got confidence from the amazing DC community, how she made the transition into her first admin job, and LeAndria’s tips for overcoming imposter syndrome.

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

 LeAndria’s accidental admin story.

“When I was growing up I wanted to work in tech and be an engineer, but I also wanted to be a hairstylist,” LeAndria says, “I’m obsessed with all things beauty and health-related and so I was going to find a way to do both.” When she was starting out her career, she worked as a conference coordinator and meeting planner for a nonprofit. “As everyone who works at a nonprofit knows, you kind of wear a few hats,” she says, “so in addition to planning events, I also managed all of the platforms from event management to their database.” When LeAndria was put in charge of their Salesforce implementation, she fell in love and never looked back.

“When we were looking for a solution to replace our dying database, I was tasked with doing the research,” LeAndria says, “and very quickly, all of my research pointed to Salesforce.” Working with a consultancy, she made sure to ask them to teach her how to admin as they deployed the implementation. That set her on the path towards becoming a fulltime admin.

How the community can support you.

LeAndria was still at her old nonprofit, filling the role of three people and doing all of the things, but she wanted to focus on Salesforce. To find her first fulltime admin position, she used Power of Us Hub, which is basically the Trailblazer Community for the nonprofit sector. That put her in touch with the local DC Community Group where she could level up her skills, get her certification, and land that first job.

Imposter syndrome affects everyone, especially when they change careers. “Growing up in the South as a young black girl, you’re not really encouraged to listen to your heart and pursue your goals,” LeAndria says, “it wasn’t until I got here to DC and started working in this very ambitious work environment that we have that I started to become a person who really believed in myself and my career aspirations.” Connecting with community members helped her gain the confidence she needed to know that she could be a fulltime Salesforce admin and make the transition.

Change management for your own life.

When it comes to actually making that change in your life, LeAndria says the first thing you need to do is truly believe that a career in tech is possible for you. “You don’t just wake up one day and believe that you can do anything,” she says, “it’s a process and it’s intentional.” At WITness Success 2018, LeAndria gave a talk deconstructing that process of changing her beliefs.

One of the first steps LeAndria advises is to take the time to visualize your success: doing the work you want to do, taking the vacations you want to take, living the life you want to live. “Take stock of how you feel when you’re in that state. What does that person look like? What expression do they have on their face?” Once you’ve identified those feelings, LeAndria says you need to realize that you are that person.

It’s not instantaneous, but you need to work at truly embodying those beliefs. Take time to unplug and sit with your feelings, which could be anything from meditating to journaling. As admins, we’re in the business of adoption and change management, but sometimes you need to apply that process to yourself.

Giving back through WIT.

Today, through a connection she made at the 2016 World Tour, LeAndria is a Salesforce Consultant, bringing it back around full circle. “My entree into the Salesforce world was through the help of a consulting firm, and now I’m in the position to be there for others in the same way,” she says. She also gives back through her work with the Women in Tech community and the WITness Success Conference. It lets her put on her old event planner hat again and help people change their lives, one belief at a time.



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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, we have another episode that I was able to record while I was at the D.C. World Tour not too long ago. Today, we're talking to LeAndria Streeter. LeAndria is an amazing community member, especially in the local D.C. community. She's currently a Salesforce consultant at Slalom where she helps enable others to be awesome admins at different companies.

Gillian Bruce: She is incredibly passionate about the community. She is doing big things both in the women in technology community and the D.C. community, and I wanted to get her on the podcast to share a little bit about her journey and to help inspire you with some of her thinking about change management for your personal life. So without further ado, please welcome LeAndria to the podcast. LeAndria, welcome to the podcast.

LeAndria S.: Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well look, again, a long overdue podcast guest. I think it was ... Was it two, three years ago that I first met you in D.C.?

LeAndria S.: Yeah, I think it was 2017.

Gillian Bruce: 2017? Yeah, I think that was ... Because we were giving you the Awesome Admin Award, which has then evolved into the Golden Hoodie. Right?

LeAndria S.: Yes. It has evolved.

Gillian Bruce: You are based here in the D.C. and we're here in D.C. for the D.C. World Tour this year. I always love coming back to D.C. It's one of my favorite communities to visit. I would love to introduce you a little bit to our listeners for those who don't know you.

LeAndria S.: Awesome.

Gillian Bruce: My first question I'd like to ask to get into that is, LeAndria, what did you want to be when you grow up?

LeAndria S.: Oh, what did I want to be growing up? When I was young, no lie, I wanted to work in tech. I wanted to be an engineer, but I also wanted to be a hairstylist. Yeah. I'm obsessed with all things beauty and health related. Yeah. I was going find a way to do both.

Gillian Bruce: Well, in some ways, you could engineer hairstyles, right?

LeAndria S.: Maybe. Yeah. True.

Gillian Bruce: Because there's some structure and planning things to happen. Right?

LeAndria S.: Yes. Right.

Gillian Bruce: Maybe?

LeAndria S.: Yeah. Maybe.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Just stretching that a little bit maybe, but ...

LeAndria S.: There's some math and chemistry there, right?

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Especially when you're thinking about hair dye and all kinds of stuff. Okay. All right.

LeAndria S.: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Perms. I had a perm when I was a kid, did not look very good.

LeAndria S.: Yeah. That was a little before my time, but that's okay.

Gillian Bruce: That's okay. You just [inaudible 00:02:54].

LeAndria S.: It's all good.

Gillian Bruce: All right. How do you go from knowing actually at an early age that you were interested in technology, that you've been wanting to be an engineer and a hairstylist to now working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Tell me a little bit about your career trajectory.

LeAndria S.: Sure. I've always enjoyed social events and actually my first career was as a conference coordinator and meeting planner for a nonprofit organization. As everyone who works at nonprofits know, you wear a few hats. In addition to planning events, I also managed all of the platforms from event management to their database. Of course, like at most organizations, the need arises for a new CRM solution. I was tasked with managing the Salesforce implementation project and fell in love and never looked back.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. I love hearing these stories because people find Salesforce in very interesting ways. That is one of the more interesting ways, I think in being a more of the social events side. Then, "Oh, by the way, you're also in charge of keeping track of all these things in the system and, oh by the way, now you need to figure out a new solution," and here you are discovering Salesforce.

LeAndria S.: Well, it was a small organization and I was the young person on staff so naturally, I was ... Of course, I know what I'm doing when it comes to tech. Right?

Gillian Bruce: Anything with the computer, clearly you know what you're doing.

LeAndria S.: Yeah. Clearly I know, and I happen to know.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. You had this passion for technology that from a young age, you knew that you were interested, so that's great. Tell me about how you discovered Salesforce and what that was like and why you went with Salesforce as the system that you were going to use?

LeAndria S.: Sure. When we were looking for a solution to replace our dying database, we were ... Well, I was tasked with doing the research and very quickly, all of my research pointed me to Salesforce and we made a connection with, and they paired us with an amazing consulting company. Shout out to Bigger Boat Consulting. They were the consulting firm that we hired to help with our implementation and because I quickly was so narrowed by this amazing tool and wanting to really understand the backend of it, what I asked the consultants to do is teach me how to configure the backend, and teach me how to set up the pages and basically recreate our former database in this newer platform and through learning how to become an admin by being coached by this amazing consulting team, quickly the light switch went off and was like, "Yeah. I want to do this forever and ever." I pretty quickly realized that I wanted to become a full-time admin.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. I love that you were like, "Hey, don't just be the consultant that comes in and builds the thing and leaves us. I want to know how you're building it and I want to learn how to do it myself."

LeAndria S.: 100%, yeah.

Gillian Bruce: That is really cool and it's great that you had a partner that was into that and was willing to teach you and show you the ropes. That must've been a really cool experience and like you said, the light went on.

LeAndria S.: Very cool. Yeah. Very quickly. Very quickly right away, I was like, "I want to learn how to do what you're doing." Not only was it great for me personally in learning how to become an admin. I was able to save up my company a ton of money by doing it myself.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm sure they loved that.

LeAndria S.: Yeah. They did love it.

Gillian Bruce: All right. Now, do you then get that title of being an official Salesforce admin or are you still also doing all of the other things that you were doing?

LeAndria S.: I'm still doing all the things. Yeah. I was definitely at a point doing the work of two to three staff members and working very long hours and not really seeing much of an adjustment in pay. I sought out full-time Salesforce admin roles by leveraging the Power of Us Hub, making connections in the community and very quickly, I was able to find my first full-time Salesforce admin role.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. The power of the community and this is something that comes up a lot in connecting with community and having that as a way to find your next opportunity. I mean, that's huge. That really demonstrates what is possible. The Power of Us Hub, can you tell us a little bit more about that? Because we haven't talked about it a ton on the podcast.

LeAndria S.: Sure. The Power of Us Hub is essentially the Trailblazer Community for the nonprofit's sector. Again, at that time, working in a nonprofit, that was the community that I first got to know and connect with and first connected with groups in the Power of Us Hub online. I connected with a fantastic admin study group in that community and then eventually connected with the nonprofit community group here in Washington D.C. and very quickly, those resources helped me up level my skills, helped me earn my admin certification and helped me land my first job.

Gillian Bruce: That is so awesome. Okay. Now, you're stoked. You've landed your first job which is amazing because even to take that initiative and realize, "Hey, I am doing the work of two or three people. I'm not getting compensated appropriately." To take the initiative to recognize that and do something about it is actually a big deal and that's hard for folks.

LeAndria S.: Yeah. It's difficult.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Before we actually get into the next, what are some of the things that helped you get over that hump? Because I think a lot of us especially women struggle with the confidence and kind of imposter syndrome and all that. What are some things that helped you get over that hump and be like, "I'm going to do something about this."?

LeAndria S.: Sure. To your point about having imposter syndrome and just having all the fear and not feeling sure about yourself, I was the poster child for that persona. Growing up in the South as a young black girl, you're not really encouraged to listen to your heart and pursue your goals and to pursue things that are really hard. It wasn't until I got here to D.C., and started working in this very ambitious work environment that we have here that I started to become a person who really believed in myself and my career aspirations. This was the first time that I pursued something completely foreign to me, something that I found ambitious and I was really, really afraid. I definitely was very insecure in my ability to pull this off. Again, it was the community members who I connected with who helped me gain that confidence and knowing that I was able to do the job of Salesforce admin full-time, and so it's the people in our community that helped me get over the hump and conquer those fears.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. Another thing that I know that you've presented on in the past is this idea of changing your beliefs to enable you to do bigger, better, different things. Tell me a little bit more about that because I think this will be a good segue, right? You've learned a lot of lessons especially in that moment. Tell me a little bit more about some of the things that you've learned and maybe what some other people might be able to glean from your experience?

LeAndria S.: Sure. While I was in this process of changing careers and in facing my fears and just doing what felt really courageous, risky things. Definitely, throughout this process confronted with those old belief systems that were instilled throughout life leading up to that point and having to confront those things is really hard, and so through having these experiences in the community, connecting with people in tech who believed in me and helped me believe in myself and lots of therapy and coaching.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, we got to get help and you can't do it alone.

LeAndria S.: You can't do it alone. Yeah. Through those experiences, I just realized that that process of being intentional about adopting the beliefs that you need to have about yourself and about the world is critical and it's a requirement if you are going to pursue goals that seem big and scary to you. You have to believe that they are possible and that you don't just wake up one day and believe that you can do anything. It's a process and it's intentional. I wanted to present my thoughts and my experience to the community. At WITness Success 2018, I prepared a talk where I deconstructed that process that I went through of changing my beliefs and presented that and it was received really well.

Gillian Bruce: Well, again, another scary thing to do, right?

LeAndria S.: Oh, so scary.

Gillian Bruce: We talk about being vulnerable, right?

LeAndria S.: Yeah. 100%.

Gillian Bruce: That's a very personal story to share, and you are all out there and so being able to do that.

LeAndria S.: Oh, yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I'm sure you will be doing this presentation again by the way. I have a feeling.

LeAndria S.: I'm sure.

Gillian Bruce: What are some top takeaways from putting together that presentation about changing your beliefs to do big things that you might want to share with some folks that might find themselves in a similar spot?

LeAndria S.: Sure. The first thing I encourage everyone to do is visualize yourself in the place that you want to be in. Visualize yourself in that future job that you are pursuing or on that amazing vacation that you want to take and just take stock of how you feel when you're in that state. What does that person look like? What kind of expression do they have on their face? What kind of coffee are you having at work? What does the mug look like? Just take stock of how you feel in that state and then just work on believing that, like believing that you are relaxed, believing that you're confident in your skillset, believing that you can pass the admin exam. Whatever it is that you're feeling or whatever you've needed to accomplish to get to your destination, identify those feelings and then over time, just work on actually believing those thoughts and those feelings and making them a part of your life.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. It's very clear. I love the idea of it does, it takes time. You got to work at it.

LeAndria S.: You got to work at it.

Gillian Bruce: You got to keep thinking about it. You got to keep pushing it because it's not just an instantaneous thing.

LeAndria S.: Exactly. Yeah. In terms of it not being instantaneous and actually the process of embodying those feelings and those beliefs, I know we're a technology company but my next tip would be to unplug a little bit and just sit with yourself and just whether your processes to journal or meditate, you have to unplug and just sit with your feelings and just slowly work through that process of adopting new beliefs. It's not always easy, but it's very doable. I'm definitely a testament to that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you absolutely are. One of the things that just struck me as you're talking about this is as admins, one of the things that we're charged with a lot is adoption, user adoption, change management. Right?

LeAndria S.: I love change management.

Gillian Bruce: Right. You're an expert at it because what you're talking about is change management for yourself and what you believe, and getting yourself to adopt these new ideas about what's possible and being in that space and visualizing. It's very similar to, "Hey, users. Look at the way your job could be. You see that visualization. Now, let's get you there."

LeAndria S.: Yes. It's possible.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. That's really great. Okay. I want to get back into your career story a little bit.

LeAndria S.: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: Because you have transitioned into getting your full-time admin role, which is very exciting, but that's not where it stops.

LeAndria S.: Oh, no.

Gillian Bruce: You are now in a much different place now. Tell me a little bit more about that next step. You're now in a full-time admin role. You're like, "Yes, I did this thing. I took a risk." What then happens for you?

LeAndria S.: Sure. In that admin role while I was very happy to finally be working as a full-time Salesforce professional, I wanted to achieve more. Again, just having that belief that it's possible in the back of my mind, I actually attended World Tour back in, I think that was 2016, and connected with a major Salesforce partner. Without really intentionally doing so, ended up landing a consulting role there. It was definitely very special full circle moment for me because my entree into the Salesforce world was through the help of a consulting firm and now I was in the position to be there for others in the same way.

Gillian Bruce: I love that full circle story.

LeAndria S.: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Now, you get to be the enabler that got you in the first instance.

LeAndria S.: Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. One thing that caught my ear a little bit was that you say, "Unintentionally, I got this consulting role." Were you poached?

LeAndria S.: I was not poached.

Gillian Bruce: Were people like, "Hey, I know who you are. You're so great. Please join us."?

LeAndria S.: No. I was such a nobody.

Gillian Bruce: Please. Please.

LeAndria S.: No. I was just walking the expo hall and I saw a booth and just struck up a conversation with this person. I didn't even know he was a recruiter and one thing led to another and the conversation just led to him asking me for my resume.

Gillian Bruce: That's a good recruiter.

LeAndria S.: Yeah. By the time we had their followup conversations and my brain caught up to what was happening, I was like, "Whoa." I have this amazing opportunity in front of me and so I leapt at it once again pursuing scary things. I had never before been through that long, arduous five-step interview process with a major consulting firm. Once again, I was faced with that process of doing scary things and just believing that I could do it and I landed that role.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. That's awesome. Yeah. You talk about that visualization, right? It's like, "Well, here you are with something you didn't even visualize but you visualized probably what you wanted to feel in your career."

LeAndria S.: Right. I visualized what I wanted to feel which is being in a position to help others be amazing admins.

Gillian Bruce: There you go, and then it happened. It manifested. That's amazing.

LeAndria S.: Right. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: One of the things we touched on a little bit in our chat is the power of the community. I know the D.C. community is phenomenal, super well-connected, really amazing vibrant activity. It's one of the reasons I love coming to D.C. every year, and especially the women in technology community is very strong. You are involved locally with the D.C. women in technology groups, but also you're pretty involved with the women in technology annual conference that's put on WITness Success.

LeAndria S.: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to us a little bit about how you got involved in the WIT community, the Women In Technology community and then what's it like taking on a leadership position? Tell us a little bit about WITness Success.

LeAndria S.: Sure. Long story. I'll try to make it short. I connected with Toya Gatewood, infamous Salesforce MVP, shout out to Toya, in the online Trailblazer Community and she reached out when she was about to move to D.C. Fast forward over time, I connect with her at a Salesforce World Tour. Are we noticing a theme here? Salesforce World Tours are just amazing. We connected in person at a Salesforce World Tour where she introduced me to Rakia Finley who founded the Washington D.C. Women in Tech group. A few years after that, Toya asked if I was interested in helping revive the Women in Tech group because they hadn't had any events in a while and because I was a career event planner prior to my ...

Gillian Bruce: Committee asked. Good job, Toya.

LeAndria S.: Prior to my Salesforce consulting career, I said, "Sure," because again, I love a good party.

Gillian Bruce: This is why we get along.

LeAndria S.: Exactly. Exactly. One thing led to another. I agreed to co-lead the group and I host my first meeting, but I forget to send out invitations so there was just the three of us at the first meeting.

Gillian Bruce: You wanted a planning meeting.

LeAndria S.: Exactly. We needed a planning meeting. That was in the Spring. By the Summer, we had meeting with attendees upwards in their 40s and 50s and today, we have over 400 members and the local Women In Tech community and the D.C. Ohana community in general is just booming. It's amazing what has happened in just a few short years. Having said all that, of course through all of these connections that I'm making, I learned about WITness Success and just attended the first one as an attendee and again, wanted to contribute and lend my skillset as a meeting and conference organizer, and so ended up joining that team and have been helping out with their conference for the past two years.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, I bet when the WITness Success organizers heard about your background and that you were interested, they must have been very excited.

LeAndria S.: Yeah. That was an easy sell, not as I had to do as much convincing as I had to in former job interviews.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. I love how you talked about the growth of the D.C. community and the D.C. Ohana because I think the first time I came to a D.C. World Tour was probably three, four years ago. We struggled finding admins to talk to and now, like you said, it's booming. It's amazing to see how connected everyone is. You had a big part in that, so thank you for helping revive some of that and inject that life and find a way to connect folks that were here.

LeAndria S.: It's truly been one of the top joys of my life.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, that's so awesome. That's so great. We'll definitely put links to both the WIT community here in D.C. and the WITness Success Ohana in the show notes, so people can learn more.

LeAndria S.: Awesome. Yes. Check us out.

Gillian Bruce: Because I love the WITness Success event too, and it's a very, very special experience.

LeAndria S.: It's kind of amazing.

Gillian Bruce: It's different and it's one of those events that you come out of and you're like, "Wow. That really had an effect on me. It was pretty powerful."

LeAndria S.: Yeah. As an attendee, I was very inspired to meet other women like me or not like me, just from all walks of life who were ... We have this professional passion in common, but just to hear so many different stories was so inspirational to me and I just knew I wanted to get involved. I definitely encourage everyone to make plans to attend WITness Success because it's definitely one of the most amazing experiences I've had and I know it's changed the lives of others as well.

Gillian Bruce: It's for women and men, correct?

LeAndria S.: Yes. It's for everyone.

Gillian Bruce: Everyone's welcome. All right. Well, as we start to wrap up the podcast, I am going to ask you some lightning round questions.

LeAndria S.: Oh, fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Everyone listening, you should have seen the not fun look on her face when I said that.

LeAndria S.: Yes. I like planning and organization, so [crosstalk 00:24:52].

Gillian Bruce: This should be pretty easy.

LeAndria S.: All right.

Gillian Bruce: They're pretty fun. They're pretty silly.

LeAndria S.: I believe you.

Gillian Bruce: The first question is a this or that question.

LeAndria S.: Okay.

Gillian Bruce: Okay? Dine-in or delivery?

LeAndria S.: Dine-in.

Gillian Bruce: Dine-in. Okay. I like it. All right. Next question is a would you rather.

LeAndria S.: Okay.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Would you rather have a rewind button in your life or have a pause button in your life?

LeAndria S.: It depends on the day.

Gillian Bruce: That's fair.

LeAndria S.: I'm going to say a pause button. That's what I need most of these days.

Gillian Bruce: I like it. Again, I'm going to date myself and you're going to be like, "I have no idea what you're talking about." But there was a sitcom in the late '80s, early '90s, I think it was ... Was it Clarissa Explains It All where she could like [inaudible 00:25:37]?

LeAndria S.: Oh, yeah. I loved that show.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. All right. Yeah. You understand.

LeAndria S.: I understand completely.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. Okay. Final question.

LeAndria S.: Okay.

Gillian Bruce: What would your perfect Saturday be like?

LeAndria S.: My perfect Saturday, it includes great food, friends in a D.C. rooftop. There's just nothing like it.

Gillian Bruce: That sounds fine. Let's go do that.

LeAndria S.: Yeah. Let's go do that now.

Gillian Bruce: Sounds awesome. Well, LeAndria, thank you so much for sharing with us. I am so appreciative of everything you've done for the community and also congratulations on building an incredible career trajectory and like you said, believing in yourself and then sharing that with others to help them get over the hump as well. That is really powerful and I so appreciate you.

LeAndria S.: Can I say thank you, Gillian, because you're one of the first Salesforce employees that I connected with and meeting you a few years back and winning the Awesome Admin Award was definitely a huge career highlight and definitely was very helpful to my career. Thank you so much for that amazing experience that I'll never forget and now, thank you for having me on the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, my pleasure. We're just recognizing you for the work that you're doing.

LeAndria S.: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: You were the one that make all this possible. But thank you, that's very sweet.

LeAndria S.: Awesome.

Gillian Bruce: All right. Well, we'll talk to you again soon.

LeAndria S.: Sounds good.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to LeAndria for taking the time out of her busy day at the D.C. World Tour to sit down and chat with me. As you could hear, the world tour has been a very important event for LeAndria and her career in terms of connecting with others in the community and even connecting with new job opportunities. First thing is make sure you go to a world tour if you've got one in your nearby community.

Gillian Bruce: As Salesforce, we hit a lot of really big cities throughout the year so make sure you check our Salesforce events page to see if there's one coming to an area near you, but for some of the other highlights from my conversation with LeAndria who I love sitting down and having the chance to connect with, she's one of the first members of the D.C. community I connected with a few years ago. The first thing I wanted to highlight is the idea of getting confidence from the community.

Gillian Bruce: LeAndria talks about how she got her confidence from community members and getting support and getting her ready to get her first real admin job. That was a huge part of that. Then, that carried over into now what she's doing as a consultant. That confidence carried her into that conversation with the recruiter from a partner at the world tour, then that led her to where she is today. Don't underestimate what you have at the tip of your fingertips when you dial into the Salesforce community, whether it's virtually or in person.

Gillian Bruce: Also, this idea of change management for yourself. We talk about change management a lot for your organization, but think about those principles and applying them to yourself. One of the things that LeAndria really likes to talk about is seeing it, believing it, visualizing it, understanding that it's possible. Once you put a visualization behind it, it really does a huge thing to make that visualization seem possible in your life and that will help you get through some scary things like job interviews or maybe being in situations that you don't feel qualified for.

Gillian Bruce: Tapping into that vision and then tapping into the confidence, and the community that you have will get you some big places. Also, when it comes to mentorship and coaching, be very intentional about how you pursue that because there's again, a lot of resources available to you, but being intentional in trying to get to that vision that you have will really help you stay focused. One of the things that I loved hearing from LeAndria was that her visualization was helping others be amazing admins, which she didn't realize she was going to be able to realize that the visualization in this role, that she now has as a consultant, but she is and that's so cool because she wanted to help others be better at their jobs.

Gillian Bruce: Now, she has found herself in this role where she's able to do so. Again, the power of believing it, visualizing it and making it happen. Now that she's a Salesforce enabler for others, that has carried her into some other opportunities as well. What was really fun is hearing her story about how she was approached to co-lead the Women In Technology community group in D.C., and how she realized that was a great way for her to flex those party planning skills that she really loves, event planning skills.

Gillian Bruce: I know they've been put to good use. That has also carried her into being able to be a part, and an organizer for a larger event called WITness Success, which is a great community event. Again, you never know where these opportunities are going to come from, but connecting with your community is going to open up a lot of doors. If you want to learn a little bit more about some of the things we talked about in today's podcast with LeAndria, I highly recommend you start with Trailhead. We talked a lot about her career trajectory from discovering Salesforce as a user to becoming a Salesforce admin, and then now a Salesforce consultant.

Gillian Bruce: There's a trail on Trailhead that is fantastic for covering how to build your career in the Salesforce ecosystem, so make sure you check that out. Links are in the show notes. If you're interested in the community event that LeAndria is a co-organizer for, WITness Success is an amazing community event. It happens every Summer. I believe this year, it's in Nashville and I think it's happening very soon. If you want to go this year, get on it, but it's a great way to connect with other women in technology, people in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: It's not just for women so men, you're welcome as well. If you're in the D.C. community, I highly recommend that you dial into the Women In Technology D.C. community group. I put the link to their group on the Trailblazer community in the show notes as well. If you're in the nonprofit space, LeAndria talked a little bit about the Power Of Us Hub. I put a link to that as well in the show notes. That's a place where you can get connected with nonprofit resources for admins working in the nonprofit space.

Gillian Bruce: There are some unique things that nonprofit admins need, and you can find that there as well as connect to others who work with Salesforce in the nonprofit industry. As always, you can find more great content including blogs, webinars, events, and even more podcasts on We talked about Trailhead a little bit. I think Trailhead is one of the best ways to prepare for your next Salesforce certification. I hope that if you have no certifications or 20 certifications, you have getting a certification on your list to get done this year.

Gillian Bruce: It's one of the best ways to prove your skills as a Salesforce administrator and beyond. Use Trailhead as a way to prepare for that and go get that certification. Please also remember to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. The more listeners we get, the better content we get, the better ideas we get. Please make sure you subscribe, encourage all of your Salesforce friends to subscribe, that way you'll get the latest and greatest episodes delivered directly to your platform or device of choice the moment they are released.

Gillian Bruce: As always, you can find us on Twitter, @SalesforceAdmns, no I. Our guest today was LeAndria Streeter. You can find her on Twitter, @lstreeter and myself, @gilliankbruce. Thank you so much for listening to this episode, and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Aran Rhee, Design Architect at Salesforce, to learn more about design thinking, especially as it relates to user experience and how you can design Salesforce to help your users get their jobs done more efficiently.

Join us as we talk about Salesforce’s 4 design principles and how you can apply them as an admin to your own org.

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

 How to grow up to be an inventor.

Growing up, Aran wanted to be an inventor. “I was one of those kids that would take things apart: TV sets, radios, toys, whatever it is I would take things apart,” he says. At school, he ended up studying computer science and eventually found his way through graphic design and into industrial design (“which I guess is the proper professional name for an inventor,” he says). That lead him back into tech, where he spent time at startups, advertising agencies, systems architecture, and then finally as a UX designer.

“It’s all solving problems for humans at the end of the day, just in a different format,” Aran says. At Salesforce, he’s the Design Architect for the mobile team but he also spent time with the platform team, including working on global design, Customize My Nav, and more for Lightning. He’s currently working to bring that level of customization to mobile.

Salesforce’s 4 Design Principles.

“As designers here, we try to have four guiding principles,” Aran says, “clarity, efficiency, consistency, and beauty.” They’re in order for a specific reason because it allows them to run through some basic questions about the utility of their design. Can the user understand what they’ve designed? Are they able to complete their task as quickly as possible? Does it look the same as things that users have seen before (like moving from Sales Cloud to Service Cloud)? And finally, does it look good?

To help the over 200 designers working at Salesforce make that happen, they use the SLDS (Salesforce Lightning Design System). “It’s really a collection of patterns and building blocks that we can reuse across the board. They’ve been researched and understood with users that they’re solving a particular problem in a consistent way,” Aran says. That includes everything from coloring and sizing buttons so you understand the difference between a primary and a secondary action to standardizing fonts and colors across the platform. 

Where to start with design thinking for your own org.

“If you’re an admin and you’re deploying functionality to your users,” Aran says, “you are a designer whether you know it or not, and your choices are having an effect on your users.” Lightning App Builder is the major place where you make design decisions for your org, but pretty much any decisions you make about page layouts, what you put “above the fold,” and what you hide behind a tab can have a big impact on your users’ workflows. You really need to think through what job you’re designing for and then customize to make that easier.

“Don’t make assumptions that whatever works for you is going to work for your users,” Aran says. Instead, you need to take a User Centered Design (UCD) approach, and those letters, UCD, can serve as a handy mnemonic for how to think through the design choices that you’re making. Understand what the users’ needs, goals, and problems are. Create possible solutions for that, and then Deliver it to those users so you can actually test it out and iterate. That involves a lot of SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around), observing users to see where their pain points are and what their workflow is like.

“For most folks in Salesforce, they’re either reading or writing data,” Aran says, “they’re trying to look at something to gain enough understanding to make a decision or they’re trying to update something so someone else can either make a decision or do some further action.” So if you want to start your design overhaul today, forms are a really good place to start, especially if you have an older org that’s been around for a while. Talk to humans and see what’s working, and don’t be scared to try out something new to see if you can’t make things better for your users.



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Direct download: Guiding_Principles_of_Design_with_Aran_Rhee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18pm PDT