Salesforce Admins Podcast

It’s that time again. For this week’s Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the monthly retro. In this episode, we celebrate the Summer ‘21 with all the great blog posts, videos, and all the other Salesforce content from May. To help us, we’re joined by Rebecca Saar, Senior Director of Admin Marketing at Salesforce.

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

Be an Innovator with Design

Rebecca was the brains behind Be a Builder, which later became Be an Innovator. Today, we’ve brought her on the pod to talk about Be an Innovator with Design. “It’s a great opportunity to get both advanced and new admins on a learning journey,” she says, “we take a real-life problem and incorporate new features that have come out and tackle it together and learn from each other.”

This year, Be an Innovator is setting their sights on redesigning and reimagining what Record Pages look like with design thinking principles and design heuristics thanks to dynamic forms and actions. So check out #BeAnInnovator on Twitter and get started with the Trailmix. If you complete it by May 31st you’ll earn the Collector’s Badge.

Podcast highlights from May.

For Mike, last week’s pod with Michelle Corwin about finding and getting a Salesforce admin job in today’s market. For Gillian, it was Adam Doti’s episode about design thinking and the designer team he leads within Salesforce. She was also a fan of the conversation we had with Farhan Tahir about where design on the platform is going and the future of the admin role.

Video highlights from May.

For both Mike and Gillian, Be an Innovator with Design was the can’t-miss video content for May. And keep your eye out for an Easter egg in the introductory animation for an alternate interpretation of #BeAnInnovator.


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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, and hello summer '21. May we all enjoy this retro for the month of may, 2021. I am your host Gillian Bruce, and in this episode we will review the top product community and careers content for the month of May. So many things happen in May, Cinco de Mayo, May the fourth be with you, one of my favorite internet meme, let it be May, and to help me do all this, I'm joined by two amazing people today. The one and only Mike Gerholdt. Hi Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Hi. I may be excited.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, look at that, a May pun in your first line. I love it. Off to a good start. And, this is exciting, our first guest on the retro ever, and it's probably the most appropriate guest. The one and only "rocksaar" Rebecca Saar. Hi, Rebecca.

Rebecca Saar: Hi. Hi everyone. And please don't ask me to do a pun. I'm not good at those, but I'll leave those to you and Mike.

Gillian Bruce: I may let you be on that one.

Rebecca Saar: Okay. Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: I may let you off the hook. It may happen.

Gillian Bruce: So with every monthly retro, we start out by talking about our favorite blog content from the month, and we have some special blog content to talk about this month. Mike, you want to give us a little more background?

Mike Gerholdt: I do. So if you don't know who Rebecca Saar is, which I've had the pleasure of giving selfie pictures in Toronto. After I feel like Rebecca launched what was first known as Be a Builder, but now Be an Innovator campaign and has just skyrocketed into the atmosphere. So Rebecca runs pretty much everything creativity fun wise on our team. And I was thinking, you know what, Gillian, we're probably going to do a lot of talking about Be an Innovator, why not have Rebecca on. It may be a good move to have somebody to talk about it like Rebecca, who is the brains behind it.

Gillian Bruce: Great idea. Rebecca, talk to us more about Be an Innovator. This may have been one of my favorite campaigns that we've had in a long time.

Mike Gerholdt: We're going to be very unsure of ourselves if we have to keep working may into stuff. You know that, right? It may sound like we're uncommitted to this.

Rebecca Saar: It may be a good idea for me to get started and talk to you about Be an Innovator with Design. I'm so happy to be here to talk about this. Be an innovator has been something I've been very excited to work on over the years. It's a great opportunity to get both advanced and new admins on a learning journey, everyone together. We go through a journey of six episodes where we take a real life problem, and we usually incorporate some new features that have come out and we tackle that together and learn from each other. And it was no different this year. Be an Innovator with Design, we decided to focus on really taking it a step further from even last year where we looked at our record pages and we're redesigning and re-imagining what those look because we have now a dynamic forms and actions, and we took it a step further and looked at how can we bring design thinking principles and design heuristics into the mix to make admins even more enabled to design these beautiful pages that can really champion productivity For our users. So this was a fun one.

Gillian Bruce: So talk to us a little bit more, Rebecca about... This is in the blog category of the retro, so can you tell us a little more about what actually is the Be an Innovator with Design activation that we've got going on, tell us a little bit more about the different components and how people can participate?

Rebecca Saar: Yeah, definitely. So in the beginning of the month we had the first phase, I would say, where we were releasing one episode after another, there were exercises that we asked all of our admins to participate in and share on Twitter, and they are all released now. So it's a great time to go jump in and binge watch, how about binge watch those episodes all at once and go through those exercises and share those on Twitter with the hashtag #BeAnInnovator. That hashtag is very active. We're continuing to see people sharing their work. It's super fun. I think my favorite exercise is the ideate one where we got this template from Salesforce's design team called the crazy eights brainstorm, and it's an envisioned template that folks can utilize and create all these different ideas.
You're supposed to do eight ideas at eight minutes, which is a lot, but they're super fun to look at if you go on Twitter. So that's been the first part is looking through that, but now we also have the trail mix. So all of the episodes and supplementary content that is already on Trailhead is in one place in this trail mix, and you have until May 31st, 2021 to complete that trail mix to earn what I'm starting to call the collector's badge, because if you've been joining us for Be an Innovator from the beginning, you'll have every year, if you complete the trail mix, you'll have your Be an Innovator badge. Always a unique design for each year. So that's coming up. That's one thing you can add to your to do list before the end of may to get that badge.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it sounds it might be... Might be, not may be. It sound would be a great thing to get involved with. Rebecca, thank you so much for all the work that you and the team have put together to make this happen. And it has been way fun to see what people have been building. So yes, if you haven't gotten on the Be an Innovator with Design train, get on board because it's a fun train to be on [crosstalk]. Maybe we can get a little choo-choo train sound effect going on there.

Mike Gerholdt: That'll be the next Be an Innovator theme.

Gillian Bruce: Love it. It'll be hard to choo-choo-choose the right thing. Okay, I'm going to stop. Mike, let's move on to podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Chugging right along and talking about podcast, the reason we had Rebecca on is I think a lot of May was Be an Innovator and we had guests on about that, but we also just put out a pod last week with Michele Corwin about finding and getting a Salesforce admin job in today's market.

Gillian Bruce: Michele's amazing. Her story's amazing. It's inspiring. I've gotten notes from folks saying how amazing they loved... How much they loved that episode. I mean, Michele's story about how this crazy last year and a half was very challenging in so many ways for so many people in the job market, but it actually created opportunities for her that she never would have had otherwise. So listen to the podcast. It is a powerful motivator, especially if you're looking for either your first admin job or your next admin job, if you're switching careers, especially she's got some amazing tips and things that she's learned to share. I don't know, Mike, I really enjoyed talking to Michele and getting to know her, but then I guess I did listen to the podcast and...

Mike Gerholdt: I like it when we trade off doing pods because then I can listen to it like everyone else, and it's like, "Oh, new podcast. I haven't heard this one." So it's exciting for me.

Gillian Bruce: Fresh ears. Fresh ears.

Mike Gerholdt: Fresh ears. So we covered blogs because Be an Innovator, awesome. Podcast was fun to listen to. Gillian, I think you highlighted the Be an Innovator podcast with Adam Doti.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, you mentioned we did a couple of podcasts related to Be an Innovator, which we absolutely did. We kicked it off with Adam Doti who actually leads our designer team, so to speak. He is amazing. He's been at Salesforce for a very long time and he's so passionate about design and explains a very, very clear relationship of design and admin. And I think it's fun to talk to him. He's a great... He thinks big picture but then also breaks it down into, "Okay, design thinking. This is how it's going to help you be a better admin or a better person at any job that you're doing, really, if you're working with technology."
And then to dovetail on that, we had another great conversation on a separate podcast with Farhan Tahir who... I mean he and his team are the ones that are delivering the dynamic pages, the dynamic actions, all of that stuff. It's really incredible to really have a longterm visionary conversation with him about where all this is going and how it fits into the future of the platform, the future of the role of the admin. Really two really great podcasts from visionary thinkers here at Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: That's how it may work. Now I'm going to call an audible, because it's podcast, and change my must-watch video from May to align with yours and be the Be an Innovator series, because I think, while we have Rebecca on the call, I think they're just amazing. I love how you get a nice intro and you get somebody talking to you and you kind of... They're a little fun. They're a lot of fun. They may be fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and you get to see Rebecca. You get a "rocksaar" sighting.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. So Rebecca, when you were filming those, did you include anything that maybe people are overlooking or a fun trip up? Did you knock a pitcher of water over or something? I don't know.

Rebecca Saar: Not exactly that, but yes, we did actually think about some Easter eggs in our episodes. And I do challenge you to find them. I'll give you a hint. There has been some jokes, maybe say, about how you could read Be an Innovator with the hashtag. But it may look something else. And we embrace that. And if you take a closer look at the introductory animation, you may see a fun little Easter egg there. But yeah, highlights, we get it. You can read it differently, and it's funny.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, people go through screen by screen on previews of big movies, so why wouldn't they go screen by screen on the intro to Be an Innovator?

Rebecca Saar: Right. It goes by really fast, but yes, if you have a sharp eye or you go screen by screen, you will see it. It's really cute, actually.

Gillian Bruce: Are you saying that you were being an innovator with design as you were recording the Be an Innovator with Design series?

Mike Gerholdt: So meta.

Rebecca Saar: Meta.

Mike Gerholdt: So meta.

Rebecca Saar: We try. We try over here.

Mike Gerholdt: So we'll include a link in the show notes. They should go to our Be an Innovator with Design blog posts, start reading there. Everything's over on Trailhead, correct?

Rebecca Saar: Yes. On that trail mix. So

Mike Gerholdt: Perfect.

Gillian Bruce: Bean innovator.

Mike Gerholdt: Be an Innovator. Don't give it away. It might have something to do with Cinco de Mayo? No.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it's been fun, team.

Mike Gerholdt: So in true monthly retro fashion, I try to keep these fun this year. We're going to have fun this whole year, because last year we were just slogging through it. And I was reading up on what is the month of May? What is May, where's it come from? What's the name mean? And I found out that May is named after the Greek goddess, Maia, M-A-I-A. I'm going to say it's Maia. It looks Maia to me. And she looked after plants. And I thought wow when I read that, this really makes me think of salads and my new favorite salad dressing, which is green goddess. I don't know if you've had green goddess dressing. It's amazing. It is so good. It's good on everything vegetable, just [crosstalk].

Gillian Bruce: It's like adult ranch.

Mike Gerholdt: It's better than adult ranch.

Rebecca Saar: I don't think I've had this.

Mike Gerholdt: And it's a weird... It's like a Ghostbusters ecto slime green. So you totally have to get it out of your head of the weird-

Gillian Bruce: Is there a pesto in it? Is that why it's green?

Mike Gerholdt: No. Well, there's probably leafy stuff. I don't know. So I thought it would be fun, because I was looking up different green goddess dressings, and I realized that a lot of dressings also sound like destinations in the world. And I put together a fun little game called Dressing or Destination. So I will give you the name of a dressing or a destination. You tell me what it is. And then at the end of this, we'll have a whole bunch of useless knowledge about a dressing or a destination.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. I think, Rebecca, are we ready for this?

Rebecca Saar: Let's do this.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, it's not as great as the April Fool's thing last month, but I'll work harder for June.

Gillian Bruce: I do the level of creativity, these questions you come up with.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean it's alliteration. Come on, Gillian. I got the D and D, dressing or destination.

Gillian Bruce: It's good. It's good.

Rebecca Saar: Are we each answering each, or are you going one off? Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: You choose for yourself. Scored individually. Okay, so dressing or destination. Bolthouse Farms or Applewood Manor.

Gillian Bruce: I think Bolthouse Farms is a dressing and Applewood Manor is a destination.

Mike Gerholdt: Rebecca?

Rebecca Saar: So I was thinking the opposite, of course. I'll go the Bolthouse Farms is the destination. Applewood Manor.

Mike Gerholdt: And Applewood Manor is the dressing?

Rebecca Saar: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, you are 100% correct. Bolthouse Farms is a dressing, Applewood Manor is a bed and breakfast.

Gillian Bruce: Where?

Mike Gerholdt: I forgot to look where. I don't know. I knew you were going that, so I realized...

Gillian Bruce: Maybe it's in Applewood somewhere. There's probably a town called Applewood, I bet.

Mike Gerholdt: It could be in Strawberry Hills.

Rebecca Saar: Where do they grow apples? Washington, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Could be.

Gillian Bruce: I bet the front desk person's Johnny Appleseed. Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: I also tried to find dressings that weren't too terribly niche. Like you have to go to Bob's corner farmer's market to get.

Gillian Bruce: So commercially available dressing.

Mike Gerholdt: Somewhat commercially. I tried to at least Trader Joe's level. So next one, there's only three. So Rebecca, you're not that far behind. You can still hold this out for the win. Hillary's Ranch or Magnolia House.

Rebecca Saar: All right. I'm going to go first. I'm going to go Magnolia House is the dressing, Hillary's Ranch the location, just because I feel this could be a trick one, because we know ranch is a dressing.

Mike Gerholdt: I would be tricky that way, wouldn't I? Just ranch in it.

Rebecca Saar: Yep, yep.

Gillian Bruce: I was thinking the exact same thing, Rebecca, because I feel like ranch is too tempting of a... Clearly can't be ranch dressing. Hillary's Ranch does not make ranch dressing. Come on.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I'm sorry, Gillian, you're incorrect. Hillary's Ranch does make ranch dressing, and Magnolia House is actually down in Waco from the...

Gillian Bruce: Oh, yeah, that makes sense.

Rebecca Saar: Oh like the [crosstalk] and Joanna Gaines show, right?

Gillian Bruce: They don't make dressing there?

Mike Gerholdt: That was my softball. I know. Probably not yet.

Rebecca Saar: Not yet.

Mike Gerholdt: Give them time.

Gillian Bruce: I think she just started a cooking show, so just give it some time.

Mike Gerholdt: She does. It's amazing. It's amazing. It's amazing. Okay, last one. So Rebecca, you can still tie Gillian for the win. This is a fun one. Okay, so is it a dressing or a destination. Jailhouse Inn, or Ken's Steakhouse?

Gillian Bruce: I mean, it's too hard not to just go with what's popping out of my mind immediately. So I think Jailhouse Inn is an actual destination, which I'm very curious about which jail house you're staying. And then I think that Ken's steakhouse is a dressing.

Mike Gerholdt: Is a dressing. Rebecca?

Rebecca Saar: Yeah, I'm going to go the same. Going to stick with Gillian's answer.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, Rebecca, the good news is you scored a point, the bad news is Gillian already had a point. So that was for the win. Ken's Steakhouse was a dressing, and it's commercially available. Jailhouse Inn is a destination and. You know there's a jail you can stay at in Boston?

Rebecca Saar: Yeah, I stayed there. It's so cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Ken's Steakhouse, actually, when you look it up has the old... It's from the 70s and it's when bright colored neon dressings were a thing, like that bright orange dressing. Remember that Dorothy Lynch French dressing?

Gillian Bruce: I'm sensing that you really like bright color dressings, because the green goddess is bright coloring, talked about the bright orange color.

Mike Gerholdt: Give me a salad bar from the 70s with those glowing red bacon bits and some green goddess and some crunchy iceberg. Smells my childhood right there.

Rebecca Saar: I'll note of this for an upcoming birthday.

Mike Gerholdt: Here's the salad for you? Happy birthday.

Gillian Bruce: He would be like, "The worst birthday present ever."

Rebecca Saar: You got a salad.

Mike Gerholdt: Some people would like that. I mean, it depends on the salad.

Rebecca Saar: Or where you're eating it.

Mike Gerholdt: You could have some Hillary's Ranch dressing at Magnolia House and then you could check all the box. Okay.

Gillian Bruce: Well that was fun, Mike. Thanks. I enjoy winning these great little challenges you're putting together.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you're batting a thousand at this point. Fantastic.

Rebecca Saar: I'll have to come back to challenge.

Gillian Bruce: We'll have to have another showdown. You need it to reclaim your glory.

Mike Gerholdt: You come back with the game this time, Rebecca.

Rebecca Saar: Oh, okay. Even better, yes. Control the odds.

Mike Gerholdt: Be an Innovator game or something.

Rebecca Saar: Love it.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Well, if you want to learn more about all things that we just talked about minus the dressing or destination stuff, because we have yet to publish a blog post on that, you can go to to find those and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social. We have a new social person, and Rebecca did an amazing job introducing her on Twitter. So be sure to follow Brittany on Twitter. Rebecca, do you know what her Twitter handle is?

Rebecca Saar: It has numbers. Hold on. It's @BrittGibbs92.

Mike Gerholdt: Perfect. Not 91 or 93.

Rebecca Saar: Nope. 92. I wonder what that stands for.

Mike Gerholdt: You should ask her on Twitter. We'll find out. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. I am on Twitter @MikeGerholdt. Gillian is on Twitter @GillianKBruce and Rebecca is on Twitter at...

Rebecca Saar: RebeccaSaar.

Mike Gerholdt: RebeccaSaar. Easy enough to remember. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

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

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Michele Corwin, Senior Salesforce Platform Administrator at Integrate. We learn how she transitioned from a career in banking and finance into the Salesforce ecosystem.


Join us as we talk about how Michele got her first Salesforce admin job through the community, how volunteering played an important role by giving her hands-on experience, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for something even if you don’t have all of the qualifications.


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


How Michele found Salesforce.


Michele is a Salesforce admin and a career transitioner, moving to her new role from her previous job in banking and finance. “A lot of clients were in IT,” she says, “if there was a sector that I completely did not understand, it was IT. So I would say if I can do it, anyone can do it.”


When Michele’s career stalled out, she started looking at other options. She knew she loved helping people and solving problems, so she decided to take that and look at job descriptions in any industry, regardless of title. “Everything that I kept finding that I loved what the core work was mentioned Salesforce,” she says, “and that’s how it all started for me.”


Getting started with changing your career.


Michele’s next step was to connect through a family friend to someone how worked as a Salesforce consultant, which led her to Trailhead. She immediately fell in love with every aspect of it, not just the platform but the community around it, which she connected to through a Women in Tech meetup in Indianapolis.


The next challenge was how Michele could get her foot in the door. “Everyone wants one to two year’s experience—how do I do that when I can’t get in?” She went to the community to offer her skills for free in exchange for some hands-on experience and got connected with Indy Lost Pet Alert, which had a free Salesforce instance and didn’t know what to do with it. “I got to build it myself with no other resources but myself and Trailhead,” she says.


Getting your first Salesforce position.


After six months of job applications, Michele landed her first full-time Salesforce position in November 2019, but she only got to spend three months in her physical office. “One thing that really helped me was that I didn’t not put in for things just because they wanted two or three years,” she says. While the job she landed wanted someone with more experience, she felt her other skills would make her a good fit.


In January 2021, however, Michele’s LinkedIn started blowing up. “You’re in an industry that is open to all sectors,” she says, “which is so powerful.” She ended up taking 19 interviews, and ended up with 3 offers that all met her requirements. Along the way, keeping her LinkedIn up-to-date was key in making sure she popped up on recruiters’ radars. “Don’t underestimate yourself, don’t be afraid to get out there and do it,” she says, “when I was in it, it felt like it took an eternity, but it’s only been two to three years since I heard the word Salesforce and asked, ‘What is it?’.”



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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 be an awesome admin. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce. And today we have a very inspiring story for you, whether you are thinking about switching your career, mid career or if you were thinking about trying to get your first admin job or help someone else get their first Salesforce admin job, this podcast is for you today.
We are joined by Michelle Corwin, who is now a senior Salesforce platform administrator. She has an incredible career story that took place just over the last couple of years. And she's got some mazing things to share with you to help you with your career transition, your first admin job search, all kinds of great nuggets. So, without further ado, let's welcome Michelle to the podcast. Michelle, welcome to the podcast.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it's not often we have a Salesforce superhero joining us on the pod. So, I'm very happy to have you here with us today. I would love to introduce you a little bit to our audience. Can you tell us what you do and then give us a brief intro to maybe some of your journey and then we'll talk a little bit more about that.

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Perfect. So, I'm a Salesforce administrator and I am also a career transitioner. So, I transitioned from a career in banking and finance. So, the most recently, like private client banking and hit a spot in my life where it was like, what am I doing? Do I like this? Do I enjoy it? And it all went from there.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, you're a Salesforce administrator now. Congratulations. That is awesome.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: I would love to know... Let's talk a little bit about your journey because one of the things I'd love to talk about today to help some of our listeners, maybe who might be mid career transitioners themselves. Talk to me a little bit more about your decision to make that move. Because I mean, banking to Salesforce admin, that is quite a difference. Can you tell me a little bit more about your motivation behind that?

Michelle Corwin: Sure. And it's actually ironic too because with a lot of my clients, a lot of them were in IT and I was always like, "I don't understand what you do." If there was a sector that I completely did not understand, it was IT. So, I would say, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I have no IT background at all. I loved what I did and I loved helping people and I loved problem solving. And if someone came in and was a problem to solve, that was the highlight of my day, right?
Because I get to take something that's horrible and frustrating and turn that around and make it something great and then I'm the superhero, right? I'm the person that fixed everything. And that's my way of giving back and how I give value. And I loved those pieces of it but I had been in banking and finance so long and I was frankly just bored. I was really at the top place that I could go in my career. There wasn't a lot of upper movement. I had some career options either go to a financial advisor that really wasn't just right for me, I didn't want to be stuck in one city, in one place with this clientele for 30 years.
That's just what my family didn't see for our lives. And I just hit a point and I said, "You know what? I'm going to start looking through job descriptions," right? "And I'm going to take what I know I live and I'm not putting any filters on it. I'm not saying it's going to be banking. I'm not saying it's going to be this. I'm not saying..." I literally just opened window job prescriptions.
And everything that I kept finding that I loved with the core work was mentioned Salesforce. And I was like, "What in the heck is Salesforce," had no idea, never heard of it. So, that just started the journey of I started researching online. I went to Salesforce, this website, I started going on LinkedIn and just searching for anyone that was in that space that I could talk to and learn more. So, that's how it all started for me.

Gillian Bruce: You say you reverse engineered finding a Salesforce career path. That is incredible to me. So, I mean, were you just putting the search terms that you mentioned of the things that you like like problem solving, helping people?

Michelle Corwin: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, instead of focusing on title, I tried to really think of what do I like doing in my day? What is the part about my day in my job that I like? To try to find those skills that I could bring into something else, right? Because I was open to, well, maybe it's not in banking, maybe it's not in finance, maybe it's somewhere else but what's that core value that I can bring.

Gillian Bruce: That's amazing. It is truly, truly awesome. Okay. So, then you discovered the Salesforce thing and you start getting dialed into resources that are online, you start connecting to folks, I'm assuming via probably like a LinkedIn or something like that?

Michelle Corwin: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gillian Bruce: How did you bridge that from learning and connecting with folks to actually looking for a job and getting trained up? Tell me a little bit about that journey.

Michelle Corwin: Sure. So, in the next step of, it was where those things when you start going down the right path, things start falling in place, right? I had a family friend that actually had a business relationship in a whole other city with someone who was a Salesforce consultant. And she had mentioned me to her and was like, "Oh my gosh, she would be amazing at this. I would love to talk to her." And that was Vivian roles in what I spoke with her, she was like, "Hey, have you heard of Trailhead?" I was like, "Nope."
So, she's the one that armed me with Trailhead. And once I got in there and just started going through the system and the community and I literally just fell in love with every aspect of it, with how open it is and that blew me away. And then the software itself blew me away. If I could have had this as a private client banker, my job would have been 20,000 times easier and more productive and the whole community, right? And I just fell in love with it. And I knew immediately, this is what I want to do.
And I just started on Trailhead. I started learning as much as I could there. And then I started getting involved with the community as much as I could. I started asking people, "Where can I go? What can I do? I found out about the Indy women in tech group." And that was my first meeting locally in the community. So, that was that second phase, right? Was getting plugged into the community, getting started on Trailhead and just getting as much exposure to anything Salesforce that I could.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, you're making actual in-person connections with the community in Indianapolis, which I know is a very vibrant Salesforce community.

Michelle Corwin: Yes. They're great.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, we even have a Salesforce hub out there. So, I know there's tons of Salesforce people in that neck of the woods. Tell me a little bit about how... I mean, at this point and you're still working as in private banking, correct? You still have your regular job.

Michelle Corwin: Yes. Yes. So, this whole time, I was still working. I had moved from Texas to Indianapolis actually during this transition time. So, I started looking when I was in Texas. I moved from Texas to Indianapolis, kept looking where I was here, joined a bank here while I was still trying to learn everything that I could and get plugged in. I went to my first Salesforce meeting was the Indy women in tech meeting. And Liz Hellinger was doing a meeting on negotiation, right?
And I thought it was really ironic. I'm like, "I'm doing this being on negotiation." And I was like, "I have never even had a job in Salesforce." I was like, "I just want the job." But I took notes and really took everything in which came into play for me later. And then just started trying to plug in here and then started really look and say, "Okay. How can I get into this role," right? And one thing that became very evident was, okay, everybody wants one to two years experience. How do I do that when I can't get in?
So, I quickly became overwhelmed, right? Of, gosh, I want this so bad but everybody wants something. So, I went to the community and I put out and said, "I want hands-on experience. These are things that I'm good at and I'm passionate about animals, pets and music. If you know anybody in that realm that needs help with Salesforce, I'm down, I will do it for free." And so, then I got connected with a wonderful group of people that run Indy Los Pedaler in Indy. And they had actually been given a Salesforce instance and like one of the hackathons or something like that but they didn't know anybody who knew anything to do with it. And so, I got to help them.

Gillian Bruce: So, they had the shiny new toy and they didn't know how to use it. And you're like, "Cool." So, I love your mission and I want to use Salesforce. So, this is a fantastic meeting of everyone's desires at one point. That's amazing.

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. It was perfect. It was a win-win. And then I got to build it from scratch with no other resource but myself and Trailhead. So, it was a wonderful first experience, right? I know so much more now but just being able to learn how to create an app, learn how to work in service cloud, learn how to work in nonprofit cloud. I got exposure that way. So, then, I did that while trying to find the first role.

Gillian Bruce: So, one thing I'd love to talk a little bit about there. Let's just pause for a second in your story is having that gap of a lot of people who are transitioning into being a Salesforce admin encountered the same problem of everybody wants a few years of experience in order to just get that first job. And it's puts you in a tough spot because you're like, "Well, no, I'm trying to get that first job. I don't have that experience yet because I am trying to get it. And I promise that I will learn," so.
And one of the things that we often hear is people volunteering basically for a nonprofit or something like that in order to get this experience under their belt. But then, it does create a little bit of an issue, right? Because then what happens when you leave? So, can you talk to us a little bit about what you set up for that organization and are you still helping them? How have you set them up for success now that you have successfully gotten your first admin job?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I initially had helped them get everything set up and then it was all also around a project of a new website launch and all this other things that were going into it. And then COVID hit, right? So, we launched the new website, everything happened, COVID hit, things come down a little bit. And then during that time, they were also transitioning where Indy humane society was going to be absorbing the Indy Los pet because it had grown so big that volunteers that we had access to, we couldn't keep it running anymore.
It just had gotten so big. So, in part of them taking it over, I took meetings and took time with the person that was going to be taking it over and just showed them how to do some basic admin but how to do all of the operations that we got set up and transitioned it over to them. I would have absolutely stayed on and, and help them, build it out but it really did what they needed and it was fairly easy to transition it to them.

Gillian Bruce: I think it's a very important point to hit on. You then trained and enabled somebody else to continue the work because oftentimes, we have people who dip in for, "Hey, let's do a quick project for a non-profit because they want experience," and then later, "Bye. Have fun."

Michelle Corwin: Oh yeah. No. I was so far deep. I mean, I was so passionate about it. I think that really matters too, right? Don't pick something to help with something you don't care about because you're not going to give it your all. I was very passionate about that in their mission and what they did. And I mean, I put so much into it, because I wanted to make it amazing for them.
So, they're giving you a chance do right by them. And that became a great relationship. I mean, that the president of that nonprofit was the first person who put probably the best recommendation on LinkedIn I've ever had in my life, is Michelle Vickery. And she put that on my LinkedIn and really detailed out what I did to help them. And I know that that was crucial going forward when people went back and looked at that.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. That's fantastic. Okay. So, you're working with this non-profit, you're actually getting that hands-on experience with Salesforce, you are transitioning to the new structure that that nonprofit has. And you also described when COVID hits. So, tell me a little bit then what happens with your admin job search?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I kind of right before I actually got my first full-time role at PSI services in November of 2019. And so, of course, March 20 is when everything really hit the fan, right? So, I was in my physical new job office for three, four months. But before that time throughout, I would say it was probably maybe six months before that time I was at the bank working the non-profit and then I was just putting job applications everywhere, right? I mean, at first, I was looking around here. There wasn't really anything I could find that I was qualified for the entry level, right? Entry levels, it was hard to find.
And I told my husband, I was like, "I want this so bad that I am putting in..." I made sure it was okay with him. But I said, "I'm going to put in for a job anywhere that's entry level in this country. I don't have to care if I have to sleep in my car because I can't maintain two households. I don't care. I got to get this first job," right? And fortunately after a few companies, I actually got in and got to the interview phase and I got to one and was down to the last two and that went to somebody else that was in the Indy area.
And then, I think I had one more and I just wasn't where they needed to be. And I just kept trying to remember in my mind, I had someone early on in this journey. So, when I had talked to about Salesforce that said, "In the beginning, take every call, take every conversation, take every interview, take everything because you'll learn a lot from that."
And it was true during those different interviews and different people I talked to and even if it wasn't the right fit or wasn't the thing or I didn't have enough of what they needed yet. I think all of that build in eventually and I ended up interviewing with PSI and a lot of the value that I could bring, overshadowed the fact that I wasn't quite a hundred percent there on what they needed for experience yet. And so, they were willing to put that time into me.

Gillian Bruce: That's fantastic. So, let's talk about that a little bit too. What are some things that helped you get that? First of all, because as you said, you maybe didn't meet all of the technical requirements that they had. What were some of the things that you think that you conveyed that helped convince them that you're the right person to hire?

Michelle Corwin: Yes. Great question. And it's really a great point that I think one thing that really helped me was I didn't not put in for things just because the fact that they put two, three years. So, the job that I ended up getting, they were looking for someone that was two to three years, had some different things, maybe they were looking for Apex and they were looking for this and looking for that, that wasn't the job description. I still put in for it.
And I still ended up getting it because at the end of the day, I think it was very important to focus on what strengths do I have, what value and skillset can I bring from my journey, my career, right? Because I think if you meet those core ideas and culture and same train of thought that that leadership is looking for, you can learn some of the Salesforce stuff, right? You can skill up, you can take classes, you can do Trailhead, you can do whatever. So, if you aren't as heavy on the experience side, focus on you and be honest to you and what you're looking for because you'll end up finding that right fit. And I think the right fit is more important than just telling people what they want to hear.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, you have so much experience from I'll be at a different industry but a lot of experience already to bring that and wasn't necessarily Salesforce. So, I think that's important to highlight like, "Hey, don't throw that all away. That's still very evil."

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. And you really never know what it is. So, the funny thing about that interview, I was nervous because I had already done stuff for the nonprofit and I was proud of that. And I talked about what I had done but obviously, some of my terminology around Salesforce was you can tell I'm new to it. But some things that I brought was I am great at talking with executive leadership. I am great at diving. I've been doing financial planning. So, if I can get people to trust me with their money, they pretty much trust me with anything, right?
So, I'm able to have those conversations and it is very similar to business analysis, right? So, I was able to let them envision that I'm able to do that because of other things that I've done. And then, to that company and my leader that was doing the interview, security was probably a hundred percent top of mind. And I just made a comment of, "Yeah. When I leave for the day, I even unplugged the fax machine because I don't know if somebody is going to send something over that has client information that maybe the janitor might pick up." And she was like, "Wow, do we do that?" That has nothing to do with Salesforce, right? Nothing. But it's just you never know what's going to resonate with someone, I think.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, I mean, you talked about some what we "traditionally" talk about as soft skills, right? Executive communication ability to work partner with executive leadership, being a security-minded person. I mean, hey, unplugging the fax machine machine may not have any direct correlation to Salesforce but it shows that you think about security very core important to you and how you do your work. And I think that that's so important to any admin.
So, I mean, to your point, those are things that regardless of if you're in the Salesforce ecosystem or not, it makes, those are things that speak to your ability to get the right kind of job done. So, I think that that's very great to highlight. Something that I would also really love to talk about. So, you got this job at PSI, you're getting your experience. That's great. You mentioned something to me when we were prepping for this call that-

Michelle Corwin: Oh gosh. No.

Gillian Bruce: Now. But hey, now is a great time to get a job as an admin. Can you talk about that a little bit more and recap that a little bit and share with the listeners?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. So, I knew like, "Hey, I'm starting to feel like there's more that I want to learn, want to have more experience with an org that has more. I was already in a complex org but I knew in the next maybe year or so, I would probably look for more to keep that learning path, right? But I didn't have my mindset on that. And in January, probably about mid-January, there was just one day I don't know what switch flip happened. And my LinkedIn just started getting blown up. I mean, more messages, calls, emails. I had to get a Google number because I couldn't keep up with all the recruiters spam that was trying to come at me.
I had to put that on my resume. And I started getting all these messages and I'm like, "What is happening? What in the world is happening?" And I think I probably was averaging 10 recruiters messaging me a day through LinkedIn and that wasn't even the email and the Google calls. And I started thinking about it and I was like, "You know what? I really feel like everyone in 2020 put a hold," right? They were like, "Okay. This is going to end. We're waiting on COVID. We'll wait another three more months to do what we need to do."
And I really think January came around and everybody realized this isn't going anywhere. We have got to find out how to do business around this, right? And then I'm sure there was some strategic changes that happened that warranted, okay, maybe we need to bring on additional people to focus on this side of the business. And it essentially started this crazy story remote for the next I would say in the course of two to three weeks with the calls of the people I had talked to. I had 19 interviews for new positions and that was none of the spam recruiters, that was me already having a good idea of what I wanted and what I was looking for.
And I don't want to waste anybody's time. So, if I knew it was something that I'm like, "Hey, I'm not looking for that," I would let them know like, "Hey, I'm not looking for that." And it really blew my mind because in I would say around May of 2020, I was on furlough for a couple months. So, I went from get hired in November, COVID hits in March, furloughed around April, May time, come back to PSI. And then, January, February, I'm just getting blown up. It was so crazy.

Gillian Bruce: What a wild ride, I mean?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. This is in my first year and a half in Salesforce. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: All the extremes.

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Yeah. I can withstand anything but I was thinking about it today. I'm like, "You know what though? I have zero doubt in my mind that no matter what happens today, I'm in an industry that I can get a job tomorrow." That brings such a peace of mind to me and my family to know that the skillset I have, I do not have to worry if something happens with my company I'm at or whatever it may be because you're in an industry that is open to all sectors, which is so powerful.

Gillian Bruce: I think that is a very, very important point. And just to close your career story or bring us up to where we are now. So, after your 19 interviews, did you get a new job?

Michelle Corwin: Yes. So, I took all the interviews. I took my own advice, right? I talked to everyone and through that process, I would say the most important advice I could give was I was a hundred percent true to me, a hundred percent true to what I value and a hundred percent true to what I needed for that next chapter for me, whether it was work, whether it was the compensation package, whatever it was. And I actually during that process was like, "Oh, I have this role. I'm obviously at a different level now. I have people telling me this is the pay ranges for these positions."
And at one point, I felt like, "Wow, can I even really ask for that?" And I started thinking back to the negotiation first meeting that I had with Liz and I pulled my notes out for that. And some of the keynotes were, I remember, it's not just about money, what do I want? What are my negotiables? What are my non-negotiables? Well, I got used to working from home and I loved it. So, that was non-negotiable. If you're not going to offer me work from home, I'm not doing it.
And some of those things, I started looking at it and I communicated that through the whole process. So, no surprises. I'm not springing it on anybody at the end, was very open and honest about it. And then, when it came to salary, I had met Angela Mahoney, which I loved, I had actually interviewed with her company, ended up through a weird scenario like not getting that position but stayed in touch with her.
And I messaged her one day and I said, "Okay. I don't know if I'm allowed to ask this," right? "But where do you think I could ask for a salary range?" I'm doing this other process, you've met me, you've interviewed me, you've been through the process with me and she gave me a range and it was in a similar range. And I felt really validated, like, "Wow. Okay. Holy cow." So, I can't ask for this. So, when I did my interviews, I actually... Hopefully, nobody from my company's listening, asked for a little bit more than that. And-

Gillian Bruce: That's what you're supposed to do. I think that's our like we're all supposed to do that, whether we knew it already or not. You learn that lesson at some point.

Michelle Corwin: So, I asked for a little bit over not crazy amount over but asked for a little bit over and crazily the way the timing worked out, I ended up with three offers over the same weekend and all of them were willing to give me what I wanted. So, it was a matter of picking which one I felt lined up with what I needed professionally and personally. And so, I went with Integrate, which is who I'm with now.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. Well, congratulations Michelle.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: That is very cool. So, I mean, some of the things that I think were were important to highlight from what you just shared was, I mean, you've mentioned all of a sudden something clicked and you got a ton of attention and you mentioned some of the elements that I think are totally completely understandable, right? People realize, "Hey, this new normal is not new anymore. This is the normal." And if we haven't already gone through some digital transformation, now is the time because this is the way the business is going to get done.
So, we need people to help us make that successful, which, "Hey, Salesforce admins and your view."

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: So, I think it's really interesting perspective. And I think as even though we're part way through the year here, I mean, are you seeing a similar energy around Salesforce admin jobs from your perspective?

Michelle Corwin: Yes. So, I still get hit up, not to the magnitude that happened January, February because I think that was literally first quarter budgeting court planning, right? And everybody went like, "Ooh, we got to figure this out. We can't put it on hold anymore." But I definitely am still seeing a lot of emails, a lot of calls, a lot of LinkedIn messages, a lot of opportunity that's out there. And I think if I could say the things that I did that helped put me in a position for when that happened January, February, was I never stopped keeping my LinkedIn up-to-date.
I never stopped every once in a while I'd go back and look at it and be like, "Do I like how this is portraying me? Does this match what I'm looking for? Do I have my things up-to-date?" And one thing that I did was in my most recent position, I gave a really good description, bulleted idea of what I do in that role on my LinkedIn. So, it didn't have to be every role, right? It's not the whole resume, it's not meant to replace that but I did that. And then I had a really good just paragraph and that about me section of what I do now, what I'm looking for, what's my next step.
And that was also something that was talked about in the meeting that Liz had done in that first meeting was a little bit about LinkedIn. You've got to show... People can't just look at your LinkedIn and assume what you're doing, right? I mean, Salesforce admin, as you know can be really broad. You can have some business analysis that you're doing that maybe you may not be in your title. So, really painting that picture of what's important to you, how you help and what you're looking for, I think is crucial.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's great, great advice, Michelle. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I think that this is incredibly helpful for anyone who's thinking about maybe looking for that next job or trying to get their first admin job. So, I really want to thank you so much for sharing all of your lessons and your advice with us. Is there any one last or a couple of last things you'd love to leave the listeners with?

Michelle Corwin: Yeah. I mean, I would say, don't underestimate yourself. Don't be afraid to get out there and do it. And I'm a perfectionist. So, I, in the beginning I got very discouraged, right? I'm never going to get this. It's never going to happen. I can't find that entry role I'm getting told, no, just keep going, focus on building the blocks. We've already talked about what some of those things are, keep working on that, keep working towards it. Be true to yourself. Be honest and it'll all start building on each other and you'll find one day you'll look back.
Like when I was in it, it literally felt like it took an eternity. But everything that I'm talking about that has happened has literally happened in the last two to three years. It's only been a two to three year time span since I heard the word Salesforce and said, "What is it?" So, looking back a hundred percent worth it. And if anyone can do it, I literally could not have even... When I had clients tell me, "I'm in IT," I'm I'm clueless, right? I'm like, "What do you do? I don't even understand what you do."
So, if I can go from there to here, anybody can do it. It doesn't matter what industry you're in and what better way to do it than Salesforce and Trailhead and not go pay $5 million for college. I'm not saying don't go to college if that's your journey. I'm just saying I did college, bachelor's, everything you feel you're supposed to do, busted my butt in an industry for a very long time. And I would say I've probably already increased my salary by three to four times from what I was doing there.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. That's awesome. That's awesome.

Michelle Corwin: So, sky's the limit.

Gillian Bruce: Michelle, amazing way to wrap up this conversation. I am so excited also to see what you do next because clearly, you are on a very propelled trajectory. So, congratulations on your success so far and thank you so much for sharing and helping others with their journeys as well.

Michelle Corwin: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Michelle for taking the time to chat with me. I'm inspired. I hope you're inspired as well. I mean, she shared so many great messages, especially about finding, not only finding but getting recruited to be a Salesforce admin within the last very tough year and a half at this point. I mean, what an incredible thing to reverse engineer your way into finding Salesforce career path and then getting recruited in the age of COVID. I mean, what an incredible very positive story for us all to listen to.
Some of the great nuggets I got from our conversation that I think will help anyone, listener, if you are like I said, a mid career transition or looking for your first admin job was first of all, getting connected with the community. I know we've talked about this before but it was so instrumental for Michelle to get actually connected with people in her local community that are in the Salesforce ecosystem that then helped connect her with others.
I mean, some of the conversations and names that she mentioned were instrumental to her growing and getting her first admin job. Another thing I thought that was really interesting that she shared was volunteering your Salesforce time. Not just to help out a nonprofit but to get that experience and adding value in a really real way. Now, it doesn't always have to be a nonprofit you volunteer for. I like how Michelle talked about finding a combination of her passions.
She was passionate about animals and music and wanted a way to use Salesforce in that capacity. And she found an organization that could really use her help. And not only did she help that organization but very important, she left that organization set up to succeed by training the next person to take over her role. So, it's very important to remember as you volunteer your services when you're trying to get that one to three years of hands-on experience that every employer seems to want when you're looking for your first admin job.
Another amazing thing that I think Michelle mentioned that was very important was the art of negotiation. It's very important to do that no matter what job and industry you're in is always negotiating for yourself. And always having that passion to help people is what helped her realize that what she was doing in banking industry was going to help her in this new arena of being a Salesforce admin. So, don't throw away all of that experience you have in another industry in another role because that absolutely makes you instrumental in terms of getting that first Salesforce admin job or any other job, right?
She talks about how her security mindedness, her passion for helping other solve problems. These are things that she conveyed in her interview processes that helped her get hired. So, don't discount your experience even if it's not in the Salesforce ecosystem. Okay. I could go on and on. You just listen to Michelle. She's amazing. If you want to learn more about being an awesome admin, please make sure to go to, where you can find blogs, events, videos, so much great content there to help you in your journey to be an awesome admin.
If you like what you hear on the podcast, I highly encourage you to leave us a review. You can review us on Apple podcast or your wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us some stars. We'd love to know what you think. And if you want to find our incredible guest today, Michelle, on the social medias, you can find her on Twitter. She's @michellecorwin. That's just her name, no space in between the first and last. You can find myself at @gilliankbruce and our other amazing host of this podcast, Mike Gerholdt, @mikegerholdt. I hope you enjoyed this episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re featuring a conversation with LeeAnne Rimel and Farhan Tahir, VP of Product Management at Salesforce. We discuss the key product features that help you put design features into action.

Join us as we talk about the future of declarative app-building on the platform, and what’s coming soon.

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

How the pandemic pushed digital transformation forward

We want to dive into how to build great pages that center the user experience, so we’ve brought Farhan on the pod to help us learn about new approaches and features. He owns Salesforce Pages and AppBuilder, so we thought he’d have some great insights to share. “My mission is to democratize app development in the local space—I want to make app development easy so all of our Trailblazer community can build apps on top of the Salesforce platform and it’s not just restricted to developers,” he says.

The pandemic has forced years worth of digital transformation into months, and Farhan’s team are creating tools like dynamic forms and dynamic actions to build, automate, and innovate at scale with a point and click interface. Automation is a big part of that, and Lightning App Builder and Flow Builder make it easier than ever to do it declaratively.

What’s next for no and low code app building

88% of IT leaders plan on using low code solutions to help transform their digital experiences. Driving that is the anticipated need for 500 million applications by 2023—more applications than have been created in the past 40 years. IT departments will need the help of business users to not get backlogged and continue to innovate. Salesforce is also getting AI and automation involved to help make things even easier, like Guardrails.

Looking forward, Farhan and his team are trying to move away from a UI on top of a database model. Instead, they’re building “mutli-entity experiences” to bring all of the data into one place without having to write a single line of code.

“There’s never been a better time to be really thoughtful about the fundamentals of design,” LeeAnne says, especially as we get more and more tools to shape the user experience. That’s why we’re covering this topic thoroughly in a special  Be an Innovator episode event to help you get your bearings and center the user experience in everything that you do.



Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce. And today I am joined by one of our favorites, LeeAnne Rimel, who is here to talk to you all about something very, very special and important that we're all talking about this month. And that is design thinking admins. We are designers, whether we would like to acknowledge it or not. And what we've got going on this month is a special Be an Innovator event to help all admins learn how to be better designers. Now, when we think about design thinking, well, we've got some specific product and features that are very critical to helping us make better experiences for our end users. And we have an amazing product leader joining us today on the podcast to talk specifically about that.
We're joined by Farhan Tahir, who is vice president of product management here at Salesforce. He's been at Salesforce for 14 years. So he has had a huge part in helping evolve the platform to where it is today. And he's here to share with all of us some of the incredible products he and his team have been working on and how they fit in to this idea of design thinking and how you can best leverage them. So without further ado, let's welcome LeeAnne and Farhan on the podcast. Farhan, welcome to the podcast.

Farhan Tahir: Thank you. It's a pleasure. I'm super excited to be talking to our admin community today.

Gillian Bruce: We're very, very happy to have you. And we have you on for some very obvious radiant reasons, because you're an amazing leader in our product group here at Salesforce. But also because we want to specifically talk about something that we want admins to really think about, and LeeAnne, I'm going to kick it to you to kind of give us some framing for why we've got Farhan on the podcast today.

LeeAnne Rimel: Well, we have Farhan on the podcast because he's awesome. And also because we are talking a lot about page design, how to build great pages, really how to put admins front and center with thinking about that user experience as they're engaging with Salesforce pages. And who better to talk about that with us than product leader who owns Salesforce pages and [inaudible]. So besides your general awesomeness, why we invited you on Farhan, because I think it's a great chance for admins to hear about features and tools and ways they should be thinking about pages and how to work with that builder. And maybe you'll give us a sneak peek into some of the stuff that's coming in the future with that builder and just kind of some general approaches that maybe admins can keep front of mind as they think about designing awesome user experiences.

Gillian Bruce: So with that kickoff, Farhan, can you tell us exactly what you do at Salesforce? Because we've hinted around it. Can you tell us exactly kind of what you and your teams work on?

Farhan Tahir: Yes, absolutely. I've been in Salesforce for a long time. This is my 14th year with Salesforce. I've had multiple different jobs. I started off in account management, I've done support engineering, I've done engineering R&D and I've been in product for the past eight years. So previously I was focused on the programmatic side so frameworks such as Locker Service, Lightning, Web Components. But I'm most excited about where I am today and strategically my mission is to democratize app development in the low code space. By innovating in low code space, I want to make app development easy so all of our credible admin community can build apps on top of the Salesforce platform. It's not just restricted to developers.

Gillian Bruce: That's an amazing goal and strategy and vision and admins are falling in love with you right now. I can hear it. Because that speaks to the heart of what every awesome admin is trying to do. So Farhan, can you maybe talk a little bit about, I mean, to democratize app development, I mean, gosh, that's amazing. Can you talk maybe a little bit about some of kind of the recent innovations that your team has helped deliver in that vein of trying to enable more people to build cool stuff on the platform?

Farhan Tahir: Sure, sure. It'll be my pleasure. So I'm going to take it a step back first. So there was a time when implementing CRM required an army of engineers and a mountain of hardware. And then came along Marc Benioff and Parker Harris with this idea of cloud where teams could quickly achieve their goals with [inaudible] solutions. And it's funny because Marc talks about, in his book Behind the Cloud, he talks about Cockatoo, a particular customer who is in hospital. And the customer said, why do we have to call patients lead? And that sort of sparked the idea of customizations, giving customers the ability to customize their applications. So Salesforce has been really a pioneer in this particular space of providing customization to out of the box CRM, particularly using these click-based configuration tools and obviously bridging the gap to programmatic tools where necessary.
And especially right now with the pandemic, we already know the pandemic last 12 months or so, actually more than 12 months now, it has kind of forced years worth of digital transformation into months. So Salesforce, as I mentioned, has been an innovator in this space for a long time, empowering all of your teams to build, automate [inaudible] at scale. So just to give you a couple of different examples where we're excelling here is just last year, we released the concept of Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions. We gave the-

Gillian Bruce: Cheers from around the awesome admin universe. Yes.

Farhan Tahir: So with Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions, the admin is now empowered to create unique business enterprise experiences just by using point-and-click. And the advantage to the end user is they have the information or the data and the UI they need at their fingertips when they need it. With things like conditional visibility, additionally we brought the power to the email builder. So now as a marketeer, you can drag and drop components and create awesome emails for your customers. And again, that was something the teams worked on last year.

Gillian Bruce: Those are amazing innovations. LeeAnne, I'd love for you to weigh in a little bit about how those innovations have really helped transform the awesome admin role within maybe app development and that experience.

LeeAnne Rimel: Right. And I think Farhan really said it with the rate of digital transformation that we're seeing at our customers over this past year in particular, it really added a lot of momentum and speed and frankly urgency to the pace at which customers had to create good remote experiences, good digital experiences, because maybe you weren't sitting next to someone at work to tell you how to do something, right? You had to have intuitive experiences. You maybe had new employees starting and had to make sure that it was an experience that they could figure out in order to not dampen productivity and efficiency as you're engaging with the app. So I think all of these changes that our customers are going through and that all of these companies are going through, admins are really at the front of that. So we're in a position as admins to be delivering those digital experiences and those digital transformations and dealing with how your users engage with records and pages is one of the most kind of fundamental ways that people engage with Salesforce.
Like if they're using core CRM, using Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, using that kind of account model or a case model, that is so important. It's fundamental to the success of your whole technology stack. That your users can access and input and work with records in the right way. So it was really, I think, an important time for admins to think about the digital experience for their users as they're going through maybe change or new business processes or rapid rates of transformation. So I think, Farhan, when we talk about the position that admins are in to kind of deliver on these experiences and deliver these page experiences like with Dynamic Forms, for example, with dynamic pages, are there any sort of trends or things that you've seen from our customers or admins out there around what they were doing to deliver those page experiences to their users in the midst of this time of rapid transformation?

Farhan Tahir: Sure. So let's talk about the future trends, which are, sort of as I mentioned, accelerated because of the pandemic. And these are things that Salesforce and my team, the low code organization, is focusing on with certain urgency. Because as I mentioned, low code is sort of part of the Salesforce DNA and we spend a lot of our time and energy thinking about what's next. How do we make our admin's life easier and better? They're enabled to innovate on top of the Salesforce platform to solve their business needs. So I think automation is something that I would want to call out first. So with low code development, we allow our users to build rich experiences through drag-and-​drop and point-and-click technology. And one key aspect of building that user experiences automation, in the past making static UI [inaudible] to automation was often left to writing code.
However, with Lightning App Builder, with Flow Builder, these things can be built declaratively. So about a month ago, we had the transformative platform episode, and if you haven't gotten a chance to look at it, I highly recommend spending 30, 35 minutes where we talk about what's newest in the automation land. In this space, talking about this year's roadmap a little bit, as well as we're talking about trends is one feature that I want to highlight is Dynamic Interactions. We talked about Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions, which was released last year. This year, we're going to GA Dynamic Interactions in Lightning App Builder at Dreamforce. And what it will do is it will give you the ability to connect and wire components on a page so they can talk to each other.
So imagine you have a list view and you click on a particular item in the list view, that record ID is automatically transferred or declaratively you've set it up so it's transferred to another component. And that component shows you either the detail of the record or it takes the address and shows you a map of that. Imagine extending that to services. So when you click on a list and you click on LeeAnne as the contact, it sends a text to LeeAnne using Twilio as a service. So this sort of robust UI creation and automation declaratively, I think all organizations need right now and Salesforce is heavily invested in that.
A couple of other things in terms of trend is we're hearing a lot more about citizen development. So we know there's a lot of pressure on IT to deliver these experiences. These digital transformation staff and business users want, with the right skills and the right passion, want to help IT in that particular mission. So I think we're seeing a trend where IT with the right governance, with the right security, with the right permissioning model, is more open to allowing line of business users to be able to create their own applications. So a recent study showed that 88% of IT leaders currently plan to use low code development in the next 12 to 18 months to light up their digital experiences. Now that is caused by the need for about 500 days IDC study, that we need 500 million applications by 2023. That's more applications than have been created in the past 40 years and IT needs the help of business users to support that mission so that IT departments don't have this long backlog, which becomes a bottleneck to business innovation.
So that's another trend that we're noticing and that's sort of why we've been talking about Dynamic Forms, Dynamic Actions, Dynamic Interactions, because these tools are so easy to use that I believe non IT people with the right governance and the right permission will also be able to handle them.
And then the last couple of quick trends is intelligence. I think AI and machine learning is sort of bubbling up in everything. Similarly, in app development, it is also coming up. And as the world is sort of moving to this low code development, organizations are looking to effectively guide their applications builders wisely, regardless of their role or technical background. So sort of a system that leverages predictive analytics and intelligent algorithms to provide real-time recommendations and best practices through your app development life cycle. A quick example of that, if I may, is guardrail. So on the Lightning App Builder, and you're using conditional visibility and dragging and dropping fields and actions in the page, you will notice the guardrail notification is sort of helping you along in terms of what does this mean? What do your actions mean in terms of performance? And how do you improve page performance right from within Lightning App Builder for your end users? Or what does this mean for usability? How do you improve usability?
And all of this is within the Salesforce low code platform. So customers can build and deploy applications faster. Again, with confidence in their quality, security, performance, in adherence to best practices.

Gillian Bruce: Farhan, I could listen to you talk for hours about this. I think the way you [inaudible] these trends into perspective and connecting them into the innovations that Salesforce is bringing to help meet these demands. I mean, I think that stat you just mentioned about 88% of IT leaders plan on using low code to help enable more people to build apps to meet that demand of, what was that? You said 23 million new apps?

Farhan Tahir: 500 million new apps are needed by 2023. .

Gillian Bruce: See, I'm not good at numbers. I mixed those numbers up. I mean, that's incredible. And hearing that perspective, I think really, really puts the importance on a lot of these innovations, normally that your team is building, but kind of Salesforce as a platform overall, and especially the role of the admin. Because I mean, when you're talking about the people who are going to be building these apps, I mean, we're talking about admins for the most part, right? And maybe some delegated super users and whatnot. But this is super, super exciting, I really appreciate you sharing that. I would love to learn, you gave us some sneak peeks on Dynamic Interactions coming. Do you have anything on the product roadmap that you're willing to share? Forward-looking statement, saying that right now with the audience?

Farhan Tahir: I think the team has been hard at work and I'll give you a couple of different things. So we've talked about Dynamic Interactions. The other problem that my team is really trying to solve, and we have good research around from our admins that this is a problem we need to solve is, we need to sort of move away from a UI on top of a database model. If you look at a record, it is a UI representation of an Oracle database, but the work is not being done in terms of records. The work is being done as, I have three or four different steps and I need data from four different records. So what we're trying to do is, what we're calling this is multi entity experiences, which gives you the ability to have your record data from multiple entities, whether they're Salesforce hosted or external entities in one sort of view configured using Lightning App Builder.
So now if you want to close a deal, you have your opportunity lead and account information on the same page, without having to write a single line of code. With all your information right there on singular page, you will be able to have a more cohesive conversation with your lead and be able to close the deal faster without having to navigate to lead and then to opportunity then to account. So I gave you a deal desk example here, but it applies to all sort of applications that you're building. If you're building a custom application, which is around purchase order creation, and for that, you need your product and your code and your customer and your contact information, you will be able to bring all of that in a particular view. And all of this will be declaratively point-and-click from Lightning App Builder. So I think that will move the needle a lot further in terms of end user productivity powered by our system admins.

Gillian Bruce: That sounds amazing. I can't wait for that to come out. I'm sure LeeAnne is already building demos in her head about this.

Farhan Tahir: Yeah. We're super excited about that. And then one other thing is we've always, Lightning App Builder has been around for about a decade or so, and we've given you the ability to create dynamic experiences by dragging and dropping components to a page. We want to take that a step further and give admins more control over component creation. So not only will they be able to design the page by dragging and dropping those components, but we'll also be giving you full control on component development using a declarative custom component builder. So you'll be able to move these smaller base component type of elements around on a canvas, which will result in a custom component created for you. So you don't need a developer to create these custom components. And then once the custom component is there, obviously you end up in Lightning App Builder where you drag and drop it on the canvas and obviously configure the properties of that custom component that you've created.
So this really enables the system admin to take full control of application development right from creation of custom components to designing and deploying that page. And then the last piece that remains is testing. So this next thing I want to talk about is we also want to bring, sometime this year, later on this year after Dreamforce, this idea of declaratively testing your Lightning App Builder created pages. So imagine if you have a page with conditional visibility and now you have Dynamic Interactions, so your data is transforming as you're interacting with the page, you should be able to record all of that and assert that this flow always works as other people are making and deploying those changes. So we're calling that idea, declarative UI testing, and that will be the fourth major thing that we will be working on this year.
And then just quickly, I know there's a lot of other stuff, but some smaller things that our customers have been asking for such as mass actions. We're working on delivering Dynamic Actions on list view and related list, customer defined guardrails, MuleSoft actions. So there's a lot of other work that's happening that I could talk about for hours, but those are the four major things that I wanted to mention here.

Gillian Bruce: Well, clearly I'll have you back on the podcast to talk more about them as they come out. So that's amazing. That's amazing. So LeeAnne, I know we're doing something a little special this month. You mentioned it at the beginning of the podcast, focusing on kind of design thinking for admins. Can you kind of connect the dots a little bit for us with some of the stuff that Farhan has been talking about and what admins should kind of start doing right now.

LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah. So there's never been a better time to be really thoughtful about the fundamentals of design because I think Farhan shared just a breathtaking amount of innovation that's coming to how admins can build user experiences and really have that full declarative control over page design and over how their users move through the app. And so with great power comes great responsibility, right? And I think as we have more and more tools, it becomes really important that we're very thoughtful about how we're using these tools. That we're thoughtful about how we're using page real estate and creating intuitive and familiar experiences. And so in order to prepare you admins for that, we have a campaign called, Be an Innovator. And during this Be an Innovator episode experience, you get to learn from design experts at Salesforce.
We've got our chief design people at Salesforce that are informing this content and taking what they know about page design and user experience design and helping translate it to the admin experience. And so our hope is that you all participate in our Be an Innovator episode series and learn in practice a lot of these design fundamentals so that when all of these exciting new features are hitting in the fall, you're like, I'm ready to build these really beautiful page experiences with all of these amazing tools I have access to.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's great. That's super important. I mean, hey, these are the best fun ways to kind of work together, to learn something new. These Be an Innovator series and it's super fun to follow along and get that pay off at the end and build something cool. So this is what I'm especially excited about because it's a concept we've always loosely talked about in the past, but hey admins, you are designers. Hello. Let's deliver some awesome experiences for our users here.
Farhan, I want to thank you so, so much for joining us and taking the time to share on the podcast. I mean, you blew us away with all of this amazing context and the vision for what you and your team are doing in the platform. And talk about teasers, oh my goodness. You shared so much Farhan. Thank you so much for joining us.

Farhan Tahir: No, it's absolutely my pleasure. And I'm really looking forward to our Trailblazer system admin community to build cool applications at speed at low cost using the Salesforce low code platform that Salesforce provides. So there's a lot of excitement within the product team, within the engineering team and I hope that our Trailblazer community also shares that excitement.

Gillian Bruce: I'm sure they will. Also, by the way, you're now going to get a ton of followers from every single admin who's listening to this podcast because they're all going to want to know exactly what you're working on. And keep up the speed because you've clearly got some amazing things coming soon. So thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for all the work you and your team are doing and for being an amazing advocate for awesome admins all around the world.
Well huge thanks to Farhan and LeeAnne for taking the time out to chat with us. I always love being able to kick out over great, amazing products, strategy ideas. And holy wow, Farhan dropped some incredible background and knowledge about not only the future of the product, but the vision of how it all fits together and how he really wants to empower all admins and all citizen developers to be able to build apps declaratively. So pretty inspiring message there. I hope you definitely enjoyed it. I know I did. I can't wait to have Farhan back because he also teased us with some incredible forward-looking statement features coming in the near future for admins. So you definitely want to make sure you follow Farhan and see what he's doing. Not only the Trailblazer community, but on Twitter and however else you can get a hold of him.
For some of my top takeaways with Farhan, first of all, pay attention to what's coming up. So later this year, forward-looking statement, we have some incredible things coming that are going to take kind of Dynamic Forms and Dynamic Actions to the next level. So ideas like Dynamic Interactions and some other, I mean, just incredible innovations this team is working on to really put the power of building apps into our hands as non-coding people. In fact, being able to build our own components with visual tools instead of having to write code. I mean, how cool is that? Pretty amazing.
Another big takeaway is there's a huge trend out in the industry right now, not only because of the global pandemic that we're all hopefully, hopefully soon coming out of, that has forced every single business to do really rapid digital transformation. This has put a huge pressure on IT leaders to really understand how they can quickly deliver innovative apps to enable their organizations to get work done. So Farhan had a great point when he said, hey, these IT leaders, the only way they're going to be able to meet this demand is by enabling people to be citizen developers. And when we talk about citizen developers, that's people like us as admins, who don't code, but definitely want to be able to build apps and deliver useful functionality to our users.
So in order to meet that demand that IT is feeling right now, that pressure, hey, we're the answer admins. So pay attention to that, be ready. And if you are working in an organization right now where you see some opportunities, now is the time to kind of reach out to those IT leaders and be like, hey, I can build an app to help this group or solve this business problem. This is a great opportunity for you to step out and take the lead because you're going to help them out. Let's just say that . Another really cool thing that Farhan pointed out is kind of the idea of using AI to help not only end users, but people like us who are building apps. So things like guardrails, which kind of already exists in Salesforce, which is great. But there's definitely a future there in terms of helping us make intelligent decisions as we build apps based on machine learning.
Okay. So enough I could go on forever. I mean, you just listened to Farhan talk. We will definitely have him back on the podcast. I highly, highly encourage you to follow him. He is on Twitter @tahir, that's T-A-H-I-R_ farhan, F-A-R-H-A-N. Of course you can find LeeAnne on Twitter, the most amazing evangelist ever. She's @leeanndroid. And you can find myself @gilliankbruce. If you want more information on all things awesome admin, including our amazing, Be an Innovator campaign about design thinking for admins, go to You don't want to miss any of it. It's so awesome. We have so much great content on there as well. Blogs, podcasts, because you know, you always need some more [inaudible] and all kinds of videos on whatnot too. So make sure you check that out. We hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope that you have a great day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

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

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Adam Doti, VP and Principal Design Architect at Salesforce. He tells us about the team he leads that empowers Salesforce designers.

Join us as we talk about how Adam and his team have brought designers together at Salesforce, and the resources they’ve put together to help you apply design thinking concepts in your org.

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

A small but mighty team of designers.

“Salesforce Design is a small but mighty team that sits at the intersection of our product user experience design team, our customer success group design team, and our creative team in marketing,” Adam says. They have two main goals: build a culture and community of design at Salesforce, and bringing design to our ecosystem.

When they started, they knew they had a lot of design capability at Salesforce and they needed to find a way to harness it. They wanted to learn from each other and inspire each other, but they didn’t know how that would work. “Everything is designed,” Adam says, “whether intentionally or accidentally—stuff is designed.” And indeed, they ran into all sorts of people who were making design decisions: from professional designers to admins and developers making choices in their orgs. What they realized was that they needed to help people understand how to think about and see design.

Why Admins make design decisions every day.

The Salesforce Lightning redesign brought the platform forward in a lot of ways, “but it actually exponentially made the need for good design even more important,” One concept they focus on is relationship design, a creative approach to driving social value focused on building relationships with customers, employees, and community.

One thing they’re doing is a video series for Be an Innovator focused on the design thinking process. It’ll take you through the six phases: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, build, and validate. Each episode will have an exercise to help you put those concepts into action in ways that make sense for your org. 



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Direct download: Design_Thinking_for_Admins_with_Adam_Doti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PDT