In this blog series, we share people’s incredible Salesforce Certification stories. Mark Lewis is a Certified Salesforce Administrator and Instructor at Stimulus Consulting. He shares how he made  a career U-turn at 40, going from a Royal Navy veteran to Salesforce Trainer in just 18 months so he could spend more time with his wife of 19 years and his two children, Jorg (8) and Maisie (6).

I joined the Navy at the young age of 17 as a Communication Specialist before focusing on my passion of coaching and mentoring. Just before my 40th birthday, and at the end of a very long 22-year contract, I decided it was time to focus on my family. Knowing that a training vocation was what I wanted to pursue, I got a placement with an organization used for the UK government “Back to Work” education program. It was here that I was introduced to Salesforce.

At first, I used Salesforce to track people on their courses, log phone calls, and make notes. My natural curiosity was piqued, however, when I tried to drill down through dashboards and had “insufficient privileges.” I cornered the organization’s Salesforce Admin, who talked me through some of the ins and outs of the platform. She told me, “If you can become involved in Salesforce, you should jump at the opportunity.” That really stayed with me.

At the end of my placement, I worked as a lecturer, then as a referrer at a charitable organization. Although these positions fulfilled my love of teaching, I still really wanted to get involved with Salesforce.

Phil Young, Stimulus Company Director, shared, “Mark came to us as someone who had a limited amount of experience with Salesforce as an end user, but with a clear aptitude and talent for training. Through hard work and determination, Mark has built his knowledge impressively to a level where he is now able to deliver the best Salesforce training experience possible, and he really cares about providing a positive learning environment to everyone attending his courses.”

I sat for my Salesforce Administrator Certification just 3 months after starting with Stimulus. It was then that I began to realize the true scope of Salesforce. Even now, when I start teaching a class, I’ll put a dot in the middle of a blank whiteboard and say, “This is how much we will be learning about Salesforce in the next 5 days. This is only the very beginning of your Salesforce journey.”

Today, I give classes all over EMEA. Salesforce wasn’t part of my chosen field and fate brought me here quite early on in my civilian career. But I’ve never been happier. Moving to a whole new environment from the Forces was tough. In the military, asking questions is almost frowned upon, but with the Success Community, people fall over themselves to help you. Not everyone gets to go to work with a smile on their face every day.

I love that each day as a Salesforce Instructor is different and I get to meet and train such a wide range of individuals. It’s special when I see someone in my classroom have that “light bulb moment,” when I’m explaining a concept that they’ve been struggling with and then the penny drops. Even somebody who has been using the platform for 7 or 8 years can go away from a course having learned something new.

I swear my son, Jorg, is going to be the youngest Salesforce Certified person ever as I practice all my teaching plans on him! I figure if an 8-year-old can understand it, it is good enough for the classroom. I like to keep things simple – not bombard them with high-level technical information. Humor is a great teaching tool, too.

And he’s obviously doing something right, with an average feedback score of 4.91 out of 5 for his courses. Mark once even got 5 out of 5 from all 14 attendees.

Next, I’m looking to become Salesforce Cloud Certified, and would also like to one day be a Salesforce Implementer. The transition from military life to civilian can be a difficult one, especially at this stage of my life. But now I have a qualification that is highly sought after and I am very much in demand!

Mark's Certification
Salesforce Certified Administrator January 12, 2015

If you’ve been inspired by Mark’s story, learn more about how you too can become a Salesforce Certified Professional.