In this blog series, we share people’s incredible Salesforce Certification stories. Wendy Braid, Salesforce University Certified Master Instructor, tells us how she was first in line to become Salesforce Certified when the exam program was introduced back in 2008.

I started my Salesforce journey while working for a regional wireless telecom company in a support role for the national sales team. When the company decided to implement Salesforce as their CRM platform, I was provided with an opportunity to attend a 5-day Salesforce Administrator training course. I still have the instruction manual from that course—it’s great nostalgia to flip through and see how far Salesforce and I have progressed together!

I remember the excitement of travelling to San Francisco to attend the training. I sat in the front row, along with my manager, who had also come along to learn. On the very first day, she turned to me and said “You should do that, you should teach.” At the time, I was not a public speaker and addressing large crowds of people made me nervous so, naturally I thought she was a bit crazy. Shortly thereafter, we launched a city-by-city training tour, where I was tasked with my first instruction role as we introduced Salesforce to all of our different teams… and I quickly realized that I loved being a Salesforce instructor!

After our first successful Salesforce implementation together, I followed my manager to pursue a new opportunity with a boutique consulting firm. I knew that I would get some additional experience working on custom Salesforce projects with a variety of interesting clients. As luck would have it, the firm then branched out and began to offer Salesforce training.

Before I knew it, I found myself in Las Vegas about to teach my first official Salesforce class. I’m not going to lie, between locking myself out of my car, the July heat, and the bed bugs from the hotel, the buildup to my first teaching experience was anything but smooth. However, my first week was a success and I soon found myself on the path to becoming a Salesforce Certified Instructor.

When I became aware that Salesforce was planning to offer official product certifications, I instantly realized their importance. At the time, I still maintained a role in client consulting and I felt it was important to establish trust in my expertise and prove to my clients that I knew my Salesforce stuff.

I decided to take both the Admin and Advanced Admin certification exams on the same day. For me, it was a 3-hour drive to get to the nearest certified testing center—there were no online proctored exams available at the time—and I didn’t want to have to make the journey twice. With much relief, I passed both exams on the first attempt, becoming a member of the “First 500” Certification Club and the first woman to be officially Salesforce Certified in the United States.

Fast forward a few years, and there was a big push at the consultancy firm to increase our total number of certifications throughout the organization. As a result, I earned my Service Cloud and Sales Cloud certifications in quick succession, before waiting a few months to obtain my Developer certification. I felt ridiculously smart when I passed the Developer exam, as I had always maintained tremendous respect for the knowledge of the Developers that I had worked with and never realized the depth of my own Salesforce knowledge.

Two years ago, I was honored to accept an opportunity to join the Salesforce family as a Salesforce University Master Instructor. Since then, I have added the App Builder certification and have set a goal to achieve the Marketing Cloud Consultant certification to my ever-expanding portfolio.

I’m still riding high on cloud nine that I was the first woman to achieve a Salesforce certification in the United States. My colleague Amy Harbin—based in the UK and an 8.5-year Salesforce veteran—was officially the first certified woman worldwide, as she sat the very first exam in a different timezone and beat me to first spot! However, that doesn’t change the fact that each certification that I have earned has brought a special sense of satisfaction and pride to me. Each one represents a special accomplishment achieved through hours and hours of hard work. And now, when my students come to me and tell me about successfully earning their own certifications, it brings a tear to my eye and I am so proud.

My Salesforce journey has been quite a ride, and becoming Salesforce-certified definitely changed my life. I truly love what I get to do for “work” every day! I am here to guide you to new Salesforce possibilities. Come join me!

Wendy’s certifications
Salesforce Certified Administrator July 25, 2008
Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator July 25, 2008
Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant August 23, 2011
Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant August 30, 2011
Salesforce Certified Developer January 27, 2012
Salesforce Certified Instructor: Implementing an Analytics Strategy for the Sales Cloud October 30, 2013
Salesforce Certified Instructor: Implementing an Analytics Strategy for the Sales Cloud October 30, 2013
Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder February 1, 2016

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