I've been a Salesforce ’user’ in one capacity or another since 2003. It is safe to say that, although I didn't back then, I now truly understand the power of the platform and I'm using this knowledge to break some long-held conventions...
Born and raised in the Insurance world, my first introduction to Salesforce came while managing sales and implementations for an Information Services company in Chicago. Revamping our sales and service process, Salesforce served as our compass to keep us on track as we set our roadmap to success.
A few years later, I joined and grew a start-up. Of course, I chose Salesforce and customized our instance to successfully run our sales, service, HR and accounting. One success led to another. Two more successful ventures down the line with each company running on Salesforce. I was hooked. I was a huge fan. And my experience was about to take me on an interesting path
Having a background in insurance, I knew that the P&C Insurance Market is traditionally riddled with restrictions and many solutions out there are ‘Carrier Centric’ (expense + indemnity). One day, I found myself faced with a client who was challenged with technical issues related to their CSAT services being outdated, too expensive and not omnichannel. Traditional IT providers came knocking with typical solutions and options were weighed for internal legacy design.
But as a self-confessed Salesforce fan, I knew I had a better way. I researched and networked and searched until I had it. An idea for an app. In my mind, it would be the one that would fundamentally change the Insurance market.
This was some big dreaming! In my career, I'd worn hats in many areas: insurance claims, insurance marketing, insurance IS sales, service and implementations. But never, once, had I ever studied or breached the barrier of programming. But this was too big an opportunity to pass up. This was my chance. It was time to make a change and jump into something new with both feet.
Salesforce is more than a CRM. It's a way of life. And Trailhead is more than just a learning platform. It's a way to realize your dreams.
I took my first Administrator expert-led training course and, within a month, became a Certified Administrator. Loving the educational journey and wanting to learn more, I scoured the internet. SalesforceBen, Jennifer Lee, David Liu...And then I found it. Trailhead—the source and inspiration for my new obsession.
Once I had discovered the magic of Trailhead for Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, I couldn't get enough. I completed every module available for Admins (Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced) and fast reached Ranger status. My family thought I had gone off the deep-end with a midlife crisis. I locked myself in my office to study at all hours of the day and night. I carried around a stack of flashcards. Every party and conversation was met with me evangelizing Salesforce.
When I wasn't learning, I spent my time planning the next game changer. Through Trailhead, I had discovered clicks not code and so was empowered to create all the apps my heart desired without having to learn a programming language...One App idea turned to fifteen, then more...
Next, I focussed on building out my Salesforce certifications. Well, who doesn’t love adding “Salesforce Certified Professional” to all their social accounts? Within a year—through Trailhead, playing in development Orgs and making great use of the resources in the guide to certification paths—my personal goals were met. I was 5x certified as an Administrator, Advanced Administrator, Platform App Builder, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Service Cloud Consultant. I've since even added Community Cloud Consultant to my portfolio.
Now I had the knowledge. It was time to make a change.
My business partner and I relaunched our insurance management consulting firm with a 100% focus on Salesforce solutions. Today, we work with multiple Insurance Agents, Insurance Carriers and Insurance Service Providers offering customized Salesforce solutions (including unique apps that I code myself!) to assist customers past the common obstacles of the insurance world and help them on their journey to success.
What started as a business opportunity has now become a life-changing event. Not only is business good, but what's even better is the personal growth and inspiration I've discovered on my journey. Through Trailhead learning, I've been able to:
If Trailhead is not already part of your daily life, it should be. You simply need to read about the countless other Trailblazers that have experienced what I have and the special achievements they've made. The #SalesforceOhana and the Salesforce ecosystem as a whole add the magic ingredient—support.
And this support was invaluable. I'd always had the ideas, but didn't think I could implement them myself. To be honest, programming just plain scared me! I always knew what I wanted from the IT and Product teams but felt constrained by my limitations.
Trailhead showed me there was a different way, a better way.
And my certification journey put all I learned into practice to prove I actually do know my Salesforce-stuff. We live in a technological world, the fourth industrial revolution in fact. But I'm living proof that no matter your age, experience, or background, Trailhead can help free yourself to dream, and dream BIG.