I was a single mom when I pursued a career and was hired at Salesforce.
I had walked the streets of San Francisco during Dreamforce many years before I was hired and had an overwhelming feeling that someday, I would find my dream job at Salesforce. I leapt at the opportunity when it presented itself, and in approaching my five-year anniversary, I am so happy that I joined the Salesforce Ohana.
There are many reasons to appreciate working at the world’s most admired company, but I am mostly grateful for the changes I have seen in myself as a result of Salesforce—specifically the changes that have impacted how I raise my children.
There is only so much we can do on our own. I wanted to grow exponentially but I didn't have much bandwidth as a single mom. When I joined Salesforce, I had a team of amazing people come behind me, support me, lead the way, and encourage me to grow. I learned how to be a better team player, leader, trusted customer advisor, and, most importantly, a better parent.
1. Setting expectations
I learned that setting expectations is key to managing relationships and providing accepted outcomes. When a customer knows what to expect, they are able to walk a smoother customer success journey and end up happy, regardless of the actual outcome. In my mind, I don’t over or under promise, I just communicate what to expect, and I’ve found this to be extremely beneficial in my customer-facing roles.
Likewise, as a parent, managing my children’s expectations and helping them understand ‘what’s coming next’, ‘how I expect them to act’, or ‘what the weather will be,’ empowers them to take that information, make their own conclusions, and walk through the next steps feeling prepared. They are rarely taken by surprise. By equipping them with the knowledge to make their own choices, I am setting them up to walk their own ‘success journey’.
2. Agreeing on outcomes
Salesforce has taught me how to work with customers to agree on mutually beneficial outcomes and how to gain buy-in. I do not tell my customers ‘how it’s gonna be’; instead, I present my idea and ask them for their input—this builds an outcome based on collaboration instead of forced direction. In collaborating on the outcome, we both agree on the solution and are both committed to mutual success.
Recently, at a parent teacher conference, my daughter’s teachers thought she should pursue an at-home strategy to help her with course comprehension. Instead of agreeing to it on the spot without my daughter's input or commitment, I brought the suggestion to her and asked if she agreed and could commit to doing it. With her agreement and commitment secured, we had a mutually designed outcome with goals and expectations defined. (Fingers crossed it helps this quarter!)
3. Leadership: empowering others
As an individual contributor (IC) working directly with our customers, part of my role is to empower them to own their own success—even individual success—and to help them grow. We are in the age of the trailblazer, and I am all about encouraging and pushing my customers to be the best version of themselves. I love highlighting their work. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my customers succeed and grow.
I have learned to empower my children in similar ways. What type of growth suits their interests and how could they push themselves? I encourage them to take risks—why not try out for the rock climbing team? If they fail, they are in the same spot they are in now. But what about if they DO make it?! Isn’t it worth that risk?
A sign of leadership is to grow and bring up others. Salesforce has taught me how to lead: how to lead myself and guide my own success, the success of my customers, and how to lead my family.
For the lessons learned both in business and with my family, I am extremely grateful. Salesforce believes in growing customers as well as its own people. I’m thankful for this Ohana, and getting to share my learnings with you, my extended Ohana.