You know the saying, “The first step is always the hardest?” Well, my journey is no exception. I am an engineering graduate with an MBA degree. I have always been a very studious person who loves reading and finds technology in any form fascinating. But my early career path didn't follow this love of tech.
Starting in sales, I quickly discovered that data management was more for me. When my husband first introduced me to the concept of CRM, I was hooked and instantly realized that this was what I needed to do. Making other people's lives easier interested me much more than selling ever did!
So, after years of selling, I took that first step into the world of CRM. I worked with several other solutions before I landed with Salesforce. And I found my Salesforce passion through Trailhead.
Yes, it's really true! I was happily working in India when my husband was offered an opportunity in Belgium. Exciting stuff! Not so exciting was the small fact that, legally, I was not allowed to work there. So as much as I enjoyed the “ladies who lunch” lifestyle when I first started to explore my new country, I quickly became frustrated.
Never one to just sit around, I wanted to learn. I wanted to work. Instead, I felt myself becoming increasingly stagnant. Keen to help, my husband introduced me to Trailhead. And it really was a case of Trailhead to the rescue! A free learning platform that was exactly my type of study—fun language with hands-on exercises that validated my understanding.
It immediately clicked and I jumped in with two feet, quickly reaching Ranger rank and beyond. I wanted to learn more.
I cannot stress enough the empowerment I found from the #SalesforceOhana in the Trailblazer Community — especially for me, as I started out pretty much all on my own, working my way through the trails. I found not only support and friendships but also opportunities and help for “real-world” problem-solving.
If I was stuck on a project and I worked in an office environment, I could seek out my peers for advice. Well, that's exactly what you can do in the Trailblazer Community and this was perfect for me in my office of “one.” I never went there looking for the exact answer to a challenge (where's the fun in that?), but the clues and different viewpoints people provided were instrumental in helping me get past some really tricky modules and projects. I felt so inspired.
Given my nature of wanting to help others, I soon found myself giving back some of that support to the Trailblazer Community. Satisfaction plus!
Next, we moved to the Netherlands where I was legally able to work! I was so excited and started applying for jobs. When nothing panned out, I got quite downhearted. I started working remotely for an Indian company and was back to my office of “one.”
Then I found the wonderful world of Community Groups. And it struck me that a #WIT group would be the perfect channel for women facing all kinds of issues centered around joining the workforce and trying to move up the ladder of employment to support each other.
I applied to start the Amsterdam WIT group and it just took off. Now, we organize regular meetings and always try to cater the agenda to the needs of WIT. Our group is growing strong. There are many people who support our cause and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart!
I've found that when I need a little inspiration, motivation, or a general kickstart, I simply go to a local community event. Run and attended by the most amazing people, I find the energy palpable and love the invaluable sessions, networking opportunities, and, more often than not, desirable swag!
If you're not lucky enough to be able to attend Dreamforce or a Salesforce World Tour, your local community events can bring some of that excitement to wherever you are. My first ever big event was London's Calling. It gave me a whole new perspective of all things Salesforce, and now I try to attend as many community events as I can.
But the one closest to my heart is the Benelux-based YeurDreamin’, the brainchild of a group of us from the community. We can't wait for this fun and knowledge-filled day in Amsterdam on June 14, 2019 (maybe I'll see you there).
I've recently become part of the amazing group RAD Women Coach, a program that relies on people volunteering their time (over 2,200 total hours so far!) to mentor women to code on the Salesforce platform. This is something I feel passionately about as it's another way to empower women to become Salesforce Developers or “Adminvelopers” in a typically male-dominated area of tech.
I truly enjoy coaching these great women. I love their enthusiasm and the way the program is structured. I applaud the awesome RAD Women organizing team!
My Salesforce journey continues, and I currently have more than 400 Trailhead badges and 5 Salesforce certifications.
In fact, it is thanks (again!) to the Salesforce Ohana that I am now a 5x #CertifiedPro. I remember casually telling Netherlands Salesforce Country Leader, Eva Heffernan, over dinner that I may go for some certifications at Dreamforce '18. I promptly forgot this “promise” until months later when several other people started asking me which exams I was planning to sit for!
After much encouragement from Eva, Salesforce Principal Solution Engineer Robin Bhowmick, my Salesforce Technical Solution Architect husband Manmohan Singh, and lots of others in the community, I found the courage and motivation to register for four (yes, four!) certifications—one each day—at Dreamforce. I'm pleased to say I came away with three of them—Hurray!
My personal mantra is, “I may slow down but I will never stop!” And, as I expect is the case for many of you, I have many ups as well as downs. But what keeps me going is the motivation and support of the Salesforce Ohana. I love and cherish it. And the beauty of social media means I can “meet up” with my family anytime, anywhere.
So connect with me either in person at a community event, over social, by following my story at salesforcepowercouple.com, or by attending an #OhanaCoffee session. I'm so passionate about Salesforce that I've even encouraged three of my family members to become involved in the Salesforce ecosystem. And I hope you'll join us, too. See you soon!