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Curiosity and Passion Make a Solution Engineer Stand Out

Curiosity and Passion: What Makes Solution Engineers Standout at Salesforce

Authenticity, creativity, customer love, and a genuine excitement to solve problems – Kate McArdle has it all. The Senior Director of Solution Engineering at Salesforce dishes on what energizes her and what it takes to “wow” customers. Kate gives us a behind the scenes look into her career journey, the challenges her team faces, and why she chooses Salesforce.

Before joining Salesforce you worked at a small communications company. What inspired you to join Salesforce?

After spending most of my career in leadership roles, I came to the realization that I missed hands-on innovation. At the time, I was leading a Product Management and Marketing team for a small communications company. So when my friend (the first Account Executive I worked with as an Solution Engineer) reached out to tell me about Salesforce, I jumped at the opportunity.

As soon as I started, I was overjoyed. I’m able to stay close to my product management roots, innovate at a rapid rate, and partner with product managers who are laser focused on the customer. We collaborate all the time!

What do you love about your role as a solution engineer?

I love all aspects of the role — the direct customer contact, learning about customer business goals, and truly being part of the conversation as they work toward and achieve those goals. Solution Engineering is the perfect place for me. As a naturally curious person, there is nothing I love more than meeting with a customer to understand their business and goals. The crazier the goal, the better! Salesforce has the ability to deliver such creative solutions. It’s inspiring to be part of those discussions.

We have the best customers and solutions in the world all because we have have the best talent at Salesforce — it’s humbling. Every person I meet brings an incredible perspective to the table.

As a leader, it’s especially rewarding to help talented individuals and leaders grow and expand their impact in this great organization. I love to watch my team solve complex problems, share knowledge, and ultimately deliver the best solution for our customers.

Describe your day-to-day.

The great thing about our job is that there is no normal day-to-day. On Monday we might be heads down with a customer learning about their goals. Then on Tuesday we might be with our product managers learning more about what’s coming in our product roadmap. By Wednesday we might be at a hackathon developing prototypes for new solutions with our customers.

What do you look for when you hire?

I look for passion. Salesforce has all the resources to teach you technical skills – passion sets you apart. It’s what you need to win the trust of your teammates and customers.

We often act as translators — we take complex, technical challenges, find solutions, and make them easy for anyone to understand. To us, success means that our customers get excited by our solutions. You need passion to get that done. And when you have it, it’s pretty amazing.

Why Salesforce, why now?

For me, the most satisfying part of working at Salesforce is knowing that I can make a difference. Even though Salesforce is a very large company, every employee is encouraged to help make the company stronger — in the capacity of your role but also beyond your job description. When you set a goal, the company supports your growth and interests.

The opportunity to impact Salesforce outside the scope of my role happened about 2.5 years ago, when two teammates and I formed a Salesforce Employee Resource Group called Women in Solution Engineering (WISE). The program enables women to grow their network, access tailored development programs, and give back through Salesforce volunteering programs.

Today, our membership has grown to more than 350 participants, including our allies who help champion our cause, across the organization!

Quick facts about me:

I live near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with my husband, our niece and our 2 dogs.

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