Salesforce Admin Daniel Gorton shares his Trailblazer story and shares what makes Salesforce a tremendous platform for change, beyond just technology.
In 2016, I was a Salesforce admin who had fallen into the role unintentionally. Yet, I instantly connected with how the Salesforce Platform empowered me to collaboratively build innovative solutions for greater impact.
The true heart behind what makes Salesforce a tremendous platform for change, beyond just technology, was revealed to me when I met Salesforce’s own Marc Baizman. He encouraged me to commit to continuous learning, connect with others, give back, and not shy away from sharing — despite being a newbie and “social introvert”.
I took Marc’s advice to engage with the community and have never looked back! I discovered that the greatest superpower of the Trailblazer Community is the exchange of ideas, experiences, and skills. Sharing knowledge helps expand our understanding of the platform, inspires us to innovate, and builds our courage to speak up and contribute what we’ve learned.
I would love for every new Trailblazer to have AHA! moments like the one Marc shared with me, so here are four ways you can invest in continuous learning, get involved in the Trailblazer Community, and pay it forward.
1. Commit to continuous learning
Committing to your own continuous learning journey is perhaps the easiest of all for introverts because you’re in absolute control to choose your own adventure. In addition to gaining great skills and knowledge in an ever-evolving platform, continuous learning will help you discover what you’re most passionate about, so you can engage with peers.
- Earn badges on Trailhead. From the bite-sized modules to the real-world scenarios of superbadges, you can blaze your own trails. Equality Ally Strategies, World’s Largest Lessons—The Global Goals, Change Management, and the Lightning Experience Specialist are some of my favorites.
- Get a free Developer org. Practice and have fun within a safe environment, especially as part of getting ready for new releases.
- Become Salesforce-certified. Earn Salesforce certifications as the next step in your learning journey! I study using a blend of Trailhead, courses, Help Docs, practicing in a Developer org, and drawing from past experiences until I understand more of the why, how, and when to apply Salesforce to scenarios. For me, certifications are milestones to maintain and keep building upon.
- Learn from others. Discover other people’s experiences and best practices through community events, blogs, and social. Three of my favorites include Jenwlee’s Salesforce Blog, the Salesforce Admins Blog, and Salesforce Ben.
2. Join online Collaboration Groups
I feel extremely fortunate to be an active member of our community of passionate and generous Trailblazers, both online and in person. Even though I’m a social introvert at heart, I constantly strive to push past my comfort zones and own my imposter syndrome.
That’s why, when a recent group chat on Twitter discussed the rewarding and sometimes overwhelming social aspects of attending events, I was moved to co-found .
The group provides a “virtual sandbox” for community members on the introvert spectrum and their allies to connect, empower, and support each other — whether it be online or in person at events. We now have a supportive space to share tips and suggestions for how we can achieve the most from these experiences.
The Introvert Sandbox is among thousands of active Collaboration Groups in the online community. They’re a great way to engage in conversations that interest you and connect on your terms with everyone from Salesforce Product Managers to peers with both shared and a variety of interests from around the world.
3. Attend Community Groups and Community Events
My advice to Trailblazers everywhere is to take the leap and attend Community Groups and events whenever possible, in person, or virtually. In all honesty, I was initially both overwhelmed and amazed by all the people and learning opportunities in the community. A series of “hello’s” and first steps only deepened my connection.
- I met Boston Nonprofit User Group co-leaders Jodi Nemser-Abrahams and Dave Dudek at my first Boston World Tour. They instantly welcomed me and invited me to share my Lightning transition tips with the group.
- I attended my first Dreamforce in 2017, where I still remember being inspired and impressed by how generous the community was with sharing knowledge and genuinely investing in the successes of each other.
- In 2018, Antonela Lula launched Boston SalesforceSaturday, which continues to welcome new members and provide opportunities to learn together. This is where I first met MVP Amber Boaz, who provided invaluable advice on blazing new trails within the ecosystem.
- Through volunteering as a Lightning Champion at the inaugural Northeast Dreamin’, I ultimately landed my next Salesforce role.
Like most pursuits in life, taking the first step and consistently showing up helped me on my journey from being a newbie to belonging as a contributing member of the community.
4. Pay it forward
The kindness and genuine care of our Trailblazer Community has had a profound impact on my life. The many people in the Salesforce ecosystem who share countless precious gifts of their time, encouragement, and talents inspire me on my continuous journey to learn and pay it forward along the way.
I especially enjoy celebrating the accomplishments of our community and sending encouragement when a journey does not go as planned.
The best way for introverts to pay it forward is to focus on sharing topics that resonate with you. Write a blog post, engage over social, or reach out to Community Group Leaders with an offer to present something you’re passionate about.
You are not alone
Introverts and extroverts unite! If you are an introvert, you are not alone. There are resources and wonderful people who want us to succeed, including at Trailblazer Community Groups and events of all sizes. If you are more extroverted, some of us introverts appreciate you saying “hello”, inviting us to join, and understanding when we need quiet time to recharge.
My greatest lesson learned to date is that anyone can be a Trailblazer who empowers, supports, amplifies, and connects with others for greater impact. Just remember to always reflect, listen, and brainstorm ways you can give back with the gifts you uniquely offer.