“We have the opportunity to do something incredible for our world, and that’s why we’re all here,” our Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff said to a room of more than 60 Trailblazers gathered at Salesforce Tower in Indianapolis. The intimate celebration brought together those who have changed their lives and careers with Salesforce. They shared inspiring stories about overcoming challenges and honored each other’s career transformations.
Marc Benioff welcomes Trailblazers to the inaugural Trailblazer Day
Those transformations were front and center as Benioff welcomed three accomplished Trailblazers to speak about their journeys:
- Zac Otero was working at popcorn factories and meat processing plants when he discovered Salesforce through a cousin. “I’ve learned a lot of things,” said Otero. “I’ve learned a lot about learning. I discovered how I learn best, and I was able to leverage that via Trailhead into going from the factory floor to doing data analysis on millions of rows of data and using AI to extract those insights and deliver those results to my employer….things I never thought I’d be in a position to do.”
- Shonnah Hughes was told she’d never amount to anything prior to learning about Salesforce. She’s now a Product Evangelist and Co-Founder of PepUp Tech working to increase diversity in tech. “We’re going to create a workforce of the future that looks like the communities that we live in,” said Hughes. In the past two years, Shonnah and her three female co-founders have seen more than 300 students get placed with job offers at companies like Salesforce, Deloitte, and Google.
- Stephanie Herrera, now the Global Vice President for ComputerFutures, shared the many challenges she faced growing up. “Why do I tell you this?” she asked. “Not to be a buzzkill, but because my story has a happy ending because of this beautiful community and the power of Trailhead that gave me the tools to overcome.” In addition to co-founding PepUp Tech with Hughes, Stephanie also founded Salesforce Saturday to teach others how to learn on Trailhead. Today, these weekend events happen in over 30 countries. “When you find something you love, the first instinct is to share it,” she said.
Stephanie Herrera is a Salesforce MVP, Founder of Salesforce Saturday, ATX Girl Geeks, and Co-Founder of PepUpTech
Benioff, Otero, Hughes, and Herrera were joined by several public officials, including Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, who is leading a national initiative around creating a more inclusive workforce. “What keeps me energized is these stories,” said Trump. “Each of your stories is deeply impactful and unique, yet also representative of so many other people who have walked a similar path.”
The audience — in between applause, cheers, and some tears — seemed to agree. “There’s always a part of it that resonates with yourself,” said Cameron Ames, a Trailblazer and attendee at today’s event. “Seeing the children, I think about my own two little kids…I just want to go home and give them a big hug.”
Shonnah Hughes is the Co-Founder of PepUp Tech and a Salesforce MVP
After a short panel discussion that covered topics like inclusive capitalism, upskilling and reskilling America’s workforce, and closing the pay gap, Benioff and the three Trailblazers gathered around a podium to deepen Salesforce’s commitment to workforce development. Alongside Trump, they signed the White House Pledge to America’s Workers and committed to giving one million Americans the skills they need to find work in the growing Salesforce ecosystem.
Otero, Herrera, Benioff, and Hughes sign the White House Pledge to America’s Workers alongside Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President
The message every person in the room took away was that a career in tech is accessible to anyone willing to put in the effort and take a leap of faith — and it all starts with Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform. If you’re interested in exploring what working in the Salesforce ecosystem is like, get started with these guided, hands-on challenges:
- Artificial Intelligence Basics
- Mobile Apps Basics
- Public Speaking Skills
- Career Development Planning