Alumni Network Spotlight -
Michelle Li

by Theresa Ludvigson and T.J. Vilardi

From the Cloud to Carbon

Meet Michelle Li. #SalesforceAlumni and current Founder & CEO of Clever Carbon. In this month’s Alumni Network Spotlight, we talked to Michelle about her time at Salesforce and her path to helping people around the world understand their carbon footprint. Check it out here!

First Stop: The Cloud

Michelle came to Salesforce in 2014 as a Solutions Consultant based in San Francisco. In this role, Michelle worked in a post-sales capacity by helping our customers with the implementation of the Salesforce technology. She told us, “I got to work with some of my favorite people of all time at I worked for amazing leaders like Leyla Seka who had such an incredible presence and her focus on team culture meant that everyone knew each other and had lots of fun opportunities to get to know each other even better. They not only inspired and encouraged me but is also helped the job become fun and exciting.” Michelle was also inspired by other female leaders at the company, like Marie Rosecrans. "Marie just oozed positivity and was always super genuine. She was a professional through and through. If it was not for Marie, I may have had a very different career. She was a huge support system for me during the length of my tenure." Another leader she couldn’t forget is Scott Beechuk, the VP of Product at at the time. She told us, “Scott moved on to be a partner at a venture company and still made the time to meet with me and provide mentorship long after our days. I will always appreciate him!” After a year as a Solutions Consultant, Michelle moved over to the pre-sales side of the process as a Sales Engineer. In this new role, she helped customers solve problems and grow using the Salesforce platform. Michelle told us, “The Sales Engineering role really married all of my best skills — uncovering problems, helping customers figure out how to navigate those problems, and then recommending the best solutions.”
Besides the amazing people that Michelle got to work with during her time at Salesforce, she told us, “I really appreciated how much Salesforce invested in its employees. Salesforce gave me the skills and enablement to be really good at my job. I went through some of the best sales trainings that I have ever come across while at the company. I had the honor of being lead by GuruGanesha in Sandler Training and it was simply incredible. I have taken other Sandler Trainings since and it was definitely not the same!” Michelle continued, “I still use the practices from this training every day. It is a big part of how I make decisions and how I prioritize my time.”

Second Stop: Clever Carbon

After departing Salesforce and spending four years at DocuSign as a Solutions Consultant, Michelle decided it was time to turn one of her greatest personal passions into a full time job. Michelle founded Clever Carbon in April of 2020 and has not looked back since. In Michelle’s own words, “Clever Carbon’s goal is to raise carbon literacy in a fun and hip way. Imagine picking up an almond milk and dairy milk at the grocery store and you see the nutrition label. Now, imagine doing the same but with products and their carbon statistics. You don’t know what those numbers and data points mean. We are trying to define those terms and give people the ability to determine their own carbon footprint.”

Today, Michelle and Clever Carbon partner with companies to offer team building sessions, features in all hands calls, and corporate retreats to help employees learn about this very important mission. Clever Carbon is also helping individuals understand their own carbon footprint by taking the Carbon Footprint quiz (5-6 easy questions) on the Clever Carbon homepage — take the Quiz to learn about your carbon footprint!

Why should you care about your carbon footprint? Michelle says, “it will help every individual make informed decisions. Right now when people go to a coffee shop and throw out their empty cup, they don’t know the impact. We are trying to get people to be more informed and educated so we can all have a better future.” She continued, “Carbon footprint is not rocket science. Understand what your personal carbon footprint is. What are the things you can do on a daily basis to reduce your carbon footprint? How can you help others do this as well?”

Staying Well

Besides helping our environment stay well, Michelle is also focused on her own personal wellbeing. Although the pandemic has thrown a wrench into in person workout classes and routines, Michelle still finds the time to exercise and make sure she is taking care of both her mental and physical health. “I exercise every other day during the week. Currently it is a mix of online classes that I am tuning into and then getting in a lot of outdoor runs in New York City as well. Three years ago I decided to become vegan and have really practiced healthy eating every day since.”

The Salesforce Alumni Network

Michelle has been a #SalesforceAlumni for 5 years now. When asked what her favorite part about the Salesforce Alumni Network is, she told us, “It is great to see where everyone currently is in their careers. You constantly see people you knew in the past while at Salesforce. It’s like going to a high school reunion. I love to see Salesforce people doing great things and being so successful.”

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