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Koa Club Spotlight - Jacalyn Chapman

 
 

June 29, 2021

Theresa Ludvigson
& T.J. Vilardi

 

“Salesforce Has a Soul”

This month we had the pleasure of sitting down with one of our newest Koa Club (employees who have 10 years or more of tenure at Salesforce) members, Jacalyn Chapman. Read about her incredible career journey and how she landed her dream job at Salesforce.
 

Breaking Barriers

Jacalyn Chapman is currently in her 10th year at Salesforce as the Senior Director of Employee Advocacy & Belonging. She told us, “The best job I have ever had at Salesforce is the role that I am in now.” So now you might be wondering how she got to this point. That’s what we wanted to find out as well. To understand Jacalyn’s career journey, her “can-do” mentality, and ability to light up a room as soon as she walks in, we went back a time before she even got her start at Salesforce.

As Jacalyn told us, “I am very much an East Coast girl.” Born and raised in New Jersey, Jacalyn was the first in her family to graduate from college. She attended the Georgia Institute of Technology (also known as Georgia Tech) where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering. After college, Jacalyn dove straight into the technology industry where her career oscillated between consulting and working at large corporations before she would finally land at Salesforce.

Her first job at Salesforce was in the Customer Success Group (CSG). As she told us, “I am a lifelong consultant. Salesforce is the third software company that I have worked for. It was very easy for me to help Salesforce customers use our technology and see immediate value out of it.” Jacalyn was in this role for just about three years before she found herself in an Ignite session for one of her customers. “I didn’t know what Ignite was at the time but I knew that role needed to be my next job. I was told no at first based on the experience profile they were after, but when they scaled the organization, I was able to successfully interview for the role and accept it,” said Jacalyn. For the next six-plus years, Jacalyn helped customers across the commercial, enterprise, non-profit, and higher education industries create a vision for customer engagement and digital transformation using innovative and disruptive trends as inspirations.

 Jacalyn sitting in the Salesforce New York Tower!

As we said earlier, today Jacalyn is the Senior Director of Employee Advocacy & Belonging. Their signature program is the Warmline —  an employee advocacy program for women of all ethnicities, Black, Indigenous and Latinx individuals. Jacalyn told us, “Some would say I was doing the work of the Warmline before the Warmline was created at Salesforce. When the opportunity presented itself to lead the Warmline, my side job and passion turned into my full time job.” Jacalyn considers herself a “connector” so, as you can imagine, this job came naturally to her. “I can take information from two different places and tie them together. Connecting people to others within the organization is something I love doing. I am always advocating on behalf of individuals that need help,” said Jacalyn. 

So how did Jacalyn get the attention of Salesforce executives prior to the Warmline? She “connected” them to the problem of course. “I approached our executives to share insights that they may not be exposed to at their level.  I am definitely not afraid to speak truth to power. However, I believe in not just being a problem identifier but also being a problem solver. As a practice, I try to have suggested solutions to any problems I bring to the table. When I reflect on my time at Salesforce, I have never encountered an executive who was not open to listening. Our executives are really open to hearing what employees have to say and everyone has a voice,” said Jacalyn. She continued, “I always tell people that Salesforce has a soul. One personal example I always go back to (that you won’t find in the media) is when Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast very hard, our executives found the employees that were severely impacted and reached out to us to offer assistance. They were able to get employees and their families hotel accommodations; all paid for by Salesforce.”

Advice for her Colleagues

Looking back at her career at Salesforce, we asked Jacalyn if she could give her fellow Salesforce colleagues some advice that she wish she had. For the people just getting started at Salesforce she told us, “You are joining an amazing company with amazing people. Make sure to meet as many people as you can outside of your immediate team. Try and learn different parts of the organization even though you may not necessarily work directly with those groups. Your experience at Salesforce will be made rich by your network inside the company.” Jacalyn continued, “Through networking internally, I have developed great relationships that I can tap into wherever I go. Whether it is in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco or Indianapolis — I have Salesforce people that I love to connect with when near one of our Hub locations.”
Jacalyn with her NYC colleague, Eric Eyken-Sluyters, at the holiday party!
What about those employees that are halfway to Koa Club and are maybe five years in at Salesforce? “The only constant at Salesforce is change. Everyone may go through a rough patch or a point that seems tough in their career. You can get through it while learning how to address challenges that may arise in professional settings. If you are unhappy, don’t have the support you need or want to do something different, make sure to raise your hand and let people know. You can control your career and experience at Salesforce,” said Jacalyn. She continued, “Your experience is shaped by YOUR experience. Don’t let anyone try to tell you what YOUR experience should be. Use your voice. Speak your truth. Take risks. Do things you might be interested in that go beyond your job description. It will give you so much more than you could ever imagine. ”

Wellbeing and Giving Back

During the pandemic, Jacalyn has been working to find time to separate work and life. “I like to get up each morning and walk around my neighborhood. It is very peaceful; I can be with my thoughts,” said Jacalyn. She told us she is always thinking about her team’s wellbeing and how she can support them since their work can be challenging at times. “I encourage my team members to disconnect when needed. I am also very intentional about checking in during our team meetings and our 1:1 sessions. I make sure to ask how I can best support them,” she told us.

Jacalyn is a champion of giving back. She helped found the BOLDforce NYC chapter in 2016. She said, “We probably noodled on it for a year before creating a Chatter group for people to join. In the early days, we looked to San Francisco (HQ) for guidance. But once we got the hang of it, we were able to establish a unique NYC brand and community.” Jacalyn continued, “I was thrilled to turn the leadership over to the next generation of amazing leaders this past year. It has been a great ride and I can’t wait to see how they take it to the next level.” Jacalyn is also on the board of a non-profit called PepUp Tech. Their goal is to prepare motivated, underserved individuals to begin careers in technology by providing skills, mentors and confidence with the ultimate goal of diversifying the tech industry. “This is something I find very rewarding; the impact for our students is life changing. I was equally excited and proud to see them featured at Dreamforce just a few years ago,” said Jacalyn.

Welcome to Koa Club

Koa Club is something that Jacalyn has been curious about since joining the company. “I needed to know what Koa Club was. It was this illusive secret society that exists and you don’t know how magical it truly is until you get here,” said Jacalyn. She continued, “I absolutely love the engagement we see virtually via Slack but I am looking forward to the day where we can all come together and celebrate this achievement in person.”

Want to learn more about Jacalyn’s career journey? Check out her career on Linkedin
 

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