Anna Tomilova is a motivated Trailblazer from Ukraine who was forced to shut down her business due to the war and move abroad to start a new life, ultimately leading to her Salesforce journey. Her success as a Trailblazer is a testament to her persistence and resilience made possible with Salesforce Workforce Development Partner, NGO, Blue Road Academy. We invited her to share her journey to Salesforce:
Please introduce yourself?
My name is Anna, I am from Ukraine, and since spring 2022, I’ve been living in the Netherlands together with my husband. In the past 2 years, I was managing my own men’s fashion brand. I was creating men’s shirts for everyday use together with my business partner. We were selling those shirts through our website and social media. I am from a non-tech background, but have a spirit of challenging myself, investigating and being up-to-date. When the full-scale war started in Ukraine in 2022, like hundreds of thousands of others, we were forced to move out of the country. I started exploring the different options for getting better knowledge in Salesforce and being able to launch a career in tech. Currently, I work as a Salesforce Consultant at Dept.
How did you learn about Salesforce?
During the time when I was launching my own business, I and my business partner were exploring different platforms we could use to build the website and the whole CRM system. During that period, my husband was already working with Salesforce and he suggested that I look at Salesforce capabilities that could transform our business. Back then it seemed too expensive for us, however, I got interested in what Salesforce was and what could be done with it. With our relocation to The Netherlands, I started exploring different ways to upskill on Salesforce and ultimately pursue a career in tech. My husband’s colleague suggested having a look at the Blue Road Academy programs. However, I wasn’t sure that I would be enrolled, as I had zero technical background or experience. After a few interviews and completing the practical exercise – I got in.
How did you find the course?
After the period of COVID-19 lockdowns, I discovered offline studies once again. It was a completely different experience for me after almost one whole year of online classes. Lectures and independent studies took quite some time for me those days, as I started with Trailhead trails a bit earlier and had some basic understanding. Finding the best solution for some practical tasks was a bit of a challenge and I’d spend much time on the research.
How much time did you need to find a job and how did the job hunt go?
I found a job about 2 months after completing the program. For me, it wasn’t difficult as Blue Road Academy introduced me to one of their partner employers and I ended up working for them.
What is your job like?
I work as a Salesforce Consultant. I am helping our clients get the full functionality of Salesforce Clouds and adapt the platform in the most efficient way to meet their goals. Typically, my day would start with stand-up meetings, where we update each other on the progress. All the work is tracked in Jira.
My current role involves a lot of Business Analyst work as I need to investigate what exactly is needed for a client and find the most efficient way to deliver a solution. After gathering all the requirements, I implemented the solution using all the instruments that Salesforce offers.
Do you need soft skills in your work?
Yes, totally, all of the time. Because I aspire to be the trusted advisor and primary source of support for our customers, it is crucial for me to comprehend their requirements, procedures, challenges, and areas of concern
How well did the course meet your expectations in terms of salary, job opportunities and learning new skills?
In my case, I can say that everything mentioned in our course’s initial meeting was met. I can’t recall a single thing that wasn’t there. I am grateful for the opportunity to join the program and leverage the new skills I gained.
What have you gained from participating in the training program?
First of all, I gained a lot of knowledge in an industry that was totally new to me. Secondly, this new knowledge and previous experience led to the development of a unique skill set, which is extremely valuable to my career now, and will be instrumental to my future development too. Furthermore, I met many great and talented people from all around the world and could extend my network and share different experiences. Finally, thanks to the program, I started working at an amazing company — Dept, where I continue my Salesforce journey.
What do you like about Salesforce?
As cliche as it may sound – everything is possible with Salesforce – and these aren’t plain words. I work with the platform daily, and I can see the impact it has on the customer, and the end users, and the satisfaction it brings me as a contributor in this process. Salesforce features and enhancements are almost endless, you can customize, update and leverage the flexibility of the platform. In addition, when it comes to learning — Trailhead is a unique platform which helps you start your Salesforce journey and understand the basics of Salesforce. Once you join the Salesforce Ecosystem, you join a unique community of people who are aiming to achieve common and individual goals together.
What type of people would you recommend Salesforce to?
In my opinion, Salesforce is for people who are curious, have a passion for technology, like to constantly develop themselves and are not afraid of challenges. I would also say that you need to have logical reasoning and sometimes act as a detective to find the cause of some bugs – like solving puzzles.
We invited Anna’s manager, Ymar Frenken, to discuss what it is like to have Anna in his team:
Why did you decide to hire Anna?
Anna brings a unique combination of qualities and skills to our team. First and foremost, Anna’s dedication and eagerness to develop and learn in the Salesforce world stood out to me. Despite being new to Salesforce, she pursued the Blue Road Academy, which demonstrates her commitment to acquiring the necessary knowledge and expertise. This determination to continuously improve is a trait that aligns with what I was looking for in my team.
Furthermore, Anna’s social nature and ability to bring a positive vibe to the workplace played a big factor in my decision to hire her. Building strong relationships and fostering a positive work environment are important. Anna’s sociability not only enhances team dynamics but also contributes to a more enjoyable and productive workplace for everyone.
What have they brought to your company?
We recognized the significant advantages of her fresh perspective, dedication to developing in the CRM Consultant role, and her remarkable ability to quickly learn and adapt. Since starting at DEPT, Anna has already proven herself by taking a leading role in building Salesforce solutions as a CRM Consultant within our team. Anna has already proven herself by taking a leading role in building Salesforce solutions as a CRM Consultant within our team, which has resulted in a growing list of happy clients.
Where do you see the benefits of companies hiring talents without a traditional tech background?
Hiring individuals without traditional tech backgrounds brings in a diversity of thought, enabling fresh perspectives and innovative problem-solving approaches. These hires often bring interdisciplinary skills and facilitate collaboration. Additionally, their adaptability and rapid learning abilities are valuable in the dynamic and always-changing tech industry, where staying up-to-date with evolving technologies is highly important.
Blue Road Academy is currently launching its very first female-only cohort and is currently looking for sponsors to help 15 newcomer women to learn Salesforce. If you would like to learn more, please visit their website. If you would like to embark on your journey and are interested in a career at Salesforce, we recommend visiting our workforce development partner directory to find a course which is the most suitable to your demands. You could also visit the Talent Alliance website to find additional resources for job seekers. If you would like to submit a success story of your own, use this form. And we have our LinkedIn group where we share success stories, events and motivation.