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Equality

Breaking Accessibility Barriers and Becoming a Salesforce Pro

Trailblazer

Editor’s Note: Akasia Perran became legally blind five years ago but didn’t let that hold her back from finding a meaningful career. Here, in her own voice, is how she challenged herself to learn about new opportunities, and why perseverance is important.

After devoting most of my adult life to traditional business roles, I began to feel like a change was needed—the world around me seemed to be moving faster every day, and I didn’t want to be left behind. I was ready for a change—to join a team, and to work in technology, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy. 

For the past five years I’ve been legally blind and because of that, enhanced hardware and software tools are a necessity. I’m a huge advocate for digital accessibility and aware of the barriers that inaccessible software can create for people with disabilities. It’s not a new topic for me, and it even predated learning of my own degenerative visual impairment.

Learning to Become a Salesforce Pro

During my search for a meaningful career path in tech and the need for accessible technology, I was introduced to a course offered in partnership through Salesforce and the Blind Institute of Technology. This program’s goal is to provide the disability community with the opportunity to gain skills for meaningful employment whether at Salesforce or anywhere else. 

Enhanced accessibility features built into Salesforce’s free online learning modules allowed me to level the playing field. In just six months, I completed a course, became a certified Salesforce Administrator, and was ready to show the world how awesome I am and land the job of my dreams. I wish it were only that easy.

Akasia Perran

Rise above

When it came time to begin my job hunt, I was incredibly committed—but I was also a little apprehensive. The world had changed a lot in the years since I landed my last job, and with the pandemic creating so much ambiguity in the workforce, I was worried about even finding an opportunity. After months of searching I was starting to lose hope. 

There’s something to be said about the Salesforce Trailblazer spirit I gained along with those certifications. I pressed on, more determined than ever to chase my destiny. After all this, I’m proud to say that I was able to find a great opportunity as a Junior Administrator.

Fight ‘til you drop. Never stop. Can’t give up. Until you reach the top. You’re the best in town. Listen to that sound. A little bit of all you got, can never bring you down.

Joe Esposito

I now get to be awesome on behalf of my clients thanks to Salesforce, the Blind Institute of Technology, and my unwavering passion to succeed and show the world that people with disabilities are valuable to the workforce. 

It’s comforting to know that Salesforce takes accessibility seriously. They have entire departments that focus on this and know that millions of people with visual impairments, like myself, are an important piece of the Salesforce ecosystem. 

Here are some of the key takeaways that I’d recommend for anyone chasing their own destiny:

  • Passion – Showcase passion and drive in everything that you do.
  • Self-Starter – The world is changing fast! Stay educated about business trends and the evolving workplace. 
  • Advocate – Be your own superhero—after all, nobody believes in you more than yourself!
  • Persevere – Never give up. Keep going. You will succeed.

I love bringing Salesforce Marketing and Cross-Cloud Consulting to our clients. After all that job hunting, I got hired by my dream company doing my dream job. It’s a pretty sweet outcome. My own journey wouldn’t have been possible without the resources provided by BIT and Salesforce, and I’m grateful to be sharing my story with others who may be intimidated or discouraged by obstacles. 

Let’s keep the conversation going

The road to equality and inclusion for people with disabilities is a journey and we know there is more work to be done. 

As we build a more inclusive and accessible world for all, we’re interested in opportunities to highlight the community, our employees, customers, partners, and innovative technology. If you’d like to partner with us, follow our new Twitter handle, @SalesforceA11y and if you’re a person with blindness or low vision interested in training to become a certified Salesforce Admin you can learn more about the Blind Institute of Technology and join our Trailblazer community.

Take action

Read about the commitments we’ve made as part of The Valuable 500 and Disability:IN’s pledges and have your CEO sign, putting disability inclusion on your business leadership agenda.

Consider taking the Disability Equality Index (DEI) survey, if your company doesn’t already do so. The DEI helps companies analyze their environment, identify opportunities, and leverage disability inclusion as a competitive advantage.

If your company offers self-ID, consider participating. This helps companies ensure they are creating and sustaining a diverse and inclusive workplace as well as shaping policies and benefits to support people with disabilities.