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Equality

How a Veteran and Military Spouse Found a Tech Career Through Salesforce

  • After leaving the military, Lisa Malmanger knew she wanted to find a new career path that would bring fulfillment to her post-military life. 
  • To develop skills for a tech career, she used Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, and Salesforce Military, which gives military veterans and their spouses access to free training, exams, and certifications, and helps connect them with career opportunities.  
  • Malmanger also leaned on the Trailblazer and Salesforce Military communities to help her stay up-to-date on AI best practices and explore new roles in the ecosystem.

After a decade as a personnel information management specialist in the U.S. Army, Lisa Malmanger thought she’d have no problem landing her post-military dream job. Beyond Malmanger’s technical skills in database systems, she’d accomplished a lot, including managing teams and handling a successful deployment to Bosnia. 

It was a shoulder injury that eventually forced her to leave military life. However, instead of quickly transitioning into a new civilian career that she loved, Malmanger found herself unemployed. 

Finding job fulfillment after military life

During this time, Malmanger became a military spouse. Her career plans were on hold, and she took on a series of short-term jobs as her family moved five times in six years. After getting divorced, she decided to again pursue her career passions, and earned a degree in software engineering while raising her young daughter. 

Now, Malmanger had the skills to land a solid role and start a new, fulfilling career in the tech industry; however, it was more challenging than she realized.  

“I couldn’t get my foot in the door,” she said. “I had the skills, but I didn’t have the support in knowing how to transition my military experience to the civilian side. I was getting very frustrated, and I almost gave up.” 

Ten years after she left the military and after years of job searching, in 2011, Malmanger got a call that altered her career trajectory. A hiring manager from a software company in Texas, who had seen Malmanger’s resume, reached out to her about an opportunity to pursue a job that introduced her to Salesforce. 

“As soon as I started using Salesforce, I fell in love with it and said, ‘I want more,’” Malmanger said.

Salesforce programs supports veterans and military spouses with training, funding

Each year, thousands of veterans like Malmanger transition into the civilian workforce. While they have valuable skills — including agility, leadership, and teamwork — many face challenges in finding employment. In addition, military spouses are unemployed and underemployed at high rates.

Salesforce has a longstanding commitment to the military community, and empowering the workforce of the future with the skills they need for future success. 

A cornerstone of these efforts is Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, and Salesforce Military, a free program that helps members of the military community access training and get hired by Salesforce partners and customers. So far, 65,000 veterans and military spouses have joined Salesforce Military to learn new skills. Salesforce also has dedicated resources to training hiring managers on how to hire military talent and has created external resources for companies to hire and create military-friendly workplaces. 

Today, the company is committed to providing 80,000 members of the military community with access to learning Salesforce skills and career opportunities in the Salesforce ecosystem by 2026.

Today, the company is committed to providing 80,000 members of the military community with access to learning Salesforce skills and career opportunities in the Salesforce ecosystem by 2026. As part of this ongoing pledge, Salesforce recently distributed $300,000 in grants and sponsorships to seven nonprofits in the U.S. and U.K. that equip veterans and military spouses with in-demand job skills. 

Forging a new path with the help of community

When Malmanger started working in her first role in the Salesforce ecosystem, she found out about Salesforce Military and immediately signed up. 

“I felt like I was part of a group again like in the military, where everyone helps each other out,” she said. “I could chat with other military members and spouses going through the same issues and challenges.”

Malmanger dove head-first into beefing up her capabilities and skills on Trailhead, eventually earning 15 Salesforce certifications. As a gamer in her spare time, she enjoyed the gamified learning process. “There’s motivation to learn, get certified, and put it on your resume,” she said. “It helped me advance my career.”

Malmanger credits the Trailblazer and Salesforce Military communities with helping her stay up-to-date on best practices, meet and network with others, and explore new roles in the ecosystem. She went on to work as a software engineer at a healthcare company and a Salesforce consultant. Now, she works at Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior solution architect, after a fellow member of the Trailhead community encouraged her to apply for a role at the company.

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Salesforce and the community it has — maybe I’d still be doing data entry somewhere,” she said. “Being able to switch roles and try different things within the ecosystem has been great.”

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Salesforce and the community it has — maybe I’d still be doing data entry somewhere. Being able to switch roles and try different things within the ecosystem has been great.

Malmanger has also been mentoring new Salesforce Military members and giving back to other veterans who have been in her shoes. Through chatting about her career journey and providing feedback on their resumes to better target specific roles, Malmanger hopes to spare them the roadblocks she once encountered. She believes that the military community has a unique set of skills that can benefit the private sector, including adaptability and resilience. 

“We’re used to change, so that doesn’t affect us,” she said. “In today’s world, everything is constantly evolving, so we have to be able to adapt and shift paths often.”

Continuous learning is key in the age of generative AI

Now, Malmanger is using Trailhead to learn about the latest innovations in artificial intelligence, including recently completing the AI Associate certification

“I’m looking forward to implementing the products coming out, like Einstein Copilot, and I’m excited to learn more” she said. “I’m trying to do as many trails as possible, because I know we’re just scratching the surface with AI — there’s going to be a lot more to come.”

Unlocking new career opportunities with Salesforce

Malmanger encourages veterans and their spouses looking to make the leap into the tech sector to learn about the Salesforce ecosystem. 

“If more military members and spouses knew about Salesforce, opportunities would just open for them,” she said. “You can work from home, spend time with your family, and gain all this wonderful experience.” 

Malmanger’s advice for those getting started is to leverage the welcoming Salesforce network. “Don’t be shy to reach out to people,” she said. “You may not know them, but the community is wonderful. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll connect you to someone who does. An individual can achieve a lot, but when we unite as a community like Salesforce, the potential is endless.”

Learn more

  • Skill up on AI learning on Trailhead
  • Learn more about Salesforce Military and Salesforce’s commitment to veterans
  • Read an interview with Salesforce equality group Vetforce’s President
  • Learn how to create create military-friendly workplaces here
  • Read more about Salesforce’s recognition on the 2023 Military Times Best for Vets: Employers list here
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