We love showing off the awesome members of our #SalesforceOhana and sharing their inspiring stories. Today we caught up with Principal Solution Engineer Daphne De Backer to get insight into her journey to becoming a SE here at Salesforce. Over to you Daphne...

If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance you're quite interested in innovation and technology, like me. However, I didn’t have this interest until I got in touch with Salesforce.

About 7 years ago I was still working for a Belgian Consultancy firm, 4C Consulting (now a leading Platinum Salesforce Partner in the Benelux) and I took upon the opportunity to switch career path from a Management Consultant towards a Salesforce Consultant/Project Manager.

In order to learn Salesforce, I had to start with the basics, doing a lot of self-study and exercises (at that time there was no Trailhead!) and learning from actual project implementations. The more I learned, the more I realised how powerful the platform is. And from a mere interest, it became a passion.


Why Salesforce?

Considering I was already part of the “Salesforce Community”, I often went to Salesforce events. These events are always a very good occasion to learn about new cloud trends and to listen to testimonials of successful Salesforce adoptions. I’ve always been amazed by how inspiring these events are, and how daring it is for the presenters to go up there on stage and speak in front of hundreds, sometimes even thousands of people. I told myself: “One day I want to be able to do that too!”.

Also, the international character, the driver of innovation and the platform in itself that is truly unique, made me start thinking about a career at Salesforce.

So, armed with hope and courage, I went to the Salesforce Essentials event in Milan in 2015 with the clear purpose to see if they had any open positions. As you can guess, my participation at that event was really a life-changer. I met a few of my current colleagues, and was quite upfront in asking about any openings that would fit my profile.

A few days later, I already had my first interviews for the position of Lead Solution Engineer. The recruitment process is quite thorough and to be taken very seriously. I was impressed by the professionalism, speed and timely follow-up during the process. The more the process continued, the more I was convinced I really wanted to work at Salesforce.

I went the extra mile and the day I signed the contract was one of the happiest days of my life.



Why Solution Engineering?

Joining the Solution Engineering team was very new to me - being a consultant is very different to being in pre-sales. Now, the word “Engineer” might sound a bit scary for those without an engineering background like me (I studied Economics and Marketing). Nevertheless, the meaning of a true Solution Engineer lies exactly in the fact that as an SE you work alongside Account Executives to discover customers' business challenges and create a unique solution prototype to present back to their decision makers, illustrating value and benefits via an engaging story. 

Technical ability is definitely a plus, but not always essential, it’s rather about being able to truly connect with your customer and provide a clear vision for their future. This means, of course, that you have to be on top of the technology solutions that Salesforce offers, but the fun part is that as an SE you can/should explore your creativity in order to delight customers with well-designed and thought-out solution prototypes. 

Being an SE truly allows you to explore different skill-sets, such as creativity, curiosity, patience, trustworthiness, friendliness, confidence, problem solving and overcoming challenges - and this is exactly why I love my job.

Now, almost 2 years later, I’m still convinced that I’ve made the right decision. It’s hard work, some days can be hectic, but you get so much in return. The positive vibe that lives among Salesforce employees, the true spirit of collaboration and giving back to society - we are truly a big Ohana (Hawaiian for family). Even more so, as a Belgian I have the privilege to work and live in Italy, enjoying both the collaboration with a strong and highly-motivated Italian team, and the beauty of this country!

It’s exactly that team work and being surrounded with highly skilled individuals that inspires me to always over-achieve. I recently got promoted to Principal Solution Engineer, but this wouldn’t have been possible without my Manager and Director who have absolute trust in their team and support growth & change.

Here at Salesforce there is a very clearly defined learning cycle and career path, allowing you to focus on the development of the skills needed for, not only the next step in your career, but also the rest of your career at Salesforce.

Learning from this experience I think that, beyond our continuous investment and focus on technology, Salesforce is truly an innovative company that champions equality and diversity, bringing in different perspectives, driving growth and valuable engagement. 

Lastly - for any woman out there keen to pursue a career in Tech - my advice would be: “It’s all about doing, so just do it, believe in it and go for it.”

PS: Did I eventually get on that stage...? Yes, I did!



Quick facts about me

  • I’m Belgian, lived in Brussels, Nairobi, Cardiff, Piacenza, Antwerp, and now near Milan
  • I’ve been in love with the same man for almost half of my life (and I’m not that old)
  • Wine is my weak spot (although studies reveal that one glass of red wine a day is good for the heart and circulatory system)
  • My secret dream is to finish my training as sommelier (well not so secret anymore I guess)


Know someone who’d be the perfect addition to the #SalesforceOhana? Visit our careers site