Last month I participated in one of the most impressive events I have ever been to: Dreamforce '17!
I sat in the middle of the crowd during former First Lady Michelle Obamas speech. I connected with customers and partners over new product launches, updates and innovations. I met peers from all over the world, and we all rocked out to Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys at Dreamfest. I ended the week by joining customers, employees and partners in a flashmob!
I don't know any other company that could match any of this!
After finishing my Master's in International Management (CEMS) from Stockholm School of Economics and ESADE Business school I was looking for a job in Tech. My job search centered on three areas:
My first encounter with Salesforce was in a university competition which my team won because we had the most entertaining storytelling skills. I was drawn to this company that seemed to look beyond the traditional checklist when evaluating potential employees.
I had my first interview with my current manager at a career forum and only knew about Salesforce, but not about the role of a Solution Engineer. After he told me about the role, showed me pictures of his team all dressed up for Halloween and discussed the volunteering activities he has done through Salesforce, I was sold.
And now, here I am, being part of an amazing team, constantly challenging myself and learning new skills and adding product knowledge to present to our customers!
I knew I wanted to work in tech, because I need to work in an environment that is always changing, where I can learn something new every day and will not get bored after a few months. The role of a Solution Engineer is exactly that: You do get a few weeks of training and then you are the support for your Account Executives. You get to talk to customers, understand their challenges and strategic goals and consult them with regard to the right Salesforce solution.
Every deal is different and you constantly need to understand a new business model, work with a different company culture and show the value of the Salesforce solution to the customer. This is what I love about my job.
But there is way more to it, which brings me to the next part...
From Day one, I was welcomed into the team and the Dublin Ohana by everyone. Many people offered me help whenever they met me and followed through when I happily came back to that offer.
Whenever I visit another office - and believe me there is opportunities to see them - I get welcomed by the local teams. No matter where I go, be it Amsterdam, or London, or Paris, someone will always ask me if I want to join for lunch if they see I am alone. In my Dublin team the spirit is especially great when it comes to competition: Who has the best Halloween outfit or who runs the San Francisco Half Marathon the fastest.
Salesforce is a very fast growing company and you can feel that everywhere. My next job might not exist yet, because new roles get created all the time. Since I joined Salesforce 13 months ago half of my team has moved on to other roles and another five people have joined the team.
There are many opportunities to work on side projects and to constantly develop yourself. You never feel like you are standing still and I love that about my job.
We work in a diverse team and get to not only support our own market, but every now and then jump in to help each other out in different countries.
Yes, I am fortunate enough to have access to great education and learning from different people and cultures from all over the world. But, I did not want to just help a profit making company become more profitable, but actually do something good for others with my education. Therefore, I love the Salesforce philosophy of giving back: Read more about the 1-1-1 model here.
All employees are encouraged to spend 7 days per year on volunteering activities to support others in need. Four colleagues and I decided to go to Kfifan, Lebanon, for a week last May to help in a school for Syrian refugees. It was an amazing experience and also a great reminder of how luckywe are here in the Western world and that we should every now and then question our “luxury” problems.
I've talked a lot about the job and why I love it, but I guess what all of you really want to know is: Who is this person behind those stories?
Let me introduce myself with three examples that summarise me pretty well:
One of my craziest experiences was my job in Inner Mongolia, China. I worked for a Chinese consultancy and got to experience the real Chinese business life from eating all kinds of “interesting” food at dinner with high Chinese businessmen, over dancing to Gangnam Style with the Economic Minister of Inner Mongolia, to being one of two European women in a conference of only Chinese businessmen.
The skills of adapting to new situations and cultures I learned during my time in China are very useful for adapting to different customers and industries when working as a Solution Engineer, no matter in which country you are working.
This is also what happened when a few colleagues and I started a Diversity Taskforce initiative to create more awareness around Solution Engineering at Salesforce. We love our job and want to encourage other people from diverse backgrounds to learn more about Solution Engineering and then apply to open positions.
We are working together with a great team on establishing a mentorship program focused on diversity for Solution Engineers across EMEA, creating content for future candidates to learn more about the job of a Solution Engineer at Salesforce - you might have seen a few of these blog posts and rest assured, more will be coming ;)
And stay tuned for awesome videos that are featuring some of our best Solution Engineers from across EMEA talking about their passions and how to utilise those to be a successful Solution Engineer.
Getting so involved in projects and being persistent and enthusiastic to finish them successfully is something I need to use every day as a Solution Engineer. We can only show and explain solutions to our customers if we have put our head around their objectives and challenges and are then determined to find the right Salesforce solution for them.
And that is what brought me to Dreamforce 2017 and ultimately attending the speech by Michelle Obama.
You might not understand right now why I worked so hard for flying 11 hours to San Francisco, working one week from morning until the evening with a jetlag and then even running a half marathon at 7am in the morning as if sleep was overrated.
But believe me, you will understand it once you have experienced Dreamforce: You are emerging into the #SalesforceOhana together with 170,000 other Trailblazers, collecting Salesforce swag, and learning about the latest technology and developments around Equality. And next to that you get to attend Dreamfest - a free concert for all Dreamforce participants - this year featuring Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys. And as if that wasn't enough, this year Michelle Obama came by and talked about her work around educating and empowering children and young adults from all diverse backgrounds.
Are you finally convinced? Join the #SalesforceOhana