Hello everyone, I'm Jane Noon — a Solutions Engineer in the Enterprise Business Unit, Salesforce UKI. Two years ago, I joined Salesforce after returning from maternity leave with my youngest son. I've got two boys, ages 5 and 2.5, and I work full-time at Salesforce – both of which are the hardest and best jobs I've ever had.
The path to a Salesforce Solution Engineer has been ... meandering. If you'd told my newly-graduated-from-uni self that I'd end up working in enterprise software, I would have laughed!
So how did I get here? Well, I love understanding how people think, work and live. After receiving a degree in Cultural Anthropology (no, it's not the same as Archaeology) I became a secondary school teacher, then an analyst for a private research institute, and then I moved into software. I spent 10+ years in HR technology before moving to Salesforce.
Though it seems like a random string of career “hops,” there's actually some common threads. I love people. It's my passion to find creative solutions that improve the lives of people from all different backgrounds.
I love being an SE. Why? I get to do something different every day — from a customer discovery workshop, to a demo build, to a value proposition. I'm always learning — new technology, new industry information, new techniques. I love “solutioning” — understanding a customer's business and technical challenges and then creating solutions that will drive business change for them.
I'm not a “technical” SE (some of us are, some aren't). I can't code much past !Hello World!. But that's the great thing about Salesforce — we all bring different strengths to the table. My anthropology and ethnography training influences customer discovery, and my creativity helps to develop unique solutions for our customers. My passion for one of our core propositions - Employee Engagement – I attribute to my 10+ years in tech.
Being an SE at a Salesforce is often likened to being a “Quarterback.” It's a role of orchestration and strategy. Our goal is to create a unified customer vision across industry, product, proposition and platform. I've certainly never been a quarterback, but I can assure you, the skills of a working mum are pretty useful here! Creating empathy maps, understanding individual agendas against the broader picture, and juggling resources under tight timelines. It's all a day in the life!
In my first interview at Salesforce, they asked, “Why Salesforce?” I responded, “I want to work for the 'A team'”. Being an SE at Salesforce is unlike anywhere else. You're surrounded by a team of incredibly intelligent, capable, innovative and motivated people. At Salesforce, innovation is at the core of everything we do. The spirit of innovation influences how we work both internally and externally — new presentation methods and design tools, creating value propositions, and more.
In a lot of companies, this would cause burnout and turnover. But what makes Salesforce different is the “Ohana” — our cultural essence.
Expectations are high, but there's an incredible level of support – from individuals, senior management, peers, and supporting functions. You only need to ask for help and five people will jump in, regardless of seniority. Feedback is taken seriously, and changes are made to help create the most supportive environment possible.
Flexibility is another hallmark of the Salesforce Ohana. Being a working mother carries a unique set of challenges. The flexibility and support at Salesforce enables and empowers me to embrace this full time, demanding position (and my husband works in an equally demanding tech career).
There's a big focus on being your “best self”, whomever that may be. I'm incredibly proud to work for a company that is so focused on diversity, equality and wellness. It's hard to talk about our Ohana without sounding like a late-night infomercial, but it's true. I've never seen anything like it.
Sometimes it can be challenging, I'm not going to lie. One of the biggest challenges is that I find that my brain is “full” to the point of “leaking”! Two years in, and I still often feel like I'm riding a steep learning curve. Our technical landscape is immense and requires an in-depth understanding of industry functions and challenges. Combine that with “general mum functions”: from remembering the tae-kwon-do uniforms and the field trip slips, to wondering whether we're creating enough opportunities for critical thinking and creativity with our kids....
It can be a lot to take on. But Salesforce's flexibility makes the logistical challenges less cumbersome. I've learned to not over-promise my time and capabilities. The great thing about a career at Salesforce is that it's a marathon, not a sprint, and I know that when I do have the time and space, new and exciting opportunities are there.
I love technology and am fascinated by how it's changed the way we live. But I believe in a balance between the digital and analog life and strive to achieve this balance, as well as model good digital habits to my young children.
Being outdoors is a hugely important part of our family life. We've been hiking, cycling and camping with our kids since before they could walk. To benefit more from the outdoor life, we recently moved out to the countryside. Now our weekends are mostly spent tromping around the forests and seaside of East Sussex.
I also enjoy a bit of creative outlet, whether it be painting a mural for the kids' playroom or building furniture or making my own jewelry. I love to make – its the perfect antidote to my high-tech life.
Know someone who’d be the perfect addition to the #SalesforceOhana? Click here.