A community that thrives in the face of a crisis isn’t built overnight. When challenges arise, you quickly see whether its foundations are sound.
This was certainly true of Trailblazers, a community of millions working in the Salesforce ecosystem. During the most difficult year in recent memory, this tight-knit community rallied to support one another and, in doing so, showed the world what they were made of.
From Salesforce administrators to CEOs, Trailblazers have been coming together for years to learn new skills, share knowledge and career opportunities, and gather in community groups. When everything changed in 2020, they found new ways of connecting and collaborating. They discovered that, with the right tools, they don’t always need to be “together” to be together.
For example, when Gemma Blezard, a Salesforce architect based in the U.K. saw friends and neighbors losing their jobs, she created a weekly webinar series to help them transition to careers in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Amy Oplinger-Singh, a customer success manager at a Salesforce consulting firm in Ohio, produced an open-source list to help the global community come together in virtual gatherings.
And when Blanca Leon-Carter, a Salesforce consultant in Chicago, shared that relatives who were essential workers were falling ill with COVID-19, other members of the Trailblazer Community rallied to drop off meals and groceries.
Embarking on a new career path amid a pandemic
These actions are a microcosm of what the Trailblazer Community has always been about — helping each other build thriving careers and lifting each other up in both good and difficult times. That support has been critical over the past year, as thousands have been inspired to embark on new career paths in technology.
While the catalyst was one nobody would wish for, the silver lining of the pandemic was that many realized already having a tech background need not be an obstacle to finding a great job in tech, or in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Salesforce has long been committed to democratizing learning and helping people gain entry to in-demand tech jobs. This proved to be an essential lifeline over the past year, when everyone from restaurant servers to hotel workers found their jobs uncertain. At the same time, companies were going digital fast, and hires with valuable tech skills were in demand. Other professionals, like event planners and educators, had to quickly learn how to deliver services virtually. While workers typically need to refresh their skills every 5 or 10 years, in this case, workers had to learn new skills practically overnight.
Luckily, there was help available. Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform, makes it easy for people to build their skills for free from anywhere, and the Trailblazer Community is full of people eager to help others learn and find the same opportunities they did.
Three Inspiring Trailblazers
The stories of how people have used Trailhead and the Trailblazer Community to transform their careers during the pandemic are truly remarkable:
Tony Nguyen (above) was among those who seized the opportunity to remake his career last year. After the pandemic hit, Tony found himself unemployed when the sandwich shop where he worked shut down. He started learning on Trailhead and participated in PepUp Tech, a training program for those underrepresented in the tech industry, earning two Salesforce certifications. By November, he found a job as a Salesforce Administrator at Calabrio, a software company in Minneapolis. Tony didn’t think he had the skills to work in tech, but the Trailblazer Community gave him the confidence he needed to change his life.
Juan Medina, originally from Colombia, was working in construction and car sales when his first child was born. Wanting to make a career change to support his growing family, Juan signed up for Salesforce’s Pathfinder program, which blends learning on Trailhead with mentorship and coaching on soft skills. Juan graduated just as the pandemic hit, but thanks in part to support from the Trailblazer Community, he landed a job as a Salesforce administrator at a telecommunications company in June 2020.
Rina Karon had spent more than a decade working in the New York fashion industry before the pandemic forced her to re-evaluate her career. Even before Covid hit she had been itching to find a new career path with potential for growth and innovation, and becoming unemployed gave her the push she needed to dive in. Rina joined a Salesforce Administrator Bootcamp, started learning on Trailhead, and engaged with the Trailblazer Community. Eight months later, she’d earned two Salesforce certifications, as an administrator and app builder, and landed a job as a Salesforce administrator at a research firm.
Building the future workforce
Tony, Juan and Rina are among thousands of people who have turned to the Trailblazer Community to reinvent their careers in recent months, and it is our hope that they can serve as inspiration to others.
This robust and connected community is emerging from the past year stronger than ever, ready to help workers all over the world reskill and thrive in the new economy. I am inspired and encouraged by their resilience and ready to see what the future holds for them all.