Allison is the perfect example of women empowerment. Her journey inrspired by so many people in the community especially the students of PepUp Tech.
Let’s know more about her, challenges she faced and aspirations in her own words. Below is the Q&A I had with Allison that motivated me. I hope it’ll have a similar effect on everyone who’ll read too.
How did you start your career?
When I graduated from college, I thought I wanted to be in Sales and Marketing. I believed that this was the best chance to share my creativity in a business setting. I got a job working Sales and Marketing support for a small company. I had a great deal of fun figuring out how to make the business processes more efficient and setting up the systems to support those processes. After getting promoted to as a Sales position, I realized how much I missed working with systems. When there was an opening for a programmer in the company’s IT department, I jumped on it. I learned to program on the fly. I was surprised to learn that programming is an ideal opportunity to be creative and create efficient processes.
Did you migrate into Salesforce from another technology if you were in another technology so how long you worked on that and what was the reason you enter into Salesforce world?
I worked in Information Technology as a programmer for about ten years before I moved full-time into IT leadership. While running the IT department for a mid-sized manufacturer, the Sales department asked that we find them a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It was then that Salesforce came to my attention. I started with a Quick Start package that had me set up the entire environment. I was absolutely “smitten” with this new system. Right out of the box, I had a full CRM. The investment of time and knowledge began with setting Salesforce up to meet the unique business requirements. I got the chance to attend my first Dreamforce in 2011 less than a year after implementing Salesforce. It was there I learned more about the Platform and I was completely hooked. I wanted to learn more about technology AND the community.
How do you feel in Salesforce?
I am empowered when I am in Salesforce. I can create and mold a seemingly infinite number of applications. All of it is accessible from any internet browser around the globe. How cool is that?!!!!
How will you inspire other girls to come into Salesforce?
Because Salesforce offers free training and a supportive community, there is no better place or time to start your Salesforce journey. There are Girl Develop It classes, Community-led BAM events, and even Student Community Groups forming at colleges. When I was in college, I never dreamed I would have a career in IT. I couldn’t picture myself in my career. However, years later, I realize that I never understood how creative and fulfilling it would be to use technology to solve business problems. I am committed to helping young women discover Salesforce and think seriously about seeing how empowering it is to manage and understand technology.
How many certifications do you have in Salesforce?
I am 9X certified. I plan on climbing the Certified Technical Architect “Mountain”. I have Ladies Be Architects to thank for opening my eyes to this journey. Let’s see where I am in a year. 😉
What are the challenges you have faced or facing?
Like most of us, every day I think I don’t know enough or am not strong enough in a particular topic or skill set. I battle Impostor Syndrome to believe that I really can master new skills and continue to perform at a higher and higher level. But as my good friend, Rachel Park, has said, I let that fuel my desire to learn more and take a chance at trying new approaches.
Who inspires you the most?
I am inspired by so many people in the community especially the students of PepUp Tech. To see how the joy of this technology and the doors of opportunity which have opened to change their lives, is truly humbling. It inspires me to find new ways to share what I learn with the community and support each other, not just in Salesforce, but in life.
Your journey of MVP?
Being named an MVP earlier this year was really a surprise gift. The work I do in the community is really a labor of love. An MVP is truly a servant-leader to the Salesforce Community. We all give our time to the community because we want to help others to continue to grow in it. As an MVP, I have had a chance to attend more events and meet new people in the community that I would not otherwise have had the chance. It is really amazing the number of stories there is the community and how many shining lights there are to guide the Salesforce Community.
How do you contribute to the Salesforce community?
I started out co-leading Girl Develop It classes in my hometown of Chicago. As a result, I became more active in the Community and pushed myself to learn more. This led to me becoming a co-leader of the Women In Technology Salesforce User Group and co-organizer of the WIT Thirsty Thursday video conferences. WIT Thirsty Thursday is a chance for women to join via conference call and video and learn a new topic from where ever they are. Families and pets often make guest appearances! We don’t record the calls so we can make it as safe a space as possible to ask questions and be in the moment.
What are your strengths?
I believe my biggest strength is my ability to relate to others and put myself in their shoes. I regularly draw on that strength when working with people to figure out what kind of an application to create to solve their business issues. It is a great feeling to know you helped someone to make their daily life easier and that they were listened to and own a part of that success.
Your failure, if any?
I struggle with work-life balance. I am coming to realize that most of us are in the same boat. As a mother of a tween daughter, I worry that I am modeling good balance so she can picture herself as a leader and all the other roles she wants in life.