“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the next time.”
Erica’s belief in this dictum served as a fundamental motivation to face all the hurdles that came her way. From an HR Assistant at Cadence Design Systems to VP at Salesforce Community, her journey serves as an inspiration to every girl who aspires to be successful in Salesforce.
Let’s know more about her journey, challenges she faced and aspirations in her own words. Below is the Q&A I had with Erica that motivated me a lot. I hope it’ll have a similar effect on everyone who’ll read too.
How did you start your career?
I got a degree from a university in Human Resources & Organizational Design. I had always thought I wanted to be a psychologist and realized quickly that it wasn’t for me after a few classes. So I picked Human Resources since it seemed like the psychology of Business. I took my first job as an HR Assistant at a major Semiconductor company called Cadence Design Systems in the heart of Silicon Valley.
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?
At my first job, I used PeopleSoft and quickly became the resident expert on how to use it among my fellow HR Assistants. I created laminated cheat sheets and taped them to my computer since it was not the easiest system to use. My fellow HR assistants begged for a copy and then I informally started training them how to use it. A year or so into my career there, they formally moved me into the HR Info Systems group teaching PeopleSoft full time. It was there I learned I had a skill for taking complex systems and making them easy to understand and learn. After a few more jobs at small start-ups, this very same skill set led me to Salesforce where I landed my job as the second Admin Workshop Instructor and Curriculum developer
How do you feel in Salesforce?
Flash forward 16 years and I’m still at Salesforce. That should speak volumes to what a great company it is. I’ve had the opportunity to be in many different roles challenging me the entire time. I’ve taken big risks and I’ve been allowed to fail as well which is key to an amazing and supportive company. With the quality of people at Salesforce and great mentorship, I was able to turn each of my failures into opportunities and some even into large successes. I’ve pretty much grown up at Salesforce – having just gotten married when I started and having both my kids while working there. I’ve also seen the company through major changes all the way from going public in 2002 to many acquisitions. All the while keeping culture and trust at the forefront of importance.
How will you inspire other girls to come into Salesforce?
I have a 13-year-old daughter and Salesforce has been a part of her entire life. She is motivated and inspired by what I do and someday wants to join the Salesforce Ohana. She’s even started her own Trailhead journey and has enough swag to make most in the ecosystem very jealous. Running the Trailblazer Community I am fortunate to be inspired by stories every day and it’s my responsibility to keep elevating women and their stories.
Women are a powerful force in the Salesforce ecosystem and we have many programs designed to help that continue to thrive. We are forging tight ties with our Office of Equality to formalize more projects/programs in the community that strives for equality for all! We are opening up our Salesforce Student Group (https://trailhead.salesforce.com/community/students)pilot to skill up the next generation of leaders in our Salesforce ecosystem. And our Women in Tech Community Groups are growing like crazy with nearly 100 groups in over 12 countries!I also committed recently to run a summer Trailhead hands-on workshop for teens and since I have a teen daughter, you better believe it will be mostly girls…or I should say, young ladies! It’s through a brand new program called BAM – you can read more about it here:
How many certifications do you have in Salesforce?
Fun fact, I wrote the very first Salesforce certification for Partners. This was before we had any certifications for Admins or Devs. I knew more about Salesforce back in the days than pretty much anyone at the company – since my students asked so many questions and I had to research or know every answer! With that said…I did not keep up with my certifications and I know I’m going to catch a lot of flack for that! However, I am a Trailhead Ranger which I’m very proud of!
What are the challenges you have faced or facing?
I have some very exciting challenges in front of me this year. We are working to bring a vision we’ve had for over 5 years to reality – having a unified profile for the Trailblazer Community and Trailhead. This will enable us to serve our community overall in such a more strategic, personal and integrated way! Putting the community member at the very center of what we do with a robust, unified profile is going to be game-changing. This is a complex endeavor and we have the best and brightest working on bringing it to life.
Who inspire you the most?
This is always a tough question for me. If I have to pick just one – I’ll say the courageous, generous, caring, bright, smart, selfless, passionate, dedicated, and mind-blowing members of the SALESFORCE OHANA!
“When women support each other, incredible things happen”.
With this positive note, I am concluding one more tale that I hope will stir all the young ladies out there who endeavor to be successful in Salesforce.