#SalesforceQA | 3 min read
Chris Harvey: Can you give us an overview of your background? How did you come into Salesforce?
Heather Black: I was running a non-profit and started using Salesforce with 10 free licenses which was good. So, had to learn and configure SF and I trained as an admin, senior admin and then consultant and from using it within the non-profit, helped me grow the company to 1.2 million a year and it allowed us to grow whilst helping other charities measure their impact. It was a shift of thinking to how to help other charities use Salesforce
CH: Following on from the above, is that what spurred you to create Economic Change?
HB: I wanted more flexibility and to move out of London, have kids etc so set Economic Change up to run a Salesforce Consultancy and help Non-Profits grow with the help of the Salesforce platform.
CH: Salesforce is becoming known for championing equality and accessibility, what are your thoughts on this?
HB: It’s been good to see how they’ve done it as a company and they take it so seriously which spurs others to do the same, companies need to embrace flexibility with flex hours, home working etc and good to see SF championing that with supporting inclusion, diversity and letting people work flexibly and pushing that out into the world. They started with the 1:1:1 model and they now champion other things like equality and filtering that into the eco-system.
CH: What were your goals to setup Salesforce Supermums?
HB: The reasons I started Supermums was firstly being a mum myself, creating a platform for other mums and dads to breach into this eco-system in a way that suits their situation, get more talent into the eco-system as there is a skills gap which needs to be addressed. Being from a training background I knew how to make it work and working with the charities we worked with it gives them a more flexible, cost-effective solution to get the most out of their Salesforce instances. We work with charities of all sizes from small all the way up to enterprise. All our Supermums deliver volunteer hours to charities to work with the consultancy to do parts of the build and support the implementation on projects. We currently have over 120 trainees on the programme now and it gives us bandwidth to support more charity projects.
CH: What advice would you have for professionals to ensure they can keep up in this ever-evolving ecosystem?
HB: The main thing is to work with teams that you can learn from and surround yourself with the right people. Pay for training, gain work experience that supports your journey and take full advantage of Trailhead to keep up to date, use Salesforce accelerators and keep up with certs as they are so important to showcase your skills.
CH: If you could give yourself some advice when you first started your Salesforce journey, what would you say?
Work alongside an experienced consultant or mentor to accelerate your success. When I started out I did the training and did the build work myself, which was great to get the hands on the experience, but I did end up reworking and redoing things as I learn’t more and I could have saved time and money by getting it right first time.
CH: What are some of the key challenges that Salesforce professionals need to overcome in this increasingly digital world?
HB: It’s a competitive marketplace so keep up with learning and certifications etc, it can be overwhelming as there’s so much to learn. So, in my opinion I think people should carve out a niche within Salesforce and become an expert in that particular area.
CH: Do you perceive there to be a skills gap in the Salesforce world?
HB: I honestly do, there just isn’t enough talent to service the growing need for companies to build Salesforce at the moment. We need to get more people trained up and into the sector because originally it was hard to get trained up and it cost money which has compounded the issue and in my opinion one of the reasons Salesforce introduced Trailhead to give more people access to the training free of charge and grow the eco-system. This is definitely one of the reasons there has been a gap and people running through Trailhead it is still hard for them to get the relevant project experience to push their career forward and is one of the reasons I started Supermums which helps people get over that hurdle and plug that gap. Also, I feel people outside the eco-system need to be made aware of all the opportunities there are within Salesforce.
CH: How do you think the disparity in women in tech can be addressed and how can we improve going forward?
HB: They have initiatives going on in Universities and increasing the apprentice model and the Salesforce PR teams are targeted on this and we are helping them get this message out to the wider world outside of Salesforce. My keynote at the World Tour is going to focus around this and will be working with Salesforce to get this initiative out to new audiences that need to know about the exciting work opportunities.