Well it finally happened. I failed a Salesforce exam. My first failure other than a few maintenance exams back in the day. I had thought about canceling my exam the night before, I knew I wasn’t quite ready. But in following my own advice, I wanted to keep the date. If I failed, I failed…so be it. I’d learn something from the experience either way.
Once I started the exam my my suspicions were confirmed...I wasn't ready. Things like which features are only available in Heroku Enterprise, and why you would want to use Heroku Redis instead of Postgres left me scratching my head.
Here was how I fared on my first attempt:
What a rookie mistake! Based on my score I hadn’t focused enough on the content (Heroku Enterprise) that was weighted the heaviest. How did I manage to do this? I know better….right?
Well, as it turns out, that there were a few core reasons why I came up short in the most important topic on the exam. The first is that Heroku Enterprise is not available to get hands-on with. So if you haven’t worked in an org that uses this version, you can’t get your hands on it. The second (and most important) reason was that I didn’t have a good enough scaffolding to hang all the different pieces of knowledge I was trying to understand. The Trailhead trailmix for the Heroku Designer exam is essentially a lot of links to the Heroku developer docs. Since they are so detailed, I was getting lost in the weeds without seeing the big picture concepts.
In studying for my retake, I was able to create a framework for me to truly understand the different aspects of Heroku, including Heroku Enterprise. Here’s what I learned:
Sometimes the stars align in Salesforce certification land. That perfect moment when you’re studying for an exam and prepping for a project related to that exam all at the same time. It happened to me during my first certification of 2019.
If you’ve been following along on my #JourneyToCTA, you know that I spent the majority of 2018 earning both my Application Architect and System Architect certifications. You can read about how I became a Certified System Architect here.
As you’d expect, I was a bit burnt out going into 2019. After such a rigorous study schedule with specific deadlines, I was having a really hard time wrapping my head around how to get started studying for the CTA board. I knew it would be a long ramp up (6 months plus) and the long time frame and enormous amount of content was completely overwhelming me.
Luckily, I realized that I could leverage the Mobile Architecture Designer exam as a nice bridge between the domain certs and my CTA prep. Plus, I would be able to apply my study to my upcoming project in the real world. Win, win.
Now on to the real reason you’re here. How I studied for the exam and my take aways after passing on my first attempt!
About The Exam
As most people would recommend, the first stop for studying should be the exam guide. According to the guide, here is how the exam is weighted.
Mobile Strategy and Design: 83%
Mobile Security: 17%
Unlike most Salesforce certification exams, the scope of the content on this one is rather narrow. You might think that makes this exam an easy one to pass. However, there are a lot of non-Salesforce specific concepts, so if you’re like me and don’t come from a computer science or technical background, it might take some time to get all the new jargon in order. But if you’re also like me (a nerd at heart) you’ll find the new technical terms fun to learn!
Resources I Used To Study
* Remember to always use quizlet at your own peril. It is community driven content so not all the answers may be correct. However, I found this particular set to be pretty good.
What you Need To Know to Pass
Coming off the Identity & Access Designer Exam I grasped the concepts of authentication and authorization and using IdP vs SP initiated SAML flows, but studying for the Mobile Architecture Designer exam while working on a custom mobile app project is how I finally understood the application of these concepts.
I heard through the grapevine this Spring that Salesforce is thinking about retiring the Mobile Solutions Architecture Designer exam. I think that would be a huge mistake. Coming off the Identity & Access Designer Exam I grasped the theoretical aspect of authentication and authorization and using IdP vs SP initiated SAML flows, but studying for the Mobile Architecture Designer exam while working on a custom mobile app project is how I finally understood the application of these concepts.
In general, I thought it was a really great exam to study for. I learned a TON. That said said, many of the study materials are quite out of date. I truly hope that Salesforce invests in refreshing the content instead of completely scrapping this cert. If you come from a developer background, you’ll likely find this an easier exam to pass, but you do not need to be a developer to be successful on this one.
This was my third TrailheaDX. For those not familiar, Salesforce launched the TrailheaDX conference in 2016 as a companion to Dreamforce. When it was first launched it was focused primarily on developer content but over the years it has shifted to include content for admins and app builders. And this year, the conference expanded to include architect content!
I was lucky enough to be involved in the planning of the architect track for the conference along with the other co-leads of Ladies Be Architects, current CTAs and some key Salesforce staff. You can read more Architects @ TDX19 here. But this blog is about my crazy journey leading up to conference this year.
To my surprise, about two months before TDX19 I received a note from Zayne Turner asking for us to have a phone call to catch up. I’ve known Zayne for several years. But we don’t talk outside of conferences and work very often, so it was a bit unusual for her to ask me to have a phone chat with her. And at the last minute she invited Christophe Coenraets to the call. In case you aren’t aware, Christophe is Principal Developer Evangelist at Salesforce, and kind of a big deal. I was utterly perplexed and also very curious about what we would be talking about.
During the call, Zayne and Christophe let me know that I was at the top of the list to be featured at TDX for my work with the company I work for, Boston Scientific, and also my work in the community. After a series of calls with Salesforce staff, and some major finger-crossing on my side, it was confirmed that I would be featured in a Salesforce led demo at the KEYNOTE AT TDX. Crazy, right?
And to add something even more unreal, I found out that Salesforce wanted to make a Trailblazer video featuring me. WOW. I never expected this to happen.
To film the amazing Trailblazer films that you see on the “big screen” or online, Salesforce employs a Hollywood-style film crew (literally 14 people came to my house to film!) It was absolutely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And it was all a bit of a blur. The filming took place over two days. The first day I went to a film studio in Boston to record my main interview, then the second day the crew came to my house and then to my office. Luckily my partner captured a view pictures in between the filming of me playing viola, “working” on my computer, feeding my dog Parker, and drinking coffee…all multiple times to capture that perfect shot.
I also realized how difficult it can be to navigate proper approvals and sign-offs at a large company. I work in IT at Boston Scientific, and trying to find out who has the authority to approve a 14 person film crew to come onsite was not an easy task. And making sure I had the right marketing and legal sign-offs for the video and demo was no walk in the park either. There were definitely days where I thought the TDX feature might fall through. But with persistence and a bit of patience, plus the wonderful help of Salesforce, it all worked out.
Leading up to the event a few of my friends and colleagues in the community who knew what I had been up to mentioned to me that they thought I might be getting a golden hoodie. I won't lie, the thought had crossed my mind as well, especially since I’m familiar with the Salesforce “formula” of events. But I tried not to get my hopes up very much.
As the time passed it was hard to keep my excitement in check. Especially as my video was screened at Trailblazer Day to a focus group of Salesforce influencers. A big thank you to everyone who gave feedback during that initial screening! The film team definitely listened and improved the video based on what you shared.
I had learned in the weeks leading up to TDX19, that they would be showing two other films during the keynote. RAD Women Code, the community group that I credit with starting me on my technical journey with Salesforce, would be highlighted along with the shoe company Asics. I also found out that I wouldn’t need to speak or get up on stage. Which was a bit of a relief, but I also figured that this meant that I wouldn’t be getting any additional recognition during the event. I tempered my expectations accordingly, even when my event contacts at Salesforce asked me for my t-shirt/hoodie size.
It was finally the day of the keynote. Some of the amazing Salesforce marketing staff I had been working with arranged for me and Angela to sit together and get escorted to our assigned seats early. We snapped a picture with Parker before the event (unreal!) and settled into our seats. I had approved an image that Salesforce warned me would be used during the event, but seeing it up on the screen in the keynote room still was a shock.
The Salesforce event folks told me that after the demo portion of my feature Parker would acknowledge me and I should just stand up and wave. Pretty easy I figured. Also, I realized that was probably the nail in the coffin for my golden hoodie hopes, but I was so excited to just be there and see the other Trailblazer videos. When the lights went down for the keynote intro video I grabbed Angela’s hand, and whispered, “omg is this one of our videos?” I guess the nerves were finally kicking in.
The content of the keynote went by in a blur. We learned about the new Salesforce Blockchain product, saw Leah McGowen-Hare and Zayne Turner absolutely rock the keynote stage and we all definitely coveted Sarah Franklin’s 4-inch bedazzled platforms. I cried during the RAD Women Code film and held my breath while my film screened. After each video, I waited for someone to get the golden hoodie. But no one did. Were they going to skip it this year?
Across the keynote hall I saw a rustling of bags and spied several hoodies. Could it be? Up front at the keynote you can see the presenter slide view, so I peeked at what was next. And it was happening. For the first time ever, three golden hoodies were awarded!
In the Salesforce ecosystem it is never a zero sum game, even when it comes to Golden Hoodies. We all win when we lift one another up.
Parker called all three of us on stage. I was in complete shock. We received our hoodies, snapped selfies with Parker and Sarah, and were swarmed at the end of the keynote with congratulations from all of our friends and colleagues. It was one of the most fantastic experiences I’ve had.
After the keynote I had the opportunity to record two videos for the Salesforce twitter stream before heading back to present three more sessions. The day ended with an incredible private event at the top of Salesforce Tower where we toasted to RAD Women Code and ate the fanciest hors d'oeuvres I’ve ever had. And If the wasn’t enough, I was invited to participate in a meet and greet with Macklemore after the Trailblazer Celebration. The entire two-day experience was rounded out with a private photoshoot with Gemma and Charly in a secret photo studio in downtown San Francisco. What is this life?
The entire event was a reminder for me that in the Salesforce ecosystem it is never a zero sum game. Even when it comes to Golden Hoodies. We all win when we lift one another up.
In February I spoke with a member of the Salesforce team and she told me about an idea she had. A new area at TrailheaDX (TDX) just for current and aspiring architects. I thought to myself, “this could be HUGE”.
But I knew it was still just one of many potential ideas floating around for the event. I was hopeful that it might come together, but tried not to get my hopes up too much. Ideas like this happen a lot, but bringing them into reality can be tough.
A month or so later I was thrilled to learn that an Architect track and lodge were confirmed for TDX. This was huge. Since I started attending Salesforce events 7 years ago, I had not seen an expansion beyond just admin and developer content.
And to my surprise, Charly, Gemma, and I were invited to help contribute to the creation of the content as part of Ladies Be Architects. How cool! The next month was full of plotting and planning with Salesforce staff and current CTAs.
We had a ton of ideas floating around in our communal Quip doc. From an architect game show, to 1-on-1 CTA consults, to a new female architect mascot. Again, I tried to temper my excitement. But nearly all of our ideas were coming to life as the weeks passed by.
The weeks leading up to TDX19 were full of more and more good (and overwhelming news). Ladies Be Architects would be presenting one session three times, I would be presenting twice with the amazing Gillian Bruce and I would be leading a panel focused on diversity in the architect career path. Before I knew it, I was committed to 8 sessions at TDX. Oh my!
As if that wasn’t enough, we found out that the popularity of some of the Architect sessions was so large that we needed to add “repeat” sessions and move some to larger rooms. It was completely unbelievable how much demand there was for architect content. Not to mention that the post-TDX architect bootcamps were completely sold out.
TDX week was finally upon us. This would only be the second time that Gemma, Charly and I would all be together in the same place (the first was Dreamforce last year). I couldn’t wait to see my ladies.
The day before the conference we were lucky enough to get a private tour of Salesforce tower. We went up to the Ohana floor and also to floor 12 where the Trailhead team sits and all the magic happens. Oh, and I had the most amazing latte I’ve ever had at the Ohana café. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend grabbing a coffee there.
The first day of TDX was a bit of a blur. We had our first session at 8:15 AM, and before that, I had committed myself to two (!) breakfasts. After our first session I had to run to the keynote where I was featured and got to meet Parker Harris and Sarah Franklin. I have an entire post dedicated to that experience , because it was absolutely once-in-a-lifetime.
While I wasn’t able to attend many sessions that I wasn’t presenting in, I did make sure to show up for one important Architect Theater presentation. In case you missed it, the amazing Domenique Sillett, Senior Creative Director at Team Trailhead, introduced a new Salesforce character at TDX this year. I saw an early preview but was sworn to secrecy. I’m so glad I can rave about her now.
The elephant is in the room and she's a total boss.
- Domenique Sillett
Ruth is the newest addition to the Trailhead family! Ruth's pronouns are She/Her. She is an the mascot for all Salesforce Architects and replaces her processor, Meta Moose. Her favorite superbadge is Advanced Apex Specialist and she is absolutely adorable. Ruth was inspired by a real-life powerhouse—a woman that Dominique met in Kenya who was an amazing Traiblazer.
It sounds a bit silly since there were so many amazing things that happened at TDX (ahem…golden hoodie) but the introduction of Ruth is what finally got me completely emotional. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with elephants. I have an elephant tattoo, have elephant themed stuff all over my house, and have traveled to Africa and Asia to see elephants. So seeing Ruth introduced to the ecosystem as an Architect mascot seemed like the universe telling me that I am doing what I’m meant to be doing.
More than anything, this year’s TrailheaDX made me so excited for the future of the Salesforce Architect career path. I’m honored to be doing this work and helping others pursue their architect journeys. And now the secret is out. The elephant is in the room, and she’s a total boss.
My pursuit of the two Domain Architect certifications began three years ago when I earned my App Builder certification. At that time I didn’t know that I would be climbing up Mount CTA. It wasn’t until TrailheaDX18 that I set my sights on that goal (you can read all about it here). At first I thought I would start down the System Architect path, but after hearing many words of warning about how tough those exams were, and realizing that I simply didn’t know enough at that point, I decided to shift gears.
After TDX18 I had earned my Application Architect Certification, and had one of the qualifiers for the System Architect Certification already under my belt (I earned Platform Developer 1 previously). After TDX I used my free exam voucher to pursue the Development Lifecycle and Deployment Designer cert (you can read all about that here). Spoiler alert: I passed this exam the first time.
In the months that followed I earned a couple “fun” certs, Advanced Admin and Marketing Email Specialist. But realized I needed to buckle down to meet my personal goal of passing the remaining two exams, Integration Architecture and Identity and Access Designer, by the end of the calendar year. Luckily I had signed up for a Salesforce Integration training in San Francisco that was being held in July. I also was invited to attend the CTA 601 session in San Francisco (more on that in a future post) at the same time, so I had a schedule full of activities that would hopefully prepare me to crush these final two exams.
Integration Architecture Designer Exam
After the integration training I felt a lot more comfortable with the core terminology and patterns. If you're looking for a quick primer, the “quintessential” Salesforce doc regarding Integration, in my opinion, is the Integration Patterns and Practices. This doc outlines the integration patterns available and when to use them. To pass the exam it is key to understand the following patterns:
The documentation is good, and even includes a table of when to choose which pattern. I definitely recommend spending a lot of time reviewing all of this information.
But the thing that really helped me understand integration patterns more fully was to think about something seemingly simple. What is an Inbound integration vs. Outbound integration? Again, it sounds straightforward and simple. But knowing the answer to this simple question can help you eliminate a number of “wrong answers” on the Integration Designer exam. Why? Because there are certain patterns that can be ruled out if the scenario calls for an inbound integration (you don’t initiate it, an external system does) or an outbound integration (you initiate it from SFDC). I created this table to help me identify which patterns can be used depending on outbound vs. inbound and also synchronous v asynchronous integrations. It really helped me study and also pass the exam.
In addition to the integration course and the Salesforce Docs, I used the following resources to study:
The test date for my exam arrived relatively quickly, and I hunkered down in my home office to take the test. As a side, note, I take nearly all of my exams at home as opposed to a testing center. All you need is an external camera and you can take an exam anytime you want from the comfort of your own home. If you have any questions on the process I would be happy to chat with you about it. I highly recommend it. The only downsides are that you can’t use any pencil or paper (in the testing centers they give you a few sheets) and sometimes the testing proctor will interrupt you to adjust your camera…this can break your concentration/annoy the HECK out of you.
Back the the exam.
Overall I was surprised at how SHORT the questions were. The Data Architecture and Sharing and Visibility exams had the longest questions I have experienced on a Salesforce exam. And since I knew the Integration exam was supposed to be very tough, I had braced myself for that same sort of mental fatigue. But the questions were luckily very concise.
As I mentioned previously, knowing outbound vs inbound helps eliminate A LOT of answers. Also knowing asynchronous vs. synchronous integrations and how that might effect data refreshing on a page came up a fair amount as well as what type of sandbox you need for which types of integration activities.
Despite feeling like there were a few test questions without clear answers, I passed the first time! I also started to see the gaps I had that I needed to fill if I wanted to pass the Identity exam.
There were several questions about certificates and security and monitoring. These are things I jotted down to focus on in the coming month.
Identity and Access Designer Exam
Next to the final beast. Identity and Access Designer. This exam is known as the most challenging of all the Designer exams because it involves subject matter that most Salesforce practitioners don’t deal with every day. And for a non-computer science degree/accidental admin, a lot of the terminology like OAuth and SAML were relatively new to me. And to make matters worse, a few years ago there were not very many resources available that were accessible to newbies. Luckily (shameless plug) Ladies Be Architects created a TON of great content during 2018 that I used to pass the Identity and Access Designer exam.
The key topics that you need to understand in order to pass this exam include:
Here are the other study resources I used to pass the Identity and Access Designer Exam:
I can’t underestimate HOW MUCH I benefited from watching all the youtube videos created by Ladies Be Architects (featuring Charly Prinsloo's famous OAuth webinairs and also through the study group led by Natalya Murphy). Because I’m a bit of a crazy person, I would listen to this youtube channel on 2X speed when I was tired of reading or other study. There are some awesome conversations that go way beyond the documentation or old Dreamforce recordings. I especially recommend video #10 Which includes a very educational/interesting discussion on delegated authentication.
The day before I took the exam I almost rescheduled it. But since it was December 28th already (where did the year go?) I decided that I would keep the date, knowing that it might just be my first attempt at learning. But i might pass and achieve my personal goal.
Overall, the test wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Like the Integration exam, the questions were relatively concise. Two items that I was very glad I studied were federated vs delegated authentication (I personally had several questions about delegated authentication) and Salesforce Identity Connect. Remember: Identity Connect is JUST for integrating SFDC with Microsoft Active Directory. Before I hit the submit button, I took a deep breath. And before I knew it, I was a Certified System Architect!
I had passed the beast of the Identity and Access exam the first time and I had achieved my personal goal of becoming an Application and System Architect before the end of the year.
The response we received from the inaugural Salesforce Architect Community Survey was tremendous. I am so pleased to share the feedback of 280 of our community members from more than 25 countries with you.
I know, I know, everyone else is posting their Dreamforce 2018 recap. And I’ll be doing that too in a bit. But right now I am LONG overdue in sharing my recap of Forcelandia, and I’m tired of seeing my reminder to myself to write this post. So here goes.
Back in August I went to Denver to attend the 2nd annual WITness Success conference (you can read my recap of that wonderful event here). At WITness success I co-presented a session with Charly Prinsloo about the #JourneytoCTA, and it went so well that she invited me to co-present with her again at Forcelandia. I’d never been to Portland, and I really enjoyed my first community event experience, so I immediately started scheming on how I could fit this trip in. Luckily, I was going to end up being on the west coast for a work meeting earlier in the week, so it wasn’t too much farther to fly up the coast.
The day before the conference, as I was waiting for my Uber to take me to LAX to fly to Portland, I got a call from Charly. I knew something was up immediately, and she told me that she was sick and wouldn’t be able to make it to Forcelandia. Eek!
I decided to go forward as a solo presenter, rather than cancel our session. But I had to think through how I would make our duo presentation a solo talk. I had time to think, because my flight was delayed. I landed in Portland just after midnight and headed straight to the Airbnb I was sharing with the amazing Kristi Campbell, who met for the first time at WITness Success.
Forcelandia is one of the only, if not the only, Salesforce community event focused on curating top notch developer-centric content. It’s in it’s 4th year, and is held at Mcmenamins Kennedy School, a former elementary school turned eccentric hotel. It reminded me a lot Hogwarts, but with a more confusing floor plan.
The event itself was fantastic. Tons of brilliant Salesforce folks were presenting and/or in attendance, including Kevin Poorman, David Liu, Steven Herod, Carolyn Grabill, Zayne Turner and Irena Miziolek, just to name a few.
Highlights included Leslie Gestautas singing the Forcelandia Fight Song, Zayne Turner making an epic entrance during the Opening Keynote, the Women in Tech breakfast featuring CTA Irena Miziolek, and learning a ton from Melissa Hansen during her amazing presentation on Lightning Component Communication.
My session went well, but it was a lot different than the WITness Success presentation. It was a smaller room, and my energy alone is quite different from the energy Charly and I had together. That said, a lot of people came up to me after I was finished and told me that they enjoyed my session a lot, and that it felt like a safe space. On way back to Boston I decided that I needed back-up for the 40 minute breakout session I would be doing at Dreamforce. Luckily, two of my favorite Arch Ladies agreed to join me. Stay tuned to hear about how Ladies Be Architects took Dreamforce!
Last month I attended the second annual WITness Success conference as an attendee and also as a first time speaker. In case you’re not familiar with it, WITness Success is a community-led Women in Tech (WIT) event for the worldwide Salesforce ecosystem that aims to equip attendees to excel in their careers. This year’s conference was held in Denver the weekend after Daydreamin’ at 5280.
I started my trip to the Mile High City on about three hours of sleep. The night before I went to see Taylor Swift, because…priorities. And in order to arrive in Denver with enough time to participate in the first sessions of the day I had to catch a 5AM flight, which meant leaving my house at 3AM. Needless to say, I was tired.
When I landed in Denver, I headed to the hotel and dropped my bags before heading up to registration area to meet Gillian Bruce and record a segment for the Salesforce Admins Podcast. I had an absolutely lovely conversation with Gillian and we both enjoyed a pretty jaw-dropping view of the city. Our selfie definitely didn’t do it justice!
After the podcast recording I joined a few trailblazers for a pre-conference lunch. We finished up just in time to head back to the hotel for the first sessions of the conference. I knew I had chosen my session wisely since I got to hear from both Chris Duarte and Leah McGowen-Hare about the new Be A Multiplier (BAM) program and there were free cookies AND t-shirts.
Still running on three hours of sleep, I went back to my room to change and recharge before the evening’s events started. With a bit more spring in my step, I headed downstairs for the Allies Dinner, hosted by Accenture. In addition to a great dinner the event featured an incredible panel hosted by Brigid Warmerdam and featuring Jessica Murphy, Adam Olshansky and Guillermo Pedroni. All the speakers were great, but Jessica Murphy brought down the house, speaking about the Shine Theory and sharing important statistics about the wage gap as it pertains to black and brown women. Did you know that on average, black women make 65 cents for every dollar that white men make? And latina women only make 59 cents on the dollar?
Day two of the event was even more of a whirlwind. Luckily I was able to get a full night’s sleep before diving back in. First thing in the morning I met with my co-presenter Charly Prinsloo, co-lead for Ladies Be Architects, for the first time. Her flight to Denver had been delayed the previous day, so we were squeezing in some quick presentation prep before the Opening Keynote. Luckily, we are both incredibly passionate about encouraging other women to pursue the #JourneyToCTA, so we knew that our session would be a success as long as we spoke from the heart.
The Opening Keynote was incredibly powerful. Leah McGowen-Hare is always a fantastic speaker, but hearing her talk about moving from Grit to Grace was beyond what I had expected. After the keynote I ran the mic for questions from the audience, then headed to hair and makeup for a Trailblazer video clip and also for my first Trailblazer hoodie photoshoot. I had a blast with both, and really commend the Salesforce team for making the experience fun and efficient.
After lunch I took a quick break before reviewing my slides one last time and heading to the room where our session would be held. I didn’t realize it until then, but we would be presenting in the same room where the opening keynote was held. It was not a small room! Luckily, we had an incredible turnout for our session, “Go for It – The Path to Becoming a Certified Technical Architect”. Not only in number, but the excitement and interest of each of the attendees was really incredible. Charly and I spoke about the logistics of getting the CTA certification, and also shared details about our individual journeys.
One of the themes throughout the entire conference was the idea that failure is not a bad thing. That we, as women, should embrace our failures and learn from them. Charly and I each shared some of the failures that we have faced on our journeys. And I vowed, in front of the group. that I would be taking the Integration Designer exam by the end of August. I know that holding off announcing that you took an exam, until after you pass it is tempting, but I hope that one day we will all feel comfortable to share the things we’re striving for. Even if that means people will know we fail!
The day ended with a lovely happy hour sponsored by Deloitte. At the event my dear friend Tami Lau was awarded the Tami Esling award, for all the work that she does in the community. I was in charge of making sure Tami made it to the happy hour. Luckily, it all went off without a hitch.
Sunday morning after brunch I headed to the 1up, a classic arcade, where I played one of my favorite rare arcade games. As I headed to the airport to fly to San Francisco for my next bit of Salesforce related travel, I reflected on what an amazing experience WITness success truly was. It was the first time that I felt deeply connected to the #SalesforceOhana in person, and it was one of my most successful public speaking experiences to date. The presentation went so well in fact, that Charly invited me to join her at Forcelandia to do the same talk again.
Another stop on my “Summer of Salesforce” tour….why not?
In July I took the train down to New York City for the only East Coast stop of Codey’s Summer Block Party. The weather didn’t allow for an outdoor event, but luckily the Salesforce team had an “in case of rain” venue reserved…just in case. I arrived at the event and was welcomed by the Salesforce staff and had a quick photo op with a few NYC based Trailblazers.
Before I got down to work, I had to get my fill of the fun Salesforce-themed activities, including Platypus Plinko, Jenga, and of course, some Trailhead VR. Let’s just say I’m lucky that I’m better at earning badges than I am at shooting them.
My first job at the block party was to help teach a small group about Salesforce Connect in a hands-on workshop. In just 30 minutes we were able to connect an external database to Salesforce. If you’ve never explored Salesforce Connect, I highly encourage you to take a look this powerful functionality. And in case you were wondering how to get started, there’s a badge for that!
After the hands-on workshop I took the stage to answer some questions and share my “trailblazer story”. I’ve only spoken in front of a crowd like this a handful of times, so it still blows me away when people come up to me after and tell me that they were inspired by what they heard (thank you)!
At this event in particular, my story about how I have transitioned from musician to nonprofit fundraiser to a career with Salesforce seemed to really resonate. I’m so glad I can spread the word about how anyone can make a career on the Salesforce platform…no computer science degree…or any degree…required!
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of recording a recipe for the Lightning App Cookbook. I’d seen the awesome apps built by some of my other Ohana members and was really excited to contribute my own. If you haven’t seen the app cookbook project yet, you should definitely check it out here.
The Salesforce team flew into the Boston office to meet with me and Misty Fierro. The whole team was there when I arrived, so all I had to do was get my mic on and we were ready to roll. This was my first time recording video with the Salesforce team, but luckily they did a really great job of prepping me so I felt very comfortable walking through my Trailblazer story...and of course the story behind my app!
After the video we took some new headshots and captured some fun b-roll, including some scenes of me diagramming my app solution on a whiteboard. A good reminder that I have lots of CTA board prep ahead of me! I also nabbed some cute new Astro stickers.
Stay tuned in the coming months for the final video to drop...hopefully before Dreamforce!
Susannah Kate St-Germain is a 18x certified Colombian-American Salesforce nerd, travel fanatic, and aspiring Certified Technical Architect.