SG: Let’s get started. Why don’t we start from the beginning? Please tell us about your education/ career before entering the Salesforce ecosystem.
AS: I am a 7x Salesforce Certified Cloud Consultant working as a Salesforce Consulting Partner. I am excited about Salesforce’s backend development. However, I am not new to declarative development. I am overwhelmed to say that before entering the Salesforce ecosystem, I built 11 WordPress websites and several Experience cloud sites and also configured various CRMs (but not Salesforce). I have worked in the business for 15 years, specifically in tech. I worked on five B2B SaaS Go To Market teams and led digital transformation for multiple companies.
I’m a graduate of four universities in two different countries. I am a trained teacher; I taught children for five years and professional adults for 15 years. I hold a Doctoral degree in criminal justice and an MBA from Georgia State University. I am a poet and an artist, and I am an award-winning author of a book called “Turn Your Dreams and Wants Into Achievable SMART Goals!” I hold seven marketing awards and one sales-enablement award.
SG: That’s awesome. We feel privileged to have you around. Now we would love to know the tipping point when you said, “I want to make this change,” and what was the trigger for that?
AS: Thank you. Throughout my career in tech marketing and sales enablement, I saw that Salesforce was either an enabler or a bottleneck. That’s when I decided to get hands-on with cloud-BUILDING instead of cloud-USER, and the reason is my life’s purpose: to encourage, empower, and enable people to do great things.
Now, as a Salesforce Consultant, I get to do this daily.
SG: You achieved many certs along the way. Can you share three things with us?
1. Why do you value certificates?
2. What are the challenges associated with the process?
3. What are your top tips for being successful in cert exams?
AS: I found mentors on Trailhead: I would watch YouTube videos from the Salesforce channel, see the inspiring speakers, find their profiles on Trailhead, reach out, and ask for meetings. Each of them had many-many certs. They mentored me to go after many certifications to learn, challenge myself, and unlock career opportunities.
I started learning Salesforce configuration on May 23rd, 2022 and became 6X Salesforce certified in 108 days. Then, I got hired as a Salesforce Consultant, and in my first few days on the job, I became Marketing Cloud certified, so 7x certified in 141 days of my journey.
Challenges are many, but the mountain is always YOU! The mindset is everything. If you have decided on something, stand by it. Try hard and smart to achieve it. The mindset must be developed, nurtured, and worked on daily.
My tips are countless. I would love to discuss the three key tips. First, be you, do not seek approval from others, they do not understand WHY you are pursuing many certs, and YOU do not NEED to explain yourself. You do YOU! Secondly, understand your WHY… what is driving you? What do you want? Why do you want it? Thirdly, accept the sacrifice. You can’t chill and pursue big goals simultaneously. If you want to pursue big goals, prepare to work your butt off, fail, get up, persevere, and cry often, as well as nap – that is, while you are achieving your milestones. It is BOTH: achievement and tears. You are human, don’t be naive imagining rainbows and unicorns 🦄 The journey is arduous. So, know your WHY!
SG: What do you enjoy most about your work as a certified Salesforce professional?
AS: I love being a Salesforce Consultant because I get to work on many projects with various clients and help them every day by enabling, encouraging, and empowering them to achieve their business goals. I’m so happy I persevered through HUNDREDS of rejections and certification FAILURE.
SG: Time for gratitude!! Finally, is there anyone (individual or company) that you would like to take this opportunity to thank for their role in helping you along your journey? If Yes, what was their role in your success?
AS: I’d like to thank my original mentor Lissa Smith who referred me to many jobs at Salesforce, taught me to think long-term, coached me on meditation and helped me understand that EVERYONE has imposter syndrome. She encouraged me by sending me a Trailblazer hoodie, texts, recommendation letters, and much more. I want to thank my many mentors – the list is very long. I did not succeed alone. The company that played a massive role in my success is saasguru.