Meet Mark, pastor turned Salesforce admin
Since I'd been out of the industry for 20 years, it was difficult to find an engineering role.
How did you first get into tech?
It all started when I graduated from university with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and became an engineer. After two years, I made a drastic career shift and moved to the US where I studied to become a Baptist pastor, which is what I have done for the past two decades. The other side to my story is that I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager. I’ve actually published a book on my story called “Hope, Help and Healing for the Depressed”. After some time, I resigned from the church for health reasons. Since I'd been out of the industry for 20 years, it was difficult to find an engineering role. We used the last of our money for our rent payment and I didn’t know what I was going to do from there.
How did Salesforce enter the picture?
A friend of mine owns a business, Fusion Group, and he called to ask if I’d consider working with them to help implement a CRM. I said ok and, after hanging up, promptly went and searched for what “CRM” stood for! I decided to take on the challenge. I had three weeks to prepare before I started work. Apart from a two-minute demo of Salesforce, I hadn’t seen anything before. I started on YouTube watching old Dreamforce sessions for about 50 hours in the first week. Then I stumbled across my old friend Trailhead, which has been a godsend.
What motivated you to learn through Trailhead?
What I was missing was a structured program of learning. Given I had never used Salesforce before, I didn’t even know what I was looking for. I couldn’t believe I was getting all that content on Trailhead for free! I loved that it had hands-on challenges and wasn’t just reading.
How do you make time for Trailhead?
At first I was unemployed which helped time-wise. Now that I’m very busy with my new role, I start my days very early about 6am and in the first few hours I use that time to check on the Trailblazer Community, read some blogs, and do some Trailhead modules as well. If I’m attempting something I haven’t heard about before, then I jump onto Trailhead and do the respective badge so that I can move forward.
I have a new career and a new way of supporting my family that I probably would not have without Trailhead. Trailhead literally saved my life.
What's your biggest #TrailheadWin?
I have a new career and a new way of supporting my family that I probably would not have without Trailhead. Trailhead literally saved my life. Even from a mental health point of view, simply learning something new is beneficial and therapeutic for someone battling depression. I can’t think of a bigger win than that for me and my family.
Which project are you most proud of?
I got the idea from a blog to do a session called “How to learn Salesforce in one day” so I worked really hard at putting that together with Trailhead modules as prerequisites. We held the training day recently and it was a resounding success. It felt like a really great achievement and a good way to give back some of my onboarding learnings as well.
What one thing did Trailhead help demystify for you?
Oh my goodness, do you want a list?! LOL It’s been the core of my whole learning process and still is. One example would be Process Builder. Trailhead gave me the confidence to create my first automated process and it worked the first time!
My personal motto:
"Be good to everyone because everyone is having a tough time."
What advice do you have for new Trailblazers?
Leverage the community and get engaged. I wrote a post on the Success Community about my story and the next day I found all these amazing people commenting on my post saying; “Keep going”, “Kudos”, “You can do it”. It’s very unusual and so touching. Look at the IdeaExchange where you can post ideas and vote on others’ suggestions to have a say on the Salesforce roadmap. How clever is that? Don’t be afraid to have a go at something you can’t do. When you fail you’ve just found another way it can’t be done. I’d also recommend investing time in research. In preparation for this role, I read blogs, checked out different industry newsfeeds, and listened to the ButtonClick Admin Podcast. I’m even discussing an opportunity to feature on the podcast after Dreamforce, so keep an eye out for that.