Meet Susannah, Co-leader of the Boston Admin Community Group and Ladies Be Architects, RAD Women coach. TrailheaDX ’19 Golden Hoodie recipient, June 2019.
Do you remember when you first heard about Salesforce? How did you get started with Salesforce?
I went to college for music. I play the viola and thought that I’d be a musician when I grew up. As it turns out, there was a different path in store for me. After working at numerous nonprofits doing fundraising work, I was finally introduced to Salesforce by chance. At the time, I was the Director of Development Operations so I was in charge of customizing the platform to track our donations and donors. Within a year I was a certified Salesforce Admin, and soon after that I was absolutely hooked. I started shifting more and more toward a technical IT role, until one day I was hired as a Technical Lead at Boston Scientific. I now have 18 certifications!
How does Trailhead help you and your team learn?
I just earned my 17th certification (Mobile Architecture Designer) with the help of Trailhead. And I plan to continue to use Salesforce as I prepare to go in front of the CTA board in 2020. Trailhead makes learning new skills so much easier, which is especially important now because the rate at which Salesforce releases new features has never been faster. Also, Trailhead is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. My favorite badges mix technical knowledge with humor. There are lots of folks using Trailhead at my company, Boston Scientific. In particular, our teams in Latin America are really racking up the badges. They love that they can read the content in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.
Can you tell us about your Trailblazer Community adventures?
I’m the co-lead of the Boston Admin Community Group, co-lead of Ladies Be Architects (LBA), and a RAD Women Code graduate and coach. So, yes, I love to share my knowledge of Salesforce with others! Whether it’s meeting with my #Ohana in Boston, coaching women virtually as part of RAD Women, or leading sessions at Community Conferences with LBA, I love giving back to the community. I’ve been in the ecosystem for more than 7 years, but I’ve become very active in the last two. It took me a while to “find my tribe.” I’m really shy and don’t always like to mingle at events, so finding virtual groups to engage with really made a difference for me. Through the Trailblazer Community, I have met the most inspirational people—in particular, my co-leads of LBA, founders Gemma Emmet and Charly Prinsloo. We lift each other up as we pursue the CTA certification and have built an amazing community of more than 1,000 women who are pursuing various Salesforce architect certs. Together, our community members have earned 36,000+ Trailhead badges and 750+ certifications.
There has never been a better time to learn Salesforce. If you’re willing to put in the effort, there is a job out there for you.
What message do you have for people new to Salesforce/Trailhead or considering learning Salesforce skills?
There has never been a better time to learn Salesforce. If you’re willing to put in the effort, there is a job out there for you. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t go to college or study computer science. You can make an excellent living and find a job that meets your needs in this ecosystem. The thing that I love the most is that many of these Salesforce jobs are flexible; you can find a job that meets your desired work/life balance. You truly have the power to design your career with Salesforce and Trailhead.
What is your favorite Salesforce mascot?
I now have two favorite mascots. I’ve loved Earnie badger since she was first introduced. I like that she’s truly a Trailblazer (aiming to be the first badger to become a ranger), that she’s petite like me (she’s only 1.5 ft tall), and that her favorite food is pancakes (that’s my favorite food)! And, if you haven’t heard, Ruth is the newest addition to the Trailhead family! Ruth's pronouns are she/her. She is the mascot for all Salesforce Architects and replaces her predecessor, Meta Moose. Her favorite superbadge is Advanced Apex Specialist and she is absolutely adorable.
Ruth was inspired by a real-life powerhouse—a woman Dominique met in Kenya who was an amazing Trailblazer. It might sound 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. 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.