trailhead
< Trailblazers
Tami Lau
Senior Programmer/Analyst, Sierra Club
Oakland, CA, United States
See my Trailhead Profile

Being a Trailblazer means being willing to ask questions, to explore, to learn, and to try new things. It means being ok with being a little outside your comfort zone. It means leading by example, helping those alongside you, and having fun along the way.
When did you first encounter Salesforce?
I first encountered Salesforce in 2012, when my non-profit transitioned from Excel spreadsheets to Salesforce to track volunteers. Having been an administrator for several other CRMs, I could not believe how much power and flexibility there was with Salesforce. I could do all the things! And of course, I've been hooked ever since.
What motivated you to start learning on Trailhead? What keeps you coming back?
I started on Trailhead because it seemed fun and novel, and as a former park ranger, I couldn't resist the theme. I keep coming back because the content is always expanding; it's a great way to learn new features and to explore features I would otherwise not be using. I feel like everytime I log in, there are a dozen new modules that I want to do.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was making the jump from declarative developer to programmatic developer. I had done a few webinars, tried out the Trailhead Apex modules, tried to learn some Java, and even copied and modified some code...but I still felt like something wasn't clicking. I overcame this with the help of the community, specifically by taking RAD Women, a community-led Apex course for women. That provided a great foundation, and has enabled me to continue my self-learning with more confidence.
Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
Two things come to mind. One is my first visual flow, which had lots of steps and created five related records at the end. It was very early in my Salesforce journey and my users LOVED it, so it sticks out in my mind. The second is my very first bit of code that went into production. It was short...maybe five or six lines. But it was the start of this Apex journey that I am on now.
Trailhead has made learning Salesforce so much more accessible for me and my colleagues. It can be hard to find the time to take a formal class, and wading through the documentation can be intimidating when you're just starting out. Trailhead modules hit the sweet spot of being digestible, educational, and fun.
How does Trailhead help you do your job better?
Trailhead is an easy way for me to continue to expand my Salesforce knowledge and have a better idea of what features are out there, which helps me develop better solutions. The soft-skills modules are also really great for professional and personal development.
How do you use your skills to give back to your community?
I don't know if this counts, since they pay me for it, but I use my skills every day to develop and support custom solutions at the Sierra Club. I also spend my off-hours with various programs to help women learn and advance their Salesforce skills. I have learned so much from other women in this community and I try to pass it on as best as I can.
What does the Salesforce community mean to you?
To me, the Salesforce community means having a support network that always has your back and is always willing to help, whether it's answering questions in the Success community, writing helpful blog posts, leading webinars, or welcoming you into the fold when you're at your first Dreamforce and are completely overwhelmed and lost. I'm constantly amazed at the generosity, openness, and dedication of members of this community!
What does being a Trailblazer mean to you?
Being a Trailblazer means being willing to ask questions, to explore, to learn, and to try new things. It means being ok with being a little outside your comfort zone. It means leading by example, helping those alongside you, and having fun along the way.
What advice do you have for new Trailblazers?
Keep going! You will hit walls on your journey, but you can do it! Ask for help, learn from others, give back, and you'll be amazed at what you can do and where you can go.

It’s time to start your own story.

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