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Geraldine Gray: MVP Interview

 

inteview-geraldine-gray
Salesforce Admin Tips
I was lucky enough to catch up with Geraldine Gray last week to talk about Salesforce.com, Salesforce hacks and Girly Geeks! Geraldine is a Salesforce MVP and has been a Salesforce user since 2000. She now runs Endiem, a Salesforce consultancy based in Houston.  

What’s your background and when did your love affair with Salesforce.com begin?

I’ve been working as a Salesforce consultant since 2007 but I first began doing admin work in June 2000 – the year I moved to The States – and I’ve worked with CRMs since 1995.

What does it mean be a Salesforce MVP?

The Salesforce community is a tremendous support system for users, partners and Salesforce employees. As a user, you can ask just about any question on the Success Community and get expert advice in minutes; as a partner, you can showcase your products, test out new ideas and absorb user feedback which helps make your product better; and as a Product Manager at Salesforce, you have instant access to real-life customers who can be pretty unforgiving but who also help to build an outstanding product. Being nominated by your peers as a Salesforce MVP is the icing on the cake  – you’re publicly recognized as being in the top 1% of talent, knowledge and community engagement. It’s nice to know that someone, other than your mum, thinks your pretty special and it’s amazing to be an annex to a company that focuses on customers.

What’s your favourite non-techie Salesforce hack?

There are too many to just pick one – that’s like asking Old Mother Hubbard to pick her favourite child. Ebsta, of course, is an #AppThat is permanently open and engaged in my browser (click here to install Ebsta for free!). We love DocuSign for its ability to get contracts signed in minutes, especially if you integrate the document creation process with DrawLoop or CongaAxiom and TaskRay have also really changed how we do business and get work done at Endiem – they allow us to manage our deals and pipeline much more tightly and get projects delivered systematically without any tasks slipping through the cracks.

What advice would you give to someone looking to build a career as a Certified Salesforce Admin?

SF_certified-150Don’t be scared to take the exam; if you don’t have a go you’ll never know if you can pass. When you answer questions, think about the “Salesforce” right way to accomplish the task they’re asking you about – not the way you hacked it together for your environment. If you are lucky enough to attend the course then take the exam RIGHT AWAY because, if you wait, you’ll have to know the next Release Notes as well as everything in the workbook.

You’re heavily involved with the “Girly Geeks” Dreamforce group. How did it get started?

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I started the Girly Geeks after I’d had mixed experiences of attending Dreamforce events. When I first went I didn’t know people and found it educational but overwhelming. Once I’d made a few friends I really had fun and I realized that there were other women like me who just needed someone to connect with in order to take part in the social aspects of Dreamforce. When I started the Girly Geeks four years ago I never thought it would be one of the most respected and influential groups.It’s still as much fun as it was in the early days and we now have thousands of members and local chapters all over the globe who meet throughout the year to share mentorship, career advice, fun and, of course,wine.

What thrills and spectacles are you expecting at Dreamforce ’14?

Two years ago, Chitra Nayak, COO of Platform at Salesforce, invited the Girly Geeks to join FemmeForce for an evening event of moderated discussion and a glass of wine. Within minutes there were suddenly ~400 women in a room bound by Salesforce as their career choice. Last year there where ~600 women at the same event, we had our first ever Women In The Dev Zone Salon which was a monster success and Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg were keynote speakers. I can’t wait to see what Mr. Benioff and the Dreamforce team have in store for us this year, but Salesforce’s commitment to encouraging women in tech is clear and this year I want to see our first female Force.com MVP!

Ricky Wheeler

Ricky Wheeler is CMO at Ebsta, responsible for all aspects of Brand, Product and Communications.

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