Welcome Joanna Iturbe – Girly Geek of the Week!

Joanna Iturbe

Another inspiring woman! She’s a Mom, a Salesforce Enthusiast and a homemade Beer Taster! – Triple threat right here lol 🙂 – I love how Joanna was exposed to Salesforce Administration and has never looked back since.  I think this has happened to so many of us and helped us all create very fruitful careers. And for those of you still wondering if Salesforce could be a career for you or not, keep reading!

Me:  How & when did you start working with Salesforce?

Joanna:  I started working with Salesforce in 2007 during my previous employment at Baylor University where I was in recruiting and admissions for the MBA programs.  We implemented a small instance in which I took on the system administrator role and fell in love with Salesforce.  I come from a tech family – both of my parents were in computer science and most of my siblings are in engineering or developer roles, but I was going to prove them all wrong and got my PR and business degree.  Then, I promptly fell into an IT career and haven’t looked back.  Although I do joke that I still use my PR degree every day trying to convince people I’m making their lives easier with technology, not harder.  And, all of my users (so far) have agreed with me…eventually!

Me:  What is your current role working with Salesforce?

Joanna:  Once I realized I enjoyed working in IT, and specifically with Salesforce, I started looking for jobs accordingly.  My husband and I also had the desire to move to Colorado, and I quite literally stumbled across what became my job at the University of Colorado Boulder in the distributed IT group (Leeds Technology Services) within the Leeds School of Business.  Over the last four years, my job has evolved into my current role as the Senior Software Applications and Project Manager.  Being in a smaller, distributed IT group, that encompasses a suite of about 15 applications – everything from survey tools, room reservation systems, appointment making systems and much more.

In 2011, I started researching CRM options to implement as a unified, school-wide solution, and quickly identified Salesforce as being the tool for us.  I often get, “How do you use Salesforce in higher ed?”  My response is generally something like, “I don’t know any ways we don’t use it!”  Salesforce was created as a sales tool, and what do we do in higher ed?  We sell education to students.  We sell involvement and participation to donors and alumni.  We sell our student’s skill-sets to potential employers.  We sell a quality degree worth the investment by parents.

With the help of our amazing implementation partner, we have been live with Salesforce at Leeds for a year and a half with more to come.  The ways we use Salesforce range from recruitment and scholarships to career advising, tracking co-curricular activities and involvement of current students, internship and job placement, and corporate and employer relations, among other things.  We are also doing some really exciting things in faculty and course management.  We have several integrations, including Qualtrics (survey tool) and our SIS (student information system).  It has truly become our system of engagement for all of the users on it to really capture the 360-constituent view to better serve our customers (students, faculty, parents, alumni, donors, corporate partners, etc.)

It may come as a surprise to some people, but higher education has a reputation of being slow to evolve.  We believe the things we’re doing at the Leeds School of Business and within the University of Colorado system are very exciting!  I love this!  I feel like so many of us have “fallen” into Salesforce Admin positions in one way or another, but now I think this is just a natural part of our Salesforce Destiny! Woohoo!

Me:  What is your favorite thing to do in Salesforce and why?

Joanna:  This is a tough one because there are so many awesome things to do in Salesforce every day.  We’ve been really pushing Chatter lately, and my users are starting to catch on and enjoy it, so I’ve been doing weekly Salesforce tips and pointers.  I am also really diving into Process Builder and currently have eight processes that are either active or getting ready to be activated.  It’s exciting because I do not have a developer background, and I have done zero official training on Process Builder, but here I am – pointing, clicking, dragging and dropping to help streamline my user’s daily activities.

Another thing we’ve implemented having to do with Salesforce user adoption is a lunch series we call “Snackforce”.  It’s a standing, monthly lunch meeting to which all Salesforce users are invited.  It’s casual and come-and-go.  Users can bring their lunch, and we provide a dessert.  At least two of us from the technology department make ourselves available the entire time and have our Salesforce org pulled up to work through questions, issues, concerns, problems, etc.  It’s been a great success and has helped my users navigate their way through the “Trough of Disillusionment” to reach their “Slope of Enlightenment” and finally our goal of the “Plateau of Productivity” (http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/methodologies/hype-cycle.jsp).  “Snackforce is Brilliant! What a great catchy idea!  I think some users may borrow that one from you Joanna! 🙂  Great quick read article from Gartner – one pager take a look its very interesting!

Me:  Are you currently certified? And if so what certifications do you hold? 

Joanna:  I recently took and passed my Salesforce Administer certification and I have a goal to take and pass the Salesforce Developer certification by the end of the summer.  I’m fortunate that professional development is something my boss and work-place promote and encourage – I have my sights set on several more Salesforce certifications in my future.  My opinion is that Salesforce certifications are the most important and critical thing I can do, educationally, to develop myself professionally at this point in my career.  Very, very true and Congrats on your Cert!

Me:  Do you have any advice for women working with Salesforce?

Joanna:  I feel like the Salesforce community is extraordinarily collaborative so get involved in the Success Community (and in the Hub if you’re in the non-profit or higher education environments).  Get involved in your local Girly Geek chapter and start networking.  I think you’ll find what I’ve found, which is that women working with Salesforce are amazing, and you can build some true friendships, not to mention an amazing professional network.  I could not agree more about the friendships you build with Salesforce women – I have experienced this myself and am truly thankful for the friendships I have made.

Go to Dreamforce! This is a MUST, if you can.  There are ROI calculators and Reasons to Go docs & blogs if you need to convince your boss that you should go!  Why attend Dreamforce

If you’re in higher education, go to the Higher Ed Summit!

Finally, work towards some Salesforce certifications because they are powerful and empowering! Totally empowering and you will learn parts of Salesforce you may not have ever seen before.

Me:  What kinds of things are you involved in and/or do you like to do outside of the Salesforce world? 

Joanna:  Outside of the Salesforce world, but within CU, I am the secretary for the Boulder Campus Staff Council, and I am a representative on the University of Colorado Staff Council (system-wide; there are four University of Colorado campuses).  I really enjoy advocating for my constituents.

I am married and have two daughters – ages 1 and 4.  We enjoy the outdoors Colorado has to offer with hiking, camping and skiing.  We also enjoy traveling, including going home to Texas and Mexico to visit our families.  I am working on my Spanish as my husband is a native Spanish speaker, and our daughters are being raised bilingual.  My husband is an avid (and, might I add, talented) home brewer of mead, beer and hard ciders, so I am the Quality Control taste-tester on his batches, and we like touring the local breweries and meaderies on our date nights.  Good luck on the Spanish (my daughter hooked me on the free Duolingo app – its slow going but working!) and Lucky you being a beer taster!  😀

Iturbe Family - Fall 2014_MS

 What a BEAUTIFUL family! 🙂

Me:  Are you part of a Girly Geeks Chapter?

Joanna:  I sure am!  Kerry and Stacey have done a great job launching the Denver Girly Geeks chapter just over a year ago, and I’ve been involved – more and more lately – since the beginning.  I am very happy to say it’s been a huge success and has quickly grown to become one of the largest, if not the largest, local chapter.  I’d love to have more higher education and non-profit representation, though!

 It was a pleasure getting to know you Joanna and thank you very much for sharing!  You are definitely an inspiration!

For those of you that want to follow Joanna, here are her links:
Sfdc Community link: https://success.salesforce.com/profile?u=00530000009cHscAAE
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jiturbe
Power of Us Hub Profile:  https://powerofus.force.com/_ui/core/userprofile/UserProfilePage?u=00580000005ZtftAAC&tab=sfdc.ProfilePlatformOverview
Twitter:  @joannaiturbe