Welcome Shannon Howe – Girly Geek of the Week!
Dreamforce Bag

Brains, Beauty and Personality all in one package!  Shannon can code!  #WIT  We all know that there is a shortage of women coders.  I’m extremely impressed that Shannon wanted to be a developer and made it happen – on her own!  When you truly want something, be open to opportunities that come your way and go for it!  Connect with the right people, do your research and don’t ever stop learning.  Congrats on making it happen Shannon and I will be looking forward to seeing you get that 501! 🙂

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

Shannon:  My relationship with Salesforce began sometime between March and April 2013. We had already started to implement when my manager decided to put me on the project team. I remember the first few project calls. Specifically, I remember remaining silent and not knowing exactly how things were going to pan out or what anyone was talking about. I balanced my “main” job as a proposal writer/SharePoint administrator while attending the project calls, but also began seeking out internal process documentation and information about our sales cycle. Around the July time-frame, my team scheduled time to take the online training that is available with the Premier training package. Before we went live, I had finished the Salesforce Essentials for Beginning Administrators and thought I knew everything there was to know about administering the system (no joke). Then, we went live. Lol Been There!

Me:  What is your current role working with Salesforce?

Shannon:  I work on the Sales Operations team as a business systems analyst, Salesforce developer, enthusiast, advocate, and administrator at Ceridian. My focus seems to be on messy, confusing projects – ones that require long email chains or Chatter threads, lots of discussions, and extensive case documentation. They’re very ugly when they hit my desk but I like to think of them as beautiful by the time they leave. That’s the goal, anyway. I’ve also started to think of myself as a secret cheerleader. I have a slight crush on my company and I try to give my corporate coodies to anyone who doesn’t seem lovesick over our culture (think: ambassador, not flirt). Nothing wrong with a little Salesforce flirting 😀

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

Shannon:  Messing with users. Kidding! (Not really!) Really lame truth: we just set up a Sales Operations Chatter group called Water Cooler. My team is mostly virtual, and the thought behind the group was that we would be able to have work-appropriate but not necessarily work-related discussions. I didn’t expect the group to change my life, but it has had a profound impact on my relationships with certain teammates, in a very good way! I LOVE reading the posts to our Water Cooler group and we really get into it. One of the more recent posts was “Mayo or Miracle Whip” and the answers were absolutely hilarious. It’s little things like that which serve to build out fabulous work relationships. I am really thankful for finally having a place to connect with my awesome teammates.

Apart from the social aspect of Salesforce, I love tinkering with Visualforce and have started to ramp up my Apex toolkit. I can almost feel my manager wincing as she reads that last sentence. We always strive to answer development requests with standard, declarative functionality first. If it can be done declaratively and it makes sense to do so (e.g. declaratively but not by creating a million fields and field updates for one request), then we go the declarative route. We often try to stay away from code because it requires someone with the skills to revise and troubleshoot when necessary. That said, some things are best wrapped tightly in an Apex trigger, and I’m totally all over writing them when that is the case.  Another Female Coder! ❤ #WIT

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

Shannon:  ADM 201, DEV 401.

Me:  What are some of your aspirations and/or goals when it comes to Salesforce?

Shannon:  Be better about posting to my blog and prioritize helping others, both internally and externally. Someday, DEV 501. I still struggle with wanting to over-engineer to get things out the door, versus training to processes instead. I’m working on better analyzing problems to truly understand the best course of action. I’d like to know more about the marketing cloud, analytics cloud, and service cloud… and gather as many Trailhead badges as I can, of course.  Excellent Goals!  FYI – there are now ‘Beginner’ and ‘Intermediate’ trails for Admins and Developers!

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

Shannon:  True story:  I attended our Sales Kick Off event in 2012 as a Proposal Writer (with very limited SharePoint responsibilities). At the event, one of my pals dragged me over to the head of our R&D department (I work for a SaaS provider) and told him that I wanted to be a developer. I COULD HAVE DIED. I felt like you had to earn that kind of dream, and it wasn’t necessarily smart to say, “I want to be a developer” to an actual developer. I felt like any developer would look at me and just laugh. Especially when my badge said, “WRITER” in bold letters. Instead, we talked about what it means to be an actual developer. I was encouraged to continue taking strides toward that goal. Fast forward just a few years and I am developing. I know I’m certainly not the strongest, absolutely not the most experienced, and definitely not the best developer out there, but I’m working on my skills and approach with every project. Each day is a new challenge. I guess the point to that long, rambling anecdote is to keep pushing toward your goals. If I can get there, anyone can get there. If your goal is to develop, just do it. Trailhead is a great place to start! Excellent advice – ‘Just Do It’  only YOU can hold yourself back!

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

Shannon:  I *love* Taylor Swift. Just bought concert tickets.. I spent hours looking for cost-effective, super close seats. Found them! Aside from obsessing over Taylor, I love spending time with my boyfriend, our dog and cat, and our friends. It’s super lame, but I also love to share a bottle of red wine with my mom. I’m long overdue for a round of golf with my dad and little brother.  You and my daughter could be besties – I love Taylor by default 😀

Me:  Are you part of a Girly Geeks Chapter?

Shannon: Not yet. I’ve attended one event.  No worries they aren’t going anywhere 🙂

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

For those of you that want to follow Shannon, here are her links:
Linkedin:  http://linkedin.com/in/shannonchowe
Google+  https://plus.google.com/u/0/113004433076074034881/posts
Twitter handle:  @howshannon
Sfdc Community link:  https://success.salesforce.com/profile?u=005300000098k4X
Blog:  http://salesforcefinessed.blogspot.com