Welcome Rebe de la Paz – Girly Geek of the Week!


Meet Rebe!  She is another amazing #SuperMom to 3 children!  She is driven, insightful and so smart!  I truly think when you read her story, you will walk away with something to think about.  I am so impressed by all of the ladies I have featured so far and each one has impressed me and inspired me in their own way.  You are yet another #Awesome Girly Geek Of The Week!  And check out her T – apparently the MidWest GG’s made some cool Tshirts for Mid West Dreamin!  That’s it … I’m makin some T’s!! 🙂

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

Rebe:  The answer to “when” is easy. My first Salesforce login was in October 2012. The “how” is a different story.

I’d just returned to my homeland (the Midwest) from a far away kingdom called Massachusetts.

In October 2012, I was hired as a full-time marketing coordinator at a non-profit higher ed organization outside of Chicago. The company performed the same mistake I’ve seen and heard from many other organizations: speed over quality.  Just start driving and management will tell you where to go, but as always the car hits a huge wall called “reality”.

I volunteered to help my marketing supervisor/salesforce admin with the clean-up in addition to completing all of my regular duties. I began cleaning Salesforce with a system of coordinated zero budget methods involving excel, downloaded reports and individual merge.

One day my supervisor asked me to learn a software application called CRMFusion DemandTools.  I learned to love DemandTools and it is now my go to ETL [Extract-Transform-Load] software.  I quickly realized my duties were transitioning into the role of a DBA, so I spent my free time sharpening my skills in all methods/resources and concepts dealing with data analysis.  I quickly realized that I already acquired the majority of the skillsets necessary to a DBA through my double-major studies in both English and Biology.

I developed a routine to clean the entire database utilizing DemandTools and began to draft a long term plan for maintaining the data’s quality, but I kept the bulk of my long term plans to myself. I promptly went to my director and told her, “I’m not cheap and I cost money.” After years of working all sorts of different jobs (cashier, factory line worker, driver, loan processor, secretary, etc) and working hard to go back to school to get my degree, I know my value as an employee.

I was given the run around and then told there would be an addition to the team that would need my training.  As Dan Darcy said in the Midwest Dreamin’ keynote, “Hug your haters.”  Once I trained her, I was removed from Salesforce.  I reduced my hours, used an hour for the gym and devoted my extra time to enriching my mind with Salesforce, MS Access, Excel Analysis as well as some inspiring TED Talks to keep me motivated.  A couple of months later prior to the start of a new major campaign, the girl I trained left the day before the project was to start.

I received a thirty percent increase on my salary and created a position that did not exist for myself.  In one year, I used Salesforce as my platform to launch my career.  I began to understand Salesforce through the manipulation of the data, but it was the rhetoric behind that data along with the understanding of how the different users craft and shape the data that helped me see Salesforce.  WOW!  If THIS is not an inspiring story I don’t know what is!!! Rebe you are AMAZING and KUDOS to you for knowing your worth and skill set!  This is something SO many women struggle with and hopefully stories like this will give them the push they need to take a step in the right direction! 🙂

Me:  What is your current role working with Salesforce?

Rebe:  I have been in my current role as a CRM Administrator for Becker Professional Education for a little over six months. I love telling people I work for Becker because the look of perplexion is priceless until I throw in a support statement to describe where I work.

Becker is a DeVry Education Group school that is well known in the accounting industry for its CPA exam preparation course. We also offer a rapidly expanding selection of professional education products including PMP, CPE and USMLE.  I had no idea what any of this meant until I started researching the company internally and externally.  I recently heard Peter Coffee mention the growing market for professional education beyond college at an event in Chicago and I thought to myself, “Hey I work in this industry!”

The work I do is engaging to say the least because each day brings a puzzle for me to solve.

I work with sales cloud, service cloud and I am working on learning marketing cloud.  The people I work with are awesome.  My department, my colleagues and my supervisors rock.  Who knew work could actually be fun.

My current org is a little over a year old, so it’s fun to start relatively new with the knowledge of “what not to do”.  In six months I have built a custom ERP, completed the first phase of an object migration, started a training collaboration with the sales team, learned basic Force.com IDE and jumped head first into a battle to clean the database.  I believe I’ve had a successful six months.


Do It!

How I came to work at Becker is a positive reminder of two words that have served me well: do it.  I struggle each day with my own inner self-doubt.  I am more intimidated by the strength of my own doubt because it is a powerful negative that can take me down before anyone else.

During my second year at the non-profit, a mass layoff occurred and it included my director who we all thought would never get fired.  I immediately updated and revised my Linkedin profile as well as my resume.  I signed-up for the free premium trial on November 1, 2014 and gave myself one month to find a new job.

I applied to twenty-two jobs, received seven rejections, five interviews and one offer all in one month. I began working at Becker Professional Education on December 15, 2014.  You are a driven soul Rebe! You remind me a lot of myself! ❤  I don’t even know you, but feel like I do and that I need to say I am PROUD of you! 🙂

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

Rebe:  I must admit to loving it all.  Each day is something new or something old that can be spun into something new. The nature of Salesforce as a living evolving system strikes a chord with both the learning addict and artist in me.

I think of Salesforce as an art form.  I made a comment on the community in reply to a question that asked how do you define a good Salesforce administrator?  My response included the following:

As a musical piece you have a symphony of instruments to conduct, as a painting you have to define the dynamics of your composition, as free form clay you would sculpt and mold it to your liking and as a written piece you would need to edit/delete/create multiple drafts/revisions to get it to say/mean what you want.

I feel like I get to do a little bit of everything above in Salesforce and I actually look forward to it.  I just don’t understand why more people are not into Salesforce.  Where else can you learn an application for free and not have to worry about getting an IT degree?

I have a degree in English. My degree says Bachelor of Arts in English Writing, Communication and Rhetoric. There is nothing about computer invloved in those words, but here I am working in the tech world with a strong background in liberal arts.  Very well said Rebe and I think a lot of people out there can relate to this!

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

Rebe:  Nope. I’ve taken ADM 201 with a great instructor who continually asked me, “Why are you in this class?” I am ashamed to admit I failed my first attempt at the ADM 201 certification, but I plan to persevere.  A prime example of my self-doubt getting to me.  I finished the exam within minutes and spent the remainder of the time doubting/changing my original answers. I have plans to go after ADM 211, DEV 401 and whatever peaks my interest afterwards.

My goal is to have at least three certs under my belt by the end of this year, so I’ve got some work to do.  I have FULL confidence in you Rebe and if you need any help or advice when taking the exam, please feel free to reach out to me!  I have never been a very good test taker and have broken the second guessing – changing my answers issue I once had.

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

Rebe:  I plan to become an advanced developer before I turn forty next year.  Beyond my immediate certification goals, all of the box walls are down when it comes to Salesforce.  Learn code? Already on the path.  Present at Dreamforce, User Group or another event? I’m expecting it.  Interview(s)? Girly Geek of the Week complete, who’s next?  Write some blog entries on Salesforce?  Posts in draft, just gotta publish.  I’m looking forward to utilizing my increasing knowledge of code to create a really useful application.

I don’t see any restrictions to what I can do with regard to Salesforce other than myself. All of the box walls are down, so I’m free to soar as high as I can go.  These are Awesome goals! 🙂

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

Rebe:  I think the following advice is for anyone, not just women working in Salesforce. I’ve met all sorts of people from all backgrounds. Struggling to survive on pennies to the dollar, while raising kids in an unforgiving society centered around the very dollar that determines where or how you live.  I’ve had people tell me to my face that I would not succeed, I’ve had people laugh in derision at my ambitions and I’ve even had people perform all sorts of underhanded maneuvers to knock me down.  So if you feel like this and you happen to read this, believe me when I say there is hope and it starts with you.

#1: Do it. – Don’t be afraid to just do it.  I recently had a reminder of these words at the Midwest Dreamin’ keynote by Peter Coffee.  Don’t waste time waiting when you could be doing something.  When I went first went back to school full-time, I worked full-time as a temporary factory line worker.  I would attend class during the day, take care of my family and work the third shift at a local factory.  People would watch me studying art history or reading Maupassant on my lunch, all the while I kept telling myself to keep on keeping on.  These two words kept me going and still keep me going: do it.

#2: Say it. – I’ve been taught to show not tell when it comes to writing.  I strongly believe the same goes for speaking up.  Show them the money and people will look for you all the time.  If you ever hear yourself say, “I told them, but they didn’t listen.” go back and replace your action from tell to show.  It amazes me when I see the results of such a simple, yet distinctive change in action.

#3: Believe – If you don’t believe in yourself, then why should anyone else.  To quote a song from the play Annie, “It’s a hardknock life for us…”  You need to believe in yourself and trust me when I tell you it will show.  People will recognize your confidence because it will give you wings bigger and better than any energy drink.  I tweeted, “How you perceive your role will manifest itself to others.”

#4: Reach Out – How can I express the full beauty of the Salesforce community?  With my former home (Boston) in mind, I have one television show that stands out to me when I think of the Success Community: Cheers. “Where everybody knows your name…duh..duh..duhn..” can you read me singing this song to you?  This is what I mean when I say Reach Out.

When you sign-in to the Success Community, you have literally walked into a bar of sorts.  Want to order a beer or a drink? Join a group.  Want to have some good conversation?  Send a message, post a question or like somebody’s answer.  The community is your local Salesforce bar where you can drink freely upon a fountain of knowledge and as Mike Gerholdt from ButtonClickAdmin.com recently stated, “…without judgement because we have all been in the same situation at some point in time.”  Reaching out also includes other forums, but look for people that share that common denominator with you whether it’s Salesforce or something else.

#5: Learn and Learn Some More – So many people within our society are under the impression that learning stops once you have completed some sort of academic training (bachelors, masters, etc).  As a Salesforce Admin, Salesforce releases will keep you on your feet if your user requests don’t.  There is always something to learn with regard to Salesforce, so I advise you to set aside some time for learning something new in Salesforce.  I guarantee you even if there is someone out there that thinks they know everything about Salesforce, there is one tip or trick they missed because nobody knows it exists.  I would suggest Trailhead for newbies, oldies and power users.  Have a power user keen on reporting?  Perhaps you want to train a chatter moderator? Use Trailhead.  Rebe, this is some of the best advice I’ve heard.  Thank you for giving this to the readers and the Salesforce Community!  The Salesforce Community is the MOST awesome community I personally have ever been a part of 🙂

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

Rebe:  There are these people I live with that call me mommy. Sometimes I attempt to program them to do chores and such, but my triggers are off or maybe I am speaking in the wrong language.  One speaks this complex dialect called “female teenager” and comes from a planet I haven’t visited in decades.  Another one speaks “eighteen year-old guy”, a strange language filled with constant demands for money and food.  The newest one-year old member gives the other two a forecast at what happens when you procreate, but she runs her father and I through our paces chasing her around the house.  My roommate, whom these people call daddy, often enforces the rules of the dictator called mommy when my triggers are off.  All kidding aside, I’m a proud mom who brags about her kids and her guy all the time. They support me one hundred percent and help out behind the scenes, I’m a lucky lady.

Outside of my mommy and Salesforce titles, I am an avid learner and lifelong addict to the smell of books.  There is something about the smell of a bookstore you just can’t get from an e-reader.  As you can guess, I love to read all sorts of genres (classics, sci-fi/fantasy, horror, romance, suspense, Manga, etc).  I am also a movie junkie; action, foreign, romance, animated and so forth.  I love doing stuff with my kids, nieces and nephews.  I’m the “Let’s go trick or treating,” “Let’s go clam digging,” “Let’s go to the beach,” “Let’s play lazer tag,” or whatever comes to mind auntie.  One of my nieces told me, “Auntie you know how to have fun and keep it going.” I was surprised because I run a one cup of juice for breakfast and one for dinner, but you can have all the water you want household. The kids still come.

I also write a lot. I perform a very cathartic exercise called free writing.  No worries about grammar, spelling, audience or anything.  Just pure free-flowing thoughts directly to paper or document.  I plan to publish something one day, you never know what may come your way.  I love this!  and you are another #SuperMom with 3 children who also makes the time for family!  Here’s my virtual bow to you for being a strong female role model!

Me:  Are you part of a Girly Geeks Chapter?

Rebe:  Of course. I am a member of Girly Geeks Chicago.  I have yet to attend any of the physical meetings, but I tend to run into a fair share of the members at either a Chicago User Group or Chicago Suburban Group meeting.

I nearly went nuts when I discovered the group.  Recently, I was asked why I joined the group.  My response was, “You had me hooked at the words Girly and Geek.  Knowing I was now apart of a group like this made me feel free to release my inner “Geek Goddess.” It feels good knowing that I can talk to a group and not feel like I’m being conceited or arrogant because I worked hard to know what I know.  I am taking “Geek Goddess” and running with it!! lol  I am SO a Geek Goddess 😀

It was a pleasure getting to know you Rebe and thank you very much for sharing!

You are definitely an inspiration!

For those of you that want to follow Rebe, here are her links:
Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/rebedelapaz
Google+:  google.com/+RebedelaPaz

Twitter handle:  @Rabedela
Sfdc Community link:  success.salesforce.com/0053000000AzfOB
Blog:  rebedelapaz.wordpress.com

Github:  github.com/rabedela