Welcome Laura Guenther – Girly Geek of the Week!
Meet Laura! She is a well travelled, West Coast transplant who has grown her Salesforce career from an amazing opportunity that she took and ran with! She now works for one of the largest Salesforce partners, Apttus, is a Women In Tech co-leader in San Francisco and gives really fantastic advice that is not just for women! Yes! this is our next step in the evolution of WIT – “including” men – it’s not just about us and doing everything on our own. We have a ton of male advocates out there ready and willing to help us! (small spoiler alert – I will be featuring some of these men in my blog series – stay tuned!)
Me: How & when did you start working with Salesforce?
Laura: I first logged into Salesforce in 2011 – I was on a small marketing team and had the role of system administrator and marketing specialist. I vividly remember when I realized I was meant to work with software systems and was soon to be a Salesforce lifer. My manager at the time was going on maternity leave. She basically told me a few weeks in advance that there were some issues with the quoting tool we used that integrated with our Salesforce instance, ERP and e-commerce tool – something I had never seen or experienced before – and that she was hoping I could troubleshoot. WHOA…Am I qualified to do this? Long story short, I eventually took ownership and became an admin of this tool as well. (Don’t worry, my company eventually switched quoting solutions and are now happy Apttus customers 🙂 ). I was very fortunate to have had a mentor, coach and manager that gave me that kind of responsibility and room to grow. I’m also fortunate that the Salesforce community provides so many resources and advice. That was an amazing opportunity! And even more amazing you had that kind of mentor – they are truly hard to come by!
Me: What is your current role working with Salesforce?
Laura: After being a solo admin at a couple organizations, I’ve moved a bit closer to the mothership and am now working at a Salesforce Partner – Apttus. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to ‘wear many hats’ and work closely with some pretty influential folks, allowing for a unique perspective and experience on both the business and admin side of things. I spend my time now marketing an amazing tool that any #awesomeadmin will LOVE – X-Author by Apttus (shameless marketing plug). It brings your Salesforce data, rules, and permissions into Excel templates and allows you (and your users) to update records in a fraction of the time. Check it out on the AppExchange! And Apttus is definitely close to the mothership! 😉 If you have been to Dreamforce you know this – Apttus Green is the second most seen color at the conference! Wow X-Author looks amazing!
Me: What is your favorite thing to do in Salesforce and why?
Laura: I love teaching new users about the functionality of the platform and using it to show how beneficial marketing programs are to an organization! Integrating multiple systems, implementing new tools to improve user productivity and building out repeatable processes that align with the business side are all things that allow us as admins and super users to be able to tie our efforts into the overall sales efforts. It is so awesome when you can use the data in your Salesforce org to build really beautiful reports and dashboards to tell a story. Couldn’t agree with you more!
I actually volunteered at the Reports & Dashboards kiosk in the Admin Lodge at Dreamforce this year and it was SO FUN! I was totally in my element chatting with new users about how to use filters, bucket fields, matrices, etc. Total #nerdalert LOL and I love analytics as well! 🙂
Me: Are you currently certified? And if so what certifications do you hold?
Laura: I am! Certified Salesforce Administrator. I would like to eventually get more certifications – I think 2016 is my year. Good Luck!!
Me: What are some of your aspirations and/or goals when it comes to Salesforce?
Laura: Every few months or so I decide I want to try out the developer side, but then shy away because, you know – the day job, life, etc. gets in the way. I think I’m going to try to tackle an area of it in 2016, probably with the help of the lovely Kieren Jameson and Cooking with Code. Amazing Blog series for learning Apex!
Me: Do you have any advice for women working with Salesforce?
1. Remember that you aren’t alone (this goes for the fellas, too)! Don’t forget about the community around you! It took me a good couple of years before I really started utilizing the community like I should have been. When you are working in a silo, it can start to feel lonely and like every problem you run into is gigantic and yours alone. I started attending user groups and searching for answers instead of recreating the wheel. As I started meeting more local people that use Salesforce daily (like me!), I wished I had started being more active earlier.
2. Challenge yourself! Feeling a little uncomfortable and don’t think you can tackle additional responsibility? A lot of times, this is a step in the direction of growth. Prove to yourself that you can succeed.
3. When you are at the point in your career that you can, give back to other women. This past year has been a HUGE eye opener to me – as a woman in the Salesforce ecosystem I have a support system not to be reckoned with – Geraldine Gray, Maria Pergolino, Joni Martin, just to name a few. It’s humbling and I’m so happy to be a part of it. Thank you for this amazing advice, Laura! #TRUTH
Me: What kinds of things are you involved in, and/or do you like to do outside of the Salesforce world?
Laura: I love trying out new restaurants, wine with friends, and reading in my hammock in the backyard in the sunny California weather. I also love to visit new places and wish I could travel more. I studied in Spain in 2007, lived in Thailand from 2010-2011, and explored each of those respective areas. I think I might be getting that travel itch again… even if it is just back home to Wisconsin. Lucky you!! I am so ready to start travelling!
Me: Are you part of a Women In Tech Chapter? (Formerly Girly Geeks)
Laura: YES! In fact, I’ve just started as a new co-leader of the San Francisco chapter. For any local ladies interested, please join our Chatter Group here and stay tuned for our next meet up! #WIT Congrats!
It was a pleasure getting to know you Laura and thank you very much for sharing!
You are definitely an inspiration!
For those of you that want to follow Laura, here are her links:
Twitter handle: @LauraGforce
Success Community Link: https://success.salesforce.com/_ui/core/userprofile/UserProfilePage?u=0053000000AziPMAAZ&tab=sfdc.ProfilePlatformOverview