Welcome Melinda Smith – Girly Geek of the Week!
I literally was only able to meet and interact with Melinda for an extremely short period of time at DF15, but immediately I knew she was #Aweseome! She has that infectious, fun type of personality that is super likeable and you will see it shine through her answers below! Melinda was the brains behind the #GGPhotoHunt at DF15 (Kristi Guzman also helped and Apttus sponsered – THANK YOU) which was a huge success! Melinda is an overall Salesforce, Trailhead and Women in Tech advocate and someone you should definitely meet! Seriously, you must follow her!!
Me: How & when did you start working with Salesforce?
Melinda: I began using Salesforce by accident, really. I left the big scary world of full commission sales & began entry level at a candy & snack distribution company. I started in customer service. By the end of year 1, in that role, I wanted out SO badly! I don’t have the tenacity, anymore, to get yelled at about the ETA on a box of Snickers J I soon went on maternity leave & when I returned, the Sales IT manager asked if I could help him on this little platform called Salesforce. I jumped! I would’ve taken a janitorial position at this point, so I said yes, having NO idea what it was. Then…I fell in LOVE! I have always loved programs and programming but had no background in it. It was like this little cloud shaped fate fairy gifted Salesforce into my life & reminded me of things I used to love. I went bananas at that point. I devoured any Salesforce training & knowledge that I could. I went from the admin class to taking my admin cert and then my dev cert & all within the first year! I swear I think all of us that started with Salesforce by accident would be in the 99th percentile of all Salesforce admins/devs! It’s so common and so awesome and I feel like that is what makes us even better admins/devs because we all worked on the business side for so long and ‘get it’.
Me: What is your current role working with Salesforce?
Melinda: I am currently a Salesforce project manager for a high tech company. It’s UNREAL how detailed their org is! Starting there was a dichotomy of shear panic that I had no idea what I was doing & total giddiness that I got to play with so many customizations! And this is the type of environment where you learn SO much!!
Me: What is your favorite thing to do in Salesforce and why?
Melinda: I really adore workflows. In my head they are all these gears that when you hit ‘activate’ start to move, like the interior of an old clock. I also love training to use. Since I know what it’s like to know NOTHING, I really enjoy teaching how to use & navigate. I feel a special warmth in my heart when someone ‘gets it!’ ❤
Me: Are you currently certified? And if so what certifications do you hold?
Melinda: I sure am & proudly! Certified Admin & Developer. A tattoo would probably be too much but I’m considering… HAHA!
Me: What are some of your aspirations and/or goals when it comes to Salesforce?
Melinda: It is approachable for ALL! Don’t be daunted that you don’t have a computer science background or that the learning curve would take too long. There are SO many approachable angles to this platform. And the community is amazing at helping you along. Dive in and take advantage of all the online resources like Trailhead. I’m completely addicted to Trailhead. I adored the workbooks but Trailhead is, by far, the best teaching resource I’ve ever used. And I was a corporate trainer for many years! Proof this woman LOVES #Trailhead! 😀 <wish I would have been this creative with my shot! Absolutely love this! LOL>
Me: Do you have any advice for women working with Salesforce?
Melinda: Find a Girly Geeks/WIT chapter IMMEDIATELY! I started to join the Denver chapter but ended up moving rather quickly to Southern California due to my husband’s job. I reached out to Geraldine to see if a chapter existed out here & after she said ‘no,’ she asked if I wanted to start one. Unsure what that meant, I did. Figured it would be a great way to meet some new pals too! I started the SoCal Girly Geeks chapter in 2014. There, I met a wonderful fellow GG, who knew that I was bored at my current role (same candy company working from home) & put me in touch with a Salesforce hiring company. That’s how I ended up where I am. I wouldn’t be at my current, awesome & challenging role if it weren’t for the fellow women in the Girly Geeks groups. I can’t say enough about them. Every woman working on the platform should find or start a chapter as priority #1! I did the exact same thing with my GG/WIT Chapter – I moved to a new state and wanted to meet some like minded Salesforce women! If you are interested in starting a WIT group in your area or you are trying to find a WIT group in your area, do a search in “Groups” for your city on the Success Community. That will give you an idea of where the WIT groups are located.
Me: What kinds of things are you involved in, and/or do you like to do outside of the Salesforce world?
Melinda: I am an artist and a photographer. I also dabble in crossfit & thoroughly enjoy fitness. I’m a mom & Cali life is still fairly new to me, so I’m enjoying the forever Summer way of life.
I recently signed up to get involved with Girls Who Code and possibly volunteer and maybe start a Coder Dojo. I really want to inspire young people & women. I want to be a positive outlet for others. Both organizations are #awesome and I feel ya on wanting to inspire young people and women! As a parent I feel like its a natural instinct for us! 🙂
Me: Are you part of a Girly Geeks Chapter?
Melinda: 🙂 see above
It was a pleasure getting to know you Melinda and thank you very much for sharing!
You are definitely an inspiration!
For those of you that want to follow Melinda, here are her links:
Twitter handle: @girlygeeksocal
WIT Group Success Community: Women in Tech-SoCal (frmly Girly Geeks)
Success Community: https://success.salesforce.com/profile?u=005300000097caHAAQ