Welcome Kristen Strater – Girly Geek of the Week!

Kristen Strater

This week I would like to introduce a very special #GGOTW.  Kristen is a #survivor who removed herself from a terrible situation and came out on top.  She used her strength and determination to get certified and land a consulting job which helped her move up and forward.  This is truly a moving story and I am so thankful that Kristen was brave enough to share this story with the Salesforce Community!

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

Kristen: Definitely “accidental admin” – I served with AmeriCorps VISTA at a great nonprofit social enterprise organization. All of my work experience prior was in nonprofit fundraising.

I was e-introduced to the amazing Joni Martin and Girlforce, where I had the opportunity to be a member in the first Girlforce Nonprofit Admin certification course. I had a lot of struggles, including a very violent relationship. I didn’t know how to drive, have control over my finances, and I was terrified of letting anyone in, in case they might discover my secret. So, our weekly study group calls were the main touch I had to the outside world. I knew that if I could get my certification, I could get a (dream) Salesforce job that could sustain me elsewhere and help me leave my current situation.

I passed my Admin 201 exam and filed for a restraining order a few weeks later when my partner left town for a trip. Unfortunately, things progressed more quickly and in ways I did not expect, leading me to lose my job and my home very quickly. I was living in women’s shelters and community safehouses.

I was unemployed and crashing on my sister’s couch when I got a call to interview for a position with a Salesforce partner 2 1/2 years ago. I can truly say that Salesforce helped me get from the lowest period of my life, to hope, forgiveness, and fulfillment. *Tears*  I admire your strength and determination.  This is truly a moving story and I am so happy you were able to get yourself out of a terrible situation and come out on top! ❤ This is inspiration at its finest! 🙂 

Me:  What is your current role working with Salesforce?

Kristen: Consulting, and I love it! I just recently began a new role with Slalom in their Minneapolis office. Congratulations! 

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

Kristen: I love when I can help my users and make their day. I once received a phone call with an administrator at a nonprofit where she called me in tears on a Friday afternoon after she accidentally deleted a Conga template that was key to their financial receipting. I showed her where to find the recycle bin and restored it back for her before anyone else in the organization even noticed it was missing. Beautiful!  these are such small things we do that make such huge impacts!

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

Kristen: Yes, System Administrator and Developer. I really want to get Sales and Service cloud by the end of 2015. Those exams are tough! My fingers are crossed for you and I wish you tons of luck!! 🙂

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

Kristen: After sustaining injuries, I now need accommodations in order to be successful in my career and community. I am hoping to grow Salesforce Admins with Disabilities and further define how we can work with Salesforce and Salesforce Partners to make our community the best it can be both online and at events like Dreamforce. Are you connected with Debbie Dantes? She is an advocate for Admins/Devs with Disabilities.  If not, I would be more than happy to make an intro! 🙂

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

Kristen:  Yes, get involved, and get involved often! Have a Salesforce bestie (or a group of besties) outside of work that you can connect with regularly.  Completely agree!

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

Kristen: Anyone who knows me knows that I love my rescue dog, Faith. She reminds me to have hope even when we don’t yet know the end result. I also love to cook, and am an avid couponer. I also am a certified youth worker and Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters. ❤ Rescues are the best!

Me:  Are you part of a Girly Geeks Chapter?

Kristen: Yes, I am a member of the leadership team for the Minnesota WIT group. Excellent! 🙂

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

You are definitely an inspiration!

For those of you that want to follow Kristen, here are her links:
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristenstrater
Twitter handle: @KristenAnneSF
Sfdc Community link: https://success.salesforce.com/_ui/core/userprofile/UserProfilePage?u=0053000000BhkxcAAB