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What I learned at WITness Success about succeeding as a Salesforce engineer

This July, I attended and spoke at my first WITness Success event in Nashville, which was invigorating. I left motivated and re-energized in my Salesforce® career.

WITness Success is a Women In Tech (WIT) event for everyone in the Salesforce ecosystem worldwide. This event brings together women of all backgrounds to speak about career growth, diversity and inclusion, technical knowledge, and functional skills.

I can sum up my experience at WITness Success in three concepts: we are stronger when we work together, we benefit from having and becoming strong allies, and we all have untapped potential. Here’s how these three lessons have motivated me to be more active in advancing my own Salesforce career.

We are stronger when we work together

Although I have been a Salesforce user for 7 years, I only started attending user-led community groups in August. In my previous job, I often felt alone in my Salesforce role. I was on a small team with limited resources. This meant that when I encountered something technically complex or new to me, I often had to leave it behind and move on to the next pressing task.

When I changed jobs, our MVPs and community leaders motivated me to become more involved with the Salesforce ecosystem. While attending WITness Success, I saw the incredible value that community groups provide.

Bringing together Salesforce employees, partners, and users enabled us all to work together and help each other advance our skills and knowledge. I saw this in sessions like Getting to the Bottom of Your User’s Needs and Leveraging the Power of SOQL, where session leaders guided conversations on best practices. Events like WITness Success help people get past barriers, share ideas, and move forward. Each person at WITness Success, whether they were a session speaker or attendee, had something valuable to contribute to a conversation.

Many people in the Salesforce ecosystem have felt as alone as I used to feel—WITness Success is a place for these people to find support and encouragement to continue with their careers. Now, I am more motivated to participate in other user-led groups where I can learn from my peers and offer to help others in their Salesforce careers.

We benefit from having and becoming strong allies

Many sessions at WITness Success, including my own, highlighted the importance of allyship in the Salesforce ecosystem. In my session on how to be more inclusive in the workplace, I spoke about the power of privilege and how we can better use our privilege to help advance people from marginalized groups.

Two other panels that I attended discussed the power of allyship. At the panel on Latinas in the Salesforce economy, I heard powerful stories of how Latinx members in the Salesforce community still face discrimination, unequal pay, and hostile work environments. The panelists mentioned that having strong allies has helped them advance in their careers and that allies have provided extra support when faced with unjust treatment.

The panel session Am I Still on Mute or Are You Unconscious[-ly Biased]? echoed this. Panelist Charlie Isaacs, CTO for Customer Connection at Salesforce, made a specific call for more people to be allies, to speak up, and to stick up for people when they notice an injustice. That might mean using your voice to redirect a conversation to include a coworker who has been talked over or asking a colleague to stop using discriminatory language. It could even mean starting your own community group within your company where people can come together and find strength in numbers.

Allyship can come in a variety of forms—from something as formal as mentorship and community groups to more informal practices that you incorporate to be more inclusive in your daily life. WITness Success made it clear that the Salesforce ecosystem needs more allies to help support the growing workforce. I plan to continue finding ways to be a better ally at work. I hope you’ll join me.

We all have untapped potential

The final theme that stood out to me at WITness Success focused on our own personal potential. As a woman in tech without a college degree in anything related to computer science, I often experience imposter syndrome. Sometimes it feels like I haven’t earned my role or title, and other times I doubt my abilities to solve a problem or suggest a solution. At WITness Success, I saw that other women face these same doubts.

What’s wonderful about the Salesforce platform is that you don’t need formal technical training to be successful. At WITness Success, I heard women with stories similar to my own—other first-generation college students, others who came from low-income households, others who started their careers in a different field. We all found Salesforce, and we are all successful.

No one person knows every single thing about the Salesforce platform. Resources like user groups, Trailhead, and the Trailblazer community help us overcome the barriers we put in front of ourselves and make strides in our careers. I feel more confident in my ability to conquer moments of imposter syndrome and other self-imposed hurdles to learning because I have as much potential as anyone else to become a Salesforce expert.

We get by with the help of other Salesforce Trailblazers

These topics at WITness Success reminded me that our own success is dependent on the success of those around us. When we are all supported, respected, and heard, we can solve more problems.

I learned that I need to start identifying the barriers I place in front of myself and create plans to overcome these barriers. Whether that means finally going for another certification or buckling down to learn more about AMPscript, I am more motivated now to challenge myself and move forward in my career. I am also more conscious of how I can be a better ally to my colleagues and customers to make sure their voices are heard and respected.

To anyone that is wondering whether WITness Success or other user-led groups are worth the time and investment, I highly recommend giving your next local user group meeting a chance. This provides you an opportunity to meet new people, hear new perspectives, and maybe find inspiration to try something you have never thought of before.

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Emily Belke

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