I’m a lifelong learner who has had many different professional roles based in technology and education. I had reached a lull in my career at some point, then Salesforce happened. Both Salesforce technology and the Salesforce community has taken a quiet former teacher, former content and web developer and helped her blossom into a User Group leader and a Senior CRM Analyst/Developer at the world’s largest education company.
Last year, if you are not aware, was the inaugural WITness Success conference. I being the nerdy techy introvert that I am, came along to help the organizers in the capacity as “Awesome AV Helper”. This means that I could safely not engage with humans and just play with cords, microphones, video systems and buttons and such. Doing this was my way to experience many of the sessions, but not necessarily engage personally.
This year, I’m changing my outlook and challenging myself to come out for the specific purpose of engaging with others; because what I saw from these women leaders in the Salesforce ecosystem (and beyond) were so many people from whom I can learn as well as many people whom it would be a pleasure to actually know.
For the past three years, both the Salesforce WIT group and the Phoenix Salesforce User Group have helped me grow personally and professionally. However, over the last few years and especially now, I feel like exploring my power as a woman in technology, and understanding how to navigate those long standing limitations within the technology culture are things that I need to address as part of the larger cultural conversations going on.
As I move towards what I would say is the apex of my professional career, I find that I am more prone to contribute to the more difficult conversations. And as I age, I realize more conversation needs to be had, not more complaining, not finger-pointing, not covering your own butt, but actually listening and understanding the language that floats between parties (men/women, minorities/majorities, employer/employee). Listening is key, it includes listening to your internal voice, stating and believing in your goals and not being afraid to own what is uniquely you and listening again to make sure you heard all of that! WITness success is one of those experiences that will helps me get these skills, helps me listen to myself, and enables me to listen to others who are strong role models. And yes, at any age we need role models!
Now, have I gotten away from my original description of myself as “nerdy, techy, introvert” into “touchy, feely, lisenter”? No I haven’t because I am all of those things and so much more. That’s why I’m excited that this conference is happening again with the same thoughtful purposeful planning by the organizers. I plan to get more and more from this conference each year to come.
I still have the benefit of working with some of the organizers of WITness success as still a backup hand or volunteer; I know how they are ever expanding and improving their goals with this conference. I believe these creative, intelligent and strong leaders will put on a crazy good event for you.
I for one, look forward to meeting you there with an handshake, sans the av cords.
Gloria Guterrez, Senior Salesforce Administrator