In our latest STEM series event, Women in Salesforce, Computer Futures hosted a panel discussion of some of Salesforce's most trailblazing women. We learned how these luminary business leaders built their successful careers within the ecosystem by taking initiative, skilling up, and breaking through the barriers in the tech industry.
Hundreds attended and learned all about:
- Diversity & female presence in Tech and in Salesforce
- Areas with the most job opportunities for women
- Salary negotiation tactics
- Mentorship for women in Salesforce
- Skilling up creatively for your ideal career path.
Computer Futures thanks all of our exceptional panelists for giving their advice and sharing their experiences with us. We offer our audience some of our own insights based on 30 years in the staffing and recruitment industry to help job seekers use it to the fullest.
You can watch the full recording of the previously live conversation here.
Negotiating Your Salary
Your first entry-level role in the tech industry, or any industry for that matter, will likely not pay a high salary. Krystal Carter advises women to never accept the first offer they receive, but negotiate for a higher rate in every situation.
Command the salary you deserve and don't be afraid to ask for more.
Knowing what your skills are worth to the right employer in the right industry is the first step in ensuring that your salary is appropriate to your position, regardless of any discriminating factor such as gender, race, religion, or other. What you as a job seeker offer a company is not singularly what work you can perform, but what ultimate value you provide to them. Start by researching the salaries commonly offered in your field for your level of experience and skill set so that you know what the bottom line is.
Talking About Salary as a Contractor
Working as a tech contractor in the Salesforce ecosystem is an excellent way to gain experience and build an impressive resume, driving up your value and the salary you may command. When/if you are ready to switch to a permanent role, hopefully you will already be matched with a company that values retention of top talented contractors and they can convert you to full-time.
When navigating an ambition like this, as a contractor you must add value to the organization and make yourself difficult to replace. As Rakia Finley points out, the temporary position you are filling was designed to be... temporary. Getting the organization to change its mind requires you to assume that the role you were contracted for will become obsolete as projects close. Find ways to go beyond performing your duties as required and provide business solutions to multiple areas of the company so you will stand out and demonstrate a vested interest in the company's success. Sell your value and the results you will bring to the company as an employee, on top of what you've already provided as a contractor.
Finding a Mentor in the Salesforce Ecosystem
At any stage in your career, a mentor is an invaluable asset to navigating your path to success. When an experienced professional takes an interest in a junior, they form a mentor-mentee relationship that is unique to them and, whatever the mentee may think, mutually beneficial. Passing on knowledge and seeing the person you took an interest in be successful because of your guidance is a satisfying and gratifying experience for a mentor.
The best place to start to find a mentor well positioned to help you through your Salesforce career? Volunteering and getting involved in the ecosystem. Salesforce is uniquely positioned as a collaborative community among its workforce, possibly drumming from its mission of providing multiple layers of business solutions to companies. Consistently being present in the ecosystem will help you develop relationships of all levels that last throughout your working life.
Just as a Salesforce trailblazer can come from anywhere, a quality mentor-mentee relationship can also arise from unexpected places. Remaining closed off to relationships with people outside your preferred industry is doing yourself a disservice. Connections and an optimized network is just a small part of an authentic mentorship. Showing excellence and perseverance in your work will attract quality mentors from many walks of life. Krystal's primary piece of advice; treat the relationship with respect at all times, never forgetting the degree of formality called for in the professional world.
In summary, knowing how to optimize yourself and your resume is the straight line to having the career you've always dreamed of. A combination of skill, talent, luck, and effort will make your ambitions a reality.
Computer Futures thanks our amazing panel of accomplished, trailblazing women for participating in the panel!
Meet Our Panelists
Rakia Finley, Founding Partner of Cooper & Vine Studio Co.
Rakia Finley is the Founding Partner at Copper & Vine Studio, an American software executive, Women in Tech Initiative Leader, full-stack developer, Salesforce MVP, mother, private investor, and philanthropist. She is best known for her work with the Obama Administration on their "Girls in STEM" initiative and continues to develop innovative technology solutions and community initiatives that promote diversity in STEM for girls of color. Named FemTech's 2016 & 2017 Powerful Woman Programmer, she is one of the highest-earning African-American females in the software industry and North America's first black female owner of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software and product development firm.
Krystal Carter, Founder & Chief Cloud Enthusiast of Danny Kay Consulting
Krystal D. Carter has spent nearly two decades leveraging the Salesforce platform to help create scalable solutions for doing business better. An accidental technologist, Krystal had no plans to pursue a career in technology, but when the unexpected opportunity came along, she embraced the challenge. Her journey has developed into a personal mission to bring others along as well. In 2016, she founded Danny Kay Consulting, a boutique firm specializing in Salesforce implementations. Many of the people to whom she exposed the platform now work with her at DKC, embracing their own unexpected careers in technology.
A native of Houston, Texas, she focuses on giving back to her community with a specific passion for exposing young girls of color to career opportunities in tech. She has served as a member of the United Against Human Trafficking board, Big Brothers Big Sisters Young Professionals board, and The Kinkaid School Alumni Association board. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, collecting passport stamps, and hosting her friends for game nights.
Cindy Reeder, Director of Salesforce Product at Expedia Group
Cindy is a seasoned technology leader. Having received her bachelor’s in Computer Science and an MBA from Millsaps College, Cindy entered the professional world in the mid-2000s as SaaS technology and Salesforce.com were becoming mainstream. She began as a hands-on admin/developer, moving into roles such as project and program management. Today, she leads and manages internal-facing product teams for one of the largest global online travel companies. Strongly committed to local community engagement and mentorship, Cindy has led the Austin, Texas Salesforce community through many iterations since 2011 and has actively mentored prominent Salesforce MVPs in her ecosystem. Cindy enjoys life as a devoted technology leader and mom to two boys, ages 8 and (almost) 4.