Okay. We’ll admit it. We’ve already begun planning for Dreamforce 2020. It may only be February, but thinking about last year’s awesome Dreamforce parties got us super excited for the biggest Salesforce event of the year - and we just couldn’t help ourselves!

While we may have to wait until November, luckily for us the Salesforce Ohana is packed with so many interesting Salesforce events taking place all year, all over the world. You might remember that back in November we co-hosted a VIP edition of Salesforce Saturday, with a panel of well-known faces from the Salesforce community offering insights on Salesforce careers.

In our last blog, we shared the story of one of our superstar attendees, Ben McCarthy, Founder SalesforceBen.com. And this week, we’re shining the spotlight on one of THE most inspiring females in the Salesforce community – Gemma Blezard, Founder of Ladies Be Architects, CEO, Architect Club.

So, who is Gemma?

In November 2017, Gemma founded Ladies Be Architects, a Salesforce group led by women who help each other with project leadership and architecture certificates. Based in the UK, Gemma has 16 certifications and 11+ years of experience working in the Salesforce community. At Salesforce World Tour London 2018, she became the proud winner of the Golden Hoodie, a symbol of exceptional achievement in the Salesforce ecosystem across Salesforce careers, communities and companies.

In 2019, Gemma was listed in the BIMA100 and TechWomen 100 as a digital leader in tech. She was also awarded Salesforce MVP status and was nominated for WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star award and the Role Model of the Year category in the Women in IT Excellence awards, in recognition of her contribution to diversity in tech.

How did the Ladies Be Architects movement begin?

Gemma explained the start of her Salesforce movement to us, “Ladies Be Architects started when I hit the bench at work and those of you who work in consultancy will be familiar with that – no work to do on client sites, so I started working on my certifications and discovered that there was a great number of people out there who were also studying for architect exams, but they were all boys! As much as I like being surrounded by boys sometimes - it bothered me, and I was like “Where are all the girls?!" There must be someone else out there.”

Helping people to learn

“The success community made a fantastic message board but I actually wanted to be a bit more active and promote active learning in the architect space, so I started a group and arranged for a monthly webinar – people started to come along, I started to blog – pretty much straight after I got out (I did all my exams from home) as soon as I got off the exam, I would write about it, so it was fresh in my mind.”

How did it grow?

 “I didn’t expect people to use the blog post, but they do, which is incredible. And Ladies Be Architects grew – I became friends with a lady called Charlie who was on the same path, I had an amazing mentor who gave me the space and the permission to study and to continue to learn on projects. Charlie joined me and started the US circuit because I couldn’t really ask IBM to pay for me to go around the US and talk at conferences.”

How does Ladies Be Architects work?

Gemma was keen to let us all know that while her movement may have been created to empower females across the Salesforce community, Ladies Be Architects is open to anyone and everyone who wants to get into the ecosystem. Monthly study groups on the site are run by women in order to inspire confidence and build Salesforce careers, but all allies are welcome to join in the calls and support.

The architect movement – changing the Salesforce game

Gemma’s work didn’t just help others to learn – she was a huge player in innovating the platform and helping to encourage advancements, “I went to Amsterdam to speak at a conference and the architect movement was born in some ways and we put Salesforce in a position where they had to respond, which is why you see the architect track today and I’m very, very proud of that.”

Superstars of the Salesforce community

Gemma wasn’t the only rock star in attendance during our VIP edition of Salesforce Saturday – we’re guessing there’s another few names on our line-up that you might be keen to hear from too:

You can already find out all about what Salesforce Ben himself had to say by clicking here!

If that list is now giving you total FOMO – don’t panic. We’ll be sharing expert insights from the rest of our awesome guest speakers! So, keep your eyes peeled on our social channels to make sure you don’t miss out.