In our most recent #SalesforceQA, we caught up with Denise Carbone, Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame, Chicago Admin Trailblazer Community Leader and Director of Service Delivery at Rackspace.
Denise talks about her journey in the Salesforce ecosystem, offers her advice to other women looking to succeed in the industry and provides top tips for supporting a delivery team during such an unprecedented time in the world.
Salesforce Republic (SR): To start, could you tell us what inspired you to pursue a career in the ecosystem?
Denise Carbone (DC): I started as an accidental Admin! I joined a technology company in 2004 as a Sales & Marketing Coordinator and was asked to own Salesforce. It was a bit of a love/hate relationship, but I quickly learned the tool and realized that the output wasn’t working due to lack of process and adoption. This took me in a whole new direction, I honed in on my business analyst skills and became the Salesforce SME.
I was using the tool for 4 years, when the Salesforce Certification program was introduced in 2008. I took the Administrator Exam and passed. I later learned that I was one of the “First 500” to earn the certification. That same year, I became a User Group Leader for the Chicago chapter.
In 2015 I made a change in my career and joined an SI (RelationEdge, who was acquired by Rackspace Technology) as the Director of Delivery. Today, I had a team of 15 consultants (SE’s), I’m a people leader, and engagement manager.
The Salesforce ecosystem is vast with career opportunities, I was able to build a career all due to the support of the amazing community and my ability to adapt and learn.
SR: What are your top tips for supporting a delivery team during such an unprecedented time in the world?
- Be accessible and responsive to your team
- Establish a call/meeting cadence with each team member
- Always ask how they are doing and ask what you can do to support them
- Engage and stay connected with your peers and the Trailblazer Community
SR: With ‘the new normal’ referring to a remote working environment for many, what advice would you give to others who are managing a remote team?
DC: Weekly team standups are a must, and weekly or bi-weekly 1:1’s. I encourage web-cams to be turned on for engagement. I also sincerely ask how they are doing, and I share stories on what I’ve been up to. It’s about the connection and leading with empathy.
SR: You have just received your 2nd year in the MVP Hall of Fame, what do you think are the key things that have helped you achieve this? / What advice would you give to others looking to become an MVP?
DC: I’m completely honored to be recognized by my peers in this program! This is not a designation I pursued, I still remember the day I learned I was an MVP! It was on my birthday, 1/16/13! I received an email from Erica Kuhl congratulating me, and I received a package with a plaque.
It’s about recognition from the Community and your peers. I always said that I would continue to do the same level of activity within the Community because it fulfilled me, and I enjoy sharing knowledge and supporting others.
If someone is looking to be recognized, that’s the wrong approach in my opinion. You should put yourself out there, supporting others and sharing your knowledge because you want to and you enjoy contributing for the sake of it. If you’re looking for a way to start doing just that, get involved with the Answers Community. As both an educational and networking tool, this is a great first step to learn and engage with the community.
SR: As the first female Salesforce MVP from Chicago what advice do you have for other women looking to succeed in the Salesforce space or the world of tech in general?
DC: So a funny story about this…. I was invited to a Salesforce dinner hosted in Chicago with Marc Benioff along with many exciting guests, it’s there where he introduced me as the first female MVP from Chicago. I did not realize that I had distinction until that day. Again, I am honored to be here.
I was an accidental admin who by preparation, curiosity, and determination was able to achieve great success. I encourage all women to be curious, seek out a mentor, ask questions, challenge yourself, and be prepared to be a lifelong learner. That is very important, the one thing that is constant, is change!
As a mentor myself, I can say that one of the biggest benefits is being able to utilize their network whilst expanding your own. If you are currently looking for a mentor, check out the Salesforce Mentor Program: https://trailhead.salesforce.com/trailblazerconnect/mentorship
SR: As the Chicago Admin Trailblazer Community Group Leader, how have you found navigating this virtual world and maintaining community connections?
DC: It’s challenging to say the least. We hosted our first virtual meeting ever last March 2020. Staying connected now because of the pandemic feels a lot more time consuming only because everything is online and coming from different sources.
I stay connected via the Trailblazer Community, Partner Community, and Twitter.
SR: What are you most excited about seeing in Salesforce in 2021 and beyond?
DC: I am most excited about the Slack acquisition, it’s such a powerful tool that has really been a lifeline during the pandemic supporting all facets of our remote working.
And also, seeing how the world slowly opens, what will our new normal be like? I can’t wait to be able to attend an in-person Community event, hopefully that can happen in 2021.
SR: Finally, what is the best piece of advice you have received throughout your career?
DC: Be a lifelong learner, stay curious, and ask questions! And keep challenging yourself, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
If you’re a Salesforce professional and would like to join Denise in our Q&A series, please get in touch with us today!