Meet Jessica Simpson, CRM Manager and Degree Apprentice at Barclays. She is also a Salesforce Administrator, digital skills champion, and travel addict. Or to put it more succinctly – a Trailblazer.
We caught up with Jessica to hear how she has been blazing her own trail towards an unexpected technology career.
How did you get started with Salesforce?
As part of my apprenticeship with Barclays, I spend time working in different business functions. When there was an opportunity to join the Salesforce CRM team, I was intrigued. I had always worked in customer-facing roles and had never explored the technology remit as I didn’t think I had the necessary experience. I had no idea what the position would entail but that didn’t put me off. In fact, it inspired me to find out more – and that’s how my love affair with Trailhead began.
What do you love most about Trailhead?
I am dyslexic so reading and trying to retain lots of new information can be a bit overwhelming and difficult for me to process. With Trailhead, I can break topics down into manageable chunks, which makes it less intimidating. I get a great sense of achievement every time I earn a new badge – and I’ve now got more than 600! Trailhead encourages you to celebrate your successes and to set new goals.
How has Trailhead helped you learn new skills?
I thought you had to be good at computer science to understand technology. Trailhead made me realise that anyone can pursue a career in technology – there are so many different skills and roles to choose from. I never thought that I would be developing processes and hosting presentations, but I am and I love it! I want to inspire other people to have the confidence to learn new digital skills.
How do you use your skills to help others?
I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations realise their full potential. I was the first person in the team to become a certified Salesforce Administrator and I am now helping some of my colleagues attain the same qualification by creating trailmixes and training packs. I also mentor school leavers as part of the Barclays LifeSkills initiative and support non-profits with their Salesforce projects.
Digital skills are more important than ever and I want to prevent vulnerable members of society from being left behind. I help older people gain confidence using mobile apps and devices so they can access online services that make their lives easier. My Grandma now banks online after a lifetime of visiting her local branch, which has been invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s next on your learning wish list?
I plan to keep using Trailhead to develop my Salesforce skills so I can add more value to Barclays colleagues and customers. I spend an hour or two every day working on different trails and modules – new content is constantly being added to the site and app. I am also hoping to complete my degree with a First Class Honors and become a Chartered Manager, which will provide independent recognition of my leadership and managerial skills.
What does being a Trailblazer mean to you?
For me, it’s about inspiring people to seize new opportunities so they can build brighter futures for themselves and others. A Trailblazer makes our world a better place by supporting change and driving innovation.
What advice do you have for others looking to upskill?
Believe in yourself and be kind to yourself. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. Keep pushing yourself forwards but do it at your own pace – even if that means spending just 10 minutes a day on self-development.
Reach out to others in the Trailblazer Community to ask for help when you need it. Learning new skills can be both rewarding and challenging, so make sure you always celebrate your successes – in my case this normally would be booking a little trip away!