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Embracing the enriching power of technology

    21 Jun 2021
Embracing the enriching power of technology
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous – how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14 NLT

Janet Chadwick’s journey to her position as Employee Success Manager at CloudSmiths, a Salesforce Partner, has been one of overcoming personal challenges while embracing the structure and control that technology adds to her life – and quickly learning to love the family ethos that is at the heart of the company culture.

“The culture at CloudSmiths incorporates Ohana, which is similar to Ubuntu. We are a team of people who support each other in a relevant way. I love the people I work with, and their success is my success. Together we are passionate about learning, growing, and helping each other,” says Janet.

Janet joined the CloudSmiths’ team following several years of experience with Salesforce, which she had been using and implementing at various organisations where she worked or volunteered. The more she learned and understood about the Salesforce software, the more impressed she became by the impact that the technology has, not just on systems, processes, management, and reach, but also directly on people’s lives.

Janet had discovered Salesforce software in 2016, while working at an NPO. Before that, she had been running her own successful company as a paleo chef, but after tragic losses in her life, and having chosen a path of committed Christian faith, she decided that working for an NPO would be strengthening, and would help her healing process. Her new job required her to be the Salesforce Champion during implementation, “and it was love at first sight.”

Salesforce added a whole new dimension to Janet’s appreciation of the multifaceted value of technology. “Salesforce made my work easier, my tasks manageable, and my life simpler. It helped me manage chaos in my life. I could automate repetitive tasks, and I could email lists of people and automate responses, which freed me up to have meaningful engagement with potential donors and clients.”

For Janet, the name Salesforce is a bit of a misnomer, “although the more accurate names of RelationshipForce or LoveYourJobForce clearly don’t have the right ring to them. The platform is less about hard sales than it is about gathering amazing insights and building focused, relevant connections.”

After two years, Janet left her job at the NPO but  continued to work with Salesforce, learning as much as she could. This led to her discovery of Trailhead, a free Salesforce training platform that teaches in a gamified way, and added to her excitement about Salesforce’s potential to add value to organisations and to people’s lives.

Janet then moved on to a job at another non-profit where she set up “and played with” Salesforce for two years, learning new features, handling donor and volunteer management, setting up engagement processes, and doing what she could to improve the systems at the organisation.

At that stage, and using the Salesforce platform, which eased the admin pressure on her, Janet was inspired to start the Feed5000 programme to feed homeless people in Cape Town for two months over Christmas and New Year when most NPOs take their annual break. With Salesforce, she engaged volunteers, measured the impact to market, and increased engagement. “In the first year of Feed5000, we served 4 980 meals, and over the past four years, collaborating with other NPOs and organisations, the project has quadrupled. It now has almost 200 volunteers and serves close on 20 000 meals in a month. Salesforce made a difference – it enabled me to put my connections to good use, it allowed feedback and continued engagement, and it contributed to growth in donations and donor loyalty.”

Her journey of continued healing, of being increasingly empowered by technology, her commitment to sharing others’ burdens, and her passion for efficiency, convinced her to write her Salesforce Admin exam. At first she failed, and a quote by David Liu, Salesforce Technical Architect became her maxim: “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” She did pass her Salesforce Admin exam – on her birthday, which was her “best gift ever”.

Janet describes her CV as seemingly random. It includes an Honours in Psychology, a qualification in coaching, a professional cook certification, and a Salesforce Administrator Certification, but she notes that there are many foundational aspects that these apparently divergent paths in her life have in common. Her studying, training, learning and experience, underpinned by her strong Christian faith, have all synergised, and now contribute to her understanding of and insight into the plight of the vulnerable, to the strengthening of her listening and communication skills, to her immense self-discipline, creative problem-solving, and of course, to her impeccable admin and organisational skills.

With her new Salesforce Admin qualification, Janet boldly approached CloudSmiths for a job – and is now a proud and grateful ‘Smith’, assisting clients on their Salesforce journeys.

“Yes, Salesforce provides a platform for businesses to succeed,” says Janet. “But it also provides a platform for people to succeed in their work, whether as a user or as a shaper and builder. I’m achieving goals now that I never thought possible. I love using Salesforce to change people’s relationships with data, and to change my relationship with myself, which is strengthening every day.”

Another highlight in Janet’s journey was embarking on the Salesforce’s RAD Women Intro to Coding Part 1 course in 2019. The aim of Radical Apex Developers (RAD) Women is to provide a supportive and collaborative environment for advanced women salesforce admins to build on their administration skills and learn to programme on the Force.com platform. She’s now on Part 2 of the course, and  loving being able to exercise her technical side.

Reflecting on where she is now in her inspiring Salesforce journey, Janet says, “The CloudSmiths team is all about support, whether it is helping a company to get the most out of their Salesforce org, encouraging each other on our learning journeys, collaborating on projects, helping to debone 80kg of chicken, or sponsoring a Christmas Day lunch for 500 homeless people. I started my journey with Salesforce in the face of loss in my life, and the path has made a difference to me – through CloudSmiths’ ethos of Ohana.”

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