Five years ago, I was a full-time manager in retail stores, and had no notion of doing something outside of customer service, or maybe what I’d majored in–Public Relations. And I definitely didn’t see myself anywhere near software. Computers and tech were scary, and soft skills were safe. But that changed about a year and a half ago. I transitioned from a call center service role at a SaaS company to working internally instead, focusing on projects to improve workflow and customer experience. I started learning about Salesforce. And that was me discovering my career’s passion.
In January 2019, a coworker who previously worked for All Hands and Hearts brought myself and a group of six other coworkers to Puerto Rico–my first trip there–to volunteer with AHAH, helping the community of Yabucoa recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria a year and a half prior. On that trip, I helped repair the roof of a man named Esmeraldo. On my last day, I had the opportunity to show Esmeraldo the work we’d done. I walked him around his roof, now a completely different color than when we started, and showed him the lines of fresh concrete where we’d repaired cracks. He looked at me from the top of his ladder, and asked if it would hold when it rained.
“Yes. When it rains, water won’t come inside anymore,” I told him.
The look on that homeowner’s face has stayed with me since. Esmeraldo just looked at me for a solid ten seconds, his face ranging from gratitude to suspicion to hope, and he simply replied with “Gracias. Gracias.”
The work I did changed someone’s life. The work itself wasn’t particularly difficult, and I worked with a team to make it happen. It was fun, and it changed the trajectory of someone’s life for the better. And that was me discovering my heart’s passion.
This past year has been really great. It’s been full of the fulfilling pain of growth, but that’s been worth it. I started as a specialist for a service center, and now I’m a business analyst, providing solutions for business problems across the Customer Success side of an org. I’ve come into my own as a member of the Salesforce ecosystem, speaking at events like Connections and Dreamforce, and connecting with amazing mentors, teachers, and people who have guided me along the way.
It seems weird to me, sometimes, to think that I’m so passionate about my career. I don’t work for a non-profit that drives to do good in the world. I don’t save lives. But I have a place I can use my strengths to contribute to a team, a culture, and help us do business better. And the ecosystem fits me. It encourages me to keep learning and growing. It allows me to exercise my extrovert energy at events, and keep public speaking.
So with this love I’ve gained for two things: one in the business world, and one out in the world, the past several months have felt a little bit disjointed for me. In October, I took my third trip to Puerto Rico of 2019, and when I came back, I once again had this feeling of traveling between worlds. When I’m out volunteering, I’m totally disconnected from work, and my heart is so full, helping people, participating in this environment of selflessness and love. And when I’m home, working, I’m happy, and fulfilled, but I don’t have the time to participate in the same way. So I have these two pieces that I’ve been trying to fit together.
At Trailblazer Summit ’19, I was inspired with this idea. An idea to bring together my two pieces, and hopefully, help a whole lot of people in the process.
So welcome to Right Up My Allie–a tech blog I’ve been wanting to start for awhile, kicking off with the announcement of a new project. A program to give back by bringing tech skills and education to disaster-affected communities to help improve employment rates through remote tech jobs. I’m glad you’re here. Let’s get started.