Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have the first of several live interviews Gillian recorded at the Salesforce World Tour in Washington DC. In this episode, we talk to Toya Tate, Salesforce Consultant at Slalom Consulting, Salesforce MVP, and leader in the DC Women in Technology User Group. We talk through her amazing career journey and how the community was there for her every step of the way.

Join us as we talk about how Toya got into Salesforce, the amazing role the community played in her career path, and how she made the jump to become a Salesforce consultant.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Toya Tate.

Getting hooked on Salesforce.

At college, Toya majored in mechanical engineering, “but when I got to my Junior year I realized I didn’t really like engineering like I thought I did.” She ended up working for a venture capital firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, where they were using a platform to keep track of their investments, applicants who were looking for funding, and more. “One day, my boss came in and told me, ‘Hey, we’re going to use Salesforce for this process now.’‘OK,’ I said, ‘Sure. That’s great. I don’t know why you’re telling me but great.’ He said, ‘I’m telling you because you’re going to run it.’”

As soon as her boss walked away, Toya started frantically googling because she had never heard of Salesforce before. They worked with an implementation partner to get started and she quickly fell in love with the platform. She was able to go to New York for a week for more training, and the rest is history. Going to Salesforce from their previous tracking system was night and day. “Tracking was coming from six million different sources before,” Toya says, “once everything got in Salesforce I could just run a report and everything was right there, I didn’t have to spend hours compiling reports every week.”

How Toya discovered the power of the Trailblazer Community.

“One day I had a question and my powers of Google failed me,” Toya says. She stumbled across the Success Community (now the Trailblazer Community), “and I found the answer to my question but I also found that there was a Cincinnati User Group and they had a meeting coming up.” The person who answered her question was actually at the meeting. “From then on,” she was, “I was fully one hundred percent committed.”

Toya spent most of her free time diving into the platform and learning more. One day, she was browsing the community and realized she could answer some of the questions people had. “People don’t believe me but I am an introvert,” she says, “so it was much easier for me to interact online where I could determine how I wanted to interact and how much.” She moved from only answering the questions she was absolutely certain she knew well to learning more about new areas as she helped people.

As Toya got more and more knowledge, she wanted to focus on Salesforce full-time and not worry about any other responsibilities—she was still doing other parts of her old job in addition to managing their org. She got certified and started looking for her next move. She saw a posting for a job in DC on the community. “I just took a leap and sent the person who posted it a note,” she says, and they responded back within the day and said that they had seen her active in the community and were really interested in talking to her.

If you’re an admin, you’re already a consultant.

When Toya got to DC, she connected with Rebeca Lammers, who she had previously known through the community. Rebecca kept trying to recruit her for a new role, and eventually, Toya said, “I’m really not looking but I will meet with the recruiter just so you can stop harassing me.” She took the meeting and, long story short made the switch from an admin to a consultant. “I realized I really was looking for a challenge after eight years as an admin,” she says, “so throw some stuff at me that I’m not familiar with so I can keep growing.”

When Toya was interviewing for the job she had one major concern, which was that she’d never been a consultant before. “The person who was interviewing me said, ‘Yeah, actually, you have,’” Toya says, “‘an admin is an internal consultant. You gather requirements, you iterate in your sandbox, you test it, and you release to production and you do it all over again. That’s the Agile process; you’re a consultant you just didn’t know the terminology but that’s what you’ve been doing for the past eight years.’” As soon as she realized that, she knew she could do the job.

“It’s a mindset shift,” Toya says, “instead of thinking of yourself as ‘just’ an admin, there’s no such thing. You’re a lot of different things: you’re a business analyst, you’re kind of a quasi-developer, you do change management, you do all the things that consultancies do.” Toya’s not introverted on the community, so feel free to reach out to her to learn more.

Getting involved in Women in Tech.

One other major thing that Toya works on is the DC Women in Tech community. “I can’t tell you how many people have come to the meetings and come away feeling empowered,” she says. When it comes to balancing the community with her career, Toya views it as a part of her job: “These Women in Tech meetings are a couple of hours a month, I can make that commitment to my career and I think most other people can for the return that you get.” If you’re in the DC area, be sure to reach out!

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce Admin. I’m Gillian Bruce. And today, listeners, we have the first of several interviews that I was able to record while I was at the Salesforce World Tour in Washington, DC. Not too long ago, I got the chance to sit down with one of my favorite people in the Salesforce community, Toya Tate. Toya is an incredible human being. She’s got an amazing Salesforce story.

Gillian Bruce: She is currently a Salesforce consultant at Slalom. She’s an MVP. She’s a leader for the Women In Technology group in Washington, DC. And she has completely transformed her career thanks to the power of using the Salesforce Trailblazer community. So, I will let her tell her story. So, without further ado, please welcome Toya to the podcast. Toya, welcome to the podcast.

Toya Tate: Thanks for having me, Gillian. I’m really excited to be here.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, well, it’s been long overdue. So, I’m glad to finally get you on.

Toya Tate: Yes, I’m super excited. Let’s do it.

Gillian Bruce: Let’s do it. All right. Well, we are here in DC, at the DC World Tour, one of my favorite World Tour stops, because I love the DC community. It’s the people like you I get to see in person. But I wanted to introduce you a little bit to the audience who may not know you. So, Toya, tell us, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Toya Tate: When I was growing up I wanted to be an anesthesiologist, believe it or not.

Gillian Bruce: Making people feel real good.

Toya Tate: Well, mostly because they wouldn’t talk. So, it was perfect for me.

Gillian Bruce: That’s great. I love that. Okay. All right. So, wanting to be an anesthesiologist to, now, working in the Salesforce ecosystem, connect the dots for me a little bit. Tell me about your career trajectory.

Toya Tate: So, there is no connection of the dots. It was all completely random. So, I wanted to be anesthesiologist, but I majored in mechanical engineering. Don’t even ask me. So, got to my junior year and realized that I didn’t really like engineering like I thought I did. So, I was aimless for a while and just kicked around and tried to figure out what I wanted to do. And I ended up working for a venture capital firm in Cincinnati, Ohio where we were using a different system to manage our investments and our applicants that were coming in looking for funding. One day, my boss came in to me and said, “Hey, we’re going to use Salesforce for this process now.” I said, “Okay. Sure. That’s great. I don’t know why you’re telling me but great.” He said, “Well, I’m telling you because you’re the one that’s going to run it.” I was like, “Oh, that’s awesome.” So when he walked away, I started Googling, because I had no idea what Salesforce was. I had never even heard of it before.

Toya Tate: So, we worked with an implementation partner to get our org set up. And once I got in there and started playing around, I realized I really liked it. So, I told my boss, “I really like this. You need to send me to training, because I don’t know what I’m doing.” And he did. He sent me to training in New York for a week. And that kicked off the entire love affair. So, that’s how I got started in Salesforce almost, oh, God, 10 years ago now.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, my goodness.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Wow. All right. So, the platform was a little different 10 years ago.

Toya Tate: Yeah. Slightly.

Gillian Bruce: Slightly different. But that’s really cool how you were exposed to it, totally unintentionally.

Toya Tate: Completely by accident.

Gillian Bruce: And then you’re like, “Hey, I kind of like this. I can see how cool this is.” What were some of the things that struck you about when you first got into Salesforce and start playing around on the platform?

Toya Tate: So, what I really loved was, I was the one that was in charge of all of those tracking things before, and it was coming from six million different sources. I can sort of be sure that this looks right based on what I knew. And once everything got in Salesforce, I could run a report. And all the stuff was right there, and I didn’t have to spend hours compiling reports every week or every month or on the fly based on what somebody needed to run to a meeting. So, I was in love. I’m like, it saved me time and aggravation. I’m onboard. Sign me up. So, that was what I loved about it initially.

Gillian Bruce: So, you didn’t have to be a human report. You could actually use the technology for that.

Toya Tate: Imagine that. And it freed me up to actually do other things. But then I realized I didn’t want to do those other things. I just wanted to do Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce: That’s great. Okay. So, you did the training, you are all in on Salesforce. Now, you’re a Salesforce admin, right?

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, then what happens next for you?

Toya Tate: I discovered the community. So, I had a question. I can’t remember what the question was, but my powers of Google failed me. And I stumbled across what was then the success community, what’s now the Trailblazer community. I was like, “Oh. This is great.” And I found the answer to my question, but I also found that there was a Cincinnati, what was then, user group. And they had a meeting coming up. So, I moseyed on in there. I sat in the front, because I always sit in the front, even though I was [crosstalk 00:05:15] like, “I don’t know anything. But I’m just going to sit here and see.” And the person who answered my question in the community was there at that meeting.

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome.

Toya Tate: I was like, “How often do you guys have this? There’s no membership fee. I could just show up?” They were like, “Yeah.” From then on, I was fully, 100% committed at that point. So, I was going in the user group meetings and figuring out what I wanted to find out more about, stuff that I wasn’t even using in Salesforce but I knew was there. So, I was spending a ton of spare time where I wasn’t working just finding out more about Salesforce, just because I was interested in it.

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome. So, you have this curiosity about the system and trying to learn more. This is a theme I hear from a lot of awesome admins.

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, you are learning more about the platform, maybe beyond your current job scope and what you were charged with.

Toya Tate: Right.

Gillian Bruce: The community made it real for you. You actually met the person who answered your question, which must’ve been surreal. I have a couple of stories that I’ve heard of people who are like, “Yeah. So, Nick helped me, went into my first question, and I met in person at Dreamforce and it was like, I didn’t think it was real and it came together.”

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: It’s a powerful story.

Toya Tate: It is. And then I realized that from perusing the community, I can answer some of these questions. So, that’s how I really got my feet wet, because people don’t believe me, but I am an introvert. It was much easier for me to interact online where I could determine how I wanted to interact and how much and who I wanted to interact with. And I could be okay. I definitely know the answer to that question. I can answer that and not feel like, well, I don’t know, not really sure Let me try to put this out there. At first, I stuck to the stuff that I definitely knew. And then I was like, “Oh. I really love this. This is cool.” So, that was just my whole awakening to the community.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It’s a whole different way to learn, right?

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Because you get to build your confidence by answering the questions you know. But [inaudible 00:07:13] you said that’s were you started …

Toya Tate: Right.

Gillian Bruce: … and then, maybe, you start dabbling into questions you’re not sure you know?

Toya Tate: I’m like, “Well, I don’t know this area, so let me go over here and see what they’re talking about.” And then I realize that, maybe, I knew a little bit more than I thought I did. And then it just snowballed from there.

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, now you have this momentum going. You’re learning a ton. You’re feeling more confident on the platform. I mean, how long were a Salesforce admin for?

Toya Tate: Oh, God. I was a Salesforce admin for eight years.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. All within the same company or …

Toya Tate: No. So, that first venture capital firm, I spent 10 years there. But we only started doing Salesforce, probably, my last five or six. So, about halfway through my tenure there. But the more I learned about Salesforce, the more I realized this other stuff, anybody can do that. It’s boring and I don’t want to do that. I want to do the Salesforce piece. And talked to my boss about it several times. He’s like, “Well, we’re a small organization, and everybody’s got to wear a lot of hats.” I’m like, “I don’t like those hats. I want to wear this one hat. So, work with me.” So, it became more and more of my job, but it wasn’t my title. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. So I’m like, “Well, it’s time for me to figure out where I can go where I can just do Salesforce all the time.” So, that’s what I did.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. So, tell me about that leap. Because, I think, a lot of admins I talk to get Salesforce thrown on their lap, or they discover it or they inherit it. But, like you said, it’s not their job title, right? They’re not officially the Salesforce admin even though they have that on top of the other five hats that they were.

Toya Tate: Right.

Gillian Bruce: So, how did you prioritize saying, “Hey, this is what I want to be, a full-time Salesforce admin.” And then how did you make that happen for yourself?

Toya Tate: So, what I did was, in my spare time at work or, even at home or on weekends, I would start studying, because I knew I wanted to be certified. So, I got my certification, I think a year after I took the class. Not recommended. [crosstalk 00:09:19]

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it’s a lot of lag time there. You get rusty.

Toya Tate: I had to learn three new releases. I’m like, okay, I won’t make that mistake again. So, I’ll tell all of y’all out there don’t do that. It’s a bad move.

Gillian Bruce: Take your cert as soon as you can.

Toya Tate: As soon as you finish the class, take the cert. So, I got certified and I started looking for jobs that were just Salesforce. And, on the community, I saw a listing for a job in DC. I’m like, “I can do that job.” And I’d been wanting to relocate to DC for years. So, I just took a leap. I sent the person who posted it a note in the community. It said, “I don’t know if you’d consider somebody from outside of the area, but this is my background. This is what I’d like to do. I’d love to talk to you about the position more.” And they responded back within the day and said, “We’ve seen you really active on the community. We’d love to talk to you.” And they flew me out, and within a month, I’d had, I don’t know, a couple of phone and Skype interviews and an in-person interview. And I had a new job within a month. [crosstalk 00:10:19] And I was able to relocate.

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome. So, you totally were just able to relocate, because you saw an opportunity on the community. And because of what you had done on the community, you already had a shoo-in, essentially. They knew who you were because they saw what you were doing, which is really awesome.

Toya Tate: Yeah. Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: It’s great to hear that. We talk about that a lot like, “Go, establish yourself on the Trailblazer community or in Twitter, because people are going to Google you. And that’s what you want people to see.” But they already knew you before you even said anything.

Toya Tate: Yeah. It is a true thing. People think that we say because that’s just like a marketing thing. No, it is actually true. I couldn’t tell you how many people I know that have found jobs through the community. And even now, people or even me, don’t have to look for jobs. Your reputation precedes you, and people come to you. And who wouldn’t want that? Where you can just pick and choose your opportunities.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. That’s awesome to have complete control and power there, right?

Toya Tate: Exactly. I love it.

Gillian Bruce: So, let’s talk a little bit more about that. So, you relocated to DC. You now are a full-time Salesforce admin, but you are no longer in that role.

Toya Tate: I am not.

Gillian Bruce: Tell me about that next step.

Toya Tate: So, my next step. I relocated here about six months ahead of someone that you probably know, Rebecca Lammers.

Gillian Bruce: I have heard her name before. I believe she’s been on the podcast too.

Toya Tate: Maybe you’re familiar with her. And Rebecca relocated here as well to work for a consultancy. And soon after she started, she came to me said, “Hey, we’re both here now.” We’d known each other through the community, I think, by then for three or four years. She’s like, “This place is really great. I think you’d be a great fit.” I’m like, “Nay, get out of here. I’m not looking for a new job. I’m really happy with where I am.” She’s like, “Okay. That’s fine. You can say no.” And then three months later, she asked me again. She’s like, “Well, you can keep saying no, and I will just keep asking you until you say yes.” Fine Rebecca. So, I’m like, “I’m really not looking though, but I will meet with the recruiter just so you can stop harassing me.” She’s like, “Sure. Meet with them. No problem.”

Toya Tate: And then once I met with them and realized that, I really am kind of looking for a challenge after eight years as an admin, always in Sales Cloud, know Sales Cloud in and out. I want some new challenges. Throw some stuff at me that I’m not familiar with so I can keep growing. About a year and a half ago, I made the switch from an admin to a consultant.

Gillian Bruce: Well, congratulations.

Toya Tate: Thank you very much.

Gillian Bruce: So, it sounds like you got poached a little.

Toya Tate: I did. I got poached. I did.

Gillian Bruce: As you said would happen, because your reputation starts preceding you.

Toya Tate: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, tell about that transition because I think a lot of admins may be thinking about a similar move or maybe haven’t even thought about it as a possible career possibility. But you said something that struck me, is that after eight years of being in Sales Cloud and knowing Sales Cloud in and out but not being able to really use the other parts of the platform, that curiosity was getting to you. You wanted to test and learn more. So, how is it different from being a full-time Salesforce admin to now being a consultant and working on a bunch of different projects?

Toya Tate: So, that’s a really great question. When I was interviewing to be a consultant, that was what they were asking. “Well, you have any apprehensions?” I’m like, “Yeah. I’ve never been a consultant before.” And the person that was interviewing me said, “Actually you have. An admin is an internal consultant. You gather requirements. You iterate in your sandbox. You test it, and you release it to production. And then you do it all over again. That’s a agile process. You’re a consultant. You just didn’t know the terminology. But that’s what you’ve been doing from the past eight years.” I’m like, “Oh, you’re right. I am.” Oh, yeah. Okay. I can do this job. It’s just a mindset of how you’re thinking about it. And it is definitely challenging, because you’re going into new environments. So, you have to learn business processes. You have to learn personalities. You have to juggle that and be ready to be client-facing and always be on, which anybody can manage that. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. You say you’re an introvert. I don’t know if I believe it. But you cover it up really well if you are.

Toya Tate: I just think its a mindset shift. Instead of thinking of yourself as just an admin, there’s no such thing. If you’re running a Salesforce admin, you’re a lot of different things. You’re a business analyst. You’re quasi developer. You do change management. You do all the things that consultancies do. But you’re all wrapped up in one package. So, why not just put yourself out there and see what happens? You’d be surprised.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I think that’s great advice. And I think it’s a really interested idea because if you’re an embedded admin, so to speak, right, you are. You are performing all those functions. You are an in-house consultant [crosstalk 00:15:09] essentially, right?

Toya Tate: Exactly. I was a solo admin in the instances that I worked in. So, if you can be a solo admin, you can definitely be a consultant.

Gillian Bruce: I love that.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Well, it’s a great career trajectory to think about. We have not talked about it on the podcast very much.

Toya Tate: Oh. Excellent.

Gillian Bruce: I know there’s a few people who made the jump, so I really appreciate you sharing with us.

Toya Tate: I am always happy to talk about that leap. Other people can do it. If I can do it, trust me, anybody can do it. I’m happy to talk about it anytime [crosstalk 00:15:40] especially with you.

Gillian Bruce: Well, hey, and now people will find you on the community too. [crosstalk 00:15:44] So, there you go.

Toya Tate: Yes, find me on the community, on Twitter. You can find me anywhere.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. You’re not introverted on the community.[inaudible 00:15:50]

Toya Tate: No, I’m not. Just in real life.

Gillian Bruce: So, Toya, one other thing that I know is really important to … speaking of community. There is a very strong Women In Technology community here in the DC area. And it’s one of the reasons that I love coming to the DC World Tour. It’s because that group is full of absolutely incredible men and women really giving back in big ways and very connected. And there’s just a really strong vibe there.

Toya Tate: Absolutely.

Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to me a little bit about your involvement in the Women In Technology community here in DC area? And then overall, how that fits into your career and how you make that all work together.

Toya Tate: Absolutely. Happy to do it. So, here in DC, the Women In Tech community group is run by two phenomenal, amazing women that I’m lucky enough to call friends, LeAndria Streeter and Rakia Finley, who come up with amazing content and programming every month that we all benefit from. Can’t tell you how many people have come in the meetings and come away with feeling empowered and gotten help with issues. They put together groups to help nonprofits for free to give people volunteer experience. I just can’t talk enough about the Women In Tech community specifically. So, if you’re in DC and you’re not part of this community, you definitely need to find on the Trailblazer community group site. Definitely come … It’s nothing but an enriching experience.

Gillian Bruce: And it’s not just for women, right? Men are welcome as well?

Toya Tate: Oh, yeah. You guys can come to. Yes. Most definitely because we can’t just talk into an echo chamber, right? We got to have some people in the room to represent us and what’s important to us when they’re in spaces where we’re not. So, we happily welcome men. We have men at every meeting.

Gillian Bruce: I know. But I love it.

Toya Tate: We have a great time.

Gillian Bruce: It is a great time. I love going to your meetings when I’m in town. But let’s talk a little bit about how you balance that. So, I know a lot of people look at the community and may be like, “Oh, this is so awesome, but there is a lot of stuff. I also have my job, and I also need to keep trainings.” So, how do you incorporate your involvement in the community with your career and make it all work together?

Toya Tate: So, to me, I think it’s all part of the same puzzle. I don’t really separate my work in the community from my job. I think it’s part of my job. So, these Women In Tech meetings, they’re a couple hours a month. I can make that commitment to career. I think most other people can for the return that you get. And the involvement in the community. I have evenings, I have weekends. I can hop on Twitter real quick and look at the [inaudible 00:18:29] hashtag or go into the trailblazer community and check in on groups that I’m in, answer questions, either technical questions or about the community. It doesn’t take that long, especially since I just consider it part of what I do. So, I don’t think it’s really that much to balance.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. I love how you consider it part of your job, because I also consider it part of my job but it is. Like you said, you get a lot out of it. You learn a lot. You make the connections. I mean, who knows, next job opportunity is probably in that meeting [crosstalk 00:19:02] right?

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: [inaudible 00:19:03] as Ms. Consultant, right?

Toya Tate: Your next whatever could be right at your next community group meeting. [crosstalk 00:19:10] I’m just saying.

Gillian Bruce: So, one other thing that I wanted to get from you, especially with all the experience that you had, is some tips and advice for admins who, maybe, have been an admin for a couple years and are thinking about, what else can I do? What’s next? What are some tips and advice you have for those folks?

Toya Tate: So, definitely join the community. You will find people who have been where you are or who are where you are right now that you can bounce ideas off of. It’s a way to stretch yourself. One of the things that I did was I joined the Rad Women group. We’re learning about Apex and development. I’m not a developer, but it’s still something that added to my skill set to round me out, so I could talk to developers and we could talk the same language. So even if you don’t think you want to do something, just jump into the community and just expand your world view. It will definitely help you. So, that’s first. Get involved with the community. Reach out to people who are really visible. If you want to have questions, or you just want to sit down with coffee. Everybody that I found is really helpful, willing to give their time. So, definitely get involved with the community, and that’ll open up the door to so many other things.

Gillian Bruce: Great advice. The community unlocks all of the things.

Toya Tate: All the doors. Trust me.

Gillian Bruce: All right, Toya. Well, before I let you go, I have to do a lightening round.

Toya Tate: Lightening round.

Gillian Bruce: So, three questions, no right or wrong answers. First things that come to mind.

Toya Tate: Okay. No pressure.

Gillian Bruce: No pressure. So, the first question is a this or that question.

Toya Tate: Okay.

Gillian Bruce: So, the question is, toilet paper, over or under?

Toya Tate: Over.

Gillian Bruce: Over. I agree with you. I don’t know the weird people that do under.

Toya Tate: Savages.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Your next question is a would you rather question. Would you rather be able to see 10 minutes into your own future or 10 minutes into the future of anyone but yourself?

Toya Tate: Anyone but myself. I’m predictable, so I don’t need to know.

Gillian Bruce: Love it. Okay. Your final one. Well, first, I should probably ask this. Do you have a pet?

Toya Tate: No. I have a pet by proxy.

Gillian Bruce: A pet by proxy.

Toya Tate: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, let’s try this one and see if it works. If you could ask your pet by proxy three questions, what would they be?

Toya Tate: Do you like living with your owners? What do you do all day? And are you mad that can’t get table food?

Gillian Bruce: That’s awesome.

Toya Tate: It seems random, but she always looks pissed that she can’t eat what I’m eating, and I just want to know why. You’ve got plenty of food, leave mine alone.

Gillian Bruce: Clearly, whatever you’re eating looks better.

Toya Tate: Obviously. It’s like a baby.

Gillian Bruce: I guess I will find out about that soon.

Toya Tate: Yes, you will.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Toya, thank you so much. Thank you so much for the contributions you’ve made to the community and are continue making and thanks for sharing with us the podcasts today.

Toya Tate: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. We’ll talk to you again soon.

Toya Tate: I’ll be ready.

Gillian Bruce: Huge thanks to Toya for taking the time out the busy day during the Salesforce World Tour in DC to chat with me. I wanted to pull out some of my favorite parts of our conversation to highlight for you listeners. First, Toya learned about Salesforce from a manager. She had no prior knowledge of the platforms. But when her manager introduced it to her, she started playing around with the tools, went to a training in New York, and boom. “The love affair had begun,” she says. Secondly, the power of the community. So, the community played such a critical role in Toya’s career path. Not only was she able to find her local user group, which then helped her gain the confidence and help her discover her commitment to Salesforce. But she also really used the Trailblazer community to establish herself by engaging in questions and conversations in the community, trying to share knowledge that she already had but also digging into topics that she wasn’t so confident in and trying to answer those questions to gain knowledge, to gain experience, to really help her grow skills in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Gillian Bruce: She realized that she knew a lot more than she thought she did. And what’s amazing about that is because she had established herself so well on the Trailblazer community, it actually enabled her to take a job and relocate from Ohio all the way to DC. That’s where she wanted to go. She didn’t really know that she was going to be able to do that, but, hey, she had established herself in the Trailblazer community enough so that when that job opportunity popped up, the employer looked at what she done in the community, and boom. She had the opportunity to really transform her career and make the jump and make the move. Now, Toya also knew that she was ready for a challenge but wasn’t quite sure what that looked like. And she actually got poached. So, Toya was actually introduced to a consultant firm. She had no intentions on applying for a new position, but a recruiter quickly realized that Toya had all of the great qualities that would make her a good consultant.

Gillian Bruce: So being an amazing and awesome Salesforce admin, those skills that you have can really apply to being a consultant and taking your skills to other companies and helping other organizations implement Salesforce. So, seeing that as a great opportunity, Toya, then, switched her mindset and went for the challenge. And that’s why she’s now [inaudible 00:24:49] She’s been a consultant for a little over a year now.

Gillian Bruce: So, if you are an admin and thinking about what your next career move might be, maybe being a consultant might be something that you hadn’t thought about before. Take a look into it. It really worked for Toya. It was several others that it has worked for as well. Again, it’s not for everybody but, hey, it’s a great way to, maybe, transform your career and grow it should you choose to do that. If you want to learn more about some of the great things that Toya and I talked about on the podcast today, good news, as we’ve content on Trailhead for that. We have a whole slew of content about helping you grow your career. I put the link to that in the show notes. And as always, you can find more about being an awesome admin at admin.salesforce.com. You can find blogs, webinars, events, and even more podcasts on that amazing website. And the best thing about Trailhead, not only can you learn more about how to grow your career and learn Salesforce skills, but it’s also a great way for you to prepare to take your next certification exam. So, whether you have zero certifications or 15, there’s still another certification for you to get.

Gillian Bruce: And Trailhead has all the great content to help you prepare for that. You can even find courses. If you want to register for an actual in-person course, you can do that trailhead.com as well So, make getting another certification this year a priority. It really helps open doors for you professionally. And it helps you prove your skills, beyond the Trail Head badges that you earn.I’d also like to remind you to please subscribe to the podcast and share it with your friends, so that you can get it delivered directly to your platform or device of choice the moment it is released so you don’t miss a single episode. We’ve got lots of good stuff coming your way. You can find us on Twitter at Salesforce Admns. Our guest today was Toya Tate. You can find her on Twitter at Toya_L_Tate. And you can find myself at Gillian K Bruce. Thank you so much for listening to this episode, and we’ll catch you next time in the cloud.

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