Wed, 29 May 2019
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have another live interview from the Sydney World Tour, this time with New Zealander Anna Loughnan, Customer Success Manager at Todd Digital.
Join us as we talk about the importance of female role models, how she found herself in tech, and how she came back and got into Salesforce after twelve years raising her family to be a 4x Ranger.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Anna Loughnan.
Girls can do anything, but what should I do?
We’re proud to have Anna as our first Kiwi on the podcast. Growing up in New Zealand, there were posters everywhere offering encouragement that “girls can do anything.” The problem was that Anna didn’t exactly what she wanted to do. “Although we had this being drummed into us there was no actual followup,” she says, “there weren’t role models back in the day, so it was just what you were supposed to believe but there was no proof of it.”
All Anna knew was that she didn’t want to do something that was a traditionally female profession. She spent five years overseas working all sorts of jobs, from working at a McDonald’s to being a bartender. She found herself in Ireland and signed up for a postgrad course in computer science, “purely as an excuse to stay away from New Zealand for another year.” As soon as she sat down in class it was obvious: “the veil had lifted and that was my home, basically. It was frustrating because I had grown up with the message that ‘girls can do anything’ but it was my brother who had been bought a computer,” she says, “this was my first exposure to computers and I just had such an aptitude for it.”
How mentors helped Anna discover the Salesforce ecosystem.
When Anna came back to New Zealand in her late twenties, she worked for a while but also was focused on making a family. For twelve years, she worked a little but was mainly raising her three children. When an old school friend was working on a digital transformation project and needed an analyst, Anna got the call. “I found out later that she had to do a lot of hard talking and convincing for them to be comfortable taking someone on who had been out of the workforce for so long, but she had my back,” she says. “That’s what it takes sometimes is somebody else to believe in you.”
Salesforce was a big part of the digital transformation project, so that’s where Anna first encountered the platform. Nowadays, Anna was brought on to work on a startup with an old friend from that first job. “I knew he was an amazing person—he was such an advocate for Salesforce back in the day and he had seen the potential of the platform,” she says, “so I knew anything that involved him would certainly be worthwhile.” As the Customer Success Manager, Anna has to work across the entire platform and know all the things. “I try and know as much as I can about as many as possible, but it’s also good to know how you can find out about all the things if you don’t know yourself.”
The secrets of a four-star ranger.
In addition to being the first Kiwi (Kieran Jameson doesn’t count since she’s on the Trailhead editorial team… but we’ve put a link to her episode below), Anna is the first ever quadruple-star Ranger we’ve had on the pod. That means she has over four hundred badges. How does she find the time to do everything? “What really helps sometimes is making a public declaration,” she says, on Twitter or another community where you can get support. She also signed up with the 100 Days of Trailhead program through Ladies Be Architects. “Until I signed up for that I hadn’t done any super badges,” she says, “it empowered me because just working at Trailhead was an achievement, not necessarily getting a badge every time you sat down to do something.”
As far as advice Anna has for what makes a great admin, “I like being able to relate to people and talk in non-technical terms,” she says, “there’s nothing worse than a highly technical expert you can’t speak in plain English because that really scares people off.” When she talks to people, she’s always thinking about how to make their job easier, which means plenty of automations. Finally, it’s really important to be able to push back and be confident. “You’re such a key part of the business, you’re that face between the business and the technical,” she says, “often the business wants to do something because they’ve always done it that way, but you know there’s a better way. So you have to be confident in your ability to push back sometimes with what you’re being asked to do.”
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Full Show Transcript
Direct download: From_Programmer_to_Mom_to_Admin_with_Anna_Loughnan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:14pm PST