James Governor's Monkchips

Further Thoughts on Salesforce Admins and Inclusion: The SFO story

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A story I have been telling folks at TrailheaDX, Salesforce’s developer conference, over the last couple of days, which I never wrote down before. Last year after Dreamforce I headed to the airport. As I got to passport control an African American woman – let’s call her Miss A – saw the logo on my bag and asked:

“Oh – so do you work at Salesforce?”

“No,” I replied, “but they are client.”

“My ambition is to become a Salesforce Admin”, she said.

Well Ok Then. Miss A then pulled her phone out of its case. The back of it was plastered in Trailhead badges. Trailhead is Salesforce’s online learning platform – it’s badge-based and gamified and tries to make tech learning fun. It has a cartoon character vibe, which works well at Salesforce offline events.

Admins are what Salesforce calls the people that manage Salesforce implementations – they are not developers per se, but can make process and organisational configuration changes declaratively. Admins also train users, and focus on opportunities for process automation. They come from all sorts of different backgrounds, but one of the refreshing things about the community is how many women there are making a living in the role. Walking around TrailheaDX

I asked Miss A for her email address and introduced her to Adam Seligman, EVP App Cloud at Salesforce. He kindly followed up. She has now earned many more badges, but hasn’t yet become an Admin.

An admin makes around $88k a year, and there are plenty of jobs out there. Salesforce is working to improve inclusion with programs for Veterans – Vetforce and Boldforce (Black Organization for Leadership and Development at Salesforce). Not everyone is going to become a software developer, but plenty of us could become admins. Salesforce has a crazy goal of 100m in its network – the vast majority of those are going to be Admins.

When I was watching the amazing keynote yesterday by Leah McGowen-Hare it powerfully struck me that if Miss A was at the event, just how powerful seeing a fellow black woman completely owning the Salesforce main stage would be.

My related goals are fairly straightforward, and definitely achievable.

  1. Help Miss A achieve Admin status
  2. Get her the free ticket to Dreamforce I promised
  3. Introduce her to Leah


update – here is a video I made based on the story too. Salesforce is a client


  1. All very valid goals. And I would be happy to help if you need anything.

  2. […] I can safely say this focus on what Marc calls “core values” is helping their recruitment. I have been impressed to see so many confident African-American ladies on stage. So unusual in tech. In turn their comfort and confidence is likely helping attract others. James Governor shared with me one such story. […]

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