Celebrating women in tech
This week, we celebrate the anniversary of Grace Hopper. Hopper was a computer scientist and one of the first computer programmers. She was acclaimed for her work with machine-independent programming languages, which laid the foundation for COBOL, one of the first programming languages. Hopper is a role model to scientists, mathematicians, writers, tech enthusiasts, and women everywhere.
To honor her and the legacy she left, we interviewed a modern-day, woman-in-tech hero, Maria Belli. Here are just a few reasons why we think she’s a champion.
She inspires women in the Salesforce community.
Maria is a 4x Salesforce MVP, global Salesforce/DOMO applications manager at Radio Frequency Systems, and a co-organizer for the Salesforce Women in Tech group, formerly known as The Girly Geeks. Thanks to the wonderful work she’s done with this group, women in the Salesforce community feel welcomed, included, and connected.
Maria became involved in the newly formed group in 2010 at her first Dreamforce. She came across the Dreamforce App and found that Salesforce maven Geraldine Gray was coordinating a get-together (which happened to include wine) for other female attendees. At the time, the group was small, but she appreciated the instant camaraderie the group offered.
Other women appreciated this as well, and what started as a wine get-together of about 25 women evolved into one of the coolest groups within the Salesforce ecosystem, The Girly Geeks. Today the group, which is officially recognized by Salesforce as “Women in Tech,” has a large following and has become a network of female professionals within the Salesforce community. It has become a place to find career advice, job opportunities, support, and friendship throughout the year. There are also many Women in Tech user groups across the globe that host local meetings throughout the year. As one of the organizers, Maria has been an integral part in its evolution.
She finds the best route—then blazes the trail.
Maria’s relationship with Salesforce began at Radio Frequency Systems, a global designer and manufacturer of total-package solutions for wireless infrastructure. The company had spent close to a decade suffering with a CRM that didn’t fit their needs. When they realized that Salesforce fit the bill, they quickly made the switch, and Maria worked on the team that was responsible for implementation.
During this initial installment, Salesforce was still relatively new to the marketplace, and customers didn’t have access to tools like Trailhead or online classes to learn how to use the platform. Maria saw this as an exciting venture and embraced the challenge, working with outside consultants to learn the ins and outs of the system.
“I learned along the way with them, and in the process, I was able to identify things they were doing wrong or how they were advising us wrong. I was able to step in and say, ‘No, that’s not it,’ and move us in the right direction,” she says. “I was able to identify best practices.”
Maria’s knowledge and expertise propelled her into the consulting world, where she was able to help businesses set up Salesforce or help companies improve their use of the tool. After a few years, Radio Frequency Systems called her back to become global Salesforce/DOMO applications manager. She now manages their use of the platform and in 2016 was re-awarded the well-deserved honor of Salesforce MVP.
We are grateful for Maria and the ways that she demonstrates leadership in the Salesforce community and beyond. Keep up the great work, Maria!