The community rises up.
On December 26, 2015, Nana Gregg and her family found themselves bracing for the impact of a tornado that ultimately hit their house, removing the entire top floor of their home. Although it was a situation typically met with despair, Nana was uplifted by the outpouring of support she received from her community—in particular, the Salesforce community.
Nana became a Salesforce MVP in 2015 and had grown close to the MVP community of almost 180 members. From gift cards and notes in the mail, to people showing up at her front door to help clean the damage, Nana was overwhelmed by this community and their support. In this moment, Nana understood that the community was much more than a professional group or interest club—it was like a family.
The student becomes the master.
Nana’s road to becoming a Salesforce admin started early in her career at a job where the company required sales leads and records to be moved from Excel spreadsheets into Salesforce. She immediately saw the value of Salesforce and became an emphatic fan.
Her love of the platform drove her to learn more. When she first started her learning journey, Salesforce offered a class new users could take, but there was no Salesforce Success Community, and learning resources were not as abundant as they are today. People working with Salesforce had to learn on their own how to make things work.
Nana’s appreciation for and knowledge of the platform grew significantly over the next few years. As one of two admins for her department, she grew her company’s Salesforce user base from 120 to 550. As her responsibility increased, so did her depth of knowledge.
This particular company used Salesforce from end to end: Pardot for lead generation opportunities and sales management, FinancialForce PSA for project management tracking, and FinancialForce Accounting for their financial and accounting needs. This all-encompassing exposure to Salesforce platforms boosted Nana’s know-how to an expert level, and she was driven to learn even more.
She pushed herself to continue learning, and eventually began to chronicle her learning journey on her blog as well as through writing on the Salesforce Success Community and answering questions via Twitter. Nana benefited from those who came before her and generously shared their knowledge. She realized she wanted to help others in the same way that these people had helped her.
In 2015, Nana’s dedication to helping others learn was recognized, and she was invited to be a Salesforce MVP. The Salesforce MVPs are members of the Salesforce community recognized for their leadership, knowledge, and ongoing contributions to the Salesforce community. For Nana, this was a well-deserved honor.
“It’s a huge honor, but it’s something you also have to live up to. You have to continue doing what you’re doing. It puts you into the spotlight and it pushes you,” she says.
Keep learning to keep growing.
Nana is the epitome of a constant learner. She is always looking for ways to expand her Salesforce knowledge and improve her practice.
“Most MVPs are learners,” she explains. “They’re always eager to go out and teach themselves something new or learn something new. It’s just because they want to. It’s a common thread. I’ve always been that way… We tend to talk about what we’ve learned and get excited about it, and we’re not afraid of learning something new.”
Even if there’s no direct need, Nana still likes to explore what’s available on the AppExchange® and keeps up with what’s new. This is crucial to owning her org.
“In my role, if it’s a free app, I’m home free to download it into the sandbox, play with it and deliver a show and tell. If it’s a paid app, then we’ve got to go some different routes. I always find the best way to get somebody to be interested in something or to see how it’s going to work for them is to build it and show them… That’s the purpose of the sandbox—build it and let it showcase itself. If it’s a good enough app, it’ll sell itself.”
From exploring new apps and educating others to owning her own org, Nana has a lot to like about her job. But what does she find most rewarding? “When I can save someone time and help them work more efficiently. [Executives] shouldn’t be spending time creating a spreadsheet for a meeting.”
Nana encourages new admins looking to grow their skills to invest in themselves.
But Nana’s motivation is clearly more than career advancement or professional development. Her story is a testament to the most important piece of advice she gives: to appreciate the importance of community and the role it plays in our lives.
“It’s not all about Salesforce. We have that underlying thread, but it’s about the community and the bonds we forge,” she says. “At Dreamforce, it feels like ‘Cheers,’ where you walk into the bar and everyone goes, ‘Norm!’ That’s what this place is. We want to help each other, we want to learn from each other. We’re from different departments and different parts of the world, but none of that matters.”
“If you train yourself on new technology, it’ll be valuable both for your employer and for you and your career path.”