Today, I am excited to have a new post in the Origins series where we hear from Admin Heroes how they got their start with Salesforce. Today’s story comes from Eric Dreshfield; a true lover of the Salesforce Community and an all around great guy! Enjoy!
I’ve been a salesforce.com user since 2009, and considering everything and everyone I know related to this great ecosystem I have to wonder why I didn’t discover it sooner! Like a lot of people in the ecosystem today, my career did not start off as a Salesforce customer or administrator. I was literally at the right time and place and fell into a temporary position as a call center agent that transformed itself into a business analyst role where I helped launch the service cloud to technology enterprise.
At the end of 2006 I lost a great job due to a buyout of a telecommunications company. Those things happen, and I maintained some great contacts from that company. Although it caused me and my family a great deal of stress, I knew the only way past it was to keep moving forward and find that next great job.
The job market was pretty bad in the Midwest in 2007, and due to family reasons, I was not open to relocation so I took whatever jobs I could find, and was literally working up to 20 hours per day at times between a temporary full-time position and a couple of part-time jobs. I did what I felt was necessary to keep my family fed, with a roof over our heads.
When I did manage to make it home when the kids were still awake, I knew I hadn’t been gone too long, because they all still recognized me and were excited to see me.
One Sunday afternoon in mid-January 2009, I got a call from a temporary staffing agency asking if I could go to their client’s office the next day at 7 am for an interview, and I was told to be prepared to stay all day and start working immediately (that is, if they liked me, of course!) .
That next day (Monday morning) I was at the offices of Mitchell International, a software and services provider to the automobile insurance and collision repair industry. I survived the interview, got three days of training and then was live on the telephone providing technical support to Mitchell’s customers on Mitchell’s collision repair suite of software.
This role was supposed to be an 8-week assignment to support the roll out of one new product. After about nine months on the job, I got a call from a representative from Mitchell’s HR department informing me that they had a real position (as opposed to a temporary one) available and they wondered if I’d be interested in interviewing for it. That was a no-brainer! Of course I was interested in a position that had benefits and better pay than a temporary job.
One part of the process of changing my status from temporary to a full-time Mitchell employee was an interview with the entire management team for the contact center, including the Vice President responsible for not only the contact center itself, but also all enterprise business solutions.
It was during that interview when my life changed, and I was introduced to salesforce.com. The VP had thoroughly reviewed my resume and work history before we talked, and her first question to me was “Why are we wasting your time and ours having you talk to our customers, when we are about to launch salesforce.com and you have skills that could help with that?” My only answer to that question was “That’s the only position you have available” to which the VP told me, “at the moment, that’s a true statement, but give me three weeks, and we’ll talk again”
Three weeks later, I was offered (and accepted) a role as a business analyst with Mitchell International and I was charged with making sure that the contact center management would have all the tools they needed to properly run the contact center from the day the company goes live with salesforce.com.
From that day forward, my entire work life (and some of my personal life) became consumed with salesforce.com. Of course, there was no money in the budget to send me to training, so I learned what I could from whatever resources I could find. My manager encouraged me to join my local user group, which was quite a stretch, since the closest group to me was almost 150 miles away, but I did start attending user group meetings every month.
Timing was perfect for my first user group meeting…it was in Chicago, IL and the very same day as the user group meeting there was a little, half-day, salesforce.com sponsored event that if it were held today, would be called a Salesforce1 World Tour Event. I think back in 2009 it was simply called the Chicago Cloud Tour. I think that’s when the Salesforce bug bit me, and it sure bit me hard!
I spent a couple days a month traveling to user group meetings, and was even awarded my very first salesforce.com swag , a travel mug, at a meeting in Nashville, TN by traveling the longest distance to attend the meeting. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but the salesforce.com bug bit me hard, and in May 2010, with the help of Jeanine Thorpe (who is currently on the Dreamforce team) I launched the Southern Indiana User Group. I had only 6 people at the very first meeting. Since that time, the group has grown to average about 25 people at each meeting.
Since that time, I’ve continued to lead the Southern Indiana User Group. I’ve spoken at Dreamforce for two years now, covering a total of 6 sessions. I’ve organized a regional User Group conference called Midwest Dreamin’, which started in 2011 in Louisville, KY, and then was reborn, bigger and much better in 2014 in Chicago, and the 2015 event is being organized now for July 9th and 10th in Chicago. I was first awarded the MVP title in 2013, and re-awarded that honor in 2014 & 2015. I’ve also organized a breakfast at Dreamforce for Newbies since 2012.
I blog occasionally, mostly focused on the Salesforce Community: www.ericforcefield.wordpress.com.
You can find me managing not just one, but three twitter accounts: Eric Dreshfield, South Indiana Salesforce User Group, and Midwest Dreamin’. I can also be found on LinkedIn and of course, on the Success Community:
What can I do to help make you more successful?