Today, I am excited to have a new post in the Origins series where we hear from Admin Heroes on how they got their start with Salesforce. Today’s story comes from Sharif Shaalan. Enjoy!

I have a sales background and had always been in sales positions as a top seller in the companies I worked for.  This is where I was first introduced to Salesforce, as a user at a few of the companies I worked for.  In 2007 I found myself doing inside cold calling sales and using Salesforce once again.  I was promoted to Sales trainer in order to train the new hires in the methods that I used to become a top seller.  On my first day off of the phones as the trainer the Salesforce Admin for the company quit.  The CEO called me into the office and said, “you are now the Salesforce admin too”.  “Sure” I responded and that day my Journey really started.

I spent the next two years learning Salesforce the best way in my opinion, hands on!  I wore many hats as I became the CEO’s right hand man and helped expand the team from 12 reps to over 100 reps increasing revenue from inside sales exponentially.  In 2009 the company sent me to Dreamforce, and that is when I realized the true potential of the platform.  I signed up for as many hands on sessions as possible and came back with a ton of quick wins for the team.   The best thing that came out of that visit was my introduction to certifications.  I spent the next few months after Dreamforce studying for my Admin Cert and passed my exam early 2010.

As soon as I added “Certified Salesforce Admin” to my LinkedIn profile I was bombarded with job and contracting offers in the NYC area.  With a few good contracting offers I decided to start my own consulting company, Agile Cloud Consulting LLC.  I had a talk with the CEO of the company I worked for and he agreed to become a client rather than me leaving altogether.  I spent the rest of 2010 with a lot of work and my company was doing very well.

In early 2011 one of my clients was roundCorner.  I contracted with roundCorner as one of my clients until late 2011 when they gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse to come on as a Principal Consultant.  I am still with roundCorner and am now a Technical Architect at the company.  Along the way I was the product manager for roundCause Events, I helped build NGO Connect, and I got my Developer, Advanced Admin, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Service Cloud Consultant Certifications.  I am also a 3x Salesforce MVP.

My journey has been and continues to be very exciting and humbling.  I wore many hats along the way including user, trainer, admin, consultant, business owner, product manager, and now Technical Architect.   I am leading the GirlScouts of the USA implementation at the moment and have implemented Salesforce for many orgs including NYU Abu Dhabi, Student Conservation Association, St. Judes Childrens Hospital/ALSAC,  Princeton University, MIT, Villanova, City Year, and many more.  In my spare time you can find me on the Salesforce Success Community giving back by answering questions, it’s the least I can do for this great community that always helped me along the way!

Follow Sharif on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “ ORIGINS: The Story of Sharif Shaalan ”

  1. Wow, amazing story. Congrats to you Sharif, your journey into starting your own SF consulting business is where I’d like to end up. Thank you for giving me that extra push!


  2. Sharif, it was good to read a little about your backstory. The themes are consistent with what I have come to know about you over the year and a half or so since we met. These include your relentless pursuit of mastery in whatever role you play, your undeniable technical expertise, and your willingness to share your talent and knowledge with others. My experience in working with you has been one where I have witnessed your continually providing strong technical guidance at all levels (and under a myriad of conditions), your creatively addressing business issues head on, and your providing a level of support that makes the term “partnering” seem inadequate in capturing the degree of personal ownership and commitment that you bring to the table. What I have found to be at the heart of your effectiveness goes beyond your professionalism, technical prowess, communication skills, etc. and speaks to something that is more difficult to articulate as it has to do with personal style, authenticity, and who you are as a person. The last sentence in this bio points to what I am trying to get at. Thank you for your invaluable contributions. Wishing you continued success.


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