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!