Silverline has a tremendous emphasis on continuous learning and helping others, so it’s no surprise that employees are very active in giving back when it comes to the Salesforce ecosystem. Silverliners demonstrated these values in a recent volunteering opportunity with COOP, an organization that enables recent college graduates to learn more digital skills and pursue digital jobs.
Salesforce became involved with COOP to introduce these new graduates to Salesforce and begin a learning process with these individuals about the tool and its growing community. Umair Ilyas, a Senior Consultant at Silverline, partnered with the NYC Admin, WIT, and NYC Developer Community Group Leaders, and Salesforce community members to conduct a three-day Salesforce training session. “Students not only learned about Salesforce – creating their own custom objects, creating fields, and creating reports – but also focusing on the soft skills that we find very important in this industry,” Umair shared. Their soft skills education included icebreakers and team building activities to familiarize students with one another and start fostering a feeling of community.
This initial event went so well that COOP requested that Silverline bring more learnings and activities to students for a second event! This time around, Silverline included two employee volunteers, Joanna Bak and Paige Thompson.
Joanna and Paige are recent graduates of the Silverline Academy, full-time, three-month learning program for recent graduates that offers hands-on experiences to develop new talent. (Joanna now works as a Developer Silverline and Paige as a Business Analyst.) Both Joanna and Paige have been with Silverline for a few months, yet jumped on this opportunity to help others who are new to Salesforce.
With these two events, a new and successful volunteering and educational relationship began between Silverline and COOP, with many more learning sessions to come in the future.
Volunteering With COOP
“When given the opportunity to get involved with COOP in a learning environment where I could pass that forward, I was very excited to jump on that,” Joanna said of initially being asked to help with this COOP learning event.
While Salesforce information is fairly new to COOP participants, educating others on Salesforce tips and tricks is nothing new to Silverline. Joanna and Paige are members of the seventh Academy at Silverline, where mentors educate and share their time with Academy members with specialized learning plans and curriculum.
Umair, Joanna, and Paige brought their mentorship experience and Salesforce education to COOP participants in a classroom style setting introducing Trailhead, sharing what Salesforce is and what it does, and providing actionable lessons involving data and reporting. “These are people who can have huge potential in the Salesforce space, and sometimes all you need is an introduction,” Paige said of these participants. “In two years, the ‘COOPers’ could potentially go back and teach their own classes!”
Unexpected Benefits of Volunteering
Even though the day largely involved helping others and giving back to Salesforce newbies, volunteering with COOP proved to be a great learning experience for the Silverline participants as well.
Heading into the event, Paige knew she’d be stepping outside her comfort zone. “I expected to stretch a little bit; I don’t teach very often,” she said. “I was excited to grow at the same time I was teaching and see other people grow.”
On the other hand, Joanna was surprised by the unexpected. “It was interesting to see how much more comfortable I am with myself, not being an expert, but still being able to teach someone else and reach out. I am still personally working on asking for help when I need it.” Rather than only answer questions when a hand was raised or when she was directly probed, Joanna was able to share valuable tidbits of knowledge with students throughout the day.
“Both Paige and Joanna came in with the expectation that they had to know something or be experts in some capacity,” shared Umair. “We all realized that it was okay to show we don’t know something. We thought, ‘Yes there are things that we don’t know, but let’s figure this out together.’”
Influence of The Academy and Silverline Values
Joanna and Paige largely credit their positive experience in this event with their experience in the Silverline Academy.
“The Academy enabled me to speak with some expertise on these topics,” Paige said. Her experience with Salesforce is still somewhat new at this point, but she was able to present her knowledge and collaborate during the day with students to solve problems.
Joanna describes the Academy as a blend of classroom learning and on-the-job training. The classroom element, especially, aided in being a teacher during this volunteer work with COOP. Being a recent graduate of the Academy also helped put the day into perspective for her. “Just a little bit ago, I was also still learning Salesforce,” which created a mutual understanding between Joanna and the students she helped.
Understanding students’ possible frustrations and questions was great. Knowing techniques and resources to be able to teach others Salesforce was helpful. But, the biggest lesson learned from the Academy that applied in this learning environment was the idea of giving back. “Seeing Silverliners give their time to the Academy when they could have been doing their other work was very motivating to get us to volunteer in the first place. Silverline is a place where people care and share their time with others,” shared Paige.
Lessons Learned by Silverliners
The volunteer experience with COOP was a great opportunity for participants to manipulate data, start learning about reports, dive into the Salesforce platform, and become familiar with the Ohana of this technology. Umair, Joanna, and Paige were also thrilled that this experience provided them with big takeaways and lessons.
Umair learned that we all start somewhere. Whether it was the COOP participants or new Silverline Academy members, learning Salesforce starts from the ground up and there is always something to discover.
Joanna became confident in her growing knowledge of Salesforce and what it can do for others. “Even though I am also starting off, I still have some nugget of knowledge that can be passed along that can be a benefit to the overall Salesforce community,” she said.
Paige learned that enthusiasm is contagious and that her unlikely participation in the Salesforce ecosystem has brought her to a career she loves. “I’m a creative type – I play guitar, I like art. What am I doing in data science? When you get into the platform, you realize how freeing it is and how creative you can be.”
All Silverline participants from this event are excited to continue working with COOP and develop their teaching abilities for those new to Salesforce. On behalf of the entire Silverline organization, thank you to Linda Nguyen from COOP for working with us to make this event happen!
Silverline is dedicated to continuous learning and volunteering opportunities for employees. Check out our careers page to learn more about the opportunities available to join our growing team!