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Find us in the crowds at Dreamforce with what3words!

Dreamforce is back in action on Tuesday 19th November, so we’re heading over to San Francisco again! And this time, we’ll be using our customer’s app, what3words to navigate around the biggest event in the Salesforce world.

What’s what3words, you ask? Well, it’s an app that’s really simplified location finding. It assigns each 3m square in the whole world a unique three-word address that will never change.

For example, ///intervals.using.tapes marks the entrance to oe:gen’s Nottingham office.

The creator of what3words used to work in the music industry and noticed that in the music world, technicians and musicians were getting lost trying to find live events every day. So after experiencing a few too many ‘navigation nightmares’, Chris Sheldrick asked his mathematician school friend, Mohan Ganesalingam, for help with an algorithm to make precise GPS coordinates more concise and easier for people to use.

These three-word addresses are as accurate as GPS coordinates but are much easier to say and share.  People use what3words to find their tents at festivals, navigate to venues, direct emergency services to the right location, and more.

It’s pretty much perfect for navigating San Francisco and the huge space that Dreamforce occupies. Paul will be using it to find his way around and meet up with his pals. If you’d like to grab a drink with Paul in San Fran — be that caffeinated, soft, or alcoholic — send him a little message via this Pardot landing page and he’ll arrange something with you!

What we learned at the Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech

Yesterday at the Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech I found myself yet again surrounded by a wonderfully supportive, inspiring bunch of excellent people.

From Rebena we learned how to package up our strengths to build our brand credibility. We also learned that perhaps we need to shout about the seemingly ‘obvious’ stuff a bit more — because what’s obvious to us might not be obvious to everyone else.

Arianne taught us that great minds DON’T all think alike. She used her history of ‘epic fails’ to remind us that some of the best successes come from being brave enough to try and accept potential failure. “Make the crazy decision! Do the mad thing!”

She also spoke about Kintsukuroi — the art of repairing broken pottery with gold and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. We should all view ourselves like this when we feel we’ve failed…

Jo showed us how to “cut the crap” — how valuing your own time and prioritising the things that are most important to you will help you become more productive and happier. Also why, sometimes, being contactable every minute of the day via every app under the sun isn’t doing us any favours, personally or professionally. We were also introduced to The Eisenhower Matrix!

And to quote Lucy Pickering’s Tweet from the day, Susan concluded ‘an inspiring afternoon of talks about knowing yourself, learning from failure and building resilience’ with a fun, inspiring recap of her entrepreneurial journey. From Susan we learned that to build a successful entrepreneurial career, we need to be resilient, put in the hard work, surround ourselves with the best people, and always follow our ‘north-star’ values. And while having processes and systems in place is great for business, we need to make sure we’re not processing the creativity out of our teams.

To those that came along yesterday — thank you for your support, company and Tweets! We hope you enjoyed the afternoon as much as we did.

To my lovely colleagues who helped us pull this off despite a couple of (hopefully unnoticeable) snags on my part (if you know you know) — thank you for always helping us run this crazy show smoothly.

To our brilliant speakers — I cannot even. You guys rock.

And to those that missed it this time — I feel like I can never do these ladies justice in my attempt to recap. So you’re honestly better off coming to witness these quarterly events for yourself. To do just that, you can sign up to the Trailblazer community here to get notified about our next one via email! They’re always totally free to keep them as accessible as possible.

What would you like to see more of next time? What topics would you most like us to cover? Let us know in the comments below! 

What I learnt at the September Salesforce Administrators Group event

It was another great turn-out for the Salesforce Administrators group, and why not? We had another great line up that only a fool would miss! But don’t worry, if you were unable to attend, here’s what happened on the day…

Observations from 500 contact centre visits over the past 28 years

Speaker: David Thomson, Principal Solutions Engineer at Salesforce

After a short introduction, David kickstarted his talk by focusing on Salesforce’s Service Cloud and how different organisations have identified problems and resolved or improved them by using the adaptable platform.

Looking at the Pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence, World war two planes and designing women’s trainers, we really did cover a lot of ground.

Some key points for me were around having a good Knowledge base that will really help divert traffic and improve the customer’s experience. If you provide a smooth, streamlined service that makes it effortless for your customer to learn and engage with your business, they’re much more likely to return.

We then started looking into various examples of ‘understanding the user’s needs’ by looking inwards, rather than outwards to help shape the way customer service is delivered. An example of this is empowering service agents to apply discretionary funds as and when they feel is required, and looking at the impact this can have on the customer. No authorization, no sign-off — just simple customer service, done well.

Dave then started talking about the importance of getting the basics right instead of just focusing on giving the customer the ‘wow’ factor. A good, clean, basic service will ‘wow’ your customers in a way that will keep them returning time and time again, without the added complications of additional whistles and bells that may not add any true value.

We then started looking at the consolidated customer view and what benefits this can bring to your company. Dave told us that seeing all interactions and generating opportunities based on those interactions will help predict prospects, which really shows how the Salesforce platform can help you engage customers better!

Summary:

David’s talk was really engaging! It was a great condensed learning opportunity to understand how 500 different contact centres have all used and adapted Salesforce to tackle and improve their own unique issues and customer experiences. I would be very surprised if there were people in the room who didn’t go home with at least one take away point from this talk!

With some great examples and clear useful slides and some recommended reading material, this talk is definitely one to put on your radar.

Dave’s Recommended Reading:

  1. The effortless experience – Mathew Dixon
    This is well worth a read on how to gain customer loyalty.
  2. Invisible woman – Caroline Criado Perez
    An amazing book which is a real eye-opener about how the world was designed with men at the forefront.

IHG User story

Speaker: Emma Keeling, Product Manager Sales and Catering of InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG)

Emma is a regular member of the #SFNotts and #SFWiTNotts user group, so it was wonderful to have the opportunity to listen and understand her personal engagement with the Salesforce platform!

Emma (aka ‘Mamma Bear’, as stated on her lovely t-shirt) started by setting the scene and guiding us through her career path. First explaining how she came to work in the hospitality industry and then how, over time, she became ‘The’ subject matter expert in their previous operational system – a system that had the ability to take bookings, look at scheduling and prepare invoicing. She became the go-to person for any troubleshooting issues or user guidance.

Emma was then informed that the current system was no longer going to be supported and needs to be moved over to a new platform. This couldn’t have come at a better time as she was also just about to go on maternity leave (welcome ‘Baby bear’)!

On Emma’s return to work, suddenly she found herself walking into a whole new system, going from a subject matter expert to clueless in what seemed like overnight. With people still looking to Emma to provide support, she soon realized she had to roll up her sleeves and get to grips with this new Salesforce platform.

By engaging with the Salesforce trailhead learning platform, Emma soon got her Ranger status and then went onwards to achieve 3 x Certified status and regaining her title of ‘SME’.

Emma then went on to explain and demonstrate how she and her team have adapted and use the Salesforce platform within the hospitality industry to include: account management, room booking, and conferencing and events.

IHG have now built a bespoke platform that they’re hoping to roll out to their franchises to better help, support and align their business processes. This not only helps the in-house staff but also adds value to their customers and offering something more.

Summary:

Emma’s story was a great real-life example of how salesforce can be turned from an unknown entity into a practical, bespoke, and streamlined system that can be configured and rolled out en-mass.

Using real-life experiences and diving into the free Trailhead learning platform can transform not only yourself from clueless to SME, but also giving you the skills to make the Salesforce platform what you need it to be.

An Introduction to Salesforce Maps – an admin perspective

Speaker: Christy AU, Senior Portfolio Success Manager at Salesforce

Having previously worked in a logistics company, this talk was the one I was looking forward to most!

Christy describes Salesforce Maps like ‘The Uber CRM Experience’. Having the ability to really visualise account data in real-time and seeing first hand where accounts, reps and opportunities lie within the geographic area can help you focus your target audiences and make journey-planning a breeze!

Live locations give your business the opportunity to track service/sales reps in real-time, so you can give accurate ETA’s, and improve your levels of customer service. But it mainly ensures the safety of your remote workers.

Salesforce Maps also has the additional features of having notifications settings to advise when employees have arrived at their destinations, which allows for much more flexible in diary planning and gives greater value if events change.

Christy enforced that Salesforce Maps wasn’t designed to micromanage your employees or act as Big Brother tracking every movement. But it allows for greater flexibility in account management and gives the flexibility that’s sometimes needed when out on the road. This app can also be switched on and off by the company and the employee directly.

Using live demos, Chirsty went on to show how you can optimise paths. For example, if you have four accounts regionally and you wanted to see accounts nearby, you can set a radius and clearly see which accounts are within reach. This is really going to help you book meetings to calculate the best journey paths!

You can create a report within Salesforce Maps. However, a limiting factor is you can’t currently pull reports into it. Salesforce, if you’re listening, this might be something for the future…

But this doesn’t mean you should rule it out as an existing Salesforce user. The complexity and value of this feature within the Salesforce Maps application is still worth the effort of adding your existing customer base.

Using colour coding and markers helps you to visually see key accounts and other defined details, with the option to hover over each account and see related records to include chatter, contact details, and other activities.

Advanced routing to solve Traveling Salesperson Problems (TSP) and Vehicle Routing Problems (VRP) can not only save time, give added security but will also navigate using an application of your choice like google maps or alternative Nav options.

Summary:

Christy gave a really great overview of this application and I can really understand how this can add real core value to some of the industries out there.

Being a person out on the road and also heading the coordination of field teams in the past, I am envious this was not available to me then! Having a really clear visual tool like this would not only have made diary management more streamline but would have also given me an extra security level and peace of mind when out and about in remote and isolated places.

The Twitter competition

The winner of a years subscription to one of JetBrains IDEs with a street value of £399 was…

Lee from Bookwise – congratulations!

If you’re interested in attending the next oe:gen Salesforce Admin Group (#SFnotts) or any of our upcoming events, sign up to our weekly blog or monthly newsletter subscription list to keep in the know or visit this link!

Our next event is our Salesforce women in Tech event (#SFWITNotts) which will be on the 9th October 2-5pm so get the date in your diary and book — places are limited! Check it out here.

And if any of you out there are interested in being a guest speaker please contact Paul or Emily on LinkedIn!

See you next time x

Our favourite IDE (and how you can win a year’s free subscription to it!)

Last week, the lovely people over at JetBrains sent us a free one-year subscription to ANY of their IDEs to give away at the September Salesforce User Group – sign up to the event and Tweet about it using #SFNotts for a chance to win your choice of JetBrains’ IDEs for up to ONE YEAR! 

We use JetBrains’ tools here at oe:gen to build the amazing solutions we build day-to-day. The particular IDE we use here at oe:gen is WebStorm by JetBrains.

We started using WebStorm shortly after the maker of our long-favoured tool MavensMate announced that development would be ceased. After trying a couple of different options, we soon found our way to WebStorm and Illuminated Cloud 2 (a plugin for WebStorm, built for developing applications on the Salesforce platform).  

We’ve been using WebStorm and Illuminated Cloud 2 for about a year now, and it’s been great! I’ve asked a couple of our developers to come up with their favourite things about WebStorm. Here’s what we said:

Me – Salesforce Developer 

My favourite thing about WebStorm — and the entire range of JetBrains’ products — is the community around them. They’re hugely customisable, and there’s a great support base for all of their products. 

Mark Ramsell – Head of Salesforce Development 

The plugins, version control features and the speed (once it’s open) compared to other similar IDEs (VS Code aside).

John Hutchinson – Senior Salesforce Developer 

One of my favourite bits is the code inspection tool. It highlights bad practice code segments and picks up missed js syntax things that could trip you up in edge cases. You can set up a different profile for different use cases too so you can run one profile for your code and another for when you’re doing code review of someone else’s that’s less strict. It’s worth noting that there are always false positives when running code inspection so you can’t trust it implicitly and have to use it as a guideline not a gold standard.

It’s safe to say that WebStorm has a lot to offer, and coupled with Illuminated Cloud 2, it’s one of the best IDE’s we’ve come across here at oe:gen, and it’s supported us a great deal in our expansion with more developers over the past year.  

Don’t forget to sign up to the Nottingham Salesforce User Group meet up next week and Tweet with #SFNotts to be in for your chance to win! 

EVENT: Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech | October

On October 9th from 2-5pm, we’ll be having our 5th Salesforce Women in Tech event! And as always, there will be four inspiring, wonderful, brilliant speakers there to share their knowledge and chat to us about their career journeys. Here’s a little bit about them…

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Rebena Sanghera

Derby College

Lecturer in Computing and a Microsoft Certified Educator

Rebena Sanghera is a Lecturer in Computing and a Microsoft Certified Educator who specialises in security and project management concepts. She builds blended, eLearning and classroom products with a focus on measurable behavioural outcomes and is currently converging computing and HR with her niche interest in eLearning compliance behaviours. She also works with individuals to develop their profiles using eLearning as a way of growing their professional brands.

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Jo Milton

Breadwinner

CFO/COO

An entrepreneur by nature, Jo has been involved in evaluating & financing companies or running companies since she left University. Her interests have always led her to continuous refinement and expansion of a business and its processes, and she thrives on making order out of chaos.

Jo is currently the CFO / COO of Breadwinner Integrations, which produces cloud-based integration software. Their principal integration tool is Breadwinner which integrates Salesforce and Xero. As well as her official title, she wears several other hats, as anyone at a fast-paced tech start-up inevitably does. Until recently, she’s been running four companies and has just sold one. 

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Arianne Donoghue

Edit

Associate Director – Digital Strategy

Arianne is Edit’s Associate Director of Digital Strategy, helping clients solve their business problems through marketing, technology and data. Having worked for some of the biggest search agencies in the country and client-side for the likes of Thomas Cook, Mamas & Papas, and icelolly.com, she’s at the forefront of what’s new within the industry. Arianne is involved with initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in digital and is a regular industry speaker at digital events across the country.

Salesforce Women in Tech Nottingham

Susan Hallam MBE

Hallam

Founder/CEO

With more than 30 years’ experience working in the digital industry, Susan Hallam is a leading influencer in the Internet world and a thought leader who inspires businesses to greater success through digital engagement. 

She is a practising digital marketing consultant, a public speaker, and Founder/CEO of Hallam —  one of the UK’s leading digital agencies.

As Chair of the Board of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, Susan is committed to the growth of the city’s creative economy, and developing Nottingham’s reputation as a great place to live, learn, work, and invest.

Susan was awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship and innovation in the Queen’s Honors 2018. Also in 2018, Susan was named a BIMA 100 CEO & Leaders shaping the digital industry, and she was made a Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing.

She is a Freeman of the City of London and a Trustee of Nottingham Castle. She is also a chartered member of CIM and CILIP. Born in the USA, Susan has resided in the UK since 1985.

Formerly a Senior Lecturer in Computing at Nottingham Trent University with a specialist interest in digital technologies, Susan also held senior digital marketing roles at BT and Capital One before establishing Hallam Internet in 1999. A Premier Google Partner, Hallam Internet employs more than 60 people who, under Susan’s leadership, provide a full range of digital marketing services to companies regionally, nationally, and internationally.  

Agenda

2:00 PMWelcome!We’ll kick off at 2pm with a short welcome from organiser Emily Malone.
2:10 PM‘Elevating to Expert: Building eLearning to grow your brand’ — Rebena SangheraAre you networking enough? Have you embedded SEO into your LinkedIn? All of that and more? More importantly, amongst all the noise, where can the key people perceive the value only you can bring? This talk focuses on how building eLearning products can aid your professional visibility and make your authentic self known to others. We’ll introduce a simple brand model for eLearning and review what it means to encapsulate your expertise and how through the creation of eLearning products, others can experience and see your value — even when you’re not there.
2:40 PM

‘Driving Diversity & Success By Reframing Failure’ — Arianne Donoghue
One of the (many) issues facing us in digital right now is a lack of diversity, including gender where recent stats estimate that only 26% of people working in our industry are women. Something that might be holding women back is a fear of failure and taking risks. In this session, Arianne will talk about how we should not be scared of failure, and why we should embrace it, using her own history of epic fails as a backdrop. She’ll also give actionable tips and advice to women who are early in their careers — about things they can do to gain confidence, build their networks and make their voices heard.
3:10 PMBreakTea, coffee, and Doughnotts!
3:30 PM ‘Cut the Crap’ — Jo Milton
When life just gets busier and more hectic, let’s look at the ways to prioritise, organise and ultimately make ourselves more efficient. We only get to live life once so nail everything. Make your work efficient and productive and enjoy your free time/ family time. Let’s look at ways we can make this happen. All this from the perspective of someone who runs four companies, has recently become a mother and just finished an 18 month home rebuild.
4:00 PM‘From Start Up to Scale Up: My Entrepreneurial Journey’ — Susan HallamJoin Susan Hallam for a conversation where she explores her entrepreneurial journey from a business Start-Up to one of the UK’s leading high growth Scale-Up digital marketing agencies. With over 30 years’ experience in the digital marketing arena, Susan started Hallam nearly 20 years ago. In that time a great deal has changed, and Susan will share with us her entrepreneur’s journey — the highs, the lows and some lessons learned along the path to building one of the UK’s most successful digital marketing agencies. Susan and her team at Hallam have an enviable reputation for remaining at the forefront of a constantly changing industry and Susan will also offer some insight to future market developments before a Q&A discussion with the audience.
4:30 PMGiveaway, buffet food and drink!We’ll be doing a giveaway — Prize TBC. Sign up and tweet about it with the hashtag #SFWiTNotts for a chance to win! There will also be a free hot buffet and drinks to end the day. Stick around with us for a chat! We won’t close the doors until 7pm.

Sign up for your free spot here!

EVENT: Nottingham Salesforce Administrators’ Group | September

Welcoming you back from the Summer holidays is our September Salesforce Admin Group event! As usual, we’ve got an afternoon of fantastic speakers and the opportunity to network with like-minded Salesforce Professionals.

This month, we’ll have our first-ever keynote from Dave Thompson of Salesforce — who was so brilliant when we saw him at the Call & Contact Centre Expo, he received a standing ovation!

We’ve also got the lovely Emma Keeling from InterContinental Hotels coming to share their Salesforce user story. Emma is going to present her journey on Salesforce and how IHG use the platform, complete with a demo of their Salesforce Org.

Our third talk of the day is going to be from Christy Au of Salesforce, who’s going to be giving us an introduction to Salesforce Maps from an admin perspective.

Check out the agenda below and sign up for your free spot here!

Oh, and as always, there will be a Doughnotts break and some hot food, drinks, and networking afterwards.

2:00 PMWelcomeWe’re aiming to start at 14:00… grab your seat and get comfy for an amazing afternoon of speakers!
2:10 PMObservations from 500 Contact Centre Visits over 28 Years! – Dave ThomsonDave will reflect on his last 28 years, working with contact centres all around the world. How have the challenges and role of the contact centre changed, as technologies and customer expectations have changed? What separates the good from the great? Who are the Trailblazers? And what are contact centres doing, to meet the challenges of the next decade?
3:00 PMNetworking BreakTake time to network with other Salesforce Customers, Salesforce Partners and Salesforce themselves over a cuppa and one of our legendary Doughnotts!
3:30 PMUser Story – IHGInterContinental Hotels owns several brands including Holiday Inn and Crown Plaza. Emma is a product manager and is going to present her journey on Salesforce and how IHG use the platform along with a demo of their Salesforce Org.
4:00 PM An Introduction to Salesforce Maps – an admin perspective Learn how Salesforce Maps enables customer productivity from field planning through field execution including territory design, schedule optimisation, and route efficiency. Discover how this helps companies maximise resources, drive productivity and revenue, and increase territory control and visibility, all while reducing expenses.
4:30 PMFoodOur local catering supplier Mrs B’s will be cooking you a culinary delight; washed down with a selection of drinks before bringing the event to a close about 18:00.

Sign up for your FREE spot here!

The one where the team played LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® with Rebecca Godfrey

On Tuesday, the oe:gen team were joined by Rebecca Godfrey to partake in some LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. Why, you ask? Well, as our team is growing, we want to make sure everyone has a voice and is heard. We also want to make sure we can communicate and work as one team to achieve the same goals. And playing with LEGO®, turns out, is a great way to do that. 

We were greeted with three tables topped with big ol’ piles of multicoloured building blocks, where we sat in teams and excitedly awaited our instructions.  

The first was to demonstrate our LEGO® building-skills, and some of us were clearly better at it than others. I’m honestly not sure whether that’s because some of us have kids, or we’re just big kids ourselves. Rebecca asked us to each build a tower in under a minute, using only three colours.  

The result?  

Some of us took so much time building a solid, sturdy base that we didn’t have time to build the rest of the tower, some saw it purely as a height competition, and others (like me) just panicked and made some sort of vague tower chaos that would never feasibly work in real life.  

The point is that each tower was different. Everyone has different perspectives and ways of working, and when they’re all laid out on the table in front of you — albeit in the form of some wonky LEGO® towers — it really is eye-opening.  

Building our LEGO® skills 

Next, we had to learn how to use the blocks as metaphors for other things. For example, I had to describe my best friend using building blocks of various colours, which really wasn’t easy for me under the pressure of being timed and everyone giving me their undivided attention.

And I guess that says a lot about me! I prefer the time to be thoughtful before speaking, so there wasn’t any time to think about what I was about to say. But surprisingly, it actually came out alright in the end. I remember pointing at the green block and saying something about being ‘green with envy’ over my best friend’s sense of style. If you’re reading this, Karl, don’t let it get to your head… 

After this challenge, we practised telling stories with our creations. This is where we all had to build an image of something that makes us happy in life, and then tell the story of that using the blocks. Around the tables there were depictions of family, running, gardens, the seaside and more. 

After this, we were asked to build something that depicts what we’re most proud of achieving this year. With these builds, we went around the table one-by-one and each told our stories. This wasn’t only a great way to practice communicating in a storytelling way, we also learnt a lot about each other in the process. 

Building a business model… with LEGO®

After lunch, we started using these skills to build something a little bigger.  

Rebecca asked us where we want oe:gen to be in the year 2022, and what we can do as individuals to make sure this happens, so we each built something of our own to portray this. We then put our individual builds together to create one giant business model and told the story of that model to the rest of the team.

After this, we were asked what important behaviours we think we need to put into practice to achieve this. Our answers were written on post-it notes and stuck to the wall. With these, we did a dot-vote to see which resonated most with the team. The three with the most votes were then discussed to find our core team values.  

Our values 

  • Communication 
  • One Team 
  • Support.

Conclusion 

Through LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®, we were able to practise important skills like active listening, creative thinking, and articulating ideas and values visually. Everyone had a voice, and everyone was heard. There wasn’t a single person who was excluded or who drifted in and out of the conversation. We were all engaged together.

This methodology not only helped us learn what’s important to each of us, but to use metaphors to articulate our shared values and goals. And we came out with actionable steps we can take to ensure we reach those goals!

We also had loads of fun while doing it. If someone told me a few years ago that I’d someday be walking into work to play with LEGO® with a team of people who basically felt like my extended-family, I’d have laughed my head off. As my colleague Mark so perfectly put it: “If Carlsberg did work days…”

What I learned at Nottingham’s Salesforce Women in Tech event

As the speakers were gradually being announced on social media, it was with ever-building excitement that I anticipated June’s Salesforce Women in Tech event. With topics such as imposter syndrome, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), self-belief and re-defining the idea of being professional, for me it was ticking all the boxes!

We had four incredible guest speakers covering a range of thought-provoking topics, with personal and professional experiences that in some cases really brought a tear to my eye! If you missed it, all I can say is… you really missed out! But don’t worry too much, as here’s a little recap of what we learned on the day.

Rebecca Godfrey – Thriving in the Face of the Imposter

I’ve heard nothing but great things about Rebecca from those who attended her previous LinkedIn Local event at the oe:gen offices — where she was a facilitator of LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® — so I was super excited to see what she would bring to the table!

Rebecca is a very upbeat, confidant person. She started her talk by taking us back to a happy, joyful time at a festival where she was thinking about how great life was and how far she had come… great family, career, friends — living the dream!

However, all was not well on the inside and in reality, she was struggling with the life she’d made for herself. Rebecca got promoted and her responsibilities grew to 24/7 support with people constantly looking for advice. Taking long haul flights once or twice a month, making high impacting global decisions, upholding the relentless pressures of work — all while trying to juggle being a mum, a wife, a friend.

In fact, Rebecca had only taken one day off in eight months! With work taking over every waking moment of her days, she was starting to lose sight of herself.

It’s no surprise that the work-life-balance was simply not there and ever-depreciating. Feeling more and more out of her depth, she was becoming overwhelmed with self-doubt. Yet, she kept telling herself and others that she had to work!

Although I couldn’t relate to Rebecca’s exact experience, this could very easily have been me in previous job roles, and I think everyone in the audience could relate to some part, if not all of her story. She described feeling overwhelmed and out of her depth, worried someone would think she’s not that good at her job, and then Rebecca said it — she felt like an imposter; she felt like she was pretending to be good at her job and if someone were to lift the veil, they’d see her as the fraud she felt she was. And of course, this only made her work harder and longer to make sure the curtain didn’t slip! 

It wasn’t until her mother-in-law saw what was happening and intervened that Rebecca finally gave up and was diagnosed and signed off with stress and even after 7 weeks off work Rebecca was still not right, so still slightly in denial Rebecca went to see a specialist who told her that her brain is shutting down. Rebecca then had to accept professional help.

Rebecca went on to explain imposter syndrome, what it is and how it can affect people. Using statistics and studies and drawing on from her own personal experiences as an example, this talk gripped the whole audience. For years I have suffered from depression, and looking back I can see times when imposter syndrome has played a huge part in this cycle. And although I’ve developed ways and means of dealing with my condition, I found the honesty and openness of Rebecca’s talk not only welcoming but incredibly inspiring!

If you haven’t heard Rebecca’s talk on imposter syndrome (or any of her other talks!) then I strongly suggest that you do. It was a deeply moving and insightful talk that I believe everyone can relate to and learn from.

Elaine Grace – ‘Recalibrate to Great’ with neuro-linguistic programming

I’ve always found NLP fascinating, and I have a workbook at home that I dip in and out of from time to time, but I’ve never really stuck at it!

Elaine went on to explain NLP and how it is to achieve results by setting goals or looking at where you want to go. She guided us through how our brains file things away to stop us imploding (always a bonus I think!) and how our brains process day to day info and sorts them into categories such as:

  • Generalise
  • Delete — zero interest items
  • Distort — to fit our perception of reality based on our belief system.

She then went on to further discuss our perception; how this is based on our beliefs and where some of these deep-rooted beliefs have been imprinted on us from an early age.

An example of this is whenever our parents told us ‘don’t touch that, it will be hot’. However, we also test and push the boundaries based on reality. Some of us may touch it to see if it is actually hot, and some of us might just acknowledge that as fact without even testing it out.

Elaine then went on to dig a bit deeper into this and further explained the difference between being in ‘cause’ or ‘effect’. The individual belief systems that we have ultimately shape our reality. So a limited belief on what we can achieve will limit our goals and future decisions.

I can’t do that because…  I’ve not done it before.

I can’t do that because… I’ve been told it’s hard.

Elaine then went on to discuss goals! Who has any? Who feels goal-less? Who has put their goals on hold? With a show of hands from the audience, this got my brain ticking… what are my goals? What’s stopping me achieve them?

Using her experience with horses, Elaine went on to advise that if you want to move a horse forward, you sometimes have to approach it and push it from the side to get things moving. This is similar to how we can re engage our brains by using NLP! We can actually change the way that we deal with situations buy recreating a new path based on new beliefs.

Elaine continued to then give great advice on how you can make positive changes using NLP to achieve the goals you set yourself.

There were so many top tips and ideas running through my head that I was struggling to write them all down, and then the final question really blew my mind as it really hit home:

When it comes to having a goal what is the relationship you have with yourself?  Are you your own best friend or are you your own worst enemy?

There have been so many times I’ve talked myself out of things when, if I was giving myself the same support I do to a friend, I would possibly have handled it differently. It’s time to really start thinking about my own beliefs and setting and achieving some goals!

Kirsty Hulse — ‘The neuroscience of self-belief’

Kirsty brought tonnes of energy to the room with her talk ‘The science of self-belief’, where she spoke about why we fumble our words, forget what to say, or freeze. She comes from a very male-orientated environment and is now offering presentation training for women in order to try and level the playing field. Coming from the agricultural industry and having been to some very male-dominated events in the past, I can relate to that!

Kirsty did a survey on Twitter and out of 800 followers, 94% of people believe that confidence can hold them back. She realised that it wasn’t presentation training but confidence training that was needed. And this made her start looking into more and more research in order to apply it to her work to help others.

Kirsty then started looking at the Limbic System, which is the emotional centre of the brain that causes us to freeze, flight, or fright. The brain is constantly looking out for threats and fires up far more intensely than for other more relaxed situations.

When we feel nervous and the Limbic System fires, what happens?

  • Our ‘mind goes blank’
  • We stutter
  • Our words don’t come out
  • We start sweating
  • We can’t formulate ideas
  • We struggle to communicate exactly what we mean
  • We remember key points afterwards
  • … and much, much more.

This is the same if we make a mistake — we go into panic-mode by default. But Kirsty went on to reassure us that there are things we can do about it (phew!).

Re-enforcing some points raised by Elaine in the previous talk, we can hardwire new beliefs and recreate new habits enabling the growth mindset and turning I can’t do that into ‘I can’t do that yet…’

View the change you make as a test, so you can try it out and get comfortable with failure without putting pressure on yourself.

Kirsty went on to tell us about a personal experience where she had the opportunity to talk at a huge event of over 6000 people, but she wasn’t ready. She should have said no, but it was this huge dream of hers. So without planning it out and without enough time to prepare, she did it anyway. Fraught with tension, she blasted through the talk in record time, not even taking two-seconds for breath and… epically failed the talk.

Obviously, she was dreading the reviews, but they came back 50/50. Some were glowing and others were really bad, and it was at that moment she realized that she can’t win them all, which was a huge turning point for her.

One of the common things we all focus on is getting everyone on board with what you’re saying and making sure everyone likes you. But you don’t have to get everyone on board and not everyone will like you –  you just need to do your best!

Looking at a video on her first talk compared to one later and seeing the differences were astonishing. The first was defensive, self-critical, anticipating negative thoughts. The second one was confident, assured, knowing a quarter of the room will think she’s great and focusing on them.

Kirsty then went on to explain that nerves can be helpful as this increases attention. Also, what works for some, doesn’t work for others. For example, practising her talk in the morning made her lose her edge which meant that her talk wasn’t as good in the afternoon. However, this might help others. Own your nerves, it means that you care!

Kirsty left us with and what we need in order to be great speakers:

  1. Emotional regulation – Cortisol is the stress hormone
  2. Breath – controlling your breathing to keep yourself calm (power-posing can help with this)
  3. Social support – test your talks on friends and get their feedback first
  4. Laughter – don’t take life too seriously and learn from your mistakes, don’t beat yourself up over them.
  5. Be prepared – what do I want to work on? What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve? If we believe the situation is going to be stressful, we then react to it in that way.

Really powerful and impactful stuff from Kirsty, and with the offer of free confidence training in local areas! Who can say no to that?

Emma Watts — Leading as yourself

Emma started by talking to us about being professional. What does this mean? To a lot of people, this means being emotionless, acting serious, keeping private life private

This, I can totally relate to! I remember my mum taking me clothes shopping some years ago as I’d just been promoted to a senior management role and I needed to look ‘more professional’.

The fact I’d just been promoted based on my skillset but dressed in bright blue tights and boots that jangled (like a cowboy in a western film, but my work colleague’s at the time would say Christmas elf… either way I’ll take it!) all seemed to be totally irrelevant, it was all about the smart shoes and the knee-length fitted suit, apparently!

Emma went on to explain that by redefining professionalism, you must consider that between professional and private life there is a human element. And yet, some attitudes towards subordinates are not classed as unprofessional, when it should be!

Emma told us that you should be able to show up as yourself without fear of psychological abuse, and this is the highest success factor in working teams.

Emma then started looking at alternative ways of dealing with situations such as:

  • Leading by example – be accepting of others and they will be accepting of you.
  • Listening to others and really hearing what they have to say.
  • Junior roles don’t make a junior person.
  • Reframing the situation to find the opportunity – why do you not get on with your boss? What can you do differently to resolve the issue?
  • Centering (mindfully) – be grounded, feel your space, and feel yourself breathing into the centre of it. This is a calming effect and brings you to a place where you can react appropriately.
  • Social connection – talking about positives, going for a walking meeting, going for a coffee, laughing, eating lunch with people. These are all techniques to bring you back to being calmer and more productive.
  • Being yourself builds more trust, which means openness equals higher-performing teams.

Speaking openly and from experience, Emma gave us deeper advice for when we’re dealing with stressful situations. Some people can move into more traditional roles in order to gain control. However, by doing this, they lose sight of the team focus and might not get the results required both in the short and long term.

There is also a worry that people can become ‘too soft’ and won’t give too much feedback. However, by having an open and accepting forum, we’re able to be more likely to give feedback and more accepting about receiving feedback without judgment.

Emma concluded that to be high performing, we need a great and accepting working environment where we can be ourselves.

So all in all, what did I come away with?

My brain is going to have its work cut out in order to ensure it doesn’t implode with all this info.

I received so many good ideas and honestly wouldn’t know where to start. I absolutely loved the speakers, and although it was a total roller-coaster of emotions deep-diving into such thought-provoking stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really felt my heart and mind open to the idea that the world is really starting to change by the impact of people around me.

I have felt like the imposter, I have been the person filled with self-doubt, I have been the person trying to win over 100% of an impossible audience, and I have done it all wearing an ill-fitting suit and bad shoes all in an attempt to be ’the professional me’.

I’ve now got to a point that I do what I love, which makes me awesome at my job. And best of all, I’m working within a company that not only values my skills but promotes a totally ‘professional’ environment that also empowers me to be myself and perform to the absolute best of my ability. This is what every business out there should be looking to achieve!

Yet another massively inspiring day to add to the Salesforce Women in Tech collection. I seriously think I need to come armed with a bigger notepad and at least two weeks off to completely transform my way of thinking!

Thank you to all the guest speakers, you have truly been life-changing!

Next time…

If you did just miss the last event, don’t worry! oe:gen is always keen to share the knowledge, so keep an eye out for future events. The next Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech event is on 9th October, so pencil it in your diary and keep an eye out for speaker announcements.

If you feel you could benefit from some free knowledge, or if you feel you have something to share, then make sure you join our next event or contact our lead organiser, Emily, right here. Sharing is caring and knowledge is power! And did I mention there are always DoughNotts?!

Notes from The Nottingham Digital Summit

Thanks to Hallam, this year’s Nottingham Digital Summit was even bigger and better than last year. Across not one, but three stages there were talks on thought leadership, customer experience, future trends, business management, creative campaigns, SEO and more.

So, after a full-on weekend walking around Glastonbury with inadequate footwear, I hobbled down to the Nottingham Playhouse to a) introduce myself back into civilisation and b) learn some useful stuff. And to no surprise, it was yet another awesome day full of practical advice and inspiration. Here are some of my notebook scribbles, translated.

Storytelling and future gazing — Billy Williams 

Very few businesses have zero digital presence these days, so it’s more important than ever to craft our digital services carefully and deliberately.  

Let’s go back to 2009 when the iPhone had only been around for two years, and Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon had just started becoming Tech giants. They have a phrase in Silicon Valley: “Move fast and break things”. We’re increasingly learning from data and moving at such a fast rate. But with all this data, users become faceless, quantitative data points, and that affects our customer experiences.  

“The thing I have noticed is when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right.”  

– Jeff Bezos 

Digital experiences are rapidly expanding and becoming more diverse. Billy’s example of this was Ikea’s virtual reality app — every part of that customer journey is digital. however, Billy still wanted that personal touch; he wanted to physically go into the Ikea store.  So, what do we do?

Borrow from the past and turn to storytelling 

“Advertising is about one thing, happiness”  

– Don Draper, Mad Men 

Everything in the advertising world of the 1950s and 1960s was about storytelling. We need to take from that and be more ‘user-centered’ and ‘emotionally-led’. We need to be thoughtful about emotive design instead of relying on just data-driven design.  

So how do we tell stories with our customer journey? 

Billy used the 90s TV show ‘Friends’ as his example of great storytelling, which might not be very high-brow, but each episode has a simple story arc that everything leads back to — will Ross and Rachel get together? 

The little touches matter, and each platform within your customer experience should have its own role and lead back to the underlying theme.  

Take Monzo, for example. They claim to be ‘The bank of the future’. Their whole experience is community-led, they make you the star of the show, and they provide engaging imagery like colourful graphical interfaces and emoji notifications. This isn’t anything like any other bank we know!

Why does this work? Because they know it’s the little things that make their customers smile — like sending a mobile notification with a Swedish flag and a hot dog emoji whenever they shop at Ikea. Billy’s conclusion is that digital storytelling can be an optimistic and more human approach to product development, and that we should all be doing it.  

SEO and UX teams, unite! – Ben Wood and Julio Taylor 

The second talk of the day was led by a Digital Director and Creative Director. These guys were discussing the dynamics of SEO and Design, showing us how UX teams and SEO teams don’t collaborate enough, and telling us why it’s important that we change this.  

With the introduction of Google’s Rankbrain, Google is now understanding search queries and measuring how people interact with search results. Specifically, it’s looking at: 

  • Organic click-through rate 
  • Dwell time 
  • Bounce rate 
  • Pogo-sticking 
https://backlinko.com/google-rankbrain-seo

So, SEO needs to consider UX design. And UX design also must adapt to this ever-changing human behaviour.  

Take Voice Search for example. These trends are conditioning users to discover and expect information faster. Design and SEO need to work together to create a great user experience that caters to this.  

Key takeaways? Work from the same brief, make your work visible, control your ego, and believe in the mission. 

The power of archetypal branding – Matt Davies 

Brand is the meaning people attach to you. But the problem here is that it seems out of your control. You need to manage your own branding; you need to create your meaning and own it. So what’s the best way to create meaning? Well, Matt Davies says it’s all in the stories we tell. 

Think back to when you were a child. How did you learn about and understand the world around you? Through stories, that’s how.  

Branding includes your culture, your product/services, your customer experience, and your marketing communications, so we need to have a strong story that feeds into each of these branding elements. Matt Davis says there are 3 key strategies here: 

  1. Know your customer story 
    Make the customer the hero of your story. 
  2. Know your archetypal character 
    Archetypes are a recognizable stereotype of a character in a story. For example, Harry Potter is the hero of his story, right?

    These archetypes help us to manage our meaning by telling better stories. According to Carl Jung, there are twelve archetypes, and Matt says we need to pick one of them for our branding.

    This is so we can be consistent throughout everything we do; picking too many archetypes, he says, can confuse people about who you are as a brand.
     
Image result for the 12 archetypes
https://conorneill.com/2018/04/21/understanding-personality-the-12-jungian-archetypes/

3. Live your story 
Finally, allow your story to flow through every part of your business. 

Why is this worth it? Well, just think of a Gucci handbag — functionally, its exactly the same as any other handbag. However, people are willing to pay much more for a handbag with their logo on as they identify with that meaning.

Recommended reading: The Hero and the Outlaw – Building extraordinary brands through the power of archetypes by Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson 

Impero’s Cloud Journey – Nikki Annison 

Next up was Nikki Annison from Impero Software demonstrating how they created a fully-integrated campaign for their journey to the Cloud. They went with the four C’s of campaign success: coherence, consistency, continuity, and complementary. They also used Kotter’s 8 steps to change to really make an impact: 

https://www.kotterinc.com/8-steps-process-for-leading-change/

Impero came up with their desired action, communication objectives, and started getting their team, existing customers, and new businesses involved at an early stage. Everyone on the team was especially involved during the creative process.  

Before selling the benefits with conviction and evidence, they needed to create awareness. So to get people talking, they wanted to pick a fun theme as an analogy. As they were doing a big product launch, they decided to go with a movie premiere theme, and this underpinned the whole marketing campaign.  

And of course, they couldn’t have a movie launch without a trailer. Seriously, watch this — it’s utterly brilliant: 

Key takeaways: 

  • Consistency is key 
  • Involve everyone 
  • Track success and share 
  • Have fun! 

Lessons from working at Google – Robert Craven 

Robert kickstarted his talk with tremendous energy; energy that wasn’t initially reciprocated on such a hot, long day. But he tried again, asking the audience to cheer as if their favourite band had just come on stage at Glastonbury, and it worked.

This is probably the kind of energy that landed him a job at Google, and here’s what he says he learned while working there:

  • Mindset 
    Here, Robert talks about having a ‘can-do’ attitude and asking us what’s holding us back. We were then asked to think of one thing that holds us back every day and talk to the person next to us about it. Then, he noted that most of us would have started our sentence with ‘They, he, or she’ — putting the blame on someone else is something we as humans are really bloody good at doing. It’s never our fault, always ‘theirs’.  
     
    Secondly, he noted how Google uses this concept called ‘Moonshot Thinking’, which is basically thinking outside of the box, being bold and brave, and not being afraid to try new things and maybe mess up.  
     
  • Speed 
    Google moves twice as fast as everyone else. In fact, they don’t even bother with business plans for the year; all their plans are actually 12-week business plans. Robert says he never knew what he’d be doing next quarter. At Google, everything moves faster, everything happens quicker, they learn more in a shorter amount of time, and it makes things more exciting.  
     
  • Team 
    Psychological safety — it’s okay to take risks, it’s okay to be vulnerable in front of each other. 
     
    Dependability, structure and clarity — everyone knows what they’re responsible for and what they’re always supposed to be doing. 
     
    Meaning — each team member knows what they’re doing is worthwhile and that they’re each making an impact. 
     
  • OKRs 
    Google use Objectives and Key Results, which is a goal system that creates alignment and engagement around measurable goals. They’re usually frequently set, tracked and re-evaluated quarterly. The goal is to make sure everyone is constantly and consistently going in the same direction with clear priorities.  

Not only was this a huge day filled with some seriously impressive talks, but we also managed to raise an insane £18,047.21 for Samaritans with our tickets (plus more donations were made via Larry the unicorn on the day!).

Larry the unicorn Samaritans

I can’t wait for next year! What did you learn? Let us know in the comments below!

Upcoming event: Nottingham, UK Salesforce Women in Tech, June 5th

Next month we’re hosting another Salesforce Women in Tech event right here at the Nottingham Science Park, and we’re insanely excited.

It’s going to be a fun afternoon learning about overcoming imposter syndrome, recalibrating our minds with neuro-linguistic programming, self-belief, and authenticity in leadership.

What is Salesforce Women in Tech?

The Nottingham Salesforce Women in Tech group is powered by those who want to share their industry experiences, receive free career advice, close the diversity gap in Tech, and above all, support each other. 

Salesforce has Trailblazer Community groups located all over the world, and we’re the UK East Midlands one! Along with Salesforce Women in Tech, we also run a Salesforce Administrator’s Group, so if you’re a Salesforce user, check out our previous events here!

This is an all-inclusive event that aims to encourage, empower, and support those who want to thrive in their career. Anyone who wishes to learn some new skills or how they can help close the diversity gap in the technology industry is welcome. And to make it as accessible as possible to our community, this event is totally free to attend!

We’ll have four awesome speakers come to give some practical advice, share their stories, and spark ideas:

2pm — Welcome!

We’ll start with a short intro from myself.

2:10pm — ‘Thriving in the face of the imposter’, Rebecca Godfrey

Do you ever worry that your success is down to being in the right place at the right time, down to luck or down to some kind of mistake rather than being due to your own ability? Do you ever worry that one day your colleagues will realise that you are not as talented as they think you are?

This isn’t modesty, this is something a lot deeper. Imposter Syndrome is experienced by up to 70% of us at some point in our lives. It can prevent us from enjoying successes we have worked so hard to achieve and can really hold us back from realising our full potential. In this talk, Rebecca is going to take us through her own personal journey with imposter syndrome and how we can thrive in the face of the imposter!

Rebecca is the founder of Etheo, a Team & Leadership Transformation consultancy with a focus on the highly regulated technical industries.

Rebecca is a scientist by background having completed a PhD in Immunology at the University of Cambridge. Since leaving academic research, Rebecca’s career has given her the opportunity to build and develop a successful drug safety consultancy business, work with and lead colleagues from more than 90 countries, live and work abroad and lead organisations and groups in roles ranging from Company Director of a small consultancy to Global Head and Global Director roles in two of the world’s top 10 pharma companies.

Having thoroughly enjoyed a fruitful and successful career so far, in 2018 Rebecca took the leap to set up Etheo bringing her wealth of business experience, outstanding leadership skills, strategy and process development expertise and passion for meeting new challenges to support individuals and leaders build cohesive, high performing teams with a focus on operational excellence.

2:40pm — ‘Recalibrate to Great’ with neuro-linguistic programming, Elaine Grace

Imagine a world where your belief system responsible for how you experience life could be very closely likened to our modern world of tech. They are not too dissimilar and, just like we can update our apps and scan and deal with viruses in our tech systems, we can do just that with what our belief system is about ourselves, our environment and even our relationships.

Imagine what life could look like if you could reprogram your mind; if you could enter a new code of belief and set that program to run as your main operating system and… it was exactly as you had designed it?

Elaine is an NLP Master Coach who specialises in working with people to get them to train their mindset and brain to develop positive thoughts and habits that lead them to confidently take action to be the architect of their own reality. Join us to see how this is possible for everyone to benefit from and even make real changes in the very moment.

3:10pm — Break

Tea, coffee, and Doughnotts!

3:30pm — ‘The Neuroscience of self-belief’, Kirsty Hulse

What is happening in the brain when we stutter, stumble over our words or our mind goes blank? Why are we hardwired to perceive and avoid social threat? And how can we train our brain to be happier with risk and less afraid of failure? In this practical and inspiring talk, Kirsty will help us navigate these questions and provide tangible advice to improve our self-belief.

Kirsty Hulse is the Founder of Manyminds, a marketing agency working with clients such as Virgin Atlantic, Claire’s and IBM. For nearly ten years, she has travelled around the world speaking at conferences to audiences of thousands, and is a seasoned stand-up comic who ran a sold out one woman show at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe.

She has trained with ICF accredited Neuroleadership Institute, to apply the fundamentals of neuroscience to enable better conversations, grow self-belief and regulate nerves. She believes, passionately, that a recognised, empowered workforce improves collaboration, creativity and internal and external communication and recently founded Roar a confidence, communication and allies training company that levels the professional playing field for everyone.

4:00pm — ‘Leading as Yourself’, Emma Watts

In this talk, we’ll explore how to show up and lead as yourself, whatever your role may be. The workplace is changing rapidly, but often those at the top got there through adhering to an outdated set of rules around leadership, what it means, and who should do it. Is the corporate mindset fit for the modern world? Who created it? Who perpetuates it?

Working in tech as a woman has its own particular challenges which intersect with all of these questions. We’ll discuss what it means now to be ‘professional’, to lead, and to be yourself despite the pressure we might feel to be a different version of ourselves at work.

Emma is a certified Transformation Coach who heads up the team of Implementation Consultants at makepositive, a leading Platinum Salesforce partner. She’s also the founder of Many Measures, a private coaching practice for people who want to create success on their own terms.  

4:30pm — Giveaway, buffet food and drink!

We’ll be doing a giveaway! Sign up and tweet about it with the hashtag #SFWiTNotts for a chance to win some goodies! There will also be a free hot buffet and drinks to end the day. Stick around with us for a chat! We won’t close the doors until 6pm.

Sign up for free below! Spaces are filling up fast, so don’t miss out. With this line-up, you’ll be kicking yourself if you do.