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  • Writer's pictureGemma Blezard

Spotlight Series: Eric Dreshfield

This is Eric Dreshfield – Advocacy Manager at Apttus, a Salesforce MVP, the Founder & Event Chair for Midwest Dreamin’ and South Indiana’s Salesforce User Group Leader.

He’s also a friend and supporter of Ladies Be Architects. Eric lives in southwestern Indiana, in a little map-dot town of about 400 people. He’s 20 minutes outside of Evansville, Indiana, which puts him 2.5 hours to Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, and St. Louis, MO, as well as 3 hours to Indianapolis, IN.

Tell us about yourself, Eric!

“I’m married to a wonderful woman, the love of my life, Cindy. We met online in 1999, back before dating sites existed. It was a chat room where all you saw was a screen name and the text a person was typing. The time period between our first online conversation to when we got married was only 4 months!

“Between the 2 of us, we have a 37 year old, a 30 year old and a 16 year old – all daughters. We have also been blessed with 2 granddaughters, 19 and 16 years old. Family life has been really interesting, as during most of our nearly 20 years together, all but the 30 year old lived with us – in addition to Cindy’s parents for a few years. I started using Salesforce in 2009, when I was promoted from a call center agent to a business analyst at a software company. I knew nothing about Salesforce when I got the promotion. In fact, I had never even heard of it until that job interview! The VP of the call center needed someone to help her roll out the Service Cloud to the call center and felt I had the skills she needed.”

Tell us how you heard about Ladies Be Architects?

“I think I first heard about Ladies Be Architects on Twitter. With so many women in my family, I tend to gravitate towards anything women in tech related – hoping that maybe I can convince one of my younger ladies at home to pursue a career in technology.”

What feelings did Ladies Be Architects inspire within you?

“Just being an observer and watching all the conversations around Ladies Be Architects, watching and learning about all the amazing things getting accomplished, give me a great sense of pride for all the Ladies doing those things. I’m always excited to learn when someone gets a new certification, takes a new job somewhere, etc. And it always helps me stay grounded in the fact that I know very little about what the Salesforce Platform really can do. I’m never the smartest one in the room when hanging out with my LBA friends…and I’m totally fine with that!”

Tell us what you’ve learned about CTA?

“To be perfectly honest, all I know about the CTA designation is that there are very few people who hold it, most of them are men, and it takes quite a lot of effort to achieve the title. I’m thrilled that LBA is out there helping ladies push the envelope of equality. I’ve always been a firm believer that anyone can do anything they put their mind to, and it doesn’t matter if they are male, female, or non-binary. I think everyone should get the same opportunities in life, no matter what.”

What’s the next step for you on your Journey to CTA?

“My next step on my journey to CTA, would actually be the very first step! I’ve tried the Administrator certification 3 times in my career so far, and haven’t passed it once. I will be the first to admit that I probably didn’t put in as much study and practice time as I should have, especially since I’ve never been “The Admin” for a Salesforce org. I guess I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up – although I know no matter what, it will be inside the Salesforce Ecosystem.”

Do you have any concerns or doubts about the architect credentials? How could we help you?

“The only concern I have is – will I ever be able to learn enough to gain the CTA credential?! My personal concerns start at the very beginning levels of Salesforce knowledge, and like many people, I feel like I suffer from Impostor Syndrome. As a Salesforce MVP, many people automatically assume I know a ton of things about the platform. I don’t – I mean, at a high level, I do – I understand the capabilities of the platform, have a decent grasp of what you can do “out-of-the-box” and when you would be required to use code, instead of clicks. But I’m fast to admit to anyone asking what it takes to be an MVP, that I really have no idea! Most of the MVPs have multiple certifications, build some really amazing solutions, etc. I have 0 certifications…yep…not a single one.

“My strongest qualities are the soft skills, I’m great at gathering people together for conversations, and I know so many people in the ecosystem that if anyone has a question they need answered, I likely know who to send them to, or someone I know, knows who holds the answers.”

How can men help women to achieve success in the architect programme?

“I think the best thing that men can do to help women achieve success in the architect program (and everything else) is simply be there to support them, be the ally they need, to stand up and say something when they see something that is treating women unfairly. For the men with the knowledge and skills it takes to be a CTA, help share that knowledge by being a mentor and a sounding board when the women have questions or need advice.”

Why do you think so few women are willing to take this challenge on?

“I think life & modern society in general, as well as the tech industry specifically, has always played favorites towards men. Unfortunately, its the way things have been, historically, for a long time. Think about the leaders of the world’s greatest countries – most are men. Think about those in leadership position of many of the Fortune 500 companies – most are men. I think to get more women to take on the challenge of becoming a CTA is going to require a lot of inspiration from others.

“I think there needs to be a fundamental shift in thinking and people need to realize men aren’t superior beings to women. I say if you are a woman and thinking about attempting to become a CTA, stop thinking, and start doing! I’ll be right there with you, encouraging you all the way – just don’t ask me any technical questions about Salesforce, because I won’t have the answer! I’ll send you to one of my LBA friends because I’m awestruck by how brilliant they all are!”

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