Harnessing the Power of Mentorship
Harnessing the Power of Mentorship

Harnessing the Power of Mentorship

12/01/2023 by Giancarlo Berroya
This is a Trailblazer story about the value of mentorship in the Salesforce ecosystem. Discover how to find a mentor and tips for creating a mutually beneficial partnership.

Reflecting on my childhood years, I realize that I lacked personal role models and mentors in my life. Most of the individuals I admired were professional athletes or fictional characters from TV shows—people whom I could not simply call or email for guidance. Without a mentor or role model, it took me a considerable amount of time to figure out my life's direction, often relying on trial and error. With time and experience, I came to understand the immense value of having someone in your corner to offer support and guide you toward success. 

Like many others, I pivoted into a Salesforce career from an entirely different industry and role. It was a huge risk and I knew that if I wanted to have a successful career, I could not do it alone; I needed someone to take me under their wing and help me navigate the vast Salesforce ecosystem. That is when I found a mentor (more to come on this, later) to be my compass. When I needed someone to point me in the right direction when I hit a roadblock, they were there to offer that support. Here are some key things I learned during my Salesforce mentorship journey that led me from starting as a newly certified Salesforce Administrator mentee to stepping up to give back to the Salesforce community as a mentor. 

Value of Mentorship

There are two ways to learn: 1. From your experience or 2. From other people’s experiences—this is where mentorship comes in. Mentorship is defined as, “a relationship in which a more experienced or knowledgeable individual, known as a mentor, provides guidance, support, and advice to a less experienced or knowledgeable individual, known as a mentee or protege” (ChatGPT). Through mentorship, a mentee can learn from the life experiences of someone who has been in the Salesforce ecosystem longer than they have. A mentor can help a mentee navigate obstacles they may encounter, such as dealing with a job layoff or tips on preparing for a Salesforce certification exam, and they may even offer advice on which role may be a good fit for them based on what the mentee enjoys doing. Mentors help mentees ignite their spark and bring out the best in them. Mentorship also aligns with the giving-back ethos of the Salesforce community (something we are big on at Arkus), setting it apart in the tech industry.

Mentorship has played a crucial role in my life, taking various forms. I have been able to learn and accomplish some amazing things all from the mentors and coaches that have helped me along the way. Some of the milestones that I have accomplished from my mentorship experiences include competing in a powerlifting competition and lifting over 1000 lbs total, starting a small business, and learning how to network while also tapping into my creativity to let my personality shine. Without having a mentor to guide and challenge me, I would not have been able to accomplish these things. 

My Trailblazer Mentorship Story

Here is a brief timeline of my Trailblazer mentorship journey:

September 2012

I have to mention where it all started. By accident, I attended my first Salesforce event when I managed to secure a free pass to Dreamforce 2012, where Sir Richard Branson was speaking with Marc Benioff during a keynote session. At that time, I had no clue what Salesforce was.

Giancarlo with Salesforce’s old mascot, SaaSy, at Dreamforce 2012

July 2021

Nearly a decade later, Salesforce came onto my radar once again as I found myself in a period of introspection, contemplating my career options. At the time, I was working as a Program Coordinator at a hospital, and career advancement was stagnant after being with the company for a decade. I heard about Salesforce career options through a podcast I listened to where they mentioned that Salesforce offered free career advancement training through Trailhead. I always considered myself a tech-savvy person so I decided to embark on this journey to switching careers where my first milestone would be passing the Salesforce Administrator certification exam.

May 2022

By this time I just got my Salesforce Administrator certification (so I knew what Salesforce was now) and I was looking to network with other Salesforce professionals in the area. I attended my first in-person Trailblazer community group event where I actually met my future mentor, Janet. 

Giancarlo at his first in-person Trailblazer community group event hosted by the Sacramento User Group

August 2022

Through one of the Salesforce mentorship programs, I got paired up with my first mentor, Ralf. He offered some great advice, but, unfortunately, it didn't work out because he was located on the other side of the world, and meeting was challenging due to the significant time difference.

October 2022

At my last Sacramento user group meeting, as I was preparing to move from California to Washington state, I asked Janet to be my official Salesforce mentor. During the meeting, I pulled Janet aside, expressed my deep respect for her, and thanked her for her consistent helpfulness. This experience underscores why I prefer in-person meetings over virtual ones; it’s just easier to build organic connections with people.

Giancarlo with his mentor, Janet, at Forcelandia

July 2023 - Present

After being a mentee for almost a year, I wanted to give back to the community and become a mentor. I was matched with a mentee and I also brought on another mentee that asked me to be their mentor. I am happy to share that they have both recently started new careers in the Salesforce ecosystem!

How to Find a Mentor or Mentee

There are SO MANY places where you can find your next mentor or mentee! Here are a couple of great places to start looking:

  • Social Media: LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), Facebook groups, Reddit Salesforce forum, Meetup groups/events
  • Career Development Programs: Such as Talent Stacker, Clicked, and Talent Alliance Career Cohort
  • At Work: A respected manager or colleague

Building a Mutually Beneficial Partnership

The key to a long-lasting mentorship is making sure that there is value or a win-win situation for both people. Here are a couple of ways to provide value to your mentee or mentor.

How to provide value to your mentee:

  • Get them out of their comfort zone. I would not have been able to speak at Dreamforce 2023 if my mentor had not planted the idea in my head and challenged me to apply. Jack Canfield put it best when he said “The biggest rewards in life are found outside your comfort zone.” 
  • Provide feedback. Providing constructive feedback helps your mentee know how they are progressing and can also identify areas that they can improve on.  
  • Actively listen. Active listening is an important communication skill to learn. By actively listening to what your mentee has to say it shows that you care and you can also pick up on areas of improvement such as negative self-talk. 
  • Celebrate their wins. No matter how big or small a win may be, celebrate them all! Send your mentee some congratulations for finishing a Superbadge. Applaud them for getting past their introverted personality to reach out to someone they don’t know. And, commend them for posting for the first time on LinkedIn. All of these are wins they probably would not have accomplished without a push from their mentor, so celebrate with them.

How to provide value to your mentor:

  • Like, comment, and share their social media posts and articles. It takes time and commitment to put together a social media post or write an article, so help your mentor reach a wider audience by engaging with their content.
  • Arrange the mentorship meetings. If you ask someone to be your mentor, then make it easy for them to meet with you by coordinating the meeting. Figure out what their preferred video platform is and send them a meeting invitation with an agenda. Having an agenda prepared helps your mentor prepare for any topics that you may want to discuss and gather any resources they may want to provide you.
  • Provide them feedback. Just as a mentor should provide constructive feedback to a mentee, a mentee should also offer feedback to their mentor. Attended a presentation by your mentor? Then let them know your thoughts on what you took away from it. I’m sure they would appreciate it. 
  • Inspire and make them proud. The more you succeed, take action, or keep moving forward, the prouder your mentor will feel for contributing to your journey. I love it when my mentees tell me about a job they landed or how a new idea pops into their head after chatting with me. I am also proud of my mentees when they don’t give up when faced with adversity.
Are You Ready to Be a Mentor or Mentee?

If you’re ready to embark on your mentorship journey, then I challenge you to take action today! As a mentor, there is nothing better than to hear how your mentee has used your advice to level up in their career or land a new job. As a mentee, there is comfort in knowing that you have someone to talk to about your challenges and also bounce ideas off of. Use these resources and nuggets of wisdom that I have garnered on my Trailblazer journey to harness the power of mentorship.

How has mentorship impacted your life? Let me know by tweeting me on X (formerly Twitter) @GiancarloTweets or connect with me on LinkedIn