How to support Women In Tech (Girly Geeks)

Point 1:  Understand WHY Girly Geeks Chapters are working

Women Don’t Ask, by Linda Babcock looks at many women studies, but one I have to chat about.

You have heard about “Fight or Flight”?   Researchers believed that everyone responded in the same way to stress.  Danger triggered a physiological reaction that motivated a person to either fight the source or flee…

Later on “researchers Shelley Talyor and Laura Klien noticed that females and males colleagues behaved differently in challenging situations.  There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee and bonded… when the men were stressed, they holded up somewhere on their own”.

This led Talyor and Klien to revisit the research and found the vast majority of the stress results were from males (90%).  Talyor and Klien then looked closer at whether or not females respond to stress in the same way that men do.

While I was reading this chapter, I pulled out my highlighter and began highlighting “key words”.  Maybe this is something you are aware of already, but I found it to be enlightening.

How are these Key words related? 

Fight-or-Flight; Oxytocin; Testosterone; Calming effect; Social-bonding; Bloodstream

What does this have to do with Male or Female? 

Apparently these researchers learned that men and women might react differently to stressful situations due to the hormone oxytocin.  Oxytocin is released into the blood stream of both men and women “during extreme stress and it provides calming effect and promotes caretaking and social -bonding behaviors”.

“Testosterone reduces this effect of oxytocin and men have a lot of testosterone, the release of oxytocin into the their systems has little impact on their fight or flight response. Women have much lower levels of testosterone that men do and much higher levels of estrogen, which magnifies the effects of oxytocin” stated by the author.

Babcock continues to explain, “As a result women release of oxytocin into their bloodstreams can block the fight or flight response and prompt them instead to reach out for social support.”  This finding led Taylor and Klien to dub the female version of stress response “tend and befriend”.

From my point of view, I strongly agree that women need supportive environment and this research helped me understand the true difference between Men and Women.

Point 2:  After you understand, get involved.  How? 

I am surprised how many men say “I wish there was something like this for us” or “can I come to Girly Geek meeting”.   There are many different ways men can support women and get involved in Girly Geeks.

Share your knowledge:  Offer to present topic at the next Girly Geek chapter meet up.   WI Girly Geeks is excited to have @Brian Kwong (aka The Wizard) do a hands-on workshop on flow and processor builder.  Super excited!

Join forces:  I am lucky to work with WI User Group leaders who want to support and help Girly Geeks in any way or shape possible.  Together, we are organizing a “User Group & Girly Geek picnic”.  Making memories!

Spread the word:  Men can show support by talking with women in the Salesforce space by encouraging women to participate in their local Girly Geeks.  I have had a couple men recruit new Women In Tech and/or provide introductions.  Welcome Friends!

Become a Mentor:  Take the time and mentor a fellow woman in tech.  Teach them what you know and share experiences.  I am lucky to have @Ryan Headley as co-worker in the office… who helps me everyday.  Even if it is bouncing ideas around,  troubleshooting, or reviewing my damn formulas.

Join the Conservation:  My favorite way for men to support Girly Geeks is to be part of the conversation!  Figure out a way for you to support Women In Tech and act on it!

I strongly believe Men need to be part of the solution to increase the number of Women in Tech jobs.


Girly Geeks is NOT

Girly Geeks chapters are NOT all alike. ~  This is my disclaimer, what is great about Girly Geeks is the flexibility in running the group that best fits based on the group size, participants’ purpose, and chapter objective.  In this blog post, I am speaking in regards to WI Girly Geek Chapter and our vision of the group.

Girly Geeks is NOT exclusionary ~ we do not want people to feel unwelcomed.  If someone (anyone) feels unwelcome, I would encourage him or her to reach out to the local Girly Geek chapter leader and have conversations on how they can get involved and/or support Girly Geeks.

Girly Geeks topics are NOT Women specific all the time ~ Correct.  Men may be interested in some of the topics we have had presented.  Which I will be looking at this closer and work directly with WI User Group Leaders to see about have such topics presented at next User Group further meetings.  However, on the flip side, majority of topics are specific to Women.  For example:  I am facilitating a Book Club (2 book series) specifically around why “Women Don’t Ask” and how “to Ask”.  I am not going to apologize for not inviting men to participate in the book club, as this is specific to Women audience.  With that said if a man approached me and wanted to participate, I would gladly welcome it.

Girly Geeks is NOT all about drinking ~ Please do not get me wrong, cocktails are fun and I do enjoy them once in a while.  However, I do not want people to think it is all about having drinks.  I will say it helps set the stage that Girly Geeks is informal and more relaxed, hoping to increase participation.

Girly Geeks is NOT all about being Social ~ There is a social aspect and networking in person, however many chapters are creating more structure to the meetup… including topics, agenda and take away actions.  I can say, WI Girly Geeks was very structured in the beginning and now that we have built friendships we are doing more social things… like having dinners, attending Women Conference events and workshops together.  I have heard a few Chapters doing paint nights and bowling.  Again, each chapter is different.

Girly Geeks is NOT just for Admins ~ I am surprised how people have thought that Admins would benefit from attending a Girly Geek meetup.  Which I am very surprise at the diversity within WI Girly Geek chapter… Project Managers, Business Analyst, Admins, Trainers and Developers… that are exciting as we each bring a different view of Salesforce to our discussions.

Girly Geeks is NOT a bitch session ~ Girly Geeks are supportive networks.  I may be lying if I say there is not any complaining that occurs during meetup… If someone is struggling, I believe it is the Girly Geek leader responsibility to facilitate the conversation, engage others and come up with a solution/options.  I have a personal rule, give them 2 minutes and then look for others to get involved and provide suggestions and end the conversation with a positive. 

Next topic:

How to support your local Girly Geek Chapters.  Cheers!


Midwest Dreamin’ 15 event has come and gone already.  And I am still reflecting back to this great event.  During the event Midwest Girly Geek Leaders coordinated a booth to recruit women and promote Midwest Girly Geeks Thirsty Thursdays webinars.   Attending the booth, I was able to chat about Girly Geeks with Men and Women who are […]

“Salesforcer”… CHANGE FORMULA

As you will see through out chattyadmin “Salesforcer” series , there is more to being a successful Salesforce Administrator.   What do I mean?

In my last blog, I shared with you how I used “Salesforcer benefit”… whom you know in your organization.  I created Sales Subject Matter Expert (SSME) group. Reminder, this SSME group included different Sales roles, Salesforce believers/ non-believers, newbies/tenure Sales staff, and Inside Sales / Outside Reps.


How did I choose SSME group:  

  1. Well as a matter of fact, I started with a large group which personally, I found very challenging to manage different prioritize requests, difficult for decisions to be made and limit communication barriers.  I found narrowing my SSME to a smaller group was more efficient and manageable.  This was a 3-month process.
  2.  I knew going into creating this group, I needed diversity in believes and experiences.  I choose two Sales Management leaders (one had Salesforce experience from a prior life) and the other Sales Manager wanted to learn the tool.  I wanted to have two negative Sales people represented and one who did not want to express beliefs, but I was aware and the other negative person who was very vocal.  I then went deeper into who has positive and influence on their peers.  Lastly, I took a low performer and a high performer and included them in this group.  Overall, I ended up with 10 people.

Change Formula = (expert + negative + vocal + quiet)

  1.  Had many one-one calls, more like interviews.  I asked questions around Salesforce experiences, how they currently manage their book of business, manage tasks, things they wish they could have or did not have to do and pains within their roles.  From that I was able to gage the right fit within my Change Formula.
  2.  Had a meeting with the Sales Executive Support to run this idea by her, to get her buy-in. KEY!(Remember, I helped her lessen her workload).  She was willing to set up a meeting with Sales VP and Sales Operations and help facilitate the conversation. Win-Win-Win.  Management agreed to  trying this as long as I was not wasting Sales time… they need to be out selling, not data entry.

How SSME became Salesforce Change gurus, without even realizing it: 

Subject Matter Experts and Change Formula

This  group assisted with development and increased adoption but it was not over with that.  Since Salesforce Releases happen 3X a year, this group was instrumental with change management.  Especially since these users were the voice of their peers and helped determine changes within Salesforce.  They were considered the experts.

  1.  I found it helpful, to review the Release Notes and hold webinars with SSME to review any major items, changes and asked for their input.  Now…did I read all 200 plus pages? No.  Did I implement all change requests from users? No.
  2.  I would demo changes (either those user change requests or release updates) within the sandbox environment.  And it was on them to approve and provide input.
  3.  Then, each representative on this team, was responsible for educating their peers on these changes.  From my experience this worked great, as it lessen my workload (as a solo Admin wearing multiple hats) while empowering the users to engage with their peers.

What I learned regarding Change Formula:

  • I learned pretty quickly, my users did not want to hear from me about changes,  so that is when I tapped into my SSMEs to influence their peers.
  • If you are a Solo Admin (or someone that wears multiple hats), you should not have to do it all by yourself.  If you create a SSME (another user group) within your organization, engage them to assist and steer the ship especially around changes.
  • Plan, plan and plan ahead of time…. your changes, webinars/demos especially when you are working directly with Sales people.  Get it on their calendar NOW.
  • Be flexible and understanding if someone cannot make it to your scheduled meeting.  For this SSME group, it was Sales Users and the expectation was for them to sell.

Now these SSME members helped with Adoption and now were experts with Change and became change agents within the organization. Not even sure, SSME group even realized the great impact they provided to management and peers.

Special message for Kristen Engelhardt:  Thank you for the shout during Midwest Dreamin 15 event.  It was a pleasure chatty with you about CHANGE and my Change Formula!

“Salesforcer” Benefit: Story 1

STORY 1:  The business put pressure on the Sales division to increase Salesforce adoption.

Sounds great the business-side is on board.   Now, with your “Salesforce Admin” hat, you the #AwesomeAdmin can handle it, not a problem.

Challenge A:  Sales Management does not want sales team wasting time doing data entry. Sales should be selling.

Challenge B: The Sales Reps are not familiar with Salesforce.  Plus, of the 100 Sales Users, 75% are tenure and have their own why of doing business.

To overcome these challenges, see them as Opportunities… (Ha point intended).  Place your Salesforce Admin hat on, shoulders back and stand tall.  Pull out your back pocket your “Salesforcer” benefits!

Now you may be wondering… how can you apply these benefits to increase Sales User adoption.

#1:  You know who the people are in your organization.  

You will want to make a list of Sales Users, VP, Executive Support, and other Sales Support roles.

Stakeholder Analysis Matrix

Consider interviewing new Sales users to identify concerns and get a good feeling of what you are about to step into. Write down their attitude next to their name on the list you started.   Sales Support: excited to collaborate with outside sales reps, want to learn the tool, Outside Sales Reps feel like it is “big brother” or “what’s in it for me”, VP of Sales: one more thing to manage and push their Sales team to do.  It was partially my job, to force the VP to understand how to engage their team members and use Salesforce.

Salesforce Tips for Sales Management

#2:  Business Needs (In this example Sales Needs).

Through the interviews and conversations with Sales Users, you will get a good handle on what they need and how they need to do things to be successful. Document those and who is requesting this change/improvement.

Know how the Sales department tracks revenue, commissions, forecasting, quotas… how do they identify “big deal”.

Look for any spreadsheet tracking and have conversations around implementing that into Salesforce.  My past job, I was aware the Sales Executive Support person spent over 3 hours updating quarterly reports for the different Sales VPs.

Create a Salesforce Roadmap for the next 6-12 months specific to the Sales needs.  This may include Outlook Integration, mobile configuration, workflow rules /email notifications, adoption dashboards/ users reports, and specific features to enable (forecasting, quota etc.).

TIP:  Get approval from Sales Management (in this case) on the road map.  This tool should be referenced when Sales has new ideas and making is requests that are NOT on the roadmap.  It helps you and Stakeholders focused on the priorities and identify future needs.  It will give you the power to say “No, not at this time”.

What is a road map?

Wait a second, now you have created a stakeholder matrix and road map and realize you are only one person.  This is a great opportunity to approach your boss/manager and have a discussion on increase your time spent on Salesforce (maybe 100% of time)…. this will be a later post.

#3:  Salesforce Knowledge on How the tool works.

Remember earlier, the 3-hour spreadsheet…. I took that spreadsheet and implemented into Salesforce.  POOF… magic done and Executive Support was so happy and amazed that she is working with her VPs and getting them excited about Salesforce.  Win-Win.

With that same data, I was able to create reports and dashboards for Sales Management team based on Key Performance Metrics.  Next thing I knew, Sales Managers wanted more reports but my focus was on adoption.  I could pull out the road map and let them know when I could implement these new reports (later on or maybe not sure this timeframe).

Salesforce Adoption Dashboard (free on AppExchange)

Back when I interviewed individuals, there were many users not happy about having to use Salesforce.  I created a sub-set of Sales Subject Matter Expert. This group included advocates for using the tool, as well as those NOT interested in using the tool. I have to say, providing one-one times with those NOT interested helped me understand their needs.  I was able to implement small easy changes, adding a status that this individual needs to have… creating them to like the tool.

One common theme I heard a lot from the Sales Users who did NOT want to use the tool, “Salesforce the tool is great.  It stinks, we have to use it”.   After hearing this over, over and over again, I decided to have some fun with it.  Later that year, at the National Sales Conference, I had a Salesforce booth, helping Sales Users activate their mobile device, provided demo and an opportunity to chat.

At the booth, I handed out air fresher and the best part,  I was dressed in a skunk costume (head to toe.. no kidding.  If I locate the picture, I promise to post it).

This is a true story of how I used  “Salesforcer” benefits to my advantage.

Are you a “Salesforcer”?

I am excited to begin my blogging journey as the “ChattyAdmin”.

As I continue to gain knowledge, increase leadership skills and empower others,  I realize the knowledge, the skills and the people all revolve around Salesforce.


In 2010, Salesforce and I were introduced and I have been working in some shape or form with Salesforce: Project Manager to implement within Sales Division; Trainer: increase user and upper management adoption (this was hard); Administrator: redesign and re-implement (ha!) and now working as a Business Analyst: improve, implement, and train.


Throughout my Salesforce experience, I alway have on multiple hats.

I believe Ryan Headley’s songs says it best… #ThatsWhyAdminsDrink (written/performed by @lifewithryan).

Are you someone who is wearing multiple hats at your company?  If yes, you are what I call a “Salesforcer” (my new word…) meaning wearing a Salesforce hat along with many other job duties, forcing peers and management to understand Salesforce.

Believe it or not, there are benefits to being a “Salesforcer”:  

1.  knowledge on how Salesforce works

2.  know of business needs

3. aware of who the players are in the organization.

It is up to you, on how to use these benefits to your advantage.  Now, I challenge you… take a to step back.   Determine how these benefits can work for you and think about what you WANT in your job.  Is it to be visible or be heard at the company? Do you want to be known as the “Saleforce Expert”? How about getting a promotion?

In my next blog, I will provide examples how “Saleforcer” benefits, will help in your Salesforce career.


These are my experiences (good and bad) that I want to share. Cheers!