PepUp Tech is committed to empowering motivated students in underserved communities to prepare for careers in the fast-growing Salesforce ecosystem. They offer training for Salesforce Administrator and Salesforce NPSP Administrator roles and aim to increase the number of underrepresented minorities, women, and low-income people in the tech space.
PepUp is based in New York City, and since Customertimes is headquartered there, we are thrilled to be partnering with them to help further the reach of their organization and develop a new generation of Salesforce professionals.
We sat down with James Goldfinger, Chief Customer Officer at Customertimes, to hear his thoughts on the partnership and why he’s excited to work with them.
Customertimes: Ok, so let’s start at the beginning. How did you get connected with PepUp?
Jim Goldfinger: We were introduced by a mutual connection in the Salesforce community. I initially connected with Selina (Suarez, Executive Director at PepUp Tech), and I was completely blown away. She saw a need in her community, started the organization, got support from Salesforce, secured grants, and got the whole thing off the ground. Within our first conversation, I knew I could help personally, and Customertimes could help as well.
CT: I know Customertimes is planning to help in two different ways. What’s the first?
JG: Well, first of all, they need additional staff. They have someone helping with curriculum development, and they have several Salesforce experts who lead the training programs, but they’d like to bring on someone to help with graduate placement so that when people complete the program, someone is there to help them uncover opportunities for employment.
Customertimes has committed to paying the full-time salary for the Director of Workforce Development for the first year.
This actually helps in two different ways. Number one, this person can build relationships with organizations that will be interested in hiring the graduates and implement referral services to drive revenue that will funnel back into the organization.
Number two, many of the grants that PepUp applies for will focus on placement success rates in their funding decisions. If PepUp can place more graduates, they’ll get more funding, which again funnels revenue back into the organization.
The more revenue that comes in, the more students they can train.
CT: And what’s the second way?
JG: When people start out in these Salesforce roles, they can feel overwhelmed. The training they’re getting is excellent, but Salesforce is a huge platform, and it takes years to become an expert.
Our plan is to share our experience with the business side of CRM and some of the more advanced topics you’d find in complex implementations. We’re going to provide mentorship so students and graduates can get help when they need it. I’ve shared my own experience with one of their classes so far, and I know several of our colleagues have offered to contribute as well.
We’re also going to set up office hours for Customertimes employees to mentor PepUp students, whether they’re currently enrolled or have already graduated. It’ll be sort of a phone-a-friend concept: If they’re stuck on something or have a problem with the instance they’re working on, we’ll be there to talk them through it.
My hope is that it will be a regular part of the training curriculum and will continue after graduation. For post-grads, it can also help fill in learning gaps.
Just knowing that they have somewhere to turn when they run into problems can give someone the confidence to accept a position and say “yes” to an opportunity that might otherwise be intimidating, and it should also give employers more confidence when hiring their graduates.
CT: Are others within Customertimes excited about this as well?
JG: Absolutely. I’ve spoken with several of our colleagues and asked them to serve as mentors, and they’re happy to help. They’re offering their own time and expertise to make sure these students get started on the right foot. As an organization, we’re committed to improving our communities. PepUp is right in our backyard, so it’s absolutely a no-brainer, though of course, in a in a remote world, there are no geographic boundaries on either side.
CT: What’s special about this organization?
JG: Look, Customertimes is all about improving ROI on technology investments, and the ROI here is undeniable. The average income for students who come out of this program is over double the average income coming in. Considering that it only costs $1500 to support each student, that’s a pretty incredible ROI.
CT: What sort of impact do you see PepUp having in their community?
JG: PepUp is changing lives for people right now, and they’re changing lives for future generations by making it possible for these students to find secure footing.
They are doing something tangible to address inequalities in the community, and they’ve positioned themselves in such a way that those who have lost income since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have a new, viable option. Plus, they’re bringing incredible diversity of thought to the Salesforce ecosystem, which is good news for all of us.
I would absolutely give serious consideration to hiring the graduates of this program. What they’re doing is just remarkable, and we are thrilled to be able to support them.
CT: Lastly, and this is very exciting, I understand you’ve been invited to join the PepUp Tech advisory board. Can you share any insights around that?
JG: Yes, I was honored to be asked to join their board, which is an incredibly accomplished group of individuals. My focus will be to help them find new sources of funding and expand their network inside the Salesforce ecosystem, essentially building on the organization they’ve created and the great work they’re doing. We are excited to partner with and support PepUp, and I have no doubt that many other SI partners would welcome the same opportunity.
Jim GoldfingerJim is the Chief Customer Officer at Customertimes. He has more than 30 years of experience in the enterprise software industry, having worked with both software and professional services companies ranging from venture backed start-ups to some of the largest software companies in the world. Jim has held management roles across Sales, Marketing, Product Management, Product Marketing, Professional Services, and Corporate Strategy, and he has personally helped 500+ clients across the globe leverage technology to improve customer-focused operations.