Our office in Toronto, Canada, is just over a year old, and our team members there have hit the ground running. Not only are they diving into their work with CT, but several of them have taken our “Giving back is in our DNA” value to heart. Customertimes partners with PepUp Tech, an organization that gives motivated, underserved students the training they need to begin careers in the Salesforce ecosystem. Part of that partnership involves mentoring, and two of our Toronto team members have truly gone above and beyond to help their PepUp students reach their goals.
We invited Maham Hafeez, Business Analyst, and Oleanne D’Souza, Senior Salesforce Consultant, to tell us what they’re doing with PepUp Tech and how it’s making an impact.
First, though, they filled us in on what it’s like to be part of the very first Canadian CT office.
“It’s very exciting,” says Oleanne. “Our team is full of high-caliber people, and I learn something new every day. It’s great to be part of a growing practice.”
Maham agrees: “It really is amazing. We are a small team right now, so it feels like a close-knit community. It inspires us to do our best and learn quickly.”
Maham is a Business Analyst at CT. She meets with clients to understand their technology needs and then works with CT’s Project Managers, Architects, and Developers to produce customized business solutions. Her diverse background includes an Honors Bachelor of Science, a Master of Biotechnology, and a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology in addition to her Salesforce Administrator certification.
Oleanne is a Senior Salesforce Consultant. She helps clients identify requirements and gaps in their CRM roadmaps and implements Salesforce products based on their needs. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Technology Management and has years of Salesforce implementation and product management experience across a variety of industries with a specialization in Healthcare. She’s a certified Salesforce Administrator and App Builder, and she’s part of the new CT Mobile initiative that’s kicking off in North America.
She says she was initially drawn to CT because of the CT Mobile suite of applications. “CT Mobile apps and their offline capabilities really drew my attention to CT,” she says. “Especially CT Mobile’s Order app – it’s a super powerful application that leverages AI and Einstein Analytics to facilitate the order process. CT Mobile even got recognized at Dreamforce. That’s no small feat and was very impressive to me.”
“I really liked the potential career and professional development that are available here,” Maham adds. “The company has a drive towards continuous growth that I really appreciate, and when I was researching the company, I was very impressed with their commitment to PepUp Tech. Their dedication to improving the quality of life for those in need by providing them with lifelong skills inspired me to join the company.”
Maham and Oleanne learned more about the PepUp Tech initiative when they first joined CT. They taught joint sessions about Salesforce security and led evening and weekend support groups for students.
“Some of the super badges take a lot of work and time to achieve, so we had some late nights,” Oleanne smiles. “But it’s good practice for real world implementation projects!”
“I help with PepUp Tech’s weekly Saturday sessions, and I lead guest lectures,” Maham says. “I also make a point to connect with my students on LinkedIn so they can reach out to me with questions about their PepUp assignments or any other Salesforce-related learning.”
As for their inspiration for getting involved, Maham and Oleanne both cite personal experience.
“I have loved teaching and tutoring since I was in high school,” says Oleanne. “I love seeing people’s faces go from utter confusion to complete understanding, and I genuinely adore training people in Salesforce.
“I’ve had many mentors teach me and make a massive impact on my life, so I think that volunteering and giving back to the community is an important way to pay it forward. If I can help folks get their lives on track – especially during the pandemic – why not do it?”
“As a minority and an immigrant, I can really understand the challenges that people face due to economic hardship,” Maham adds. “Simply having someone to go to when you are stuck can really help to make challenges navigable.”
Maham also understands that a lack of resources isn’t always the only deterrent.
“We usually see financial or resource availability as a barrier to one’s success, but many times, even if someone is able to secure the resources, uncertainty or personal fear of failure can hold someone back.
“This is especially true in cases where the person is making a complete switch from what they’ve always known or is afraid to say ‘yes’ to a great opportunity because they don’t want to fail. I find people who take a chance when opportunity arises – regardless of their fears – to be very admirable.
“In my experience, many of the students that come to PepUp Tech are taking this chance in spite of their fears so they can achieve their goals. I’m inspired by their efforts, and it’s this inspiration that led me to get involved. I hope to play a role in their journey to success!”
Late Night Breakthroughs
As they’ve gotten to know the students over the last few months, one session in particular stands out.
“Maham and I had a special late-night moment while helping a few students complete a Salesforce Superbadge. We had about 10 participants who were really lost on a complex step. We went through several iterations, and around 11 PM we finally solved it.
“I was so impressed with their tenacity and willingness to pursue this to the end, even though it didn’t affect their overall grade. It just goes to show how hard-working the PepUp cohort is – many of them are juggling family and other jobs, but they really will do whatever it takes to do it right.”
“We were able to use their solution to expedite the process with students in another session,” Maham adds. “It felt like an accomplishment.”
Their students felt the same way. One of them, Dawn Brown, wrote to us to share her thoughts: “[CT] has hired some of the most selfless, genuine people! Not only did Oleanne and Maham offer their services to our class, last night they met with a few of us who have been struggling with a Superbadge. They spent three hours helping us work through it! They are geniuses with a heart for helping others; that is pretty rare. Thank you so much – Customertimes is a huge asset to us!”
Strong Team Culture
For now, Maham and Oleanne will continue their work with PepUp Tech while growing their careers at CT. They love the culture of the organization, and they appreciate they opportunities they have to pursue their own professional development as the company expands.
“Everyone is very friendly here,” says Maham. “I like working with the team and the clients; everyone is open to feedback and willing to learn how they can improve.”
“I love the mentorship that CT offers,” Oleanne adds. “Dmitry [Milchak, Managing Director of CT Canada] makes sure we focus on our professional growth, which is a rare quality to find in an organization.
“CT helps employees become better versions of ourselves so we can better help our clients as well.”