As part of our Women in Tech series, we met with Elgin's Annie Wade about her journey from fashion to Salesforce.
“It was never a career path I thought I would end up in. If someone said to me five years ago, ten years ago, ‘This is what you're going to be doing,’ I probably would've laughed at them.”
From studying fashion at university to training healthcare workers on complex software systems, Salesforce Software Trainer Annie Wade could not have seen the unpredictable path her career would take. While Annie admits ‘falling’ into her current field, the direction was fortuitous and has propelled her into a career she loves.
Career progression has always been high on the list of priorities for Annie, who secured her first role at Marks & Spencer with greater goals in mind. From there, a department-wide transition to a new system sparked her interest and led her to a training-focused role in a mental health charity.
“I was training people how to use Salesforce, then moved onto a completely different system. I then moved back to train people on Salesforce until April 2020, where my contract came to an end because of COVID-19.”
As a deft Salesforce expert, Annie readily admits the difficulties associated with training people on a platform with a tricky reputation.
“I think the thing is with Salesforce, the more you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it. If you put rubbish in, you’re going to get rubbish out. You really do have to explain to people the benefits of what they’re getting out of it by putting in the time, putting all that information in.”
Despite this, Annie continues to be motivated by helping people. With time, patience and experience, she transforms techno-phobic focus groups to Salesforce advocates in a single session. Simply put, she says; “it was just breaking it down, making it user friendly. It’s not scary to use the system at all. Talk it through and they’ll fully understand it.”
Annie then moved to her current role in an industry-leading technology company, who are dedicated to providing high-retention business-critical software to a host of clients across the UK. She was matched to her current role by Client Server, a process she speaks very highly of;
“I’m not just saying this because I’m on the phone to you guys, but it was just such a smooth process. [My consultant] would keep me in the loop with everything…and really kind of prepared me for the interview. I found it was a great experience and I’ve really recommended them to people that were made redundant at my old firm.”
In line with the importance of career progression, Annie was inspired by the job description which cited she would have full responsibility of building a training department from scratch. She is now taking ownership of cultivating a strong training department, and the future looks bright. She has ambitious plans to manage a team of trainers for Learning & Development divisions, and delve further into experience within Learning Management Software (LMS).
it is generally accepted there is a long way to go before the status of women in tech is on an even keel, Annie’s story is a gentle testament to the evolving landscape of women in technology. She may have cultivated an unexpected career, but this wouldn’t have occurred if it were not for open doors and opportunities along the way.
There is a marked shift toward focusing on skills and knowledge, breaking barriers and building new ground. Annie’s ambition and value on career progression have been appropriately met with development opportunities and the chance to spearhead a training movement, proving you do not need a multi-faceted lifelong association with technology to carve a career in it.
Additional reporting by Michael Oliver