Nicola developed her career specialising in Volunteering Programmes, when she decided to upskill in Salesforce Administration and Consultancy to help non-profits implement Salesforce for Volunteer Management.
Since graduating from the Supermums Admin Course, Nicola has managed a global roll-out of a Salesforce project for an international volunteering charity. She has completed additional certifications, spoken on stage at Dreamforce to You to inspire other trailblazers and is now completing the Supermums Consultancy Course, learning lots of new tips and tricks.
Twitter handle: @nicolamilner_1
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Where do you work?
Lattitude Global Volunteering, international charity with HQ in Reading, Berkshire.
What does the business do?
Lattitude is an international youth development charity. We provide opportunities for young people (17-25) to volunteer abroad in order to develop skills and contribute to the lives of other people.
What is your job title?
Salesforce Project Manager
Do you work flexibility?
Very flexibly. I work full time (35 hours a week) from home. I rarely go to the office headquarters in Reading as all my colleagues around the world work from home so we use Zoom to connect. I have no set hours which is wonderful as I can organise my hours around childcare as I have a 2 year old but it also works for Lattitude as I am happy to have meetings with colleagues around the world at 7am or 9pm depending on time zones.
What do you do in a typical day?
I don’t have a typical day at all as my hours change all the time and so do my tasks. Monday is a day when I do routine jobs such as downloading the back up of our Salesforce org. There’s still a lot of work to be done on developing our Salesforce org so I spend a lot of time gathering requirements from my colleagues and trying to find new Salesforce solutions. That’s probably what I enjoy most – I love looking at Lattitude’s business processes, thinking of how to do them better and then customizing Salesforce to facilitate that.
What is the most challenging thing about your role?
There have been so many challenges! There are lots of ways I would like to develop Salesforce to help our organisation but I need buy-in from senior staff to help me to achieve those things and it’s not always a high priority for them. I’ve learned the hard way that there is little point designing and implementing changes without senior leadership buy-in as you won’t be successful.
What is the best thing about your job?
I just love finding ways to improve our businesses processes using Salesforce. I love finding out what my colleagues’ pain points are, finding out what their ideal way of working would be and then designing and building a solution in Salesforce to meet their needs. It’s fun when you give them a demo of your proposed solution and they get excited about how much easier it will make their lives. I also like the fact that my job role means I connect with all our staff around the world as it’s exciting to work with people from other countries and cultures and I love the fact that I can work from anywhere in the world (in theory) as all I need is my laptop and wifi!
How did you get into Salesforce / find out about the course?
I found out about the Admin course when I was on maternity leave and researching opportunities to create a flexible career in the non-profit sector. At that point I had used Salesforce for about 9 months as an end user on a volunteering programme and I thought it was brilliant so I had wanted to learn more. I completed the course and then returned to work after mat leave and built a global Salesforce system for Lattitude. This was a massive challenge due to my inexperience and I realised there’s a lot I need to learn about managing Salesforce implementations so as soon as I heard about Supermum’s Consultancy course I really wanted to do it.
Can you share a little about your experience of the course? What was the best thing about it and what was the most challenging?
The Admin Course was incredibly interesting for me as I understood Salesforce from an end user perspective but didn’t understand anything about how to set it up. I liked the structure of the course and being in a group of people who could share the learning experience together and learn from each other. I liked the mix of doing webinars, practical homework in my dev org and also doing trailmixes. The most challenging (but also most fun) part was doing the work experience project as you really feel pressure to do a good job for the charity you are helping but of course you can’t really go wrong as you are supported by an experienced project manager.
I’ve just started the Consultancy Course and I think the best thing about it so far is the quality of the information because everything has been relevant to me and I wish I knew it all before I started my own Salesforce implementation! The format of the course is working well for me because it’s all videos which I watch when I have spare time. The most challenging part is going to be completing the assessments as we have to record and upload videos of ourselves but I can see how that will help me to gain confidence for when I have to do these demos and presentations in real life with clients.
What was it like having a mentor? How did you work / meet together?
When I did the course the trainer was also our mentor and she was really experienced and great. I am Supermums mentor myself! it’s been great for me as it’s made me realise how far I’ve come in the last 2 years and I love passing on my knowledge and supporting other mums to build new, flexible careers. Hopefully I’ve been of help to my mentee!
Can you share a little about your work experience (undertaken as part of the course) What was good about it? Was it useful?
My work experience project was for a charity who wanted to use Salesforce to manage their volunteering programme. This was perfect for me as it aligned with my background in volunteer management and it really helped me to understand how and why Salesforce works for charities. My project manager wrote a reference letter for me on completion of the project which I used to update my CV and I was able to speak about the success of the project when I was trying to convince my CEO to let me build the Salesforce org for Lattitude which definitely helped me to sell myself!
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