Salesforce Trailblazer Day and the Future of Work

May 21, 2019 Mark Adcock

Salesforce CEO and Ivanka Trump at Trailblazer Day making the 1 Million Job Pledge

As we go deeper into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the more apparent it becomes that we need to do things differently. Many of the jobs and careers we know today will disappear or evolve to the point of being unfamiliar. To prepare for the sweeping changes of the future, companies must rethink career development, management, and training. As technology continues to advance and expand around the world, the need to be agile, responsive, and innovative will become even more critical to survival.  

Trailblazer Day, a celebration of career transformation with Trailblazers from all over the world, reinforced that message with the global expansion announcement of the Salesforce Pathfinder Program and the newly minted VetForce Alliance

Approximately 60 Trailblazers came together to network and share stories and to discuss the future of work. A lot of the discussion focused on how to empower more individuals within our own communities to develop the skills needed to take advantage of -- and thrive in -- the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

While there are many more in-depth descriptions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution available, one of my favorites can be found on Trailhead in this module. In brief, new technologies, such as machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT), are reaching a state where a whole new world of connectivity and technology enablement will redefine daily lives and the very nature of much of the work people do every day.

The impact of the changes in technology are likely to create brand-new jobs, eradicate others, and change entire categories of employment. With so much of the nature of work changing, it’s never been more important for people to have access to learning materials that enable them to embrace new tools and be ready for new roles, challenges, and opportunities in the rapidly growing technology ecosystem. 

To prepare for the potential future effects of rapid technology change, companies like Appirio and Salesforce are making strides to help workers gain the skills that companies will need to be successful in the future -- Appirio through programs like Ascend and Salesforce through its 1 Million Job Pledge.

The Appirio Ascend and Accelerated Associate programs

Appirio’s Ascend Program is dedicated to providing new college graduates with the training and preparation they need to succeed in the exciting career field of consulting. This immersive, three-month training program officially launched in 2013 at Appirio’s headquarters in Indianapolis, with ten hires from local universities. After re-calibrating in 2014, we have continued to grow the program both in the number of hires and geographies where the program is hosted: The program has expanded to India, the UK, and most recently, Porto.

Ascenders, enthusiastic talent new to the Salesforce ecosystem and who demonstrate potential in both technical and functional skills, learn about Appirio’s business, our consulting methodology, and receive specialized training on one of the cloud platforms that partner with Appirio. Through their journey, Ascend consultants have exposure to leadership, access to mentorship, and a strong peer network. Ascend graduates have served as respected and hard working consultants, but also in various leadership positions in both delivery and corporate teams. Not only does Appirio benefit from the technical and functional capabilities found within our Ascend Consultants, but the Appirio Culture really lives in and through the relationships that are formed and carry on well past the Ascend graduation and often even as Appirio Alumni in the broader Salesforce community. 

Appirio has also hired and trained workers coming from other industries who are new to consulting in the Accelerated Associate program. Together these programs are a cornerstone of Appirio’s culture that showcases the importance of giving individuals the tools they need to be successful, the support they need to be confident, and the trust to tackle exciting challenges. It's a distinct advantage to a customer to have fresh perspectives on how technology can enable business; by leveraging non-traditional talent, the Appirio Ascend and Associate programs help close the gap between the old and the new.

The Salesforce Pathfinder Program

The Salesforce Pathfinder Program is a workforce development program that provides people from diverse backgrounds with business and technical training to find employment in the Salesforce ecosystem. Together with Deloitte, Salesforce provides Ivy Tech Community College students and Indiana veterans with a four-month online and in-person training (including soft skills) and free certification testing to confidently apply to high-paying Salesforce and Developer opportunities across the US. Pathfinder has recently announced they will expand their efforts to grow the program in the EMEA region.

​Salesforce sees the Pathfinder Program as a key investment to develop military veterans and career-changing adults talent to continue to build the Salesforce talent pool as millions of jobs will be created in the Salesforce ecosystem over the coming years. The Pathfinder Program began in Indianapolis, IN, a strategic decision: The Midwestern city has grown to be a key tech hub for not only the United States but also the global community.

To learn more, watch Salesforce Pathfinder, Nia Johnson’s story.

Trailblazer Day and the 1 Million Job Pledge

The grand finale of Trailblazer Day was a special event featuring the stories of three Trailblazers: Shonnah Hughes, Zac Otero, and Stephanie Herrera.  Each shared their own incredible transformation stories and spoke of their own desires to help empower their communities. Each story illustrated the impact of career mobility when organizations replace old career paradigms with those better suited for Industry 4.0 and how it’s a win-win for the individual, their local community, and their global networks.

These stories, though incredible on their own were to help set the stage for something truly monumental.  The announcement of a pledge that expanded earlier efforts by many orders of magnitude a commitment to provide re-skilling and jobs in the Salesforce Ecosystem for 1 Million people. This is clearly not a small undertaking and not to be done alone.  This pledge was signed in partnership with the White House, but also, signed in partnership with the Salesforce Community or Ohana as represented by Shonnah, Zac, and Stephanie.  Signifying that without a doubt, this will take efforts from the whole ecosystem to bring about the kind of impact needed for such a change.

Far-reaching impact

The implications of this announcement are far-reaching and will touch on almost every facet of the Salesforce Ecosystem. Each individual that is empowered with new skills, knowledge, and ability has an impact on their own lives, their communities and the organizations where they will get to apply those abilities. 

More than ever, every organization utilizing technology platforms such as Salesforce is needing the human ingenuity and resources to make the most of their technology investments as a mechanism of continuous improvement in managing constituent relationships, driving customer satisfaction, bolstering brand recognition and achieving their target growth.

It is necessary to the growth of the ecosystem - all of the partners, customers, and Salesforce itself - to cultivate and educate new people.  Though many fear that automation and technology will replace humans, it’s becoming very clear that instead, it’s about empowering people to do the things that they do best.

It is quite honestly an amazing time to be a Trailblazer, to be part of the Salesforce Ohana spirit, and to be able to help organizations all over the world make the changes they need to drive the Future of Work and the Future of Education at Appirio. Our Ascend program is just the beginning. We’re committed to realizing a future where education means lifelong learning and growth and is accessible to all. 

Want to learn how to prepare your organization for the Future of Work? Talk to an Appirio expert. 

About the Author

Mark Adcock

Mark, a senior consultant at Appirio, has a background in Information Technology with over a decade of experience in Higher Education and Nonprofit technology. He is passionate about helping nonprofits and education organizations maximize their impact by accelerating their digital transformation, improving their business processes, and integrating their systems with Salesforce. Joining the Salesforce Lightning Champions program in 2019, Mark, a Salesforce MVP and Lightning Champion, takes pride in sharing his experience and knowledge of Salesforce Lightning with the broader community.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin More Content by Mark Adcock
Previous Article
Michael Henry: From Catastrophe Insurance to Business Architect to Appirio Alum
Michael Henry: From Catastrophe Insurance to Business Architect to Appirio Alum

Next Article
Building a Salesforce Community: Templates vs. Branding vs. Lightning Customization
Building a Salesforce Community: Templates vs. Branding vs. Lightning Customization