While many of us cherish our weekends for relaxation time, some people seize the opportunity of time off to network with and help others in their community. That’s especially true of dedicated Salesforce professionals like Happy Hikel and Chelsea Kung, a Delegate power couple who brought the networking and support movement of Salesforce Saturdays to Melbourne, Florida.
Happy can date the beginning of his Salesforce journey precisely: December 20, 2019. He was working in franchise sales when a new person at the company suggested that his analytical approach to solving problems would make him a good fit for it.
At first, Happy argued that his career was advancing in franchising and wasn’t prepared to take on the costs associated with learning a new set of skills. His colleague overcame the objections, assuring him that it’s possible to get started without enrolling in a program or laying out fees and stating “if you try it and don’t like it, I won’t bring it up again.”
He agreed to give it a shot. He recalls that he tried Trailhead after a 10 hour day and found that five or six hours just flew by.
“You’re right. I should be doing this instead,” he admitted to the one who had recommended Salesforce.
He recalls that he then decided to “go full steam ahead” on Salesforce. “Then when Covid hit, I said there’s no better time to do it and started treating it as a job, studying consistently for six hours a day.”
At the time, Chelsea and he were living in Austin, Texas. Happy encouraged her to also take up Salesforce when she was furloughed from her job in the catering industry due to Covid.
Chelsea now looks at being furloughed as “a blessing in disguise.” Though she believes she would still have ended up pursuing Salesforce to establish her career path, she would have worked at it much more slowly if she had retained her job.
When they were notified that PepUp Tech offered a free Salesforce program for anyone who lost a job due to Covid, they both signed up. Happy had already been studying for a few months by the time the program began in March, so he was more advanced than the other students.
The dual desire to be helpful and to reinforce his own understanding prompted him to volunteer to help others with study groups, which led to an assistant instructor role and evolved into a paid instructor role for him. He explains, “The best way to learn this is to help others learn.”
The path to Delegate
After he passed his first test, he got a position at a real estate company that was meant to be a hybrid Salesforce role. As the people there really wanted him to serve as an account manager, that didn’t work out, so in the fall of 2020, he got a job at a consulting company.
While working as a consultant, he pushed himself to work hard and learn as much as he could, studying to earn three additional certifications. Though the company benefited from his industriousness, it didn’t reward it with promotions.
He knew that advancing in his career would mean another move. He learned about Delegate from Nate Hess, who had been employed in the same consultancy and came on board in October 2021. Chelsea joined Delegate a few months later.
Both are driven to work hard. “I like to dream big and see how far I can push myself, taking on a challenge that makes me feel uncomfortable,” Happy says, and he shared one of a Richard Branson quote that defines his belief:
But the dreams he shares with his partner are not just about advancing their own careers to the point that allows them to retire early but to also help others along the way. That’s why they dedicate every other Saturday morning to paying it forward.
Salesforce Saturdays in Melbourne
Salesforce Saturdays are typically scheduled for 9 -11 a.m. on alternate Saturdays. The concept was born of an initiative from Stephanie Herrera and has grown into an international movement, despite the absence of official chapters.
“It’s a time to meet up with other Salesforce professionals, to get to know other people, and help each other get better,” Happy explained.
Stephanie lives in Austin and headed the Salesforce Saturdays there. Happy and Chelsea attended them when they lived there and were very impressed by how helpful and nice everyone was. When they moved to Melbourne and discovered there was no Salesforce community there, they took the initiative of filling that gap themselves.
While Happy was the one who had the idea, Chelsea has supported him all the way and has shown up for every single meeting since the first one that drew six attendees in August 2022. While the core group has been Happy’s students, additional people who see the posts about it on LinkedIn also participate.
One observation that Chelsea made about Salesforce Saturdays is that each group takes on its own character. While the one in Austin was primarily about sharing solutions to Salesforce questions, for this group, people see networking as the primary goal.
She noted that she and Happy were the only ones who brought in computers each time, and only recently did someone actually ask for help on a Salesforce question. They assured him that they’re happy to serve as such a resource and suggested they can bring in their computers, too.
Helping people get jobs
The group includes some Salesforce veterans like a Salesforce architect and a VP of an established company. As a hiring manager, she shares valuable insight for those seeking jobs.
That’s a big part of the group dynamic – networking to learn about job opportunities and how to best present yourself as a candidate. Happy coached one job seeker in the group in planning a presentation at an interview that he was very excited about.
He also encourages a young woman who is determined to find her first Salesforce job. “Even when doors are slammed in her face, she keeps pushing,” he observed.
But no matter how persistent the job seeker may be, it’s a real help to have someone rooting for you and asking about opportunities on your behalf. He explained it this way:
“Someone who is junior might not have the confidence to just ask ‘Are you hiring?’ But I’ve got nothing to lose when asking.”
He said that even when the answer is no on hiring, as was the case for the VP in the group, she can respond with helpful advice. Getting her perspective has proved valuable for the people aspiring to attain junior positions.
Even with the holiday season upon us and New Year’s Eve falling out on a Saturday, the Salesforce Saturdays continue as scheduled. Happy takes his responsibility as the organizer seriously.
“If you want others to show up, you have to always be there,” he said. Even though he thought there was a good chance no one would show up on the most recent Salesforce Saturday, he and Chelsea showed up and were surprised to get a turnout of eight.
“At this point, it is starting to really take off and grow,” he observed. In fact, one of their new members now has set up an official Salesforce user group, the Space Coast Salesforce User Group to complement it.
Paying it forward
He acknowledged that it may be considered “just a little bit self-serving.” That’s because as a remote worker, he appreciates the chance to connect with others in person.
“Working from home makes you into a recluse. It’s good to get out to talk to other people, especially those who understand the frustration one could encounter in Salesforce.”
That’s what Happy says about keeping up the group: “Other people helped and supported me, so I try to give it back.”
He concluded: “That’s why I do my part. If at the end of the day, your life is changed for the better, then I did something right.”
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