Donald is one of the very first individuals to graduate from the Vetforce program and has been blazing trails in the ecosystem ever since. He joined the Air Force directly from high school and later became a multi-certified Salesforce champion by way of Trailhead. If you think that’s inspiring, wait until you read about how Donald helped grow his consulting practice while still making time to skydive.
Read on to learn more about Donald in this trailblazing partner interview.
Tell us how you went from the Air Force to Salesforce.
Donald: I was actually part of the Air Force right out of high school. I transferred to the Army in ‘07 and was an infantry team leader overseas running convoy security patrols. Now I’m currently with the Army National Guard as a communications team leader. A big part of my journey was starting off in the Vetforce program, and then moving forward to become a certified Salesforce administrator — thanks to the program and a lot of the training material such as Trailhead. Basically, I learned how to be an administrator, and then leaned into those skills to become a developer. From there, I ended up working my way into consulting.
How did you get to be where you are today with Cloud Pathfinder Consulting?
Donald: I found out that a fellow veteran was starting his own Salesforce consulting practice – called Cloud Pathfinder Consulting – and we were able to join forces and join passions. Both of us are veterans, both of us being from the Army mainly, and being able to not just do outstanding work for our clients, but really at the same time give back to where we came from— the veteran community. So, in the last six months alone, we have gone from a team of two and a half to eight personnel. Some of us, actually like myself, are still in the National Guard and Reserves, and two other people on the team are as well.
What are you most excited about for the future?
Donald: I am very excited for the future as far as being a Salesforce certified partner and working to build our team full of veterans. One of the things that I really enjoy and am looking forward to is helping other partners understand what outstanding resources the Salesforce Certified military veterans of the Vetforce and Merivis programs are. I know a lot of partners that are doing some really good work out there with veterans. Veterans can impact their business, not only as multi-Salesforce certified resources but also by having their unique perspectives and making a huge impact on clients, as well.
What advice do you have for folks who are looking to build their own startup in an ecosystem?
Donald: Whether it’s a user group, the developer group, the nonprofit group or even the Women In Tech group as an ally, make sure to ingrain yourself in those groups, and interact with our fellow Salesforce Ohana. Make yourself known, learn from each other, provide insight, receive feedback, and start moving forward with all those different aspects.
What are some of your passion projects?
Donald: Skydiving and racing cars are the two escapes that I have. I’m not like NASCAR-level or anything – yet – but I do enjoy going fast and pushing the limits of different boundaries.
Holy moly. How did you get into that? Did you just decide one day, “I’m going to skydive?”
Donald: So, skydiving has been something that I always wanted to get into. I never actually did it in the military, but I started doing it more on the civilian side. Skydiving is a blast. It’s a lot like Salesforce and Trailhead, right? Once you go and get your first Trailhead badge or your first Salesforce certification, you just want to continue to get more and more of them. Skydiving is a lot like that. Once you take that first jump, you end up wanting to do it over and over again.
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