Stephanie Gerst does it all and with everything she does, she puts in 110 percent. She is driven to always provide the best solution no matter the circumstance and serves as a guiding light in her mentorship to fellow employees. Read on to learn more about Stephanie in this trailblazing partner interview.
Can you walk me through your journey and how you got to where you are today?
Stephanie: About 14 years ago, I finished my creative writing degree at Ohio State. Shortly after, I enrolled in the New York Film Academy’s two-month screenwriting program and moved out to NYC. I loved NYC and decided to do whatever I needed to in order to stay. After a stint as a data entry temp at Major League Baseball’s licensing department, I landed a job at Tremor Media (now Telaria). I spent my first day with the COO and V2's CEO learning the basics of Salesforce. That was back in January 2007 and I've been working in the Salesforce ecosystem ever since.
Later in my career, I started at V2 as the very first employee in our New York City office. Because of my past experience in media, Salesforce, and agile project management, I was able to contribute immediately. I also started getting into mentoring in order to help us scale and accelerate the learning of my teammates. Fast forward to the present, I’ve been with the company for five years and have transitioned into a Senior Solution Engineer role. I am helping our business development team re-establish V2's market presence beyond our enterprise media vertical, while continuing to support our delivery team with complex solution designs.
I love that you started off with a creative writing degree and once you started with Salesforce, you just went for it and never looked back.
Stephanie: I found that Salesforce—it’s still world building—which is something that I love about screenwriting and creative writing. You’re creating an entire ecosystem and you have to keep in mind the people who are going to occupy that world. You have to understand what they need and how they’re going to react to things. It’s not just A plus B equals C.
In the 12 years that you’ve been on this journey what are some challenges that you’ve encountered?
Stephanie: I think in the consulting role, we come up against clients that don’t recognize the fact that it’s not just hitting buttons or creating fields. We have to really understand what it is that they need, what their motivation is, and then define what the best solution is. You’re always looking at things from a people, process, platform, and data perspective in order to understand how to solve the problems that are out there. Good consultants don’t just give their clients exactly what they ask for because, inevitably, it’s not always what they need.
What are some of your passions outside of work?
Stephanie: I’ve played piano for 30 odd years. I play tennis and compete in the USTA Metro leagues. I also do a lot of painting with acrylics. One of the main things that I do is travel. I’ve been to all 50 states, to 50 countries, and five continents. I’m working on getting all seven before I’m 50—that’s basically the goal. Any opportunity when I get a little time and get a little money, I go somewhere new.
I went to Iceland in July and during the course of eight days I took 14,000 pictures. My Google photos were backlogged for three days after I got back to 4G. It was a bit ridiculous but it was an absolutely incredible trip.
What advice do you have for other folks who are either starting in the Salesforce ecosystem or looking to make a difference in their respective industry?
Stephanie: I would say don’t be intimidated by it. You can do pretty much anything with Salesforce. If you can dream it, you can build it. That means that you can have an impact anywhere you have an idea or a thought. If I could make a career out of Salesforce with a creative writing degree, pretty much anyone can do this.
What does being a Trailblazer mean to you?
Stephanie: I think being a Trailblazer is allowing your enthusiasm to shine and drive you forward while being a beacon for others. So, anytime you’re excited to dive into something new and you want other people to follow you, you make it as easy as possible for them. It’s all about finding those little treasures ahead of you while making sure you share them with those who are coming behind you.
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