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The Latest Salesforce Tattoo (And What It Really Means)

Shannon Zdanowicz is more than a Salesforce customer as the Business Analyst and Salesforce Admin of ASM International. She's the Cleveland User Group Leader, a certified Salesforce admin, a Trailhead Ranger, and an AppExchange All Star. Shannon loves getting involved in all things Salesforce. Recently, her recipe for the dessert, "The Stack" was featured in the AppExchange cookbook, Cooking with Appy.


The fun doesn't stop with graham cracker crumbs and butterscotch chips. Recently, Shannon got the latest Salesforce tattoo (see some other awesome women's Salesforce tattoos here), featuring Appy holding a big heart. When I saw this, I just had to ask about it. Did it hurt? Probably. Does it take a while to heal? Most likely. The bigger, more important questions focus on what the tattoo means to Shannon, and how it represents way more than Appy could ever imagine.


So I reached out to Shannon for a quick interview. We already knew each other (did I mention "The Stack"?), yet I was still pleasantly surprised when she responded within minutes. That's Shannon. Here's a look at this app-enthusiast's connection to Salesforce and AppExchange, and how a Salesforce tattoo means more than we could imagine about dream jobs and community.  


What inspired you to get an Appy tattoo?

 

I have over 60 hours logged sitting under a tattoo gun. My pieces are all different and they represent different times in my life. I had not had any tattoos done in the last four years. The last piece I had was a giant sunflower piece when my mother passed away. She loved sunflowers and had this amazingly hideous sunflower hat that she was well known for. After that piece was completed I had not ever planned to get another tattoo. Recently, I began to really think about how much my life has changed. Work is such a large part of your life and being in this amazing Ohana benefits me in so many ways, but at the and of the day, the largest impact was all centered around AppExchange, so Appy was the only choice for me. For me, she represents courage, and that I took a chance to reinvent myself.    


What does the design of the tattoo mean to you?

 

This is the only tattoo I have that is not in full color. I decided just to have the outline done because we can put our own design on things in Salesforce world.  The tools are all there but what I make of it is up to me. I decide what type of administrator I am going to be. I told my artist to draw her like she was a page in a coloring book. A child gets a coloring book, and the outline of the art is there, but they make it beautiful when they fill it in. The heart is red because we are all entitled to be happy, and that was something I had denied myself for a while. I don’t ever want to take that for granted again. 


So it's safe to say that Appy is your favorite Salesforce character. Tell us more.

 

Appy is absolutely my favorite Salesforce mascot. My obsession with Appy started out as a coincidence. Appy was born the same week that I gave my notice to leave a company I had been with almost 20 years. At the time, I went to work at Concept Services, a Salesforce partner. This was a new challenge for me, but the partner network in the Salesforce community is strong, and I developed a lot of relationships that have been extremely valuable to me. I was not even looking for a job when the opportunity came up at ASM International. I did not think it would be a good idea to change jobs again after such a short period but it was a connection at another Salesforce partner who encouraged me that it would not be a negative spot on my resume. At ASM we use another Salesforce partner, Fonteva for our core functionality.  I think you are seeing the theme here, at every turn in my career over the past 18 months the AppExchange network has been a major influence. I had worked in the Salesforce ecosystem since 2010, and had very little exposure to the AppExchange prior to March 2017. Now it is a daily part of my life. 


Congrats on the new job. How does it make you feel?

 

To be honest I think my Dad has my dream job, he is retired and a man of leisure. With that said, I really enjoy the challenges and the opportunities of working at ASM International. I have had the opportunity to solve some unique business problems and I am very challenge driven. I tend to get bored if I don’t have something exciting to work on, and at ASM there is no shortage of exciting work to do. We are starting in our final phase of a complete systems renewal, moving everything to the cloud, so every business process is re-evaluated and a new solution is being designed. 


I love working for a non-profit that has a mission to help people grow their career. I believe that since volunteerism is so important to ASM, the leadership supports my volunteerism in the Salesforce community. I am able to attend Salesforce events and have the time I need as a Trailblazer Community Group Co-leader, without worrying about a conflict with my role at work.  


What advice do you have for other Trailblazers looking for that dream job?

 

Don’t rush and take any job just to get out of your current situation. Take your time to think about what you enjoy doing and what type of employer you want to work for. I looked for over a year, but I am glad I waited and did not settle. Each place of employment has their positives and negatives, and in order to be happy, the positive has to be the prominent factor. When I interviewed at Concept, I talked with them about mentorship. My boss at the time, Jeff Harsh, made a huge impact on me. I had been managing the team for just over a month, and I remember sitting in his office during our weekly meeting talking through my ideas. He sat back and said, 'Shannon, there is a new sheriff in town and if you want to make these changes then I support you.' That was a huge moment for me. I appreciate Jeff and we still have a good relationship today. I believe working at Concept was a time of healing. They are an amazing group of people. I also think that working for Jeff made me realize how important it was for me to have respect for my manager.

 

You might not get it right the first time, and that is ok. I think my greatest skill is learning a business and then having the ability to make an impact. ASM comes with some big challenges, but we have a good team and we come together to get things done. When we went live with Salesforce in February 2018, we knew it would be a long weekend. Our CIO, Ron Aderhold was right there with us the whole time. I think that speaks volumes about leadership.  Our CEO, Bill Mahoney provides first-hand involvement in the growth of our employees. It makes me excited that the leadership is supportive and providing the resources they need. I believe I am where I am supposed to be.



Shannon's favorite apps, featured in her app stack, include Fonteva Membership, Events and Framework, as well as OwnBackup, Conga Composer and Trail Tracker. Shannon says, "These apps help me deliver the right functionality to our members - with confidence." Go check 'em out on AppExchange.


Amanda Nelson is Director of Community Marketing for AppExchange, Salesforce.