Aniqa Tariq is VP of Emerging Markets for Bluewolf, an IBM Company, leading the go-to-market strategy and driving opportunities for customers and partners on the Salesforce platform. A Trailblazer since 2005, Aniqa’s passion for business transformation and innovation spurred her to move into consulting with Bluewolf in 2010. Since then, she has held several leadership roles across the globe, most recently in Australia and the US. Beyond her professional accolades, Aniqa is a Trailblazing Partner for her commitment to gender equality in the workplace. Here's our interview with this Trailblazer, who says don't take no for an answer, no matter where you are in the world.
Tell us a bit about your role.
Aniqa Tariq: I partner with local leadership to help activate and build Salesforce practices in alignment with more than 40 IBM iX studios around the world.
Can you share a bit about your journey to where you are today?
Aniqa: My careers spans 20 years of global business experience, but my first role involving Salesforce was in 2005. I worked at a cutting-edge technology company in the food manufacturing space. They hired me because they wanted change. I focused on marketing, and at the time, I wasn’t able to uncover insights around what customers were purchasing, and we couldn’t target customers. The data was a mess. I said, ‘I’m going to change this.’ I implemented Salesforce, and began rolling it out globally in the US, Switzerland, and Germany. It was really exciting seeing first-hand the impact that a platform could make on a business, its customers, and employees. From there, I realized I wanted to help more customers in their journey as the technology was relatively new at the time. In 2010, I started at Bluewolf in New York City, handling complex Salesforce implementations for many trailblazing clients. Soon after, I went to Australia to build an ecosystem, focusing on diversity, gender equality, and different perspectives throughout the organization.
How do you manage being “global”?
Aniqa: With mobile technology and video conference, it makes it pretty easy–and yes, there are some early calls and late calls in between. For me, much of managing being global is rooted in the excitement of opening up the channel partner ecosystem in many markets that are new to this technology. Trailblazers want to disrupt the space, and I want to help them find the solutions to do that. And it’s fun, not only because you are working with different marketplaces, but you are also working with the Trailblazers themselves.
What’s the most interesting new market?
Aniqa: Every market has its own set of unique challenges. Whether it’s South Africa, Singapore, Argentina, or Japan, the ecosystem has its own culture. And that is important to understand and support that market in its unique way. Our relationship with Salesforce enables us to address each market’s challenges.
Where do you think the tech world is going when it comes to diversity and inclusion of gender equality?
Aniqa: I would count the number of females in management versus executive assistants, secretaries, support staff, etc. It was a big difference in the 90s. Do I see a difference in the female workforce between 1998 and 2018? Yes, today, when I go to Dreamforce, there’s a greater number of women and that shows progress. However, there’s more that remains to be seen in the future.
How do you continue learning and growing?
Aniqa: When I take a new job, I think: “Could I help other people?” The mark of a great leader is when you’ve enabled others to grow and succeed. When customers succeed, your organization succeeds. There’s not a day that I’m not open to change. I matured my career to be more open-minded, not to have the norms dictate solutions or ideas. Diversity has all shapes and forms. When determining the right solution, I bring in different perspectives to determine the best and most innovative approach. Challenges motivate me.
What does being a Trailblazer mean to you?
Aniqa: A Trailblazer goes where no one has gone before. They are creative and excited by challenges. They are brave and even if they’re in uncharted territory, they have a vision and a goal to get there. When I landed in Australia, I had a vision. I wrote that vision down and would continue through courage, through support, and through inspiration. That’s what being a Trailblazer means to me.
As a female and a minority, I know who I am, I accept who I am, and I love who I am. I always push forward, and maybe that’s why I’m a Trailblazer. I say focus on the work, and have the results back you up.
How do you blaze trails outside of your day to day?
Aniqa: In Australia, I was always hiking, which I had never done before. Coming back to the states, I enjoy traveling with friends and family, and exploring new places. No matter what you do, blaze trails by being an authentic leader. To do that you must know yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself and be bold and brave. Get out there and make it happen — the world is counting on you.
By advocating for technology, and being one of the few females in the industry at the time, Aniqa was able to grow her career and work globally. Read more about Aniqa in this blog post, and check out Bluewolf on AppExchange.
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