Tell us about your current role at Salesforce and about your journey getting there!
At Salesforce I lead teams in building products while ensuring that those products are inclusive of the diverse range of needs we may have due to disability, geographic location, cultural differences, age, race, etc. It’s an incredible job because my team works together to do good AND we get to have fun being creative at the same time.
My journey to Salesforce was anything but a straight line. It was more like a ball of squiggly lines that eventually unraveled and straightened out to lead me to where I am today. I was a civil rights lawyer, international human rights policy analyst, marketing creative, and fabricator of repurposed home furnishings all before I made it to where I am. Each job fine-tuned a skill I use today.
I credit SSSAS for helping me learn that I had the ability to reinvent myself and achieve anything I set my mind to. Throughout my time at SSSAS due to my hearing loss, I failed some. But there were some incredible people there who still believed in me and saw what I was capable of. They took the time to mentor me and help me bounce back. I’m forever grateful for that. I learned through that process that I could do anything if I set my mind to it and this made me not afraid of potentially failing when I decided to follow my passions and enter new, unknown domains.
What are the key areas of focus for making technology more inclusive and accessible?
One of the most important things we can do is ask those with disabilities to be involved in making products. It’s critical to understand what the mismatches are between their needs and the product's capabilities, and most importantly tap into them for their expertise in problem-solving for their disability. They’re problem-solving for this 24/7 and will have the key insights to unlock some of our toughest problems.
How does public speaking tie into your work as the VP/Principal Architect at Salesforce?
As an executive, you’re expected to be a public face for the company and to spread knowledge around your work. I love how public speaking allows me to share my passion and make this a community effort.
What can we all do to make products more accessible?
Ensure your teams are inclusive themselves. There are tons of studies out there proving that diverse teams result in better product design.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding—getting the chance to work with and learn from some incredible people from all sorts of different walks of life. It opens my mind and makes me more creative and excited about the possibilities for change that our products can bring.
What advice would you give to a Saint giving a major speech for the first time?
Nerves are a good thing. They keep you on your toes. Embrace them. Lean into them. But most of all, learn to love your audience. I know that must sound weird but once I learned that trick I went from being nervous to going on stage and having fun.
Do you have any favorite SSSAS memories?
There are so many! I’m most grateful for being introduced to some really special people who had a big impact on my life.