Next in our series of Meet The Galacticos, say ‘hello’ to Val Southern, one of our Senior Consultants. I caught up with Val via email to find out more about her and her experiences.
Val Southern, Senior Consultant
Hi Val, thanks for finding a few minutes to help people learn a bit more about you. Can you give us a bit of background about yourself and your history with Salesforce?
Wow – big question! I’ll jump into how I came to work with Salesforce, I think. I’ve always been passionate about process improvement. My background in IT was data analysis and reporting. I worked on reporting from IBM systems in a variety of business sectors.
Back in 2007, I was working for a manufacturing company on data analysis and process improvement. I was told my next project would be to implement a new CRM system to compliment the current SQL-based ERP system. I’d never heard of Salesforce at the time, but quickly came to love it after facing the steep learning curve and immersing myself in declarative development. I never looked back and I thank my boss from that company for allowing me the opportunity.
That is a long time working with Salesforce. So, how did you find Phil and Cloud Galacticos?
I’d been working in Manchester for some years with a Salesforce customer. I felt the need to get back to consulting. After following Phil for some time as a member of the Northern User Group, we got talking over a couple of beers after a group session. I knew there and then that I wanted to be a Galactico! Being a Galactico allows me to do the work I’m passionate about whilst being able to work flexibly at home.
Aside from Salesforce and working at Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?
My three children keep me pretty busy! I enjoy walking and hiking in the Lancashire countryside, foraging for local fruits and occasionally making wine from it. I love cooking and gardening too.
We recently featured a success story with Cloud Nine Hair that I know you were key in helping be successful. Can you tell us a bit more about your role as a Senior Consultant and what that involves?
My role involves me taking all my Salesforce experience and learning over the years and applying it to helping customers start out with Salesforce or solve problems. I often refer to myself as a Salesforce all-rounder, which means I am able to interpret and visualise customer requirements into solutions and bring them to life through a combination of declarative and programmatic development to best suit their needs. My experience over many projects in many different customers in a multitude of industries. This means I can occupy most ‘hats’ required such as Project Manager, Business Analyst, Developer and Tester. Sometimes I wear all the ‘hats’ and sometimes I manage others to fulfil the needs of a project. In summary, the Senior Consultant role requires versatility!
For Cloud Nine – we used a combination of my filling all roles and my managing others. This helped them a lot because they have one Galactico who knows their implementation inside-out, as well as quickly responding to new or changing requirements.
What tips do you have on working with clients remotely, or working remotely in general?
It might sounds odd but being a human being is important! Effective and regular communication is key in this environment. Being able to meet regularly with video-calling is a huge help. It also keeps travel costs to a minimum for the customer, whilst allowing valuable time to be spent on working instead of commuting.
For my own sanity, having a dedicated working space is important and helps me switch from work to home life, just like going to and from an office. Additionally, I have a standing desk which allows me to switch between standing or sitting so I don’t become too sedentary. A regular routine of exercising works well too. A good walk at lunchtime helps to refocus halfway through my day.
Thanks Val for your time and insight into your life. We have a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space!