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Ben Duong, Marketing Manager – Meet The Galacticos

Continuing in our series in which you get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to me, Ben Duong, Marketing Manager at Cloud Galacticos. Read on to find out more about me and my experiences.

 

Ben Duong, Marketing Manager

Can you give us a bit of background about yourself and your history with Salesforce?

My background is pure marketing. I did a Business and Marketing degree, then a Chartered Institute of Marketing Postgrad. I then worked in account management at various marketing agencies in London before moving to Sheffield to go freelance.

I met Phil at university, and when he approached me about helping him with some marketing back in 2013, I thought ‘why not’? The rest, as they say, is history.

Cloud Galacticos at Salesforce London World Tour with Paul Sturgess

Cloud Galacticos at Salesforce London World Tour with Paul Sturgess

You’ve worked on a lot of marketing projects at Cloud Galacticos through the years, can you tell us about some of your favourite or memorable ones?

I’ve been working with Phil on his marketing since he started his journey as a Salesforce consultancy. It was great to see his business grow – employing more people, gaining MVP status and the respect of the Salesforce community.

Deciding to rebrand as Cloud Galacticos was a big project as it meant levelling up the business. We were now competing with more established and larger companies. I think our sponsorship at the Salesforce World Tour London is one of my highlights. It’s our biggest project of the year, and normally the most rewarding for myself and the team.

 

Looks like you’ve done a lot of travelling and have been to a few Salesforce events around the world, can you some of your highlights?

I’ve been very fortunate to have been to so many Salesforce related events around the world with my job. From Paris to New York, Amsterdam to San Francisco, it highlights that Salesforce is truly a global business, as well as community.

In terms of favourite, Dreamforce stands heads and shoulders above them all. Words can’t describe the vastness of the 4-day conference. It’s also convenient that my dad and family live in San Francisco. So best of both worlds.

Salesforce Ohana Golden Gate Bridge Walk Dreamforce 2019

Aside from working as the Marketing Manager at Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?

With Covid-19 affecting our lives at the moment, I’ve taken to doing regular lunch time walks and yoga to help stay focused and healthy. I also enjoy with cooking and trying to make new dishes from scratch at home. Plus, going to my weekly local pub quiz helps keep the old brain cells in check!

 

What tips would you have in working with clients remotely, or working remotely in general?

Before Covid-19, I was part working from home and part working from a co-working space in Sheffield called Kollider. So I’m used to being flexible with my working environment.

I’d say it helps to have a dedicated space to work from. Somewhere you feel comfortable and focused. Having regular online casual / non-work catch ups with your team helps too. Also, don’t forget to take regular breaks to get some fresh air!

 

ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. We have people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield, and London. If you are looking for a Salesforce partner with experience who can help you make the most of your org, why not give us a call?

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Emma Frost, Project Manager – Meet the Galacticos 

Continuing in our series in which you get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Emma, Project Manager at Cloud Galacticos. I caught up with Emma via email to find out more about her and her experiences.

Emma Frost, Project Manager

Hi Emma, 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 before you joined Cloud Galacticos?

I’ve been working in the Internet industry, and on Internet projects in other industries (not for profit, higher education, public sector), for over 20 years in various different roles, all of them requiring project management skills. On joining Cloud Galacticos back in 2015 I started revising for my Salesforce Admin certification and really enjoyed learning a new platform. I think that’s what has kept me in the industry for so long, I love anything new! 

Can you tell us more about your role at Cloud Galacticos?

As project manager I’m responsible for various things including liaising with the client, keeping track of tasks / bugs and ensuring that we are on time for our deadlines. One of the advantages of working for a smaller company rather than a large corporation is that you can be more flexible and less constrained by your job title. So my role within each project varies according to the client, life stage of the project and the team (internally and externally) that I’m working with.

You’ve worked on a lot of Salesforce projects through the years, can you tell us about some of the ones that you particularly enjoyed?

I always like getting to know new people and getting to a point where you can share jokes and personal information about families etc so my favourite projects are always the longer ones with lots of regular meetings throughout the week so you can build a real rapport.

Emma with one of her paintings

Aside from Salesforce and running Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?

I have a young family but when not spending time with them I also run a social enterprise in York called Bikes in Need, getting donated bikes and giving them to refugees, homeless hostels etc. And when I’m not doing that I paint, I work with acrylics and paint mainly landscapes.

What tips would you have in working with clients remotely, or working remotely in general?

I think it’s all about communication. As long as you have frequent communication (it doesn’t have to be lengthy) then you can make sure nothing escalates. It also helps to build that rapport I was talking about, recreating the little chats you have in the workplace, but online. 

 

Thanks Emma for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space!

 

ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. We have people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield, and London. If you are looking for a Salesforce partner with experience who can help you make the most of your org, why not give us a call?

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Neel Meghani, CTO – Meet The Galacticos

Continuing our series in which we get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Neel Meghani, our Chief Technical Officer. I caught up with Neel via email to find out more about him and his experiences.

Neel Meghani, CTO

Hi Neel, 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?

I was first introduced to Salesforce around 2004. I was working on a large migration project at a national newspaper on the very new force.com platform. I then transitioned from general IT to concentrating on Salesforce, even then I saw the potential for the technology could have. I then moved into the world of finance in the City where I bumped into Phil Walton. Since working with Phil, I have experienced working with many of the various clouds in different industry sectors, from potato farms to health care!

Wow, that is a long time working with Salesforce! You were also the first official Galactico that joined Phil. How long ago was that and how did you start working together?

I first met Phil in 2010 at an asset manager where we worked together on a couple of projects. We both put our heads together and managed to overcome major challenges with a very large data migration including attachments. Since then I have been known as the man to go to where data is concerned! 

Neel and Phil at India Dreamin 2018

Aside from Salesforce and working at Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?

I’m known by my friends, family and colleagues as the go to guy for all things fitness and nutrition. I have been a keen bodybuilder since the age of about 16. It my way of letting off steam and pushing myself. Although in recent times I have taken tips from our CEO Phil and started running. I’ve not found it easy! 

Also, I am also always hungry for technology and gadgets. I always jump feet first when something new and shiny comes out! 

Can you tell us more about your role as CTO and what it involves?

Officially I am responsible for delivery of all projects. But I’m glad to say that every day is different. With a small leadership team we cover all roles from sales all the way through to developing and delivering projects. 

So it sounds like your day is spent with a lot of time interacting with clients. What would be your top tip for working with people when remote?

Working remotely means I spend a lot of time on the phone. I find I need to have a dedicated space for work without distractions. I also recommend ensuring you have a good connection to the internet and a headset is a MUST! Also ensure you keep regular hours and take regular breaks. I have found over the years it is almost too easy when working from home to stay at your desk thinking “I’ll just get these few bits done” and then before you know it it’s 8-9pm! 

You recently passed your non-profit consultant certification. I know you have given us a write up of some tips, but do you have any study tips for exams in general?

I used a mixture of Trailhead and focus on force training guides. I especially like to do a number of practise exams along the way to see where I am lacking knowledge. Also, never assume you know the basics/fundamentals. Brush up on that knowledge also just to be sure! 

Neel with the team at Salesforce World Tour London 2019

Finally, what about tips for anyone starting out with Salesforce?

I have been asked this question many times! As Salesforce has become more popular, friends and family who have largely ignored what I do have come to me down the line as they are now using Salesforce in their place of work.

Firstly developer orgs are a brilliant! When I first realised I could have more or less the full product for FREE to learn on I was blown away. That along with Trailhead, the learning path is free and fantastic. Remember to also take advantage of the community and the user groups. There is a whole world of friendly people out there who are more than willing to help you along the way!

 

Thanks Neel for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space.

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Rhiannon McCorkindale, Lead Developer – Meet the Galacticos

Continuing our series in which we get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Rhiannon McCorkindale, one of our Lead Developers. I caught up with Rhiannon via email to find out more about her and her experiences.

Rhiannon McCorkindale, Lead Developer

Hi Rhiannon, 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?

I started working with Salesforce over 12 years ago when the nonprofit I worked for implemented it to replace an onsite server and custom-built CRM. I was involved in the requirements gathering process and quickly trained up to become the Systems Administrator. Since then I have learnt Apex code and other programming languages, and recently sat one of the Architect exams.

Wow, that is a long time working with Salesforce! So how did you find Phil and the Cloud Galacticos?

I met Phil through my colleague (and fellow Galacticos) Neel when I was working as a Salesforce Developer at an Investment Management company in London. I wanted to do something different so moved into consultancy and started working for Phil.

Aside from Salesforce and working at Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?

I moved house recently so most of my spare time has been spent decorating and learning how to garden. I also play an instrument called a tzouras (a small bouzouki). It is used to play rebetiko music, which is also known as the ‘greek blues’.

Rhi, Emma, and Val at World Tour London

Can you tell us a bit more about your role as a Lead Developer and what that involves?

At Cloud Galacticos we can sometimes wear a few different hats and it is different for each project too. I can be involved in requirements gathering, architecture and design, implementing declarative development, documenting systems and then of course coding.

What tips would you have in working with clients remotely? Or working remotely in general?

I think it is important to have a routine and a separate space for working if you can. I always make time for a break to go for a walk in the day. Communication when working remotely is key. Some meetings definitely require a face-to-face approach, although at the moment this all has to happen over zoom or other conferencing tools. We generally keep in touch using messaging systems such as slack. 

With all your experience of working with Salesforce do you have a favourite and least favourite feature?

As most of my earlier experience was really coding on the core CRM modules, I think using a Trigger Handler Framework brings a lot of benefits especially for clients who don’t have them implemented and therefore don’t have much control over the order of execution. I wouldn’t say least favourite, but there are always challenges when clients have previously used a combination of process builders, flows and code.

Paul, Neel, Rhi, and Phil at Inspire East

Finally, what about tips for anyone starting out with Salesforce?

Trailhead is really useful. It didn’t exist as a resource when I first started using Salesforce, the hands-on modules and trying things out in playgrounds means you can gain some experience in things you haven’t used before.

 

Thanks Rhiannon for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space.

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Val Southern, Senior Consultant – Meet The Galacticos

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.

Val at Salesforce World Tour London 2019

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.

Rhi, Emma, and Val at World Tour London

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!