I started in retail when I was in college; I was working at the mall in order to pay for my car. I was in store management, and I wanted to get back to Pennsylvania, where I’m from. There was a pricing and promotions position available for GSI Sports, which became GSI Commerce, which launched our first site in ’99 at GSI Commerce, and it was great to be part of that experience. From there, everything just started. You could see the momentum build up, which was really exciting. We launched with Sports Authority. It was one of the first sites — that was definitely when the wave started.
So I guess the forcing function was wanting to move home, and leveraging my sporting goods background from working in a mall — I slipped into eCommerce, but I’m very grateful to be here now!
Overall, the nature of my role is very strategic. Much of my day is spent mentoring, driving thought leadership both inside the team and across the organization, and collaborating with peers for fresh perspectives and ideas.
My work day now is very varied. I have a team focused on working with the TMP (Technology, Marketing, and Product) organization at Salesforce. We’re bringing the voice of the customer and the voice of our customer success teams back to the product teams to help them understand, “Okay, what’s working? What’s not working? What do we need to build?”
We also look at trends and what’s happening in the industry. Headless (API-driven) Commerce is a big thing for us now. We think: how can we take that, package it up, and really be able to deliver a point of view to our product team, so they can build up the products? We’re doing a lot of integration work now, too. It’s an exciting time at Salesforce.
I love the people I work with. I’ve been with Salesforce for almost ten years now, and every day is a new challenge. But I truly love the people that I interact with on a daily basis — the people on my team as well as the people outside my team. They’re very smart, forward-thinking people. Everyone is very caring: they look out for each other, but they’re also looking out for all of our customers as well. It’s a great energy that we get to experience every day.
There are a lot of different parts of being in technology and in eCommerce, and it’s not just about being a developer. There is a marketing aspect to it. There is a merchandising aspect to it.
I recently talked to a group of high schoolers about this topic in fact — technology is not just about coding. There’s so many ways to bring your skills to this type of environment. Don’t close the door on it prematurely. There are many ways to get engaged and involved and to use your skills.
Also, as I tell people who are interested in this field — you need to intern so that you can go inside these companies and get a good understanding of what they do, why they do it and how they do it. And every company is different. We tend to use these blanket terms like “marketing.” Well, marketing can mean so many different things. You need to go and experience it before you get into a position where you blink, and suddenly it’s five years later, and you’re thinking, “How did I get here?”
So for me, it’s about getting some practical experience. Go in there with the mentality of, “I want to learn as much as possible about the different roles that are out there,” instead of just, “I have a job, and I want to do just my job, and not think about anything else.” I find myself very fortunate that I pivoted across my career to where I am now. If you see an open door, look into it, and see what’s going on.
We’re doing a lot right now with building B2C integrated experiences, and seeing how those are going to evolve and change. We’re not just looking at what we have at Salesforce, but on a larger level, what are the new technologies related to how people are going to engage.
The number one trend is definitely going to be AI, and it’s not only going to help with personalized experiences, but it’s going to revolutionize the way that retailers approach their work. 20 years ago, when we started, we manually placed every single product on the site — manually placed. With AI, we’re continuing to automate the workflow. It’s going to change the way that people approach their work.
I have a colleague at Salesforce, Rebecca Taubman, who runs the Success Management team in AMER for Commerce Cloud. I admire her because of her focus on the customer. She focuses not just on our customer themselves, but on the customer’s customer, and she always has that perspective in mind. She’s tries to bring together what it means for them to be successful, but then also blends it with industry trends.