March 13 by Eric Dreshfield

Apttus is thrilled to feature its latest installment of the Salesforce MVP of the Month program, in which we spotlight the exceptional leaders of the Salesforce Ecosystem that have lent us their expertise, knowledge, and ongoing contributions, ensuring both our individual improvements and the betterment of the platform as a whole. It’s thanks to these individuals that our daily questions have been answered on the Trailblazer Community, difficult admin tasks have been made easier, and even empowered some of us to get certified.


For March, 2018, the Apttus Salesforce MVP of the Month is Joanna Iturbe. Joanna’s journey started out over 10 years ago as a user, and like many she quickly fell into the “accidental admin” role. Without any further delay, lets meet Joanna!


1.  How and when did you get started with the Salesforce ecosystem? What was your first role and initial reaction to the platform? I started using Salesforce as an end-user over 10 years ago, and I quickly became an accidental admin. I worked in recruitment and admissions at a private university, and we did a small implementation. I was a decade or two younger than everyone in the office, and the implementation focused on making my work more efficient so I was quickly intrigued and dove in head first! The rest is history!



2.   What is your favorite thing to do in Salesforce and why?   I’m a data person, so I think my favorite thing to do in Salesforce is to help a user troubleshoot the data behind a report and make believers out of them – that our data really is accurate and clean, as long as the report is pulled correctly!


3.   Many Community members depend on MVPs to get their questions answered. Who do you turn to when you have a tough question that needs to be answered?  I’m also a part of the Higher Education Advisory Council, and that has some of the most knowledgeable people in higher ed in it, let alone those who work with Salesforce, so I definitely go to them with my tough higher ed-specific questions. Additionally, I’m on the Amplify board, and I rely on this amazing group as a sounding board since they all work with Salesforce in higher ed and nonprofit. They make me feel sane.


4.   Do you have any certifications? If so, which ones. How many Trailhead badges do you have?   Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Platform App Builder; 17 badges and lots of big plans for more, specifically: Business Admin Superbadge, Process Automation Superbadge and Innovate the Salesforce Way.


5.   The AppExchange has thousands of apps. For custom things you (or your client) need, do you build or buy, and why?  We are one of the few higher ed institutions that is 100% buy/clicks – no code. I chose this path deliberately due to the breadth and depth of the AppExchange and our lack of internal IT resources and budget. It’s worked well for us, and I’m glad we went down this path.


6.   What piece of advice would you give to someone who is just starting a career in the Salesforce Ecosystem? 

Networking and Trails are your key to success! The Salesforce community is full of interesting, knowledgeable people who are open and willing to collaborate so dive into your local user group and meet some new people. When it comes to learning the technology, I wish we would have had Trailhead when I was getting started 10 years ago – not only do you learn the technology, you have fun, and before you know it, you’re prepared to take your first certification!


7.   We all know there is life outside Salesforce. What do you enjoy doing when you are off the platform?  I’m always working to continue to build my cloud closet! Besides that, I am married and have two daughters – we are Weekend Warriors (folks who live in the Denver/Boulder area but spend as much time as we can in the mountains on the weekends). We like to ski, hike, camp and explore. I also credit my sanity to a close-knit group of friends. We do a Walking Wine Night (WWN) – no, we don’t walk while we drink wine. We all live within walking distance of each other, so we rotate who hosts monthly, walk to their house after our kiddos go down and catch up while we snack and drink wine. It’s simple but magical!


Be sure to connect with Joanna on LinkedIn and see how you fare in her game of Two Truths and a Lie – Which one is the lie?

  1. She has visited 19 countries.
  2. She is the youngest of 12 children.
  3. She has never broken a bone.

Join us at Apttus Accelerate, May 14-16, 2018, San Francisco to learn how to become a middle office leader.


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