A Spotlight on the Ukrainian Salesforce Community

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At the dawn of 2022, our team at Redtag had grand plans for the future (which we have not given up!). Like so many people, 2020 and 2021 had not allowed for much travel or opportunities to meet people from different places.

With the pandemic close to being ‘over’, we have looked forward to this year with hopes of visiting Salesforce community events, participating in more in-person training, and enjoying our company’s growth. As a Ukrainian company, however, what we learned is that nothing changes faster than plans…

My Journey With Salesforce

To begin, let me introduce myself. I started my journey in the Salesforce ecosystem as a developer back in 2011. Salesforce was not yet as popular as it is now, but it was relatively new and exciting technology, and I dared to try it – I enjoyed diving in and learning how to use it.

Since both of my parents are entrepreneurs, I always knew I would follow their path and start a business one day. So, I decided to quit my first job and start my own company. Don’t get me wrong, my experience with my first employer, Symphony Solutions, was the best imaginable for someone just starting their career. Theo is an outstanding leader and I learned a lot from him, and I continue to apply this knowledge in my own business.

Prior to that role, during my time as an exchange student, I realized that the school system we have in Ukraine is outstanding. However, although most Ukrainians have a degree, they don’t necessarily have the opportunity to put it into practice. I became very passionate about creating businesses that allow Ukrainian talent to access work with fantastic companies. My motivation was also proving that Ukrainians can successfully do business.

Our developers catch up with other Trailblazers (and Astro!)

We started off with Salesforce as it was already a passion of mine. The company we had our primary engagement with was NextView. We have been working together ever since we started receiving requests for different technologies.

In 2017, NextView made a decision to focus solely on Salesforce technology. This decision influenced our work as well, but we chose to keep everyone from the team and use this moment as an opportunity to convert our SAP experts to Salesforce. I brought back materials I used for studying, along with some Trailheads, and created a spreadsheet containing all the necessary links and information. I believe, at that time, there were no Trailmixes – or at least I didn’t know they were an option back then!

A huge achievement was 90% of my team passing the Salesforce Admin certification on the first attempt. This meant that we could quickly assign them to specific projects as they had developer backgrounds.

Celebrating our team’s achievements

Answering the Increased Demand for Expertise

As we dug deeper, we saw an increasing demand for Salesforce experts, and the only way to meet this demand was to train experts ourselves. This is how we came to launch our own Redtag Salesforce Academy, which allowed us to grow sustainably. Over the years, we have mastered the art of teaching Salesforce Developers, Administrators, QAs, and Consultants.

We took it further to provide support during the entire Trailblazer journey. A package we built on Salesforce analyzes exactly what a person needs to cover before reaching the next level. We continue to use these analytics to train people and share knowledge on the subjects required to provide top quality.

As all of our Salesforce training is free, the Academy provides an excellent opportunity, both for fresh graduates looking to start their careers, and those making a change for the better by switching careers from other fields. We also provide free lunches in our office cafeteria for our students!

Rising to Meet Challenges

At the beginning of 2022, our plan was to train one group of ten people per quarter. Our first 2022 course was scheduled to start on March 1. Then Russia invaded Ukraine. Our world turned upside down in a beat.

Looking back, I cannot be more proud of the people we have at Redtag; they never stopped working, as they felt responsible for their projects and customers, and we had our projects back on track within less than a week.

This is why I would like to repeatedly extend my thanks to all ‘Redtaggers’ for their hard work. I also want to express my gratitude to all our partners and customers for their trust and support.

Some of our customers shared the following observation: “Your team is working as usual. Maybe even harder than before. If I didn’t know from the news that there is a war, I would not even notice it.” That is because we take responsibility for any work we do.

We started making donations to help for Ukrainians in need. Many foreigners working with us wanted to offer their support to Ukraine, but they often needed to figure out the best way to do this, so they relied on us. We are happy that we could direct and help those who needed it the most.

Our team continuing to work in the shelter

Later, it was time to decide what to do with the group selected for the next Salesforce Starter Camp. We had ten great students already lined up, but we also started receiving many more applications and requests. It showed us that people needed this knowledge and also needed jobs.

During a team meeting, our management team suggested the following idea: “Let’s teach as many people as we can. We will help them find projects.”

We decided to do exactly that; we kept everyone on our payroll for as long as possible. It was our way of supporting the country. We did not stop donating money, and we also directed our resources – teaching people ‘how to fish’ to feed themselves for a lifetime.

Over ten months of full-scale war, we trained 59 and hired over 40 new employees. Twenty of them are on our payroll without ongoing projects, but I have no doubts that we will assign them soon as these people have demonstrated real passion for learning and working.

I always smile at how surprised customers are when they work with our graduates – they wonder how we managed to train them so well, particularly in challenging circumstances. When someone joins us, they start learning, and they never stop. At Redtag, we continuously share our knowledge and experience, which is why I enjoy working with Salesforce so much, because it provides all of the tools and resources needed to learn and develop.

Final Thoughts

I imagine that it might seem risky to start working with Ukrainian companies at this time, but I can tell you that many companies (Redtag included) are ready to build and maintain trust. In fact, businesses will benefit from working with Ukrainian companies, as they will gain much more for less – it is not an easy time anywhere, so it’s wise to help make your business as efficient as possible.

I would like to thank all of the people and companies making donations and supporting Ukraine. You have already done so much, and I hope you will continue to do so until Ukraine prevails!

To support the brave people of Ukraine, please consider donating to the following foundations: Comeback Alive, Unbroken, and United24.

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