Welcome back to another S-Docs Salesforce MVP Spotlight, where we highlight some of the most inspiring and influential individuals in the Salesforce community. As a native Salesforce app, we’ve had the advantage of working with hundreds of incredible admins, developers, architects, and other extraordinary people who make the community great. We’ll provide you with an exclusive look into their Salesforce journeys, featuring best practices, career advice, and favorite ways they give back to the community.

Last time, we spoke with Eric Dreshfield about his journey founding Midwest Dreamin’ and becoming an expert in the Salesforce community. Featured this week is Salesforce MVP Charly Prinsloo.

Salesforce MVP Spotlight: Charly Prinsloo

Charly Prinsloo is a 2x Salesforce MVP with a passion for all things Salesforce. She’s an expert in using the platform to architect and implement intuitive solutions for businesses in every industry, but her expertise doesn’t stop there. Charly also specializes in leveraging Salesforce  to help others and make a positive impact in the community.

As a global co-leader for Ladies Be Architects, Charly supports women around the world on their journey to become Certified Technical Architects, the pinnacle Salesforce certification for top architects on the platform. She’s also a coach at Radical Apex Developer (RAD) Women, where she helps women learn to code on the Salesforce platform and advance their developer careers.

To top it all off, Charly holds 16 Salesforce certifications and is a Lightning Champion. Currently, she’s a Practice Lead & Technical Architect at Sense Corp.

Charly began using Salesforce in 2005 when her medical research position required her to start working with computers. Since then, she’s gained Salesforce MVP status, spoken at Dreamforce, and become a leading Trailblazer in the community. We sat down with Charly to hear about her incredible journey, Salesforce best practices, and affinity for helping others.

"None of us did this to become an MVP; we did it because we wanted to learn, and we thought that if we’re learning, we might as well see who wants to learn with us."

Tell us about your journey to MVP status.
I started working on Salesforce in 2005, so it’s been a long journey! I wasn't ever planning on becoming an MVP -- Salesforce MVPs didn’t actually exist when I got started. I was an accidental admin at first, and eventually did all of the possible roles I could until I progressed to the technical developer side.

To become a Salesforce MVP, you have to be nominated and then selected based on the impact you make in the community, among other criteria.

We do a lot of community work at Ladies Be Architects, and I think that’s how I got nominated. We run study groups on a monthly basis, and we’ve recorded over 200 hours of content that's available on our YouTube channel. We also hold sessions at most Salesforce community conferences. We really try to empower the people in the community that are specifically focused on the architect journey. I think that’s what led to me becoming an MVP.

It wasn’t ever intended, but it’s something that I’m very honored to get. There’s so many great MVPs out there, and I’m so glad that all the fun we’re having at Ladies Be Architects, RAD Women, and simply reaching out to the community has made it possible for me to be a part of this amazing group.

Giving back is a core focus for a lot of Salesforce MVPs. What’s your favorite way to give back?
I think all of it! It’s energizing when you interact with the community, whether it’s chatting with people on Twitter and giving advice, or people reaching out to you and saying “How would you do this? Can you help me solve this problem?”

The study groups that we run and record are a lot of fun too, and a great way to give back. It’s all a continual learning journey. That’s one of the cool things about giving back -- none of us did this to become an MVP or to get a status; we did it because we wanted to learn, and we thought that if we’re learning, we might as well see who wants to learn with us. That’s how our study groups and Ladies Be Architects was born. The things I find the most fun are learning and having people learn with me.

Giving back through the Lightning Champion program is also great. Lightning champions are people that have proven that they’re experts in Salesforce Lightning -- they’ve rolled it out, they can manage the scope of change management, and they can build applications in Lightning. They commit to being available to the community and end users. If anyone has questions or needs help with their Lightning migration or building something in Lightning, Lightning Champions are there as trusted advisors. It’s a pretty cool program to be a part of.

"Salesforce is great at delivering incredible functionality through simplicity. It doesn’t have to be complicated."

How do you find time to do it all?
I don’t think there’s any real answer -- it does take a lot of time, but it comes naturally when you’re doing it with a goal in mind. Most of our community work is because we’re learning ourselves, so it becomes really easy to make the time for it because it's something you would've done naturally. Sometimes it means you wake up at 5 in the morning instead of 6, or go to bed an hour late, but the time comes easy because it’s fun.

Who in the community inspires you most?
The other ladies in Ladies Be Architects are very inspiring to me. Seeing their dedication, commitment, and courage is really inspiring. Gemma Blezard and Susannah St-Germain, as well as the 3 ambassadors we have in Australia -- Vickie Jeffery, Emily McCowan, and Adrienne Cutcliffe. I spend a lot of time talking to them, and they keep me focused because I want to continue doing the work no matter how hard it gets.

Salesforce MVP David Liu is another one of my great inspirations. He’s such a nice person and he's so kind. The way that he explains things, and the fact that he’s never too busy to help somebody, is incredibly amazing.

There’s so many inspiring people out there, it would be impossible to name them all!

In addition to the people who inspire you, what else do you do to keep up to date on all things Salesforce? What resources are most helpful to you?
If I have to look at the bookmarks on my computer, most of them are the Salesforce official documentation, and I’m always jumping between different people’s blogs. Trailhead has become one of my first stops to find something too.

"Keeping up with every release gives me the opportunity to be at the forefront of how the world is changing."

What are some of your Salesforce best practices?
Whether you’re an admin or developer or an end user, it’s important to remember to keep it simple. Salesforce is great at delivering incredible functionality through simplicity. It doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t have to have lots of buttons and lots of screens to achieve something.

As far as apps go, I love using Agile Accelerator, a tool built by Salesforce Labs. It’s free on the AppExchange and it's a complete agile project management tool. You can track your user stories, your sprints, your epics, and your whole backlog management. Agile Accelerator does it seamlessly since it’s native to Salesforce.

What are some of your favorite Salesforce projects that you’ve worked on?
It feels like I’ve worked on every cloud and built some really cool functionality that it’s hard to pick. I think the most interesting and fun one was quite a few years back before digital banking was a thing -- I was part of the team who built the original digital bank on the Salesforce platform. It incorporated cryptocurrency and blockchain technology on Salesforce with single customer source data. We had incredible architecture using tools like Mulesoft and Docker long before they became famous.

It acted as a complete digital bank, including everything from the back office ledgers and accounting to the front office, onboarding, and FICA -- a one-stop bank that we built on the platform.

"My primary rule in everything I do is kindness. If you have kindness, networking becomes easy because you want to find out how people are."

What are you most excited about for the future of Salesforce and the community?
I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see what’s coming because it changes so often! Salesforce is so good at anticipating new trends and functionality in technology. They just incorporated blockchain last Dreamforce, and they’re so quick to adopt new digital disruption technologies so it's hard to know what’s coming, but I’m very excited just for that reason. I know that keeping on top of the platform and keeping up with every release gives me the opportunity to be at the forefront of how the world is changing. Doing it through a Salesforce lens is amazing because it's familiar to me and it makes sense, so that's something that I'm really looking forward to.

What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for your fellow Trailblazers?
Take people with you on your journey and share what you learn. If you want to learn how to configure a lightning page, reach out and say ‘Hey, who wants to do this with me?’ A lot of people would say “Of course,” even those who have been in the community for a long time, because Salesforce is a continually changing platform. You might’ve known how to do lightning pages 6 months ago, but there's undoubtedly new functionality available. There will always be people willing to help. It’s kind of mind boggling once you start really understanding how incredibly deep and connected the Salesforce Ohana is.

Additionally, it’s important to learn networking and team work. My primary rule in everything I do is kindness. If you have kindness, networking becomes easy because you want to find out how people are. You’ve also got to be self motivated -- you’ve got to set yourself some goals, take that hour a day or 2 hours a week to settle down and do some trails. Or reach out to the community and learn a new thing; that's how you’ll stay connected and also make a difference.

The Salesforce Community Advantage

Charly Prinsloo’s inspiring story is a testament to how talented, connected, and open the Trailblazer community is. Since 2005, Charly has been using Salesforce as a platform for innovation -- but she also devotes her time and expertise to empowering others to follow in her footsteps. We hope that her unique insights have inspired you to learn something new, share your knowledge, and get more connected with the Salesforce community.

To stay in the know on all things Salesforce and the community, follow Charly on Twitter and subscribe to the S-Docs blog, where we’ll be posting more Salesforce MVP spotlights throughout the summer, along with the latest and greatest in the Salesforce world.

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