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.
Salesforce MVP Spotlight: Scott Luikart
Scott Luikart is a 9x certified, 2x Salesforce MVP with over 10 years of experience using Salesforce to solve complex business challenges and give back to the community. He’s a Lightning Champion, a golden hoodie award recipient, and the owner of 400+ Trailhead badges -- and he also channels his expertise into community volunteering projects.
Scott created MGPdoesTrailhead in 2017, a program that uses Trailhead to teach Salesforce skills to LGBT homeless youth through the nonprofit Montrose Grace Place. His efforts support the organization’s mission to provide a safe, welcoming environment for vulnerable homeless youth of all sexualities and genders, and help build healthy relationships and hope for the future.
Scott is currently the Lead Technical Architect at Roycon. We sat down with him to hear about his Salesforce expertise, his advocacy efforts, and his journey to becoming a Salesforce MVP.
"Salesforce cares, and I don’t think that’s going away. The message that I hear loud and clear is that their business is a platform for change as much as it is a platform for their product."
Tell us about your journey to MVP status.
My first experience with Salesforce was from a business user perspective, when I was working as a technical support agent in 2011. Soon after, I was connected to a new job by someone from my volunteering network, where I was tasked with rolling out a call center platform. We chose Service Cloud after evaluating several solutions, and although I had zero Salesforce admin experience, I spent the next six months successfully implementing Service Cloud, Live Agent, Knowledge, and Communities.
I gained more admin experience throughout my next few roles, eventually taking on titles like Senior Salesforce Admin and Salesforce Architect. Throughout my career I’ve successfully developed and deployed 7 full-lifecycle products within the platform.
I firmly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am today without my volunteering work. For one, my first Salesforce admin job came through a volunteer connection. I’ve continued to volunteer weekly since then, and in 2017 I created a program called Montrose Grace Place Does Trailhead (#MGPDoesTrailhead) that uses Trailhead to teach Salesforce skills to LGBT homeless youth. I received the golden hoodie award that year, and in 2019 I was awarded Salesforce MVP status for the first time.
"I firmly believe that we are called to make the world a better place, and to leave it better than the way we came into it. To me, that’s being called to do things for other people."
Giving back is a core focus for a lot of Salesforce MVPs. Can you tell us more about your experience with Montrose Grace Place?
Montrose Grace Place is an organization that provides a safe environment to homeless youth of all sexualities and genders. The kids that Montrose Grace Place serves typically don’t attend school due to requirements that make it difficult for someone experiencing homelessness to enroll, such as identification or shot record requirements.
Because of this, I started a fundraiser to buy 10 computers for the nonprofit. The original goal was to teach the kids three months worth of Salesforce, and at the end they’d have computers that they could use as an avenue for continued learning.
When the three months were up, the nonprofit really liked what we were doing and asked us to stay. We are now on our third year of the program, and plan to continue it for as long as possible.
The kids that we work with are stellar. They have some of the hardest lives I’ve ever experienced in my life, but they care about what they’re doing. They want relationships, and we create that relationship by sitting next to them and helping them walk through a Trailhead badge.
We see lots of parents with babies come to the program, and we’re able to let them prioritize learning and take time for themselves in a safe environment. It’s incredible to see the impact that we make.
How do you find time to do it all?
I firmly believe that we are called to make the world a better place, and to leave it better than the way we came into it. To me, that’s being called to do things for other people. I am super happy to spend one less night going out with friends to create community with other people. That might look like spending an afternoon talking about queer history, or supporting my friends who advocate and educate about Black Lives Matter (BLM) while helping others who don’t understand BLM and the value of this movement. DeRay Mckesson profoundly explains BLM in his book On the Other Side of Freedom.
If that just means that I take a little bit less personal time, I don’t think it’s a sacrifice because it’s showing that there are people out there that care, and that’s the ultimate goal in life.
Who in the community inspires you most?
Toya Tate and Shonnah Hughes. They started the first (and only) Women in Tech Diversity virtual user group. These two women do great things for African-American, Latinx, and Asian culture visibility within the community. They’re very LGBT friendly, and welcome allies who want to learn how to engage and support. I used their group as a model for the LGBT community group.
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?
I will always look for a SteveMo formula. I will scour the community just to see if he’s ever answered a question before, before I will try somebody else’s plan. His formulas are some of the best things that I’ve ever seen.
There’s a blog out there called Automation Champion by Rakesh Gupta. He does fantastic Flow and Process Builder kinds of things. Jen Lee has equally fantastic content about Flow and Lightning, so I absolutely love reading her stuff as well.
"Don’t wait to get that first certification. If you fail you can then retake it, and you will be better off. Fearing the unknown of how well you will do is always going to hold you back."
Are there any must-have apps or Salesforce best practices that you recommend?
I think that using macros is underrated and people don’t do them enough. Macros inside of Salesforce will allow you to automate emails to prospects, email customers on open cases, and complete records in very specific ways to keep your data quality high. I think that people shy away from them because they’re complex to set up, but the return value of them is high and they’re relevant for a long period of time.
What are you most excited about for the future of Salesforce and the community?
One of the reasons I love Salesforce is because Salesforce cares, and I don’t think that’s going away. Things like the Pledge1 philanthropy program and their inclusion of Ethics and Equality officers show that they will continue to be beacons for teaching us how to be as a community, and teaching other companies how to do good.
For example, they're open to concepts like having an LGBT user group when most companies can't even have an internal one. The fact that they will listen to the community and adapt is incredibly powerful.
The message that I hear loud and clear is that their business is a platform for change as much as it is a platform for their product.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for your fellow Trailblazers?
Don’t get too many certifications too quickly. If you come to a company with six certifications but no experience, they may not be able to pay you the same amount as if you came with one and earned five over the next five years, and then got a pay raise every year to compensate for that additional knowledge.
Also, don’t wait to get that first certification. I know a ton of people think that they have to study for six months. The goal is always to go in knowing 100% of the content and pass it. This is a good approach, but I have experienced people get nervous that they aren’t ready and put the exam off 3, 6, even 12 months from their original goal. If you commit to it and pass you are better off than you realized. If you fail you can then retake it, and you will be better off. Fearing the unknown of how well you will do is always going to hold you back.
The Salesforce Community Advantage
As Scott Luikart’s inspiring story shows, the Trailblazer community shines because of the many people within that are willing to dedicate their time to help others. After starting as a business user in 2011, Scott quickly became a Salesforce expert, and now dedicates his time to advocate for underrepresented groups and use Salesforce as a platform for change. We hope that his 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 Scott on Twitter and subscribe to the S-Docs blog, where we’ll be posting more Salesforce MVP spotlights, along with the latest and greatest in the Salesforce world.