In this Q&A, I sit down with Carolina Ruiz, one of the first female Force.com MVPs and Principal Developer here at FinancialForce.com to discuss how she got started with FinancialForce.com, what she has to say about the tech gender gap and her plans for 2015.
1. Hi Carolina! Tell us your history with FinancialForce.com. When did you join the company and how has your role evolved since?
I first heard about FinancialForce.com while working at Agresso in Granada, Spain. As you know, Agresso later became part of UNIT4 and I heard about a project in progress with a new company in England (FinancialForce.com), on a new platform that no one knew (Force.com). They asked if I wanted to work on it, and I obliged as I thought it would be a good challenge to start something fresh and new!
Prior to starting with FinancialForce.com I had taken a break in my career in order to look after my grandfather who was ill. After this very difficult period of time, I was motivated by both my grandparents to pursue my dreams, explore new cultures and improve my career in technology – things that they never had the opportunity to do.
Hence, I decided to move abroad, which is when I joined FinancialForce.com. When I initially joined FinancialForce, which was a very small company at the time, I was brought in as a developer. After a period of time, I was promoted to be technical lead within my team. I now work in the Product Innovation team as a Principal Developer, which is a role I really relish and enjoy as I have the opportunity to work on some particularly interesting projects.
2. You are the first female Force.com MVP— that is quite a breakthrough. Many look to you as a role model. What would you hope they learn from you?
Last Spring 2014 Angela Mahoney and I were chosen as Force.com MVPs, which was an absolute honor and something I’m really proud of. I would agree that this was a breakthrough, as the industry is not geared up for women, so to speak, but this is changing.
I would feel honored if people looked at me as a role model. I would say that all I try to do in everything I’ve set out as my goals in life is put the maximum effort and hard work in while leaning from and enjoying the experiences. These are my foremost values, and how I got to where I am today.
3. Let’s talk about a hot button in tech— the gender gap. Do you feel there is one? And how can that be addressed?
Being a woman in the technology field can be difficult, however it does not mean you are not capable of success, or that it should stop you from going after your goals. It is fair to say that at the moment there is a ‘gender gap,’ but this is changing. We should not get too hung up on this issue as steps are being made in the right direction, like more classes for young women, more mentors and more resources for women in tech, and we are seeing many women being empowered not just in technology but in many other fields.
4. What are your goals in 2015 as a Force.com MVP?
For 2015, I’ll try to continue many of the things I’m currently doing, some of which include MVP office hours in Spanish (including Latin America) in conjunction with other MVPs and guest helpers. I also plan to continue University talks and workshops about Salesforce, which were quite successful in 2014. Thankfully while working at FinancialForce.com I’ve had the opportunity to keep learning and sharing the knowledge within both the company and Salesforce community.
I have some new goals in mind as well. I’d like to try to organize new DUGs in different parts of Spain. I also would like to maintain the relationship with Salesforce Spain to help increase the Spanish speaking community.
Finally, there is Dreamforce in September, I would like do my part in ensuring the buzz and atmosphere around Dreamforce is even better than last year’s!