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From Colombia to Dublin, Ireland — Being Your Authentic Self Opens Career Opportunities

Salesforce Careers

March 29, 2019

Many Salesforce employees have interesting stories to tell about life before they joined the company. But very, very few — perhaps none — can claim to be the first child adopted from their native country. That distinction belongs to Dublin based Salesforce account executive (AE) John Martin. And that early experience in breaking down barriers has become a core part of John’s dynamic personality — in his personal and professional life.


“I was adopted from Colombia, but my parents are completely Irish. When they adopted me, there was no official bridge between Colombia and Ireland for international adoption.”


Despite being told that an adoption between the two countries couldn't be done, and speaking no Spanish, John's parents set off on a journey that would take them from Dublin to Pasto, where their new son waited in an orphanage.


Irrespective of the barriers they encountered, nothing would stand in their way. The very last stretch of their journey took place in a propeller plane that flew through the Andes carrying several cages of chickens, which typified the sheer commitment they had to the cause!


Their eventual arrival in Pasto wouldn't have been possible without the help of a Colombian contact, Fernando. He offered the unparalleled support and guidance they needed to make the adoption a success, and was instrumental in bringing baby Giovanni Ortiz, now John, into contact with his parents-to-be.



Family and Friends Celebrate John’s Arrival at the Airport in Dublin


A couple weeks later, the newly formed trio boarded a plane to make their way back to Ireland. One of the flight attendants caught wind of the news and told the captain who announced Johns arrival to the passengers!


Young John with his cousin and best friend Rory


“When I think of where I could’ve been adopted, it’s kind of amazing I ended up here. Even though I have Latino heritage,  I’m 100 percent Dublin Irish. It's something I'm incredibly proud of, so much so, that I wrote and recited a long-form poem about my adoption at one of our Salesforce employee talent shows!”


Humble Beginnings


As a teenager, John worked in a carpet warehouse. It was far from sales and not easy.


“It's not easy pushing double tufted mattresses up several flights of stairs, especially when someone's screaming at you, “WILYA PUSH!!”


After college, he tried several career options: hospitality, financial services, media production, online advertising and IT. At every stop, he learned something about what he liked, what he didn’t, and where he wanted to go.


While at AdKarma, a firm that helps publishers monetise their ad inventory, he came up with a plan — leverage all he could learn from AdKarma and look for a career in sales based in Dublin.


“I’d been asked to join Salesforce by a former colleague, but I was initially put off by the sheer size of the organisation. I was afraid I'd lose the ability to be recognised or have an opportunity to make a notable impact.”


Looking for Financial, Professional, and Personal Growth


Nevertheless, a little research convinced John that Salesforce had more to offer than just sales experience. He wanted to find a company that could help him fulfill his financial and professional aspirations, while providing plenty of room for him to be true to himself. Salesforce turned out to be just what he was looking for.



 John Bringing His Vibrant Self to Work as Cruella on Halloween

“I didn’t want to be just another cog in the wheel. That said, throughout the interview process, I learned about Salesforce’s core values and the opportunities to not only make money but make a difference. The elation I felt when I got the job was unbelievable!”


And, from day one, John’s trust in the Salesforce culture of opportunity has been validated.


“It’s simple to ask a hiring manager whether a company will help you become a success. Many say yes but don’t back it up. But from the first time I came in until now, I’ve had nothing but nurturing and a sense of

belonging from everyone I work with.”

Financial Growth and Stability


When John joined Salesforce at 25, he was impressed with its financial performance and year-over-year growth. He was forthright with his managers about his aspirations and noted that he wanted a career as opposed to a job. John also wanted to know if there was a clear sales structure where he could succeed and progress in the business. The answer: Yes.


The management team assured him that regardless of where John’s skill set took him, there were tried and tested options that would lead to success.


“It's unbelievable to think about what I've achieved in three years. I've not only increased my understanding of sales, but I've had the opportunity to do some incredible things and meet some truly exceptional people along the way.”


He also outlined how, from a leadership perspective, there was a very clear understanding of the marketplace and how to achieve company growth targets.


“When you have a leadership team that genuinely believes in what Salesforce Dublin is capable of achieving, as well as the experience and know-how to make it a reality, it makes coming to work incredible. Our growth plans for 2021 and the recently announced Salesforce Tower justifies the promise they made to me when I joined the business.”


Interviewing Bear Grylls


John’s enthusiasm and willingness to take on just about any task — especially in front of an audience! —  soon attracted attention. So, he was thrilled when he was asked by two senior executives to interview Bear Grylls at a live, 40-minute “fireside” chat. Edward Michael Grylls, better known as Bear Grylls, is a former British SAS serviceman, survival instructor, and honorary lieutenant-colonel, well known as an adventurer, writer, television presenter, and businessman.



“I often dreamed of having my own talk show when I was growing up. I was always full of chat! When the offer came through I couldn’t type my reply fast enough. It was an incredible experience, and one I wouldn't of had without being myself from day one.”


The conversation with Grylls focused on the necessity of work-life balance, something very much on the top of the list at Salesforce.


“We talked about how he struggled to put a line in the sand between what it meant to be a family man, a husband, and a father, and what it meant to be Bear Grylls, the adventurer. The chat really highlighted the importance of protecting what's important to us outside of work.”


Helping Customers Transform


Prior to taking on his AE role, John was a business development rep (BDR) serving the enterprise market’s media vertical. Working with a wide variety of publishers, agency networks, and broadcasters, he’s seen firsthand the disruption caused by a transition to digital content and services.


“When you’re talking to a VP of commercial sales who’s been in traditional print media for 25 years and he’s coming to you for help because he believes in Salesforce — that’s humbling.”


One of the biggest takeaways John got from his time spent in business development was the importance of education when it comes to digital transformation.


“It's often assumed that our only solution is sales CRM. But our platform is capable of delivering better customer experiences across the entire customer journey.”


When working with a multitude of media giants from publishers to broadcasters, digitalisation strategies can vary immensely. Whether it's developing an ad sales platform, creating an events management solution, or redefining a social media strategy, John has witnessed the true extent of the platform’s potential.


With his exposure to media production and online advertising, John had a fair understanding of how agencies, advertisers, and publishers operated on a day-to-day basis.


“When you go into an industry that you're familiar with, it’s tempting to make assumptions. You quickly realise that businesses are far more multifaceted than they appear.”


John believes many software companies make the mistake of trying to sell their products before they thoroughly understand the challenges businesses face. Instead, Salesforce takes a more partner-centric, consultative approach, by searching for customer pain points and offering a fresh perspective to clear those hurdles.


“Today’s media companies need to develop the next generation of ad sales, drive better subscriber management, and increase audience engagement. We can offer them a platform to accomplish this.”


 Presenting at the 2018 Sales Development Regional Kick Off in Dublin


Salesforce has helped John transform his personal, professional, and financial life. He’s thrived in an environment that nurtures his authentic self. Does this sound like you? Then explore our roles and apply today — not just for roles in Dublin but in the many regions of the world where Salesforce is growing!

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