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#choosetochallenge: a story of collaboration

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Thank you for joining us for the second installment of our limited blog series that highlights phenomenal women in the Salesforce ecosystem to commemorate International Women’s Day and Women's History Month. Each person we will highlight represents a key bloomly value and we are proud to know these leaders who not only share our values but embody them in everyday life. This week, I am honored to share my interview with Jolene Chan: Chief Impact Officer at Traction on Demand.

I met Jolene during an interesting chapter in my life. I was new to Colorado and in turn, new to a journey with Salesforce that now holds four years worth of incredible stories. I remember the day I almost met her. The office was humming with the elated whispers of my peers - and the subject of their conversation? Jolene.

Photo of Bluewolf team members

Photo provided by Jolene Chan

When I asked what everyone was talking about, it seemed that the entire office exclaimed in unison: “Jolene is coming to Denver!” Great leadership isn’t always easy to find and I wanted to see who this person was who had caused such an uproar of excitement in my office. It was fantastic to witness such a strong response to our leadership and I truly felt like I was finally where I belonged.

Fast forward to the day I met her. She walked into the office casually, as if she were walking through her own front door. Jolene emanates quiet confidence that is unmistakable and infectious to those around her. Our office was undergoing multiple changes; we had just completed a transfer of business with IBM, we were renovating our office, and morale was low. Simply hearing Jolene’s name sparked excitement, confidence, and the morale boost that we so desperately needed.

But who is she?

Jolene is a career consultant by trade. She was a business consultant at PwC during the early stages of her career. In 2003, she was introduced to Salesforce. At the time, had just opened up its APIs and rolled out Enterprise Edition. This gave business stakeholders the ability to implement new front-end processes without a heavy lift from IT. Jolene was looking for technology to support her customer’s needs. She assisted in spearheading the growth of the implementations within the Mid-Market Practice she was working in, which would, in turn, lead her on a grand journey into the Salesforce ecosystem.

Jolene joined Bluewolf in 2004, where she made a lasting impression over the next 15 years.

Outside of building a scalable organization focused on onboarding the customer into the Salesforce platform, she co-founded the Women’s Innovator Network with Corinne Sklar.

Pictured: Jolene (left) and Corinne Sklar (right)

Photo provided by Jolene Chan

As Jolene was working across multiple customers and preparing for the annual Dreamforce event in San Francisco; she kept thinking of how much she would like these incredible women to meet each other. Her idea was to bring amazing women together to meet each other at a lunch sponsored by Bluewolf, so she brought this request to CEO Eric Berridge.

Eric’s response was to think bigger:

“What if we held an event for 40 women and rented a restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel?”

He suggested that she collaborate with Corinne to create a new Dreamforce event. That’s how WIN was born. Together, Jolene and Corinne brought together 40 women for a nice plated lunch, with a speaker to discuss everyday blockers women face both professionally and personally.

This event proved to be a catalyst - every year, they would bring this event to Dreamforce and bring customers, partners, Salesforce together to honor the outside speaker who was chosen to present for WIN. This exclusive event boasted a table of honorees who spoke in a panel about the issues women face: work/life balance, mentorship, sponsorship, and much more.

Photo provided by Jolene Chan

“A lot of women came to WIN specifically for the ability to be a part of a community of like-minded individuals, where you could network, share ideas, and build new friendships,” she recalled. One of the elements that made WIN so successful was that it was a safe space; a place where women could openly discuss their struggles, lean on each other, and share ideas and strategies that were relevant to the technology industry. Jolene’s impact and compassion for women in the tech industry won’t soon be forgotten.

Her advice for women who are navigating the ecosystem:

“Help build your community and lift each other up. It’s important - especially in tech.”

Relative to men, there are not that many women in the Salesforce ecosystem, so we should all mentor and sponsor each other and be empathetic to the additional things we need to balance.

“It is our responsibility to help enter and support generations to come.”

Jolene is inspired by a village of women - there are a lot of women she’s met along the way who inspire her in daily life. It is her calling to be a mentor and I firmly believe she is living her truth. Coincidentally, a few women I’ve interviewed have mentioned that Jolene inspires them.

The mountains we climb . . .

On leaving Bluewolf, Jolene described stepping away as her ‘second mountain’.

She said, “The first mountain was all the things your parents tell you that success looks like. As you’re climbing the mountain of accomplishments, your goal is to reach the peak, but what is the peak? Once you look beyond that mountain, there's another mountain right behind it. That second mountain has a different set of trails and hills; it feels different because this climb isn’t about success or accomplishments. This second mountain is the focal point of your purpose.”

Photo provided by Kristen Barber

Her ‘why’ is to focus on her purpose and keep finding ways to make an impact.

At Traction on Demand, there is a different way of looking at business: For example, there are purpose projects. Purpose projects are a way to encourage the project team both on the client-side and at Traction to work together for a common cause and passion above and beyond the project at hand. This corporate social integration is a key element in producing a more philanthropic-minded company and community. Traction on Demand creates an effortless drive for philanthropy with its employees and that is something special to behold.

A few years ago, I attended an incredible Ted Talk with Jolene and learned that she makes donations to the event. The moment I found out, I glanced over. She was calm, content, and even humble. Her purpose allows her to not only generate impact for those around her but to quietly do so behind-the-scenes, which is refreshing in the midst of the loud days we live in. When I think of the words inspire and collaborate, I think of her.

Pictured: Eric Berridge speaking

Photo provided by Jolene Chan

Jolene is an inspiration to everyone - her collaborative efforts have provided help and guidance for those who do or do not know her alike. Her reach is far, her impact is monumental, and I am lucky to know her.


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