Updated: Mar 18, 2021
The bloomly team is proud to debut our limited blog series highlighting phenomenal women in the Salesforce ecosystem to commemorate International Women’s Day and Women's History Month. Each woman 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.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Aniqa Tariq, Vice President of Global New Markets, at Bluewolf, an IBM Company. The #choosetochallenge movement can be interpreted in many different ways; however, it collectively boils down to the woman’s choice - and what she challenges. Since meeting her a few years ago, I’ve carried a deep appreciation for Aniqa. That appreciation grew tenfold when I heard her story of resilience - and how she's challenged the status quo by knocking down doors and commanding that her voice be heard from customer to stakeholder. From the start of her career to today, she has challenged and redefined expectations with resilience and grace.
In the beginning . . .
Aniqa was introduced to Salesforce when she was hired to completely digitize and rebrand the marketing data and strategy for Tipper Tie, a manufacturing company primarily focused on the meat and poultry industries. As a data-driven marketer, this role was the perfect challenge for her. Aniqa created a business case to propose the new CRM and presented that to the board of directors - it was approved! Guess which CRM that was? You guessed it: Salesforce.
Although Aniqa didn’t possess an IT background - she was a marketer through and through - she was able to successfully implement Salesforce within her company. She knew enough about data collection to identify pain points from the old CRM system and to make sure that these issues were resolved with Salesforce. She sat in and listened to the VP of Sales and Customer Service’s meetings to get a better understanding of the type of relationships she would need to nurture to make this work.
Aniqa “suited and booted up” by joining male representatives who worked onsite at the meat manufacturing factories. She wanted to understand how Salesforce works offline and to do that, she had to be onsite and get her hands dirty. That’s why Aniqa was chosen instead of a normal IT team; she was hired to not only revise marketing and data but to build strong customer relationships.
“I was consulting without knowing I was consulting,” she recalled.
The theme for the Salesforce launch was StarWars. Her supervisor told her, "Aniqa - the only way I will say yes is if you get the biggest disruptor and nay-sayer to be an advocate for you.” This was not a tech industry, but a manufacturing industry where many of the employees used the manual process of pen to paper instead of computers to complete their work. There was doubt that these employees would be willing to make the change by integrating Salesforce CRM into their daily duties. Instead of allowing this challenge to bring her down, Aniqa was resilient and presented her Salesforce pitch to the Board of Directors. The response she received was hard-earned and well-fought for:
“Can you take this global?”
Arriving in Switzerland, 2009
Her journey continues . . .
Ultimately, that's how she was introduced to Bluewolf. Aniqa was asked to run a global team in the United States, Germany, Brazil and Switzerland. She didn’t speak German and she needed help to bridge the language gap when training employees. She was then introduced to a Bluewolf employee who could help her succeed in her training predicament.
In 2009-2010, Aniqa began receiving phone calls from other professionals who coveted her Salesforce experience. At Dreamforce, she saw the Bluewolf banner and made the switch from being client-facing, to implementing a global CRM system, to taking the leap to consulting at Bluewolf. She met with Eric Berridge, former CEO of Bluewolf, and after 45 minutes, her interview was complete.
In lieu of waiting, Aniqa looked him in the eye and asked, “Do I have the job or not?”
Of course, she had earned the role and was elated. She may not have expected it then, but she would create a lasting impression on this well-known Salesforce consulting company.
Elevator moments . . .
When she was a young girl, her dream was to go to New York, see the city, and eventually work there. Little did that young girl know - she would be living her dream down to the visualization - she was on top of the city.
View from the 21st floor
At the time, Bluewolf’s office was on 5th avenue. One of Aniqa’s proudest moments is what she refers to as the elevator moment - she would ride the elevator to the 21st floor of the building and overlook New York City. At the end of each day, whether it was good or bad, she reflected on the view of the city and would think to herself,
“I did this.”
Another elevator moment, which reveals her compassion and nurturing sense, is her reflection when she's built a team or business. Aniqa accepted the job that most people would not - to move across the world to work in Australia. Not only did she leave her family and home behind, but she also did so with grace and tenacity. Aniqa successfully built a team from 17-18 people to over 100 people buzzing around the office. Often, she would take moments to reflect on her team, asking herself these seemingly simple but important questions:
Are they smiling, interacting, having fun?
Are they working on incredible projects?