Girl Develop It: Intro to Salesforce App Building Chicago

I woke up very early brimming with anticipation on February 11th, a Saturday morning. (Note: I am not a morning person.) My daughter did not wake-up as excited, but my threats of leaving her served as ample motivation to get going. It would be the first Girl Develop It (GDI) class in Chicago where I would serve as a lead instructor.


A one day class that takes place on a Saturday from approximately 9 to 3. Six hours for one day going through an accelerated high level intro overall of Salesforce. I’ve heard the following from critics: Nobody can learn Salesforce in a day! Why don’t you have any follow-up? What’s the point if they can’t grasp it in that one day?

Let’s be clear on something. This is not an experience with the expectation that someone will instantly master Salesforce. I’ve been working with Salesforce for several years now and I learn something new everyday. The expectation from this class is to introduce the ecosystem and basics of Salesforce. Provide an interest to take part in the big picture, but the onus is upon the student to further their learning and experience.

I’ve learned in my experience with adult learners that most people take that first step because of an interest and they are very capable of following through with that interest if they so choose.

Girl Develop It (GDI) is a wonderful organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development.

Talk about such an inspiring and motivating cause. I want to discuss how I was fortunate to be apart of such a wonderful group. First, Girl Develop It is a non-profit that offers low cost tech classes to girls of all ages. The organization delivers classes from all areas of technology and even offers scholarships for qualified applicants that cannot afford the fee.

I started as a teaching assistant in the first Chicago – Intro to Salesforce class in the summer of 2016. A learning experience that has introduced me to several students I still engage with to this day. Little did I know what 2017 would bring me.

GDI Chicago - Intro to Salesforce 2016
Class photo Girl Develop It Chicago first Intro to Salesforce class; 2016.

A wonderful fellow Salesforce industry colleague, whom I had the pleasure of assisting a class with in 2016, reached out to me and asked if I would like to lead instruct another class with her and another local amazing Salesforce admin. No brainer for me, I accepted.

Allison Park is the reason we have Girl Develop It Chicago – Intro to Salesforce classes still going from our initial 2016 class. Elizabeth Hellinga is the fire that fuels the motivation for those classes. I would not be blessed to teach such classes without these ladies in my corner and our team looks forward to planning each class we teach.

Allison Park, Elizabeth Hellinga and I after class.

We get together after work and make plans. What are we teaching? How are we kicking it up a notch? Who can we get to help us? When and where will we teach? How do we keep engaging? How do we help get these ladies all the resources needed to become successful? What are we missing? Did we do enough the last time?

These are just some of the questions that come to mind when I think about our discussions. We bring our daughters and encourage others to bring their children if needed because as working mothers we understand. My daughter, now a sophomore in high school, has taken the class twice. She loves that she gets to be with mom and be apart of what mom does as I think all working parents should have that ability to let their kids have a look into their working lives. It gives them scope and gives us as parents a different perspective from fresh minds.

I have several students who have gone on to attain certification and jobs as well as winning my GDI Trailhead Challenge. If you would like to meet some of these students. Please feel free to browse my GDI posts here as well as some highlighted within my sidebar on the right.

We taught two classes in 2017. One in February and another in June. Each class brings new students, new Salesforce community members and new experiences for us all.

Chicago GDI – Intro to Salesforce Class; June 24, 2017 We almost forgot to take a picture & many people left.

Allison, Lizz and I are working on 2018 classes right now. Our first class will be held on January 27, 2018. If you are interested in joining us as volunteers or taking the class, feel free to reach out to me in the comments below.




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