Introduce yourself! Who are you?
My name is Susannah St-Germain. I am a Salesforce Technical Architect at Boston Scientific. I’m also an advocate for women in technology. I am a co-leader of a group called Ladies Be Architects (LBA). LBA helps build confidence and skills for anyone interested in pursuing the Salesforce Architect career path.
Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Absolutely not! Well, I should say thought I did. I grew up playing the viola, and actually went to school for music. After dropping out mid-way through my Music Performance Master’s degree, I started to work at nonprofits in the fundraising department. 7 years ago I started working at a nonprofit called Citizen Schools. Citizen Schools happened to use Salesforce as their customer relationship management platform. And I fell in love with Salesforce.
Were you scared to start the process?
Not really because I sort of fell into my role as a Salesforce admin. When I started to move into the more technical side of things I was afraid that people would “find out” that I wasn’t an expert. But I soon learned that even the people I thought were the most brilliant still had gaps in their knowledge. No one knows everything. We are all just trying to do the best we can
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
People have doubted me a lot. Usually that motivates me or fires me up. As I get older I’m learning to harness that fire a bit better. When I was in my 20s it used to make me angry when people doubted me, but now it just inspires me to help change people’s minds about what women and people of color can achieve in tech.
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I try to focus for at least 30 minutes on learning or deepening my skills. Consistency is key. Sometimes you have to make the time and really prioritize it.
How do you manage your work-life balance?
It helps that I love what I do. Learning about new tech on the weekend feels like a joy and not a burden…most of the time. Since I focus on my personal growth in my field, as opposed to just loyalty to my employer, I feel like I’m always in control of my work-life balance.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Don’t feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t feel confident. It’s actually a good thing if you feel like you’re going out of your comfort zone. That’s where you really make change for yourself and others.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
Nothing is going to turn out as you planned. You’re going to make mistakes, but trust that things will work out in the end as long as you listen to your intuition, take chances, and work hard.
Have you always had confidence in yourself?
I struggle with confidence in myself, but I think that a lot of people do. And that’s ok. It’s just part of life.
What motivates you most?
The fact that in the tech world, I can make a difference by being my authentic self.
What do you love most about yourself?
My desire to learn and grow and to face my fears.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I struggle with depression. I think a lot of people struggle with this silently.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Being successful in tech is more about your ability to learn than what you know right now.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
You can design the life you want. Don’t feel limited by your past or your present.
Susannah Kate St-Germain is an 17x certified Colombian-American Salesforce Architect that advocates for women in technology.