How Salesforce Transformed My Life From Injuries Suffered In Active Duty

This is my story of how Salesforce helped me transition to civilian life after sustaining injuries while in active duty.
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Written by Josephe Hickox

November 10, 2020

When Josephe Hickox was critically injured on Dec. 26, 2016 while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps, he could never have imagined the journey that was ahead of him. The most surprising part of his path? How Salesforce shaped his transition into civilian life and the system’s parallels to military skills.

Here is his story, in his own words.

My story

Josephe Hickox

I took fire while on duty on the afternoon of December 26, 2016 and after fighting for a few minutes, my body was severely wounded. To put it bluntly: The injuries I sustained left me laying on the ground thinking “this is where it ends.”

I went unconscious, and when I woke, four days had passed and I had been rushed to a hospital. I flatlined on three separate occasions. While the staff continued working to stabilize me, I began to grasp what had happened … and what it meant for me.

How does one recreate themselves in this situation? That’s what I kept thinking to myself.

My injury tally: plates and screws in my right ankle and leg; a pinned and fused left wrist; Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, missing left kidney, spleen, and gallbladder; and damage to my left lung.

The physical injuries rendered me unable to walk, TBI had made some cognitive functions difficult, and PTSD had impacted my ability to interact with others. 

What was I supposed to do?

Finding Salesforce

Civilian life had found me in the blink of an eye, and I was thankful to even have the chance. There was no way I was going to sit around if I could help it.

With the help of a mentor, Stephen, I began analyzing my strengths to develop a career path. I’d always had strong analytical mind and a natural knack for computer science … and with 10 years of military service, one learns to become quite efficient in everything while locking in on a goal!

Stephen helped me lean into my strengths, both natural skills and the attributes I had gained from the military. He took into consideration my physical condition and the impact PTSD would have on my success in certain career paths. It soon became clear I’d pursue a career in IT, and with all the Salesforce training available, that was where I’d start.

Josephe Hickox not only continues to train in Salesforce in his civilian life, but he's also pursuing a place in the Boston Marathon
One step in the continued journey

So, I dove head-first into studying Salesforce while working a third-shift job at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport. Then, with Stephen’s help, I turned this new IT knowledge into an internship under a Senior Salesforce Administrator at a B2B software company. I worked at the internship by day, a fine-dining restaurant by night, and any hours in between, was rigorously studying for the Salesforce certification exam.

With the help of Veteran Force, a Salesforce training program for veterans, and practical training at his internship, I continued to make progress before finally earning my certification and being promoted from intern to Junior Administrator. This launched my career, as I eventually moved into an Analyst role.

At the same time, I’ve not only gotten back to full mobility, but I’ve begun competing in marathons to try and qualify for the Boston Marathon. I’m proud to say I’m making progress and hope you’ll see my name there someday soon!

What Salesforce means to me

Salesforce really is revolutionary. It helps an entire organization be more efficient and profitable and actually track it. But, it’s even bigger than that. It also helps individual sales reps sell more, and therefore be compensated more, with less training than ever before.

Just like the military, it’s all about efficiency and helping everyone on the team to win and achieve the highest potential. But it takes the right skill development to attain peak outcomes.

Today, I’m a Salesforce administrator and Marketing & Sales Operations Consultant here at The Pedowitz Group, helping corporate and enterprise clients streamline Salesforce and marketing technologies, like Pardot and Marketo, while holistically analyze their revenue operations.

In a previous position, I was so focused on sales. We’d have leads come in, and I focused on creating systems that would help sales close on leads. But, where does that lead come from?

You have to have a funnel generating leads into your company, and marketing owns that now more than ever. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good your product is or how good your sales team is if you don’t have anyone to sell to. (I guess that my first step towards a true revenue marketing mindset!)

Now, I’m working with large-scale systems featuring 20K+ users (and often far more) … and I love it! Here’s why:

At the enterprise level, cultural barriers are broken down. It’s amazing to see this happen at, for example, a Fortune 1000 company with staff in Japan, India, South Africa … all over. And yet, we’re all working cohesively.

It’s meaningful work with a global impact to create solutions that are functional, repeatable, and scalable. Just like my military service.

This is why I work with Salesforce. Because I’ve found many values of my time in the military wrapped up in the work I do with this system and everything that ties into it: Amazing people, complex processes, and common goals.

I’m four years into a career I love, and the best of my life is right in front of me.

Connect with Josephe on LinkedIn, and please join us in thanking all of our veterans for their sacrifice and service!

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