Q. Zach, tell us a little bit about your role at Thunder.
At the core of my role here at Thunder, I’m focused on nurturing and growing our ever evolving and exciting partnership with Salesforce, supporting our sales team and our efforts in the field and developing strategic partnerships within the Salesforce ecosystem.
Q. What made you want to come roll with Thunder?
The executive leadership team and practice leaders. Bottom line, it was all about the people.
I first met our Head of Sales, Kelly Wasden, and AE, Hope Hebrank, on a team call during my days as a Service Cloud AE at Salesforce back in the fall of 2021. They were essentially pitching Thunder to my team, and frankly, you meet a lot of SI partners as a Salesforce AE…it can be very monotonous over time. However, there was something about the story they were telling. Between Carter and Kelly’s background, Yaron Wilf’s longstanding experience in the Salesforce and the contact center world, the methodology…I was blown away. Very rarely do you meet a Salesforce partner with this kind of pedigree. That was the ember that eventually lit the flame. I began working closely with the Thunder team, and was always impressed with their Salesforce expertise, approach to deals and the support I had from them in the field.
Over time, I developed a great relationship with Eryn McHugh, VP Talent + People Ops. I actually approached her about an Alliances role. It didn’t exist at the time, but we had a few conversations about some of my ideas, what the role would look like, etc. Although great back and forth dialogue, the role was not forecasted any time soon. She and I kept in touch but respectfully went our separate ways. Fast forward about 4 or 5 months from those first initial conversations, the role was created and the rest is history. Some manifestation, good timing and luck there…mainly luck and good timing 😆.
The one sticking point here is that it all comes back to the people and a powerful belief in what Thunder is trying to accomplish day in and day out…to help customers love Salesforce, forever. That is what truly made me want to come roll with Thunder.
Q. Before joining Thunder, you were making magic happen at the source! Can you tell us about your time at Salesforce?
My six years at Salesforce was absolutely incredible. 100% the most impactful and amazing career experience I could have ever imagined. I met a lot of awesome people, some of them are still close friends of mine. As a sales professional, Salesforce provides you with an opportunity to learn from some of the best sales leaders in the industry. I’m truly indebted to a number of leaders and former peers that helped me get where I am today. The privilege to work with customers is also a memorable aspect as well…it’s a unique opportunity to help usher in digital transformation to an organization, or even just improve efficiencies or KPIs…even if it’s just slightly moving the needle. It’s all very rewarding and the customer relationships I built will always be very meaningful. All in all, the people, the customers, the wins, the losses, the learning moments, the opportunity to travel all around the country…it made my Salesforce experience one I’ll never forget.
Q. You’re a humble guy, so we’re going to take a moment to brag on your behalf… You’re a multi-award winning employee from several of your past companies. What are some goals you’re looking to achieve here at Thunder?
My main goal at Thunder is to create what I call an Alliances center of excellence. My time at Salesforce provided me with a point of view on what good can really look like as to how a partner engages Salesforce. For my first full year at Thunder, I’m looking to take the steps to operationalize this new motion within the company, build amazing relationships, and play a small part in the success we are embarking on.
Q. We couldn’t help but notice on top of your work experience all the volunteering experience you have (way to live out our Thunder values). Are there any organizations close to your heart you’d like to talk about?
Volunteering within my community was something that was championed by my high school and collegiate alma mater. As I got further into my career, I had the privilege to volunteer for a number of great Atlanta based organizations during my days as an employee at Salesforce.
One organization that has been close to my heart for a number of years is Freedom Waters Foundation. I began volunteering with them back in high school. I continued volunteering through a program at my alma mater, Florida Gulf Coast University. FWF is a nonprofit that is focused on enhancing lives through boating and marine related activities for people with special needs, disabilities, life threatening illnesses, youth at risk, and veterans. I’ve been able to volunteer in a number of different ways over the years and you truly see the happiness and joy they bring to the families and more importantly, those participating.
Q. Last one! As a rainmaker at Thunder, what are you most excited about this coming year?
The exciting growth, the wins, the memories made with the team…we’re in a very fun and unique time together. It’s something I never take for granted and I’m here for it all – as the great Ted Lasso once said “Living in the moment, it’s a gift. That’s why they call it the present.”