Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.

What is your name and title?

Geraldine Gray, CEO at Endiem.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

I am the founder and CEO of Endiem, a partner trusted to deliver brilliant Salesforce solutions for the energy sector.

How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.

In my first role in the Salesforce industry, working for top consultancy Appirio, I became known as the “consultant to put on hard projects”. My travel schedule from coast-to-coast was grueling and some of the business challenges I was asked to solve for Fortune 50 companies brought difficult days and long, long nights. I led teams with fun, flair, and finesse – always striving to deliver excellent work that brought real efficiencies to those companies’ bottom line. All of this experience set me up for my role as CEO of Endiem. Being an entrepreneur is not for weaklings.

In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?

Prioritize building a support network of mentors, colleagues, and like-minded professional women. I can’t tell you how many times my network has guided me through challenges and pitfalls with superb advice. They have shared ideas, content, and best practices with honesty and transparency. Just knowing that I have a safety net of knowledge under me is a comfort as I make decisions that impact Endiem.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?

I never stop learning, and that includes from my customers. I was lucky enough to work with Dulce Borjas, CIO of ENGIE North America for a couple of years – she has a magical way of getting the best out of her team while giving them encouragement, responsibilities, and her time. She’s always ready with a smile or joke and is never intimidated by being the only woman in the room. Dulce’s vision of “IT as a Service” at ENGIE inspired the Endiem Team to work on our own digital transformation project last year. The changes we made contributed massively to our ability to succeed and deliver successful projects in 2020, even as COVID-19 impacted us all.

Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?

I’ve been working for a long time and been lucky enough to have had several women guide and inspire me.

Meredith Williams was the CEO of Citibank UK in London when she hired me to run her office and her projects for the consumer business side of Citibank. As a technology driven organization, they were the first to offer true online banking in the UK. She instilled in me a love of tech, process, and technology that always put people at the heart of the results.

Lori Williams (not related!) hired me in my first “big” role as a Salesforce consultant. She was always available to chat and serve actionable advice when I was on some Salesforce’s most challenging projects for household names such as eBay, PayPal, and Time Inc. – which I needed as I grew into someone known as being able to handle the hardest technical challenges. I am so lucky to have her as a mentor and she has been pivotal in guiding me to build an organization where we can make decisions driven by data without losing sight of the humans who work here. Endiem has excelled in spite of COVID-19 because her guidance over the last few years ensured we had a solid financial foundation and a rockstar delivery team that wasn’t going to sway or rock in tough times.

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

Even though I have 20 years of Salesforce experience and have grown a multi-million-dollar, self-funded business, I often look around the room while on projects and wonder when I am going to be uncovered as not smart enough. It hasn’t happened yet, but it always niggles at the back of my mind. It amazes me how I get to work with such clever colleagues – I’m still waiting to be found out! My bravado covers up my wonder at being where I am today. My advice to women just starting their careers is to realize that you don’t need to be 100% perfect, no one else is. Just work hard, have courage and be nice to people.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Endiem gets 90% of new business from existing customer referrals. In the next year, I want to ‘bottle’ the methodology that has got us this level of recognition so that we can roll it out at scale to even more customers. However, I want to do it without ever losing the quality of delivery, ‘white gloves’ service and fun and flair that we offer to our customers now.

Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?

Endiem supports a long list of causes, both local and national. However, one cause that has been really close to our hearts this year and more important than ever through the pandemic has been Houston based charity Kids Meals Inc.

What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?

I have two kids, one husband, one dog, one cat and one business to run. So, while I wish I could give you a list of elaborate hobbies and sports, that’s not on the agenda! If I want to unwind out of the office then it’s likely to be a pumped up kitchen disco with spangly lights and a couple of hilarious, highly excitable five-year-olds! The dog loves ABBA too.

Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!

I have a plans to read “No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls: The Next Generation of Account-Based Sales and Marketing” by Appirio alumnus Latane Conant.