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?

Parul Nagpal, Director of Customer Success at DemandBlue.

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

I work with customers on understanding their business needs and translating them to build effective technology solutions on the Salesforce platform. I act as an Advisor to ensure they are able to achieve tangible business value from the use of Salesforce & help improve customer adoption, engagement, growth and utilization of the platform to its strengths.

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

I was an SAP CRM Web UI developer, working from India. In 2015, when I moved from India to United States, I got the opportunity to be a part of a large Global CRM Transformation program. That’s when I almost stumbled my way into a career in Salesforce. Very soon I became the Subject Matter Expert for the CRM Business Processes that were to be built in Salesforce and the entire ecosystem with the integrations and associated apps.

I think that’s when my Journey in Customer Success began. I played Product Owner roles in various Salesforce implementations, including the ongoing development, optimization, and support of Salesforce. I also spent time doing change management, enablement, and adoption of the platform for end users in the organization.

In 2019, I officially switched to the Customer Success Manager role @DemandBlue. Since then, I have worked with a myriad of customers. My experience has been very enriching in terms of the variety of IT transformations, domains, apps and technologies that I have been fortunate to work with. It has been a very rewarding journey in terms of discovering my strengths in this career of Technology Leadership.

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

I believe it has been the decision to come and work in the United States and pursue a career in Salesforce, that has catapulted my career. The opportunities that I got in my career, as a woman leader of technology have been amazing. And obviously the decision to move forward as a Customer Success Manger, has been in line for what I envisioned for my career.

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

Being meticulous, organized, planning diligently, being nimble and laying a clear path for success for yourself and your team is critical for the success of any project or initiative.

Having a plan, a back up plan and a plan C, to make sure all paths lead to success is very important.

What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?

Working really hard to prove myself, breaking the barriers of cliched opinions about women has been the number one challenge. Dealing with people who think that women should simply do what they are told, won’t have an opinion, are not intelligent enough, initially took some time and patience to navigate through. It is very important to not get bogged down and just believe in yourself and your abilities.

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

My mom is my #1 mentor, she has always taught me to strive for excellence. It was her vision, her continuous encouragement that has helped me become what I am in my career and as a person today . She taught me how to work hard, how to be sincere at what I do & the meaning of being responsible.

I have had the opportunity of working with some great mentors , during the formative years of my career. These are the people who recognized my raw talent, showed tremendous confidence in my abilities, helped me hone my skills. I am thankful for their confidence in me and encouragement. Because it has helped me forge my career path every step of the way.

Mentors are invaluable for so many reasons. They are vitally important for the right guidance, helping you navigate through tough career calls and times when others don’t believe in you.

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

Be meticulous, stay focused, have realistic goals for yourself & stay accountable to your goals. Don’t judge yourself by the standards set by others, Create your own standards, compete with yourself. Figure out what you enjoy doing the most, figure out how to be efficient, and find your work life balance, understand the importance of your time, use it effectively.

What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?

A Gender neutral environment that is based on meritocracy and not driven by the fact that you are a man or a woman really important. Career progression should be purely based on talent and abilities of an employee and not their gender. Mentorship programs, leadership and career coaching programs are very important. Companies need to play fair, and judge people on their performances for what they are able to achieve in their normal working hours.

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

I hope to be able to build the stamina to lead and influence my teams by example. I want to mentor and support members of my team and help them navigate complex technology projects, by using frameworks & methodologies that work really well in my experience. Hopefully, help them be more efficient and reduce stress in their work life and offer my help wherever I can.

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

Increasing awareness about lifestyle diseases, and helping people manage them is a cause very close to my heart, since I have seen some really dear ones suffer from them. Eating right and spreading awareness about food choices are causes I really care about. It can go a long way into helping someone live a longer, healthier life.

When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?

DemandBlue joined Pledge 1% about 6 months ago. Dedicating 1% of our product, equity and employee time for the betterment of nonprofits, and making the community a key stakeholder in every community is really important for us. Demandblue has always been dedicated for this cause and by aligning our efforts with Pledge 1%, we are really excited to officially join this network of founders, entrepreneurs and companies around the globe that are committed to giving back. We have recently launched our official Non Profit Practice for Salesforce at DemandBlue to further our cause for the Non Profits as well.

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

I love to travel and I am a big foodie. I love to try out try out authentic local food in the places I visit. Love to paint, read books. I learnt to write in mirror images when I was young and I really enjoy doing that sometimes. Training myself to write in mirror images with my left hand when I get a chance.

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

Reading a book called Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari at the moment. It is a really interesting read on the evolution of our species. How homo sapiens survived and procreated and ultimately emerged the strongest race to survive the race of evolution. How the spread of the homo sapiens took them from Asia, from Siberia to Alaska, coming down the Bering strait, spreading into North America, Mexico and then South America. And in all of this, what an important role women have played in the evolution of mankind.

What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?

Don’t be shy to reach out to people. Frankly switching on your video during a meeting and encouraging others to do the same, helps build more effective relationships and reduce the distance one feels while doing remote work. Find your work life balance. Find time for yourself, have a schedule, find time to cook, run, spend time with your family, it’s not that bad after all, working from the comfort of your home!!