Gemma Emmett

I graduated in 2005 with a degree in Business Information Systems from the University of Northampton.

I started off working in reporting roles, first for an exam board, then an airline, and finally with an international credit risk agency, where I was given administrative responsibility for their CRM system, a fairly young platform called Salesforce. After 18 months or so, I decided that I really loved working with this online system and decided to go consulting. Over the following 8 years, I worked on implementing Salesforce at a variety of companies large and small. As the sector grew, so did the complexity of the projects, and so did my level of experience and certification. Just as I was starting to become known as a trusted expert, I had my first interruption. A stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis, a week before my wedding and 4 months before my 30th birthday.

A year of treatment followed – months of chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy – until I was told the immediate threat had passed. I carried on working throughout most of it, because it gave me a welcome distraction. But my soap opera life wasn’t done with me yet. My marriage broke down, but my career went from strength to strength, culminating in arriving where I am now and taking a role as a solution architect to design Salesforce and integrations with other systems. Now that cancer had been dealt with, and in an effort to prove myself a credible practitioner, I decided to start strengthening my personal credentials through certification. 10 years of experience in Salesforce stood me in good stead to get from 5 certifications to 16 within a 3-month period. As I completed each exam, I started blogging tips and pointers from each experience, so that others could benefit from the insight as they also pursued their studies.

The only problem was, I noticed, there weren’t many other women in my position who were tackling some of the more difficult exams. Where WAS everybody? Ladies Be Architects was born. This opened doors for me within IBM, within the thriving Salesforce community and started to give new experiences. Winning the coveted Golden Hoodie award. Winning a TechWomen 100 award. Speaking at Salesforce’s annual conference in San Francisco four times. Having people all over the world read and share my blog posts. And then, last year, I had the news that we hadn’t got all of the breast cancer out. It had come back. So, I had a few months off to recover from a double mastectomy with reconstruction before bouncing back.