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“It is our customers that give our work a meaning” – Miya Serenius helps Sofigate’s non-profit customers to get the best out of Salesforce

Sofigate’s team lead and Salesforce expert Miya Serenius switched from working at a non-profit to working for non-profits. Now she gets to utilize her long experience from the community sector and deep understanding of both business and technology to help Sofigate’s non-profit Salesforce customers.

Miya Serenius’ livelihood has revolved around non-profit organisations ever since she first graduated. She has worked most of her career at the Finnish branch of Plan International, a global non-profit advocating to children’s rights. Actually she was even part of the initial team thatestablished the organisation’s presence in Finland.

Her career at Sofigate is a natural continuation to this. With us she helps our non-profit customers streamline their fundraising and sponsorship business with Salesforce and leads a team of our non-profit Salesforce experts.

“Leading a career at non-profits was a coincidence but it has grown to be an important part of my work identity. I am really happy that at Sofigate I’ve been able to continue working with the same industry. At my current position I get to see how various non-profit organisations operate and above all I get to utilize my competence in helping them reach their goals.”

Salesforce is a customer relationship management software (CRM) that gathers the organisation’s customer and sales related data into one platform. With non-profit organisations it is used for enabling digital fund-raising with different payment methods, for example.

An opportunity to combine existing competences with learning something new

Miya’s educational background is in economics and business administration. However, she says that she has never actually worked on her own field. At her previous job Miya progressed from leading sponsorship and fund-raising activities to at first leading CRM and eventually the whole IT department.

“I’m a Master of Sciences in Economics and Business Administration. When my work expanded to cover IT I thought it would be convenient to get another degree from information technology.”

At Sofigate Miya gets to combine all of her competence areas: business, technology and a deep understanding of the community sector.

The opportunity to work with Sofigate presented itself to Miya at the best possible time. She had just finished her IT studies and felt she was at a turning point in her career. In addition to the opportunity to use her acquiredknowhow, Miya was drawn to our status as a growth company.

“It really suits me. I’m definitely not afraid of doing new things and at Sofigate we are constantly doing something new. I fit better in an organisation that is in progress than one that is already routined in its processes.”

“A consultant needs to have insight and at Sofigate I have learned to trust mine”

Something new illustrates Miya’s path at Sofigate quite well. Although the community sector and different CRM systems were familiar to her, both Salesforce and a role as a consultant were not.

“Of course I got an intensive course on Salesforce when I started. It gave me a good base but Salesforce is a really extensive application. It takes years of experience to master it. Even after more than two years I still learn new things about it which makes my work both  interesting and rewarding.”

Miya describes her growth from an in-house expert into a consultant as a steep curve. She’s grateful that shewas given responsibility and clients from the getgo as executing projects has been fruitful for both her Salesforce experience and her self-confidence.

“A consultant needs to have insight and at Sofigate I have learned to trust mine. I know I can benefit our clients.”

The clients with whom Miya works with span from smalllocal organisations with a couple of employees to globalnon-profits that everyone knows. She has also customers that have been with her literally since the day on.

“My first day at Sofigate was really memorable. I started at 9 in the morning and had a first meeting with a customer already at 10. It was exciting and I felt really good afterwards. And I‘m still working with that very same customer!”

Non-profit customers offer challenges that connect a whole team

In addition to customer work, Miya is a team lead for Sofigate’s team of experts working with both non-profits and Salesforce. Her team is an exception among other Salesforce teams. All the team members work only with customers from one industry, the non-profit sector, whereas other Salesforce teams work with various industries. This adds a certain synergy to the team.

“Most of our team work remotely and some of us live outside Helsinki, where our homebase is, but we all come to the office at least once a week to work together. And of course, we have team days with both our own team and with other Salesforce teams. I feel it is really important for us to actually meet each other in person.”

Forming a team around an industry makes sense when it comes to non-profits because the customers differ from company customers in several aspects. Miya knows the non-profit sector and the context well.

“The projects usually have strict budgets and the customers less internal resources. This means that we need to take a bigger role and manage our work well.”

But the challenging side of the work doesn’t seem that hard when the work itself feels meaningful. Miya says she feels content every time she has managed to solve a problem for the customer and made their work easier.

“It is our customers that give our work a meaning. I always feel good when a client is happy with the outcome and even better when a new client tells us that she’s come to us based on a recommendation.”

About the interviewee

Name: Miya Serenius

Title at Sofigate: Senior Advisor, Non-Profit Team Lead

Age: 52

Education: Business and IT

Work history: Long career at a global non-profit

My superpower at work: Broad understanding of both business and the technology behind it.

The most important thing I’ve learned this year: The significance of rest and self-compassion.