Life at Fionta

Featured Fíontan:
Meet Sarah Irwin

You have worked in the Salesforce ecosystem since 2010. What is your biggest takeaway for nonprofits?  

The hardest part of implementing any new technology is not the technology itself but the people. Having organizational alignment, a decision-making structure, and a plan for change management is the most important thing for success.

Tell us a bit about what you did before you joined Fíonta. 

I’ve been in the Salesforce ecosystem for a long time! Before Fíonta, I worked in a similar role as a pre-sales director at a different Salesforce partner, and before that, I was a sales engineer for a Salesforce ISV partner. I began my career as a consultant for one of the original Salesforce partners, Bluewolf, where I traveled across the country, constantly being onsite with customers. It was grueling, but I learned a ton. I also met my husband there, onsite at a Salesforce client’s go-live.

Share a bit about a project you’ve worked on at Fíonta that is meaningful to you and why.

Since I work as the technical resource scoping deals in the sales process, I’m not on projects like most of our consultants. But I can say my favorite client I’ve worked with was AnitaB, a nonprofit that helps women in tech. One of my favorite parts about Fíonta is that it’s female-founded, and most of our employees are female, which is unusual in this industry. During a sales process call with Salesforce and a client, AnitaB, we realized everyone was a woman. For me, that was a special moment. I’ve been the only woman in the room for most of my career. 

How do you see your role at Fíonta evolving over the next year and beyond?

I’d love to see myself focusing more on developing industry demos or packaged accelerators for sub-verticals. We’re starting to do this for some implementations by deploying a “golden org” configuration to jumpstart builds. I believe Salesforce partners must have innovative industry solutions that complement Salesforce’s core product.

What does a day in the life of a solutions director look like?

Usually, there’s too much coffee! I do a lot of discovery calls with prospective customers and spend time thinking through creative ways to solve their problems. I’m fortunate to do what I do.

Which of Fíonta’s core value(s) strikes closest to home for you? Why?

I love all of them, but “do what’s right even when hard” resonates the most. Often, in sales, the easy thing to do is to tell customers what they want to hear. Being honest sometimes means we lose deals, which is rough. But I think about my past as a consultant and the importance of giving our team and the customer the best chance at success. 

What are your favorite things to do when you aren’t working? Hobbies, activities, passions?

I have two kids who are 2 and 6, so I don’t have much time for hobbies right now! We spend a lot of time together as a family exploring Atlanta, talking about Pokemon, and eating pizza. I love taking the kids to visit my family on the Jersey Shore, where I grew up near the beach. I’m also a runner – I try to run every morning because it helps clear my mind. I also bake when I have time – I’m eating heaps of pumpkin cookies right now.

Running indoors or outdoors?

Outdoors, of course

A weekend away or staycation?

Weekend away

Jersey Shore or Atlanta?

Ahh, this is tough. I have to choose the Jersey Shore. There’s nothing like living 10 minutes away from the beach. 

Fudge or salt water taffy?

Salt water taffy

Favorite nut butter?

Regular old Jiffy creamy peanut butter. Natural peanut butter is the worst.