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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

How This Engagement Delivery Manager Combines Her Passion for Giving Back With Her Love of Tech

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Tina Bensman, Engagement Delivery Senior Manager at Salesforce.
| Courtesy of Salesforce

Tina Bensman would be the first person to tell you that although she’s always loved to solve complex puzzles, she never would have pieced together her own career journey.

As a teenager growing up in the 1990s, Bensman was an unapologetic techie with a nose for business; she found great satisfaction in building websites, taking apart VCRs, and breaking open computers to learn how they worked. She also liked to record life moments, which led to one of her first business ventures: editing a video yearbook and selling the final product to her high school.

“I’ve always been focused on business, loved telling stories, and interested in dissecting puzzles,” she says. “At the same time, I had a deep curiosity about what makes people tick and why.”

As a college student, Bensman majored in psychology, but after realizing she got too entangled in other people’s emotions, she shifted her focus to film and video editing. After she graduated, she launched her own production company, working as an editor for a long-running TV show. But, after a while, that role began to feel too commercial and removed her strong desire to connect with people on a deeper level.

Ready for a career change, Bensman decided to open a wellness center, where she could help people start a journey of self-healing.

“It was the best of both worlds because I could work individually with people, empowering them to do self-work catered to their unique needs,” she says.

In addition to 1:1 counseling, Bensman handled the behind-the-scenes website design, programming, general management, HR, purchasing, marketing, and workshop development. After an amazing eight years, she knew it was time to move on to the next chapter, but she didn’t think that her eclectic work history would attract potential employers.

“When I closed the wellness center, I felt very depressed, defeated, and fearful that I wouldn’t be hirable because my resume was so random and bizarre,” she says.

Fortunately, after updating her LinkedIn tagline to reflect the tech role she was aiming for, Bensman was contacted by a Salesforce recruiter about an open role. Despite her doubts, she pushed past her imposter syndrome and applied for this promising opening—and Bensman not only landed an interview but the job, too.

Today, she’s the Engagement Delivery Manager at Salesforce, where she’s able to dig into her tech curiosity and cultivate meaningful relationships with team members, internal leaders, and external stakeholders.

Here, Bensman shares what excites her about her role, why she values the company’s culture of giving back, and practical advice for those who want to pursue a tech career.

What attracted you to Salesforce, and how did you know the company would be a good fit?

After joining Salesforce, I reached out to the recruiter and asked what she saw in my employment history that made her reach out to me. She said she knew I’d be a good fit because of my career path. I could handle a variety of tasks as a leader, find solutions, and connect with people. I was so focused on specific job titles and experience, that I didn’t realize that I could be seen for my skills alone.

After working for only a couple of weeks, I felt that I had found the perfect fit. The company values blew my mind, and the work was fulfilling. It allowed me to embrace my techie brain and have the opportunity to connect empathetically with customers and my project teams.

What are your core responsibilities as an engagement delivery manager, and why does this work excite you?

Engagement delivery is a fancy way to say project manager within the Professional Services organization of Salesforce. Businesses that use Salesforce products work with the Professional Services team if they want help solving, building, or managing their unique setup in the various Salesforce clouds. My expertise is primarily in Marketing Cloud.

On the base level, I’m responsible for the health of any service projects that come my way, which includes keeping on track with the budget, managing the project scope and schedule, and fulfilling team members’ needs to ensure that our clients get what they need to succeed.

But what energizes me the most is putting the puzzle together and keeping it together so everyone, not just the client, can be successful.

We understand that you’re involved in Salesforce’s pro bono program, which allows employees to directly support nonprofit organizations based on their skills and passions. Why did you decide to become a volunteer, and what did the process look like?

While I was finishing up film school, I worked at a nonprofit media company that gave a voice to women and minority groups by teaching them to tell their stories. Seeing the inner workings of a nonprofit gave me so much respect for the hard work that goes into maintaining them. It’s a constant struggle to stay afloat and “prove worth” to receive grants. You have very little time or energy to learn new skills or uplevel systems.

Lending out my tech or management experience was a no-brainer. Not only does it feel wonderful to help someone, but it makes a difference to so many who reap the benefits of the changes you helped make happen.

I have been a part of two pro bono projects at Salesforce so far. My first project involved The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which was looking to build a system to automatically display all qualifying multiple sclerosis (MS) events to their email subscribers. I have MS, so it was a perfect fit! I worked with them to manage, build, and deliver that solution.

The second project was the AI for Impact Accelerator, an internal ​​group of employees that helps the company’s nonprofit grant recipients implement AI technology for free. In that case, I saw a call for volunteers via Slack and instantly applied. The Accelerator team reviewed the applications, interviewed, and made the selections.

When you volunteered as a project manager for the AI for Impact team, you helped to deliver a time- and resource-saving AI bot for CodePath, an organization dedicated to providing accessible tech education and career resources for Black, Latino/a, Indigenous, and low-income students. Why does Codepath’s mission resonate with you?

I cried when I first read CodePath’s mission statement. (I cried when I wrote this next paragraph, too—I'm a sap!)

I have an immense empathy for feeling unseen; it directly touches my heart. Everyone deserves to be seen for who they are and the minds and hearts they bring to the table. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for so many because opportunities are harder to come by. Opportunity is everything.

CodePath is one example of a company that sees people, their minds, and their passions, allowing them the opportunity to shine.

What was the most rewarding part about the work you did for Codepath? What valuable lessons or skills did you take away from this experience?

Just knowing that we could make the day easier for the people that work there, and, in turn, how that helps their students…and the downstream effect that happens because more underrepresented people are in the tech workforce—it was life-changing.

How does Salesforce’s pro bono program reflect the company’s overall culture and values?

Salesforce walks the walk. It’s easy for companies to say, “We care about giving back,” but it’s another thing to also provide your employees with an endless supply of opportunities and resources to do the work.

Additionally, we have paid volunteer time off and managers, as well as teams, that commend you for volunteering… This program proves that giving back is embedded in the Salesforce culture.

What advice would you give to those striving to pursue a career in the B2B tech industry? What skills do candidates need to thrive at Salesforce and in their careers?

If you’re drawn to tech, I think it’s one of the easiest careers to pursue. There are many free programs and tutorials online that can teach you code of any kind. That’s how I learned. 

There are many roles at Salesforce, so the specific skills vary. Being a self-starter, caring about outcomes, and having a desire to innovate are important. Specifically, there are Salesforce certifications for Sales, Service, and Marketing Clouds. Employees are encouraged to earn a variety of certs, so if you come to the table with them, it’s a huge bonus.

Most importantly, you just have to go for it! If you have imposter syndrome or believe you don’t have the chops, that’s OK. That’s just a protective part of yourself that’s worried. Don't ignore it. Instead, ease your anxiety by saying, “Thank you for always trying to protect me,” and then apply anyway.

An acclaimed director wants to make a movie about your life, and you’re in charge of casting the lead actress. Who would you pick, and why?

I’ve never been able to answer this kind of question, so I bugged my closest friends for help. They came up with a perfect blend of Anna Kendrick (down to earth with an edge), Kristin Chenoweth (a ball of energy who sings), and Sarah Silverman (wacky, witty humor). I agree!