“Always leave things better than you found them…especially people” – Henry Cloud
Ryan Dube, Senior Salesforce Consultant at CloudSmiths, believes that success is an ecosystem, and that inspiration and opportunity should be nurtured, especially when found in unexpected places. In his own words: “If someone gives you an opportunity at something outside of what you want to do, take the opportunity, learn from it, and then realign that back to your aspirations later on.” With this attitude, it is no wonder that he found a natural home in the CloudSmiths culture of proactive, organic mentoring and tutoring.
Ryan is a go-to person who wears many hats and is often called upon to handle difficult client engagements. His position as Senior Salesforce Consultant is a multi-faceted role: “I am responsible for configuration and implementation, engagement management, business analysis, and advisory,” he explains. But his career path was by no means straight or easy; rather, Ryan forged his success from hard work and blending sometimes unlikely work experiences.
Going into software was not part of Ryan’s original game plan. After attending school in Zimbabwe where he grew up, he moved to South Africa to play rugby. He played for the under-21 Blue Bulls when he attended the University of Pretoria and then started training with the Lions when he attended the University of Witwatersrand.
During a rugby match, Ryan suffered a fractured skull, ending his promising rugby career; and inadvertently kickstarting the journey that would lead him to CloudSmiths, where he thrives today.
After the injury, he joined a small software company. “It was a small company, where you had to wear many hats. In retrospect, I think this set me on the path of being able to play multiple roles, because that was my introduction to software. I did not know it at the time, but through having to deal with clients as well, I developed good interpersonal skills.” He also ascribes the mastery of being versatile in the workplace to what he learnt here.
From Fusion Software, Ryan went on to Sage, where he worked for 6 years. “Once again, like at CloudSmiths, I took on a number of roles, which gave me more exposure to software and client interaction.”
Ryan makes sure that he learns as much as he can and moves forward from any experience that feels like a setback. “For example, if I didn’t get a position that I wanted, I’d make sure that I found out what I needed to do to be successful next time. When there were tough times with clients, or when allocated work that I perhaps wouldn’t have chosen as part of the job, I just put my head down and gave it my best. I looked at what I could take from the experience and later on, applied it to new work situations,” he explains.
Just before he joined CloudSmiths, Ryan lived through the uncertainty of 3 months without work. He describes this as a setback even worse than the injury that cost him his rugby career. But once again, his resilience and can-do attitude carried him through this difficult period.
Ryan credits this virtue to his father, a mineworker who worked himself up to management level – a very difficult feat for a black man at that time – and so gained the means to put his children through private school; to his older brother, who was the first black head-boy at the junior school they both attended, and the second black head-boy at the high school. “If there is an opportunity to progress, you take it. Your attitude is the only thing you have control over. Once you change your attitude, you start seeing things in a completely different way, and you start seeing opportunities that you previously would have missed.”
Towards the end of his time at Sage, Ryan was introduced to Salesforce, and immediately knew that he wanted to pursue this line of work. He joined CloudSmiths to gain experience with and learn about Salesforce, and his career took off from there. “Everything I asked for from a career perspective CloudSmiths has just laid before me, and I’m really grateful for that. Having worked for other companies, I know that this is not normal – it does not happen often that a company actually listens to you and supports you in this way.”
Not only has Ryan been professionally inspired by the work ethic, openness, and support of the CloudSmiths leadership the culture of diversity and inclusion emanating from this leadership have allowed him to be open in return. “Before, I never felt I could be myself at work – I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my personal life, but at CloudSmiths from very early on, I felt I could be myself and share of myself,” he says, and continues: “When you are surrounded by people who are continually progressing, it happens naturally that you start progressing as well.”
In his personal life, Ryan’s wife and children are his biggest source of inspiration.
Ryan is a big-picture person, and technology for him is a means to improve people’s lives: “I see myself as a Pan-African. One of my goals is to catapult Africa forward with technology, to encourage African businesses to use software such as Salesforce to move forward quicker, by eliminating the manual processes and so be able to drive the same efficiency as companies in the US and UK.”