Frontiers’ volunteers: Salesforce skills at the Word Forest Organization

Journal manager Kelly Woods talks to us about how she's been using her expertise with Salesforce to support with the Word Forest Organization, a UK based charity that plants trees, builds classrooms, facilitates education, and supports a women’s empowerment group in Kenya.

What is your role at Frontiers?

“I am currently the Journal Manager for Frontiers in Psychiatry. Before that I was a Journal Development Specialist and a Research Topic Specialist before that! Now, I manage a team of four and liaise with the wider matrix team to ensure the journal continues to grow and secures quality content which is of interest to the psychiatric community.”

What’s your background and experience?

“My original plan was to become a scientific researcher but, after an internship at the Royal Society, I soon found that scientific publishing was for me! That internship put me on the first step of a career path that I had never really considered before, and I am sure assisted me in securing my first position at Frontiers.”

“Since joining Frontiers in 2017 I have worked on multiple journals and a number of side projects that have helped to expand my skill set. The biggest project I have been involved in was in setting up part of our Salesforce platform to be used by the Journal Development department. I never thought this would be something that would interest me but I loved it and this interest has continued to grow as I work on new developments for the platform.” 

“At Frontiers, we are encouraged to get involved in side projects that interest us,  and this helps us to contribute to our broader mission of achieving healthy lives on a healthy planet. For those of us in London, this is enabled by our collaboration with Ethical Angel, offering us the chance to give back and to develop new transferable skills in ways that may not relate directly to Frontiers or even to scientific publishing.”

What does the organization you volunteered for do?

“The Word Forest Organisation is a UK based charity that plants trees, builds classrooms, facilitates education, and supports a women’s empowerment group in Kenya. It also raises environmental awareness and plants trees in the UK too. Their vision is to:

  • Create nurseries and plant new trees on deforested land.

  • Construct and equip educational buildings in impoverished Kenyan communities.

  • Twin Kenyan schools with UK schools and reduce the environmental educational gap between them.

  • Encourage everyone to take more personal responsibility for keeping the planet healthy.

  • Share environmental wisdom and biocentric scientific data in respect of reforestation.

  • Empower community educators to raise awareness of forestry guardianship and wider environmental issues.

The following documentary gives a good insight into the activities of The Word Forest Organisation and how they are helping!

Kelly Woods, journal manager for Frontiers in Psychiatry

Why did you decide to take part in the volunteering program?

“I had learnt so much about working with Salesforce from the user side and I was interested to learn more about how this software is set up from the very beginning and rolled out across an organisation. This is how I started my search with Ethical Angel and I came across The Word Forest Organisation. I was very excited to be able to use the knowledge and skills I had gained at Frontiers and apply them to help a charitable organisation.”

Why did you choose this particular placement opportunity?

“It seemed as though what I was looking for and what the Word Forest Organisation needed were a perfect match. They had just got access to the no-for-profit version of Salesforce and were looking to begin setting it up for their needs - it was perfect timing! I got in touch via the Ethical Angel website and soon enough the CEO Tracey West reached out to me for a quick video chat. Her enthusiasm and passion for her organisation was and continues to be so infectious. She invited me to meet the wider team and they were all very welcoming and I really felt I could make a difference here with what I had learnt at Frontiers.”

Were you able to draw on your professional experience to contribute? If so, how?

“My experience with using Salesforce on a daily basis, as well as being involved in setting up the platform for use within the Journal Development team was pivotal to being able to advise the Word Forest Organisation team about how to set it up for their needs. I was able to draw on my knowledge about the basics of how Salesforce works to assist them with things they did not quite understand. I have regular meetings with Jo who is working to implement Salesforce and I assist her with any queries she has and offer advice about the different ways to achieve the desired impact. She comes with the understanding of the organisation and how they work and together we work to discover the best way to achieve the goal within Salesforce.”

What did you learn or take-away from the experience?

“Although my knowledge of Salesforce has been very useful, there are distinct differences between our corporate version and the not for profit version Word Forest Organisation uses - I have definitely learnt a lot! Also, it has given me much more insight into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work that our very own Salesforce team does each day to keep the platform running in the way we want it to. As well as all the development they must do to implement the new features we want. I do not have a software or coding background so this experience has definitely taught me a lot. I hope the Word Forest Organisation has benefitted from our collaboration as much as I have!”

“I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity as you never know what you might find and how you could help a great cause whilst also learning something new!”