#gamechangersofGSD | Meet Brian Contratto!
Meet Brian, Solution Architect at GSD.
- I took a summer-long sabbatical last summer to drive 14,000 miles across the US and Canada prior to my wedding in California.
- I have an Entlebucher Mountain Dog named Eno who comes to work with me every day.
- I’m teaching myself to use DJ software so I can play gigs at weddings and parties for fun.
So, what do you do at GSD?
I’m a Solution Architect who works with our Sales and Delivery teams. For Sales, I’ll listen to the needs and ideas of prospective clients, and help devise a solution proposal that’s a combination of the right Salesforce (or other technology) products and GSD’s custom solutions. For Delivery, I give general advisement and review our consultants’ designs for challenging issues that our clients are facing using the Salesforce platform.
Why did you choose to work for GSD?
My first job out of college was with a much larger Salesforce consulting firm, and while I learned a lot there, the projects I was staffed on had extremely long timelines—sometimes over a year. So the pace of exposure wasn’t where I wanted to be. I did get the opportunity to work on some pro-bono consulting projects with nonprofits though, and saw how I could effect organizational change in just a matter of months for that smaller profile of client. That’s ultimately what I liked about GSD, and what kept me around. And although our client profile is growing larger and larger every year, I love the hands-on experience and problem solving that I’m tasked with. There are no boring days.
What would you do if you didn’t choose your career path?
If I hadn’t had undergraduate debt to pay off, I probably would have gone to law school after college. But in terms of my future career path, I’ve always dreamt of running a small cocktail bar somewhere in Brooklyn, and I still haven’t ruled it out.
What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
My husband and I are starting to buy supplies so we can build a custom sauna for our roof deck.
What is your most irrational fear?
Being trapped in the subway underground during rush hour— although, technically that’s not irrational given subway performance these days.
How did you get into Salesforce?
I connected with an alumna from my college at a career fair. Once I got the job, my first year as a Salesforce professional was a bit unorthodox I think — I was mainly working projects focused on Chatter enablement for federal agencies in Washington, D.C.
Who are you sitting closest to, and what is the best quality about that person?
I’m sitting next to our CEO Naushad, who is currently walking at a treadmill desk, which is a pretty on-the-nose metaphor for his overall persistence and capacity to work-work-work-work-work. His focus is really incredible.
If you could go back to your first day, what advice would you give yourself?
I would make sure I was consistently using a good project management/task management application.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with all that extra time?
Ideally, I would segue to a really tranquil place after the work day had wrapped up, pick up a pen and work more diligently at the novel that I have been attempting to write for the past 8 years.
If you could have the answer to any question, what would it be?
I’m really interested in the origin of language, and love the fact that there are over a half dozen prevailing theories, all of which are really speculative. It’s a fascinating problem in evolutionary anthropology, because our entire human conception of reality is built on a linguistic framework, so the origin of language question is another way to ask, “What does it mean to be human?”
What would you tell someone who’s thinking of applying for a job here?
I would encourage anyone with the following profile to apply to GSD: self-starter, looking for a fast-paced learning environment, exposure to all sorts of cool industries, and low-ego colleagues. My colleagues are all incredibly smart and hard-working, bar none.
What is your most unusual talent?
I was a competitive gymnast throughout my childhood. I trained about 20 hours per week year-round, so it was a pretty serious pursuit. I competed in an adult gymnastics league last year and did pretty well, so I guess it counts as a talent.