Lucy Sithole is a Salesforce Intern at TPG.

U.S. newspapers and the mainstream media may have glossed over the impending collapse of the Zimbabwean economy in 2008, but this was deeply personal to Climber Lucy Sithole. Sithole, having recently left her native Zimbabwe in search of educational opportunities in the U.S., watched from afar as her family’s commercial farming business collapsed, leading them to lose everything..

Lucy was forced to abandon her undergraduate studies in North Dakota due to the financial aftershock of the economic crisis. Lucy’s future suddenly became uncertain. “What followed in Zimbabwe was major political unrest and persecution that displaced my family, so going back there was not an option. I had to come up with a plan fast because I had no way to survive,” she said. Lucy felt the constant tension between the desire to complete her studies and the immediate need for income. True to her creative instincts, Lucy formulated a plan. Having previously worked in community healthcare in Zimbabwe, Lucy leveraged this experience to obtain every healthcare certificate she could get her hands on in order to secure employment at a local hospital.

Lucy (right) at the Nursing School Graduation Pinning Ceremony, Dakota College at Bottineau, 2017
Lucy (right) at the Nursing School Graduation Pinning Ceremony, Dakota College at Bottineau, 2017
Lucy (left) in North Dakota - Freshman Year at Dickinson State University, 2006
Lucy (left) in North Dakota – Freshman Year at Dickinson State University, 2006

After re-enrolling in a nursing degree program, Lucy began working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in rural North Dakota. During this time, feeling disheartened by the lack of qualified health workers in the communities she served, Lucy launched her own consulting firm that connected qualified staff with rural healthcare facilities in need. A client would ultimately give Lucy her first taste of Salesforce, by introducing her to the Health Cloud. Intrigued by the product’s functionality and impact, Lucy threw herself head-first into learning the CRM on her own, signing up for Trailhead modules and googling ways to further her SFDC training. Her Google search eventually led her to Climb Hire, where, after uprooting her life in North Dakota and moving to the Bay Area, she’d subsequently impact and touch the lives of 42 other trainees (and staff!), while putting herself on the path toward an upwardly mobile career. “Lucy exemplifies so many of Climb Hire’s values — whether it was working her multiple jobs in the healthcare industry, getting her five Salesforce Superbadges done on time, or passing her Admin exam — Lucy always stepped up to the plate,” says Jake Decker, Climb Hire’s Head of Technical Programs.

Lucy’s hard work and determination culminated in the ultimate reward: after a rigorous interview process and intense preparation, she landed a role in the Salesforce organization at TPG, a top global investment firm managing over $79 billion dollars in assets. Lucy will now sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the brightest minds in Finance — an industry that is taking renewed steps to address underrepresentation by minorities and people of color within its ranks. Lucy has overcome every obstacle with grace and persistence — she is the true epitome of Climb Hire’s mission and ideals. In her own words: “Earning the verbal offer from TPG for the Salesforce internship was, for me, the ultimate realization of the fruit of the hard work, community strength, and generosity that this program has provided me with. I am forever grateful.”

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