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Fit for Business Lead Shabnam Ahmad wins Salesforce Community Champion Award

April 22, 2022
Shabnam Ahmad

Congratulations to Ted Rogers School of Management’s Shabnam Ahmad for receiving the Community Champion Award at the 2022 Salesforce Higher Education Summit, external link, opens in new window

Ahmad is the lead for Fit for Business (FFB), a transition program designed exclusively for first-year Ted Rogers School students, empowering them with a community and a path to achieve academic, career and personal success. The Community Champion Award is given to an individual who consistently demonstrates thought leadership, innovation in transparency and inclusive collaboration, and dedication to the Salesforce Education community. Ahmad, who is a Ted Rogers School graduate (Law & Business, 2014), was the only Canadian finalist and winner of this award since its creation in 2019.

“I am so happy for Shabnam as she is very deserving of Salesforce’s Community Champion Award. This award is a testament to the innovative nature of the FFB program, and the incredible impact it has had," says Dr. Al Goss, Associate Dean, Students. 

“If you talk to our students, you know the difference the program has made in their transition into university.  And none of it happens without recognizing the power of technology to amplify Shabnam’s efforts and have that impact in a school with over 2,500 first-year students,” he adds. “It would not have been possible without Shabnam recognizing and embracing the Salesforce platform, and I am thrilled that she is being recognized for all of her work.” 

Salesforce is a customer relationship management tool that assists in building connection and responsiveness to community needs.

During the pandemic when students were going through their first year completely online and were studying from around the world, building a sense of community was a challenge, and more important than ever. The foundation of FFB is the TedPack - a cohort of students that have the same courses in their first term to help build a sense of community. Ahmad built on the TedPack structure by designating first-year students as TedPack Leaders and adding senior students to each group as TedPack Mentors.

In addition, through a personalized weekly FFB email – one centralized channel exclusive to first-year students – students receive communication on everything needed to navigate their first year. To encourage first-year students to take advantage of the services and unique offerings available, the FFB program rewards them with TedPoints for engaging beyond the classroom.

Under Ahmad’s leadership, the FFB team leveraged Salesforce, Marketing Cloud and Tableau to make data-informed decisions, and engaged over 70% of unique first-year students with 30,000+ hours of engagement beyond the classroom during the year of launch (2020-2021). The team also implemented a streamlined communication strategy with Marketing Cloud to keep students informed and achieved a 72% average email open rate, which is two times higher than the current industry average.

“I’ve always been a big believer in making data-informed decisions to continuously enhance the student experience. And since launching FFB in 2020, we’ve been able to do that with the power of Salesforce, Marketing Cloud and Tableau,” says Ahmad. “This award is an incredible reminder of the growth and impact of FFB on our student community.”

To learn more about the FFB program, you can read their recently released Impact Report, external link.