The first ever South Jersey Salesforce Saturday launched successfully on 1/28 with only small hiccups (barely noticeable). Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and the event went smoothly (whew).
The planning process went something like this:
- Choosing a Venue
Between a library meeting space (free), and a restaurant (not free), I went with a library for our first event. The space was quiet, and more intimate and I felt it was necessary to get to know everyone without distraction.
- Choosing A Room Size
This one gave me serious agita (you can thank my late italian grandmother for that one). One room was max 6, other was max 15 but minimum 6. Several folks told me to expect a 50% show rate for a first event with an expected turnout of 4-5 people. So, as to not irritate my local library if it was a no show, I picked the smaller room thinking i’d probably have a hard time filling it anyway (hahahaha)
- Event Registration
I went with Eventbrite for registration/rsvp’s since I needed to keep track of head count. Once I had the event up, I broadcasted on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, not expecting much. Folks suggested with a max room size of 6, to set the max registrations at 12 and expect a 40-50% show rate. Well, let’s say that was a little aggressive….
- Open registration
Within a few days I had 12 registrations and a waitlist of 5 more people. Yup. Night terrors and night sweats, all of it.
- Over Capacity…PANIC!!
The room held 6. I had 12 confirmations, a waitlist of 3-5 people, and 2 newbies that wanted to get into the Salesforce ecosystem (those folks are VIP’s imho). After some fancy footwork of setting a deadline to confirm registration and attempts to reach people who hadn’t confirmed, I got the list down to 6. Whew.
- DIDNT GET THE CONFIRMATION EMAIL…MORE PANIC!
Some folks got back to me when their tickets were cancelled for not responding within the deadline to confirm saying that they never got the emails from Eventbrite other than the original registration confirmation. Sigh. That alone added 2 more people to the event…now we were 8, and assuming I would have 1-2 show up out of the blue, 9 maybe 10. Ensue anxiety….again.
- Begging, Pleading, and Showtime
Donuts and coffee purchased for the group, I trudged into the library like I owned the place (or a very small room for 2 hours). I spoke to the service desks to find out details if we had more than 6 show up (max capacity). Due to “fire code” I couldn’t have more than 6, but was never told no (sort of). Luckily, due to what I assume was a look of equal parts sadness and pure terror, we were able to book an “overflow” room in the event that security displaced us. Then it was showtime!
We started (mostly) on time, and had a very successful event. We had a room slightly bigger than a large office with a table/chairs and whiteboard, and was big enough so we weren’t tripping over one another. There were a total of 8 registered attendees and 1 random showing that didn’t register, but all were welcome.
Even though I would like all of the South Jersey #SalesforceSaturday events to be a semi-open agenda, our first event started with one. The event began with laying out the 3 focuses for every South Jersey Salesforce Saturday meeting.
Education . Collaboration . Inspiration
Education – educate one another in all things Salesforce. The platform(s), the community, career opportunities, best practices, and more. Knowledge is power.
Collaboration – working together to produce a positive result whether as simple as a Trailhead project(or difficult…grrr to the LEX Super Badge!), or as complex as a pro bono implementation. We are stronger together.
Inspiration– inspire one another to find ways to give back 1% of your time such as mentorship, volunteerism, and more. Changing one life even in the slightest changes the world.
I went around the room having everyone introduce themselves and answer 5(6) questions.
- Who are you?
- Where do you work?
- What do you do with Salesforce?
- What are your long term goals within the ecosystem, what role would you like?
- What do you hope to acheive out of the group
Finally, what is 1 lesser known fact about you? We discovered we had a wide range of skill and expertise including non profits, for profit, developers, admins, and consultants. A great mix to start! After the short introductions and laying out the focus of the group, I opened up the meeting and encouraged everyone to chat, network, work, whatever worked for them. Everyone had a chance to talk and learn about one another, it was a great scene to witness.
There was a point where I stood in the corner and just kind of “took it all in”. I didn’t specifically listen to any one conversation, just the white noise and enjoyed positive energy. Seeing people of all skill levels from different “corners” of Salesforce, and even some that are just hearing about it, was a great feeling that I can’t put into words, and when the group members thanked me for setting up the group, watching the magic happen at only the first event was thanks enough.
Thank you all for a successful first event, I look forward to our next gathering on 2/25!