Most of my posts are centered around (what I feel is) humor mixed into goofy gifs and pictures. This one will be a bit more serious.
May 4, 2016
I went to my first PhillyForce annual event, which was also my first Salesforce event and my first tech event. After spending 10 years in sales, I couldn’t wait. I wasn’t yet Salesforce certified, and had only started learning on the admin side of the platform 3 months prior using Trailhead and other outlets.
I was blown away after hearing the history of Salesforce (back to the Sforce) from Mike Kreaden, about the developer community from Mary Scotton, and great presentations from so many others. I took what felt like 100 pages of notes, and had no idea what I was seeing or how I would use my notes in my job (to date I still can’t find those notes).
What I do remember was thinking I only knew one guy in the room, Alex Sutherland. The guy who took time to reach out to me on the PhillyForce message boards when I was just some guy asking where to find training to become an admin and leave a career in sales behind. He took the time to read every long email I sent him when he opened the dialogue (sorry again, Alex), and responded to each one to put me in the right direction.
I had yet to meet Alex in person and was nervous, as I really owed him a great debt for taking the time to point me in the right direction. Regardless, I still eventually introduced myself and chatted for only a few moments. I didn’t know what to talk about since I barely knew anything at all about Salesforce, or really anything that was discussed that day. I just knew I wanted to keep investing my most valuable asset..time.
ONE YEAR LATER
May 3, 2017
Now a 3x Certified Salesforce Professional (Admin, App Builder, Sales Cloud Consultant) with a full time Admin role, I was asked by my Salesforce Account Executive to speak on a panel at the Salesforce Your Playbook For Growth session at Philly Tech Week. The panel consisted of two other business leaders heavily involved with the Salesforce platform.
I was nervous when I arrived and like the first PhillyForce, I didn’t know anyone, but that didn’t last long. I was introduced to several Salesforce customers who were new to the platform, and was introduced as the “expert”. I’m far(very far) from an expert, but I was flattered to be called one and answered whatever questions I could before we were asked to take our seats for the panel.
Upon taking the stage, we were asked questions about how technology helps our businesses achieve our goals, enhance communication, improve productivity and provide better customer experiences, with a great Q&A at the end. I was able to answer both business related questions as well as Salesforce/technical questions and share best practices and what worked for us.
The first time I took the mic, I saw Alex in the audience (and a few others I met over the years blended in eventually), and my brain took a quick trip to the same week a year prior thinking about the large volume of notes I took and will never see again, and Mary Scotton talking about code (which I still don’t understand, but im getting there) and lightning.
Everything had come full circle. Alex took the time to help me and get me started as I sat in the audience for his event in 2016. Now he’s sitting in my audience for a Salesforce event I was an “expert” at, and now i’m running my own user group (South Jersey Salesforce Saturday), heavily involved in the community, and paying it forward through mentoring others.
The moment was surreal. I know he wasn’t there specifically for me, but I felt like a kid at their first school play. A sense of pride, confidence, and very thankful.
Thank you Alex Sutherland and those of you in the Salesforce community that work every day to change lives.