When I hear “Salesforce”, my first instinct isn’t to think of objects, formulas, or automation. It’s the commmunity, the Ohana. I, like many others wouldn’t be where I am today without our adopted Salesforce family that spans across the globe, breaking down barriers where they may exist in other industries.
My first Salesforce “event” ever was an annual large user group meeting for the Philadelphia developer group (PhillyForce), and frankly, it was the most important event of my life. It was there that I was introduced to a staffing company who got me my first full fledged admin role, where I focus on Salesforce 100% of my day. Through that experience, I was taught the true value of community for the first time in my life.
From that point forward, in every conversation with everyone I have mentored I asked the same questions “have you been to any user groups”, “are you on twitter or the success community”, “whats your schedule like during ______” (insert month a large community event is happening)?
Lets take a second to understand the types of community lead events out there:
Official Salesforce User Groups : these are groups created and ran by users and registered officially with Salesforce. There are so many “official” user groups by a mileage radius (as a bird flies), and are typically supported with meetup groups, swag, etc. Official groups can range from specific interest groups such as non profit, developer, admin, higher ed, women in tech and more.
Unofficial User Groups (the rebels!): These groups are formed outside the jurisdiction of Salesforce’s limitations (distance, for one), for various reasons. These groups also may include content like admin, dev, non profit, higher ed as well, but may be more focused like co-working groups, or Salesforce Saturday(I heard there’s a great one in South Jersey , hint hint). These events are 100% created, run, and funded by the user group.
Community Multi-Day Events: these events were originally started by a group of users who couldn’t make it to Dreamforce for one reason or another, and wanted to bring a Dreamforce like event to them. Thus, the large community events, now nicknamed ‘Dreamin’ events began to sprout up. These, like the unofficial user groups, are typically 100% self funded (but typically funded through sponsorships), and are typically a 1-2 day smaller and more intimate way to get connected with your local Ohana to learn more about the platform and form life long relationships. These events have become so popular that they have now spanned the globe!!
Which one is best? ALL of them. But if your wallet cries “shame” or your company won’t sponsor your travel, start with the local user groups. You can find them on the success community for the official groups by clicking the preferred “region” on the left, as well as the SalesforceGroups community that allows all groups to post events (created and managed by CRM Science).
If you do have the ability to attend larger community events this year, two events, in particular stand out to me the most. First and foremost, the WITness Success event on August 11-12 in Chicago is a Women In Tech event, focused on the Salesforce platform. This is a groundbreaking event for the Salesforce ecosystem as it will be (to my knowledge) the first multi-day event for women in the Salesforce world. What a great part of history to be a part of. Women and allies one and all, this event is NOT one to be missed, to please attend!
Last, but certainly NOT least is Mid-West Dreamin. from August 10-11 in Chicago. This is the largest community ran multi-day event in the Salesforce ecosystem, and frankly, I have heard the best stories from MWD. Not to say the other events aren’t great too, because they are, but MWD has had quite a few tear jerker stories (the good kind) come out of it then I can recall. So many great relationships formed and great stories told.
Wait….what? Midwest Dreamin and WITness Success are back to back? So well then, what are you waiting for? DO BOTH!!!! One plane ticket, 2 events, MOAR OHANA!
In closing, thank you to all of the awesome community members out there that want nothing more then to connect, inspire, and make others successful. You all are truly what makes this community unrivaled in any industry, anywhere.