Salesforce MVP “Alum” : End of the Road?

It’s that time of year again, when the Salesforce MVP nominations and renewals are announced for the year. Every year since i’ve had the honor of being an MVP, I noticed that the day after nominations there was a flood of social media posts. Many are very positive and congratulatory, some, not so much, but i’ll reserve my opinions on that.

I’ve never much been one to chase rank and title, as i’ve always felt you should be judged by deeds and actions rather than title and wealth. In 2016 when I entered the Salesforce ecosystem, I was inspired by the MVP’s, and so many reached out to help me when I was learning, and i’ll never forget that. I had hoped that one day I could be in a position in my career to have enough time and knowledge to give back , and when I was able, I did, and still do.

He may not know this, nor will he probably ever read this, but my first Dreamforce was in 2016. At the time, I was reading a lot of the (David Liu) blog, and was inspired by it. When David spoke at Dreamforce, there was a moment he sat on the stage, put his head down(i have a picture!), looked up, and said “this is everything coming full circle for me”. I could see the joy on his face being able to inspire a crowd of people that came because of his journey and through his selfless giving back of knowledge to the community. I wanted to do THAT, and have THAT feeling, but all the time. No amount of money, or rank, or title could bring that.

But as I was honored with being recognized as an MVP in 2017, I committed to myself that it wouldn’t change anything I was doing, and would just ‘keep on keepin on’. And now, looking back on that moment, it reminds me of the phrase ‘Memento Mori’. For those of you that know me well, know I enjoy learning about history and ancient traditions. So to bring a little education to this post, in the times of ancient Rome, the triumphant military generals were paraded through the streets to the roars of the masses. The procession could span hours, and there was not a more coveted honor. The general was idolized and viewed as divine by troops and the public alike, but riding in the same chariot was someone who would continously whisper in the general’s ear “Respice post te. Hominem te esse memento. Memento Mori!”, which translates in english to “Look behind. Remember thou art mortal. Remember you must die!”

Memento Mori is a constant reminder of the frailty of life, and that adoration is fleeting. I’ve carried various trinkets on me for many years as a constant reminder of that.

This year, I was not renewed as an MVP, however, was named an MVP “Alum” for life. So what is that, you ask? Stay tuned to more official wording on it from Salesforce, but it more or less means I have served 5 years as an MVP, and the new Alum program is to allow new MVPs to have their time while the past MVP’s can be honored for their past efforts and continued support.

Now, some people may think that this is the “end of the road”. No, in fact, its just taking an exit ramp off the highway. You’re still driving and headed in the same direction, youre just taking a road less traveled to blaze a new trail.

When I got this news, I was a bit confused at what it was, since its a new program. But after some reflection, I realized how much I have to be thankful for because of the MVP program.

I grew up in a low income family, parents worked 2 jobs each, walked both ways up hill, no shoes, and in snow, and had very little. Ok so maybe the no shoes and snow part is a lie. But, I did grow up with very little, and struggled early in my adult life. Did I struggle more than others? Absolutely not. But I came into this ecosystem leaving a miserable sales career on the verge of bankruptcy, and utterly miserable about my life. Salesforce was the last ditch effort to have some sort of hope, and when folks from the MVP community reached out that hand to pick me up and guide me, it changed everything.

Even when I was recognized as an MVP in 2017, I still had little to no money, not much experience, and not as much direction, but I did have a LOT of ambition. The MVP program allowed me to give back, but also allowed me to have access to a lot of training and certification opportunities, the opportunity to attend events I would have previously not been able to afford, and so much much more. Being an MVP, when I was awarded with things (in non mvp contests) that I had no need for, it allowed me to be able to gift it to someone who needed it such as certification vouchers, event passes, etc.

With that said, I owe my career to the Salesforce Community and the MVP program, and I owe my contentment and happiness to those who i’ve been able to mentor and see grow.

So as I now sit here as an “MVP Alum” and can now thankfully ignore the renewal process for MYSELF annually (who wants to write a review on yourself?), I have nothing but gratitude. I’m very grateful to have served the community, humble to have been able to enjoy the benefits, and eager to see where this new road less traveled takes me.

In closing, to circle back to ‘rank and title’, I leave you with a quote that has always helps ground me. This is a speech given by a fraternal order that i belong to, when one of our members passes away. Some may consider this gloomy, but again, its a reminder of what matters in life, and helps keep you grounded.

“What are all the externals of human dignity, the power of wealth, the dreams of ambition, the pride of intellect, or the charms of beauty, when Nature has paid her just debt ? Fix your eyes on this scene and view life stripped of its ornaments, and you must be persuaded of the utter emptiness of these delusions. At the grave, the scepter of the prince and the staff of the beggar are laid side by side. There all fallacies are detected, all ranks are leveled and all distinctions are done away.”

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