I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Amber Boaz

This is the eleventh post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.)  Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce Salesforce MVP, Amber Boaz.

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What’s your job title? Project Manager, Code Science

What does that mean you do? I manage projects. I wrangle developers, designers, and clients. I keep projects on time and under budget while beating back scope creep. I schedule conference calls which I begin with “who just joined?” I nag about timecards and expense reports. I deliver value for my clients.  (EFD – “Who just joined?” – Three of the most often said words. “I deliver value” – Three words more people should say when describing what they do!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? Since 2008. (EFD – That’s just a year longer than me.)

Bacon or sausage?  Eww…a pork product? No thank you!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  Not sure that’s an “either/or” thing. It’s a combo. You have to know who to talk to, but then you’ve got to be competent in the conversation. (EFD – Ah…the combo! Is that kind of like the Progressive Insurance bundle?)

How did our relationship start, and when? I don’t remember, but I’m sure it was epic! (EFD – Hmmm…I don’t remember for sure either, which makes me wonder how epic it could have been. It could have been totally forgettable, or so awesomely EPIC that we have blocked it from our memory. Either way, I’m thrilled to know you!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? Myers-Briggs says I’m an Introvert. (EFD – Wait, what? You just defined oxymoron! You know, things like Jumbo Shrimp, Honest Politician, Military Intelligence, Amber Introvert. And just in case any military people or politicians are reading this, settle down…its just a joke. I meant no harm!)

You can find Amber on Twitter. And when you tweet her, be sure to ask what the 9904 means. I’ve never gotten a straight answer, so please share yours with me!

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Taylor Grimes

This is the tenth post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.)  Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce Taylor Grimes.

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What’s your job title? Salesforce Consultant, Cheshire Impact

What does that mean you do?  I help clients engineer the lead to revenue lifecycle through Salesforce architecture and Marketing Automation enablement.  I help with marketing and sales processes during Salesforce implementations, managed services and custom projects tackling unique pain points. (EFD – I have some unique pain points, but that might just be from being old!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? Five years. (EFD – So in ‘Salesforce years’ you are a relative rookie, but have seen some incredible improvements!)

Bacon or sausage?  Can’t I have both? Don’t make me decide!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  Who you know, every leg up I’ve gotten throughout my career in Salesforce is because someone smarter than me took the time to explain an answer which then became knowledge I helped share too. It’s a grassroots community empowering everyone who has a desire to learn 🙂 (EFD – Ahhh…the community in action. That’s awesome!)

How did our relationship start, and when? I started following you when I read your blog on becoming an MVP.  (EFD – so that would have been in April, 2013. I found out that I became an MVP the day after my birthday. What a present, huh? Oh…and in case anyone missed that blog, here it is!

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I went to a college prep boarding school for athletes in Faribault, MN right outside the Twin Cities.  Shattuck St. Mary’s focused on building a competitive environment for nurturing student athletes.  Alumnus include the great Marlon Brando, Sydney Crosby from the Penguins, Johnny Toews of the Blackhawks, Derek Stephan of the NY Rangers, or the countless AMAZING women on Team USA and many more. (If the Shattuck St. Mary’s google alerts find this article, my apologies for those left out who are worthy of a shout out 😉 ).  I used to think the highlight of my life would be saying I went to high school with the best of the best as I humbly cheer on my friends while they made it to Olympic levels, until I found my Salesforce network.  Now I’m a part of a group so powerful and exciting that I don’t have to just look back fondly at my time in high school, I’m excited for my future and what I can do for Women in Technology paving my own trail.  It may not be as glorious as a Gold Medal or Stanley Cup, but for me the growth in my career with Salesforce is more than I could have ever hoped for as a girl from Nebraska with a dream to find my calling. (EFD – There are some people who will be more impressed at what this girl from Nebraska has done, compared to winning an Olympic Gold Medal or the Stanley Cup….I’m one of those people.)

You can find Taylor on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Lori Witzel

This is the ninth post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.)  Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce Salesforce MVP, Lori Witzel.

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What’s your job title? Senior Product Marketing Manager, Spanning Cloud Apps.
What does that mean you do?  I listen to and learn from Admins so we build SaaS data protection products that delight them, and I do educational outreach on SaaS data protection. (EFD – I love that statement…not just listen to, but also learn from…and then delight them!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been a customer of Salesforce.com since 2005, a Salesforce admin from 2011-2014, and have worked for AppExchange ISV partners for more than 7 years.  (EFD – So what’s more enjoyable – being a customer or working for an ISV partner?  That’s a rhetorical question…you really don’t need to answer it!)

Bacon or sausage? Is this a trick question? (Bacon, of course!)

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  It’s all about who you know. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned with and from other people. I may only know that person from what they wrote, but there’s still a person behind the “what I know.”  (EFD – And isn’t it a blast when you meet those people in real life?)

How did our relationship start, and when? We e-met through the Salesforce Success Community in 2014, when I was new to Spanning and was preparing myself for Dreamforce. I saw the Newbie Breakfast Group in my Chatter feed, and the #bacon theme, and it was the start of a beautiful friendship.  (EFD – They say that relationships started over pork products are the relationships that last a lifetime!  –  OK…I just made that up, but it sure sounds good, right?)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I was in Richard Linklaters’s first movie, “Slacker” (he went on to direct “School of Rock” among other things), and I play a very disturbed woman in a coffee shop about halfway through the movie. (EFD – That might explain a few things…)

You can find Lori on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Bonny Hinners

This is the seventh post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.)  Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce Bonny Hinners, the leader of the Bay Area Salesforce Nonprofit User Group.

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What’s your job title? Independent Consultant.  (EFD – So how’s that relationship with your boss?)

What does that mean you do?  I work with nonprofits and for-profits to build out custom solutions in Salesforce that are unique to their business needs from clicks to code, primarily groups that want a local resource here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I am fortunate to have worked on some terrific projects including a resource management application with a children’s museum and a clienteling solution with a for-profit service provider.   (EFD – All that, and you also lead the Bay Area Nonprofit User Group…kudos to you!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? Since 2004, that’s when I got my very first developer org and started learning about the capabilities.  I have continued using it for creating and testing customized business solutions.  Everyone should have a free developer org to explore new features and to try out new customizations and code.  (EFD – 2004, that would have been the 2nd year for Dreamforce, if I’m not mistaken.)

Bacon or sausage? Can’t I have both? Don’t make me decide.

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  Who you know–it’s all about the users and how well you know them. You have to understand users’ needs to provide them with the best solutions.  You also have to know the Salesforce community and how to turn to them for inspiration and feedback.  The community can really help you to learn new skills so you can provide better solutions for the end users.  (EFD – Users, users, users….why is it always all about the users? It’s NOT!  It’s all about the community!)

How did our relationship start, and when?  I had the pleasure of meeting you shortly after you became an MVP and was delighted to work with you on a Dreamforce 2013 session! That session was all about encouraging administrators to join their local user groups and showing them how to make good use of the Success Community and Power of Us Hub.  (EFD – So that would have been Spring, 2013, and my very first time presenting at Dreamforce was that session with you!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I have a degree in Computer Science and I do trapeze! (EFD – Computer Science? That’s not too surprising, but trapeze? Do you mean swinging and flying high above the ground?)

You can find Bonny on Twitter, and please read her blog too!

Chicago’s Weather Forecast – Cloudy and Windy with a Chance of Awesome!

It might seem a little pretentious of me to make such a bold statement, but I am predicting the weather for a very small portion of Chicago. What’s even more audacious is that I’m making this prediction for a couple days that are still more than 30 days away!

I predict that Chicago’s Navy Pier will see cloudy and windy weather on July 9 & 10, 2015.

Now I sure hope that Peter Coffee and Dan Darcy don’t take that statement the wrong way, because sometimes when people say that others are ‘windy’ it could mean ‘they like to talk just to hear the sound of their own voice.’ In THIS case, the wind I am referring to is simply the breeze that comes off of Lake Michigan. That’s it, pure and simple. And the cloudy, well, do I really need to explain that one?

The Opening Event

Midwest Dreamin’ 2015 kicks off on July 9th at 4pm with an Opening Reception for attendees sponsored by Salesforce.com, the Salesforce Success Services team and the Salesforce AppExchange.  Come join us! Check in as early as 3pm, browse the expo hall, enjoy some food and drinks (served from 4pm to 7pm.)  This is prime time to mix and mingle with some of the brightest minds in the ecosystem. You’ll have a chance to hang out with some of the MVPs and enjoy the Demo Jam, where some of our sponsors will each have three minutes to showcase their apps, while our Master of Ceremonies, and 4-time Salesforce MVP, Joshua Hoskins, keeps everyone on schedule and entertained.

Cloudy, With a Chance of Awesome

Please don’t forget to come back to Navy Pier on July 10th! That’s when the main event happens with even more awesome stuff. Check-in will open at 7:30am, and the man once known as the Master of the Dreamforce Demos, the one and only, Dan Darcy, now Salesforce Senior Vice President for Worldwide Product Readiness, will take the stage at 9am to kick things off with his rendition of ‘Thrift Shop’! Ok, that part is a joke, Dan will not be singing, to the best of my knowledge, but he will be sharing a great story with us for our opening keynote!

The REAL Deal

Next up will be a hand-picked lineup of some of the community’s best and brightest, as they all take the stage in a great rendition of ‘We Are The World’. Sorry, that’s a lie too. As far as I know, none of our speakers will actually be singing, but they will be sharing some fantastic content, covering topics like: Chatter, Women in Technology, Platform, Not for Profit, and more!  If you are looking for interaction on a more intimate level, be sure to check out the Circles of Success where you’ll have the opportunity to participate in an interactive, moderated round-table discussion focusing on best practices, with topics including Lead & Opportunity Management, Data Integrity, Driving Success, How to Boost Sales Performance and Change Management.

And the Oscar goes to…
Of course an event like this would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Please make sure to spend some time visiting with them in the expo hall. The hall will be open from 8am to 4pm on July 10th. There’s so much goodness in the ecosystem that you don’t know what you don’t know until you see it! The sponsors are there to help you learn and extend your efficient use of the platform.

How Can I Get in on All This Greatness?

Are you a user, admin or developer?  Attend Midwest Dreamin’!  Register today to beat the price increase. Are you a partner?  Sponsor Midwest Dreamin’!  We still have some opportunities available!

See you at Chicago’s Navy Pier on July 9th and 10th!

You Don’t Have to be From the Midwest….

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of a little event being planned for July 9th & 10th, 2015,  at Chicago’s Navy Pier…it’s a little thing called Midwest Dreamin’ 2015. The organizers of Midwest Dreamin’  somehow managed to convince Dan Darcy to come to Chicago to open up the activities on July 10th, and Peter Coffee will be making a return trip to Midwest Dreamin’ to close the event down.

Who is Dan Darcy?

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Many of us that have attended Dreamforce over the past few years know Dan as “The Dreamforce Demo Man”, but he gave up that role about two years ago and moved into something bigger and better. Dan is now the Senior Vice President for Worldwide Product Readiness. He is responsible for working with the product organization to develop priorities, product positioning and competency strategy for the distriibution organization, customers and partners. In addition, he manages the New Product Introduction processes to ensure that product releases have an enablement plan and assets are developed for consumption by customers, partners and employees.  Dan is also still head of Customer Visions for Marc Benioff.

Who is Peter Coffee?

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Seriously? If you have to ask that question, one might wonder how long you have been a salesforce.com user, developer, administrator or fan. Just in case you did just crawl out from under a rock, or recently converted from some other CRM system, I’ll fill you in. Peter Coffee is the Vice President of Strategic Research at Salesforce.com, but to those of us in the Salesforce.com community, we think of him as so much more than that. He’s the voice of Dreamforce, the pre-Keynote entertainment, the Master of Ceremony at the worlds largest technology conference. He is the show, before the show. He sets the stage at Dreamforce and gets the crowd all pumped up to see Marc Benioff talk about all the exciting things that Salesforce.com is working on, and all the awesome good things the Salesforce Foundation is helping to accomplish thanks to the 1-1-1 model – One percent of your time, one percent of your profits and one percent of your products being donated to great causes in order to help make the world a better place for all of us. Peter currently supports Salesforce efforts in CIO and developer engagement; in regulatory and stakeholder discussions, including information security technology and practice; and in collaborations with research professionals in both the commercial and academic communities

Breakout Sessions Are the Skid Marks of Learning
I think it’s always interesting and entertaining to listen to Peter Coffee and Dan Darcy speak, but where the rubber meets the road is what really helps businesses and nonprofits alike. That’s why people attend events like Dreamforce and Midwest Dreamin’. Skid marks of learning – just what exactly is that?  These skid marks don’t get made from quick stops or from taking turns too fast. They come from the rapid acceleration of business growth, from increased innovation and new ways of taking care of customers. Midwest Dreamin’ just completed its call for speakers and has a great lineup of fantastic speakers talking on everything from “Creating Change with Salesforce Communities” to “So You’ve Inherited (or Created) a Mess…Now What?”  Check out more sessions planned for Midwest Dreamin’ 2015.

Time is Money
How valuable is your time? Consider not only your salary, but the time you spend with family and friends, the time you spend helping others through volunteering or just by being a good neighbor. Attending Midwest Dreamin’ 2015, can actually save you both time and money. Sure, there’s a hard cost to attending…travel expenses and the registration fee, but the knowledge you will gain and the value of those new ideas that will start floating around in your head will certainly exceed those hard costs and help you find more time in your day by allowing you to streamline processes.

The Proof is in the Pudding
I know what you are thinking now….how can I get in on this? What do I need to do to get a piece of this action? That’s the easiest part! Visit the Midwest Dreamin’ Register! page. Yes…it really is that simple!

What’s that? You want to help?
Are you with a partner and wanting to help get your company’s message out to the hundreds of attendees coming to Midwest Dreamin’? We’ve got plenty of sponsorship opportunities still available. For details, visit Sponsorship Options

FINAL LOGO.2015

Does Lightning Really Ever Strike Only Once?

Lightning Developer Week was kicking off as I was starting to write this post. As a User Group Leader, I’m absolutely thrilled with Salesforce has special events like this. It makes my job easier…I don’t have to go hunting for content or people to present at the meeting.

It All Started With a…No, Not a Kiss!

This time, it all started with a phone call from Reid Carlberg. I hadn’t talked to him since Dreamforce, so it was great to get caught up. But it was even better to hear him say, “I can get you Josh Birk to present at your meeting.” Sweet! Josh and I go way back…at least in Salesforce years, it’s way back. I first met Josh at the original Midwest Dreamin’ in Lousiville back in 2011.  He led a full day of developer training back then, so I knew he’d do an awesome job presenting for Lightning Developer Week.

The Bait and Switch.

The day after my phone call with Reid, I get an email from Mary Scotton wondering if it would be ok if she stepped in to present instead of Josh. No offense to Josh, but that’s a no-brainier for me. Of course it’s fine, I told her! Mary just happens to be one of my favorite Salesforce people. She’s very passionate about not only the platform but about women in technology, and since I’m the only male at my house except for our Boxer-Lab Yukon (Living with me: my wife Cindy, her 34 year old daughter Paula, our 13 year old daughter Bonnie,  our 16 year old granddaughter Tess, and our 13 year old granddaughter Hope. I should also note that I have another daugher, Allison, age 26, who is away at Graduate School.)  I seem to always be thinking about ways that my girls can improve their chances of future success.

A Sneak Peek.

Thursdays always seem to be the best days for the Southern Indiana User Group to meet, so I looked for an open conference room for March 12th to host a meeting. Hmm…now why does that date sound so familiar? Oh yeah…it’s my wife’s birthday, but that’s not the reason there wasn’t a conference room available. There’s a field sales training session going on that week. So…March 19th is. I wondered if I could still call it a Lightning Developer Week even if it was happening the week after. I quickly discovered that I wasn’t the only group holding a meeting during the Week After Lighning Developer Week. But what I also discovered is that Lightning Developer Week was kicking off on Saturday, and people were tweeting about it, and posting in the Success Community about it.

The Main Event!

 Thursday, March 19th arrived, I got the conference room all setup and filled a table with the awesome t-shirts that Salesforce provided for Developer Week swag and waited for Security to call and let me know my visitors were here. Now, I’d love to say I packed the house. I’d love to say that every single person who registered to attend showed up. Alas, this was not the case for this meeting.  I had a couple cancellations the day before, but was still expecting, and had enough pizza and snacks to feed about 20 people. On one hand, this was my worst meeting since the very beginning of the Southern Indiana User Group, as I only had 8 people show up. On the other hand, it was absolutely the BEST meeting since the group started back in 2010, simply based on the interactions between attendees and presenters.

It’s a TKO!

That’s a Technical Knock Out, for those who don’t follow boxing.  It was the most technical, developer-focused meeting of the Southern Indiana User Group, and it was a knock out because everyone there learned a ton! (And there really wasn’t much code shared at all. That’s the beauty of Lightning Process Builder, and Lightning App Builder. Drop and Drag, Clicks not Code!  Dare I say it, almost anyone can become a “developer”.

The Second Strike!

Are you at least curious now?  If you want to get hands-on with the tutorials, go to http://bit.ly/lightning-org to create a new Developer Edition org (free, just for you, forever…you’re welcome!) Using this bit.ly link will get you an org with Lightning App Builder enabled, and with the metadata for all four of the Lightning tutorials (allowing you to skip the install & config steps in the tutorials). And then you can go through the Lightning Tutorials:
bit.ly/lightning-connect-tutorial (Start at Module 2)
bit.ly/process_lightning_tutorial (Start at Module 3)
bit.ly/lightning-components-tutorial (Start at Module 3)
bit.ly/app_builder_lightning (Start at Module 3)

When you are done, tweet me @ericdresh and use #LightningStrikes2X to tell me how you did!