I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Selina Suarez

This is the thirty-fourth post in my blog series in which I 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 the Co-Leader of the New York City Women in Tech Group , Selina Suarez.

selinasuarez

 

What’s your job title? Director, Educational Product Development, INVISR (EFD – In case you don’t know – INVISR is a “new type of consulting partner, focused on innovation and customer success. INVISR uses cutting-edge development techniques and brings a fresh perspective into transforming your business. Our collective experience in cloud consulting led to the creation of new wave solutions across verticals such as Financial Services, Consumer Packaged Goods, Healthcare and more.” And yes, I stole that wording right from their website, hence the quotation marks!)

What does that mean you do? I build applications for schools and NPOs whose focus is to promote educational access an eliminate the Achievement Gap!! (EFD – Love it…eliminate the Achievement Gap! Awesome!!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been on the platform for almost 6 years now. (EFD – In Salesforce time that equates to about 20 releases.)

Bacon or sausage? It’s bacon, or nothing!

What’s more important: Growing up I didn’t know anyone at all who could help me to progress my career- so for me it was “What I know”. I used what I knew to meet and connect with people who would eventually become my “who you know”. These connections were pivotal to my growth and progression in life. Without the one the other did not exist. (EFD – I think one word can describe what you just said: Synergy)

How did our relationship start, and when? It started when I was looking for fresh insight into the new DF15 Admin Zone for a presentation I was about to give when I discovered your blog (EFD – Oooh…I like that answer. I hope my blog provided you with the insight you were looking for!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I am the eldest of 12 children (same mom!!!) and the very first in my family to graduate college and go on to earn an MBA. I taught myself Salesforce over 6 months- and embarked upon a mission to support organizations to help support more people like myself on the path to educational attainment and hopefully a career in tech! I built my first app on the platform in 2010 and it is being used by 30+ organizations to date! (EFD – Wow, that’s impressive! Yes, eleven siblings…that’s impressive, but even more so is your education, your drive to succeed, and how you are using your skills to help others make real changes in their lives!  Way to go!!)

You can find Selina on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Huong Tran

This is the thirty-third post in my blog series in which I 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 a newcomer to the Salesforce Platform and Community, Founder & CEO of Magpie Travel, Huong Tran.

Huong_Tran

 

What’s your job title? Founder & CEO, Magpie Travel (EFDMagpie Travel…if you haven’t heard about them you NEED to! It’s a site designed to facilitate room and cost sharing for the solo female traveler, but there more than that specifically for Dreamforce, read on!)

What does that mean you do? I’m working on a new product called Perch Travel, a sharing platform to connect conference attendees so they can save 50% of accommodation costs by sharing a hotel room, while at the same time meeting new and interesting people. We’re currently running a Dreamforce ’16 promotion where we giveaway a free hotel stay in SF for registered attendees. (EFD – Whoa, wait. What? room sharing and 50% savings at Dreamforce, and a chance to win a free hotel stay?  DO TELL!! More on this later in the post.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I have just recently been introduced to the Salesforce ecosystem. I’ve spoken to about 20 people (Salesforce customers, partners, MVPs, Dreamforce past and future attendees, etc) and have gotten a very warm welcome from everyone.  It’s an amazing and supportive community!  (EFD – Amazing and supportive community…Yes. Yes it is!)

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 first, and then what you know second.  I came to the US about 8 years ago from Vietnam with virtually no US connections at the time. Eight years have passed and I’ve now become an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. This could not have been done without the supportive network I’ve built over the years. Since I’ve been so blessed, I want to pay it forward to others and Perch Travel lets me do that by helping others expand their networks. (EFD – You’ve really come a long way in eight years. Congratulations to you, and how exciting to see Perch Travel start to take off!)

How did our relationship start, and when? Eric and I got introduced by our three mutual connections. It goes without saying that his name came up a lot when I spoke to the folks in the Salesforce community. He’s famous! (EFD – Oh stop it! I’m just a guy from a little town in Southern Indiana, who seems to have a thing with bacon and knows a lot of people, or people that know people. I’m thrilled to meet you, and look forward to our first in- person soon.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I grew up in Vietnam when it was an embargoed country and the first foreigner I saw was in my teenage years.  That experience drove my curiosity to explore the world and eventually led me to become the first Vietnamese student attending Stanford business school since the war ended in 1975. (EFD – Go big or go home…isn’t that what people say? You went big…VERY BIG!)

You can find Huong on Twitter as @huongtdt and @perchtravel. Be sure to also check out Perch Travel’s Dreamforce contest!

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Vinay Chaturvedi

This is the thirty-second post in my blog series in which I 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 the four-time Salesforce Certified, Leader of the Noida, India, User Group, Vinay Chaturvedi.

 

Vinay

What’s your job title? Salesforce Consultant/Developer, Fujitsu (EFD – Fujitsu is a huge multi-national corporation, with many divisions, some old, some rather new.)

What does that mean you do? I am involved in understanding requirements to implementation, configuration and customization, and overall trying to make my clients happy. Apart from my office work, I am quite involved with the Salesforce Community. I lead Salesforce User Group in Noida (India) and have been doing for for about a year. We recently did our 5th event and have 230+ community members with 70 (on an average) attendance. I am a big fan of answers community, and I so appreciate everything I have learned from the community that I have been inspired to contribute over 4000 answers so far. I hope I get to 10,000 answers by next year . I also write blogs at vinaychaturvedi.com. With the help of Patrick Solum and Eric Dreshfield, I was able to set up a monthly User Group Leaders Office Hours Call for APAC Region. (EFD – You are really doing a great thing by facilitating the User Group Leaders Office Hours for APAC. I’m thrilled to have helped you get that started.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I started working on the platform in 2011 while I was in college. I was not studying an I.T. discipline, so I found it quite challenging. Salesforce converted me to working in the technology field. (EFD – You’ve been on the platform for 5 years and haven’t been to Dreamforce…that’s just not right!)

Bacon or sausage? Eww. A pork product? No thank you!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? I think both of them are important! If I know people, I can connect with them, help them and get help from them. I believe networking is very useful and powerful, not only for the business but for your personal stuff as well. I have learned a lot of things from the people around me who have always motivated, guided,and appreciated me. Of course I try to stay updated and knowledgeable enough to help others. If you are not you need to learn and then help.This is what I learned from Salesforce Community, so what you know is also important. (EFD – Ever since our first interaction, it seemed like there was something about you that made me think you would really do great things.)

How did our relationship start, and when?  The very first time we communicated was when I started a Noida User group, back in July 2015.You offered me to help anytime. I asked your help for user group template which you provided me within a day. And since then you have been an awesome Mentor! You are awesome, I am a great Fan of yours, and I hope we can meet in person one day soon. (EFD – Stop talking about me…this post is supposed to be introducing you to the Community. They already know me!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I am an electrical engineer by degree but from day 1 of my first job after college I was working as a Salesforce Professional. I even don’t remember a single transformer diagram and even unless people ask me about them, and sometimes I even forget that I hold a degree as an Electrical Engineer!  (EFD – My knowledge about Electrical Engineering could fit into the dot of this letter i.)

You can find Vinay on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Misty Jones

This is the thirty-first post in my blog series in which I 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 the Salesforce Certified Administrator and Advanced Administrator, and Leader of the Flyin’ Solo group on the Success Community, Misty Jones.

MistyRaeJones

What’s your job title? Senior Salesforce Administrator, Mutual of Omaha Bank (EFD – Mutual of Omaha has a bank? I thought they just produced awesome wildlife shows in the 1960’s through 1980’s. What was the host’s name again? Marlin Perkins, yeah that’s it!)

What does that mean you do? I’m an accidental techie. I plan events, automate stuff, train others, manipulate spreadsheets, enter securities trades, supply chocolate, and also administer Salesforce (EFD – Whoa, wait. What? You execute securities trades? Is that anything like this: https://youtu.be/obAoPP1bdIM ?)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been a Salesforce customer since April 2011.  (EFD – Almost long enough to be able to say “I remember the good old days when Dreamforce was small.)

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. Success isn’t just a matter of hard work, experience, and talent. It also depends on your relationships. Jobs often come from knowing people. The best learning comes through interaction. I also believe a strong social network (likely) displays your people skills. Take the Success Community for example…people are helping each other find their dream job, helping each other with formulas and validation rules, expanding their social networks. I’ve solved many issues by first using who I know and those people teaching me things to add to my ‘what I know. (EFD – Amen, Sister!  I say it in every blog post I write for this series, and I’ll repeat it once again: For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.)

How did our relationship start, and when? We “met” in the Success Community and followed each other on Twitter. We promote each other’s events/groups. Finally bonded in person over plates of bacon during the 2013 Newbie Breakfast Reunion. (EFD – I’m thinking that it was the Flyin’ Solo Group on the Success Community where our relationship got started…thanks to a former co-worker of mine named Gabriel Matthews for leading that group, and you taking it over when Gabe left the Salesforce ecosystem.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? My latest workouts are considered aerial fitness. (EFD – Um…what? I asked Misty to send a few pictures that might help explain that. so…enjoy!)

You can find Misty on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Denise Carbone

This is the twenty-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 the Salesforce Certified Administrator, Co-Leader of the Chicago User Group and Co-Chair of Midwest Dreamin’, Salesforce MVP, Denise Carbone.

denise carbone

What’s your job title? Director of Client Engagements, RelationEdge (EFD – In case you don’t know – RelationEdge is a Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner that helps companies implement Salesforce. We focus first on the business processes you are trying to enhance and the results you are looking to achieve, and yes, I stole that wording right from their website!)

What does that mean you do? I help clients be successful and understand the possibilities of the platform. I primarily work with reboots and those just getting started in their implementation of Salesforce. In a nutshell, I am a Salesforce Consultant, and am happy to be here. (EFD – Rookies and Reboots….hmmm.  Sounds like a great title for either a blog series or a Dreamforce session!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been on the platform for 12+ years. I started in March of 2004 as a Customer. I’ve been a customer up until this past August (2015) when I joined RelationEdge here in Chicago. (EFD – And just for the record, Denise hosted the first user group meeting I ever attended, in Chicago back in late 2009.)

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

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? It’s a combination for me, I definitely do not know it all and never pretend that I do. I would be happy to talk all day about the things I do know well, and am always seeking opportunities to learn more. I love our community and have made lifelong friendships, and I feel comfortable enough to reach out when needed to my friends to ask questions or bounce ideas off them. Also, I love the User Group Community! (EFD – Ok, Denise…we get the point that you love the community. I agree!  And I say it in every blog post I write for this series, and I’ll repeat it once again: For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.)

How did our relationship start, and when? We met at a Salesforce City Tour event in Chicago when it was held at the Westin, I believe it was 2008 or 2009. We (Chicago User Group) were hosting a User Group Meeting the morning of the event. (EFD – Yeah, I kind of did a spoiler on that one a couple questions back…but it was a great day for me, and was thrilled to meet you and your user group then. You all made me feel like part of the family from the moment I walked into the meeting.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? Not sure I have anything that I would surprise you with since I think we talk several times a week to plan Midwest Dreamin’!! Hmmm, how about the fact that I’d be a vegetarian IF I didn’t like chicken so much! (EFD – Yes, I suppose that does surprise me a little. For the record, my wife refers to you as my “Salesforce Wife”, and I think you’ve even told me that your husband, who IS in the Salesforce ecosystem, refers to me as your “Salesforce Husband”…and yes, our respective spouses have met each other, and they are perfectly fine with the relationship we share!)

You can find Denise on Twitter personally and Chicago User Grouply (Yes, I know that “grouply” isn’t a word!

A Community Mourns, A Community Remembers – A Tribute to Tami Esling

When I think back to the day I first met Tami, I recall immediately feeling like I had know her all my life. Her amazing smile was contagious and anyone who was in conversation with her quickly found themselves smiling as well. Tami and I met at the MVP Summit in 2015, shortly after she was named a Salesforce MVP. It was a great pleasure to meet her in person, and after having so many online interactions with her, I felt like I already knew her well.

Professionally, Tami worked for SaaS Consulting Group with a focus on directing clients and colleagues towards Salesforce education and training to help them get the most out of their Salesforce implementation. She was a firm believer that with the proper education and training that anyone could accomplish big things. Unlike some, she also practiced what she preached. Tami held five Salesforce Certifications.

Tami certs

Tami was a giver too. She was the “mother hen” for all things Salesforce in Austin, TX. She led the Austin Salesforce User group. She was an active member in the Austin Women in Tech group, and a passionate champion of Salesforce Saturday. Anytime there was anything Salesforce going on in Austin, you could find Tami there. She volunteered her time to help others in the Salesforce Community get better educated, and hopefully well prepared so that they could successfully become a Salesforce Certified individual too. I decided to make the commitment of 15 weeks and join the online Certification Study Group that Tami was leading in late 2014. It was through the interactions in the group where I really got to see Tami shine. She skillfully facilitated the online study group, week after week, drawing out the best of everyone involved through thoughtful insights above and beyond the assigned homework. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t the “let it ride, let everyone through” kind of person. She was tough on the people who were not prepared each week, and called them out the next week, to make sure they were doing the homework and sticking to the commitments they made when signing up for the study group.  I should know, I was probably one of her “bad” students. I had a hard time keeping up with the homework, and missed a class or two, and paid the ultimate price for that, in that I was unsuccessful when I attempted the Certified Administrator exam. Notice I did not say that I failed, because I firmly believe that Wayne Gretzky explained that best.

gretzky

In December or 2015, I featured Tami in my “I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community” blog series. It was great fun working with Tami to recall all our interactions together, and to learn more about her background, how she got started in the Salesforce Ecosystem, etc. I asked the standard questions, including “What’s more important: Who you know, or What you know?” I will never forget Tami’s reply. She said: ‘If you’re on the Salesforce Community, then you probably “know” Eric Dreshfield. That is how it all began.’ That was the first time I truly felt speechless!

There was one other question from that blog post where Tami’s response was quite surprising to me. When I asked “What’s one fact about you that few people know, that would surprise me?” To that question Tami replied, ” I have skydived and plan to take another jump in 2016.” Wow! I sure was surprised by that answer.

Tami events

As we all struggle to find a way to deal with the hole left in our hearts, and in the community due to Tami’s untimely passing, I think it’s only fitting to share some words that her friends in the Success Community stated upon hearing the sad news.

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Thank you for everything, Tami. You are truly an inspiration to many and your spirit will remain alive in the Success Community as long as one person whose life you touched is there.

Tami Esling. Wife. Mother. Mentor. Coach. Friend.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Heart Association  This form asks you to complete a memorial card, please choose mail card and send to: Walter Esling, 14833 Irondale Dr., Austin, TX 78717

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.

image

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.