Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Dreamforce Global Gathering: Come Together

So, as much as we may like to try and think otherwise, Dreamforce 2018 is officially over... but that doesn't mean that we can't relive the experience with one of the most exciting periods on the Salesforce Community calendar - Global Gathering season!

I attending my first Global Gathering earlier in the year for TrailheaDX, which was hosted by the Toronto Developer Group. Not only did this happen to be my first time attending a User Group meeting it was my first time speaking too, as I delivered some of the content from TDX!

But I digress. When I became leader of the Toronto Women In Tech group, I made it a point of connecting with all the other leaders of the various Toronto groups, and forming a network to support each other, so when Global Gatherings for Dreamforce were announced, we all banded together for the first every combined event!

Our event was a combined effort of the Women in Tech, Administrator, B2C, Non-Profit and Developer groups, with the Algonquin student group joining via Skype.

Francis Delusong, fearless leader of the Admin group, recently started a new position at Accenture, so he was able to get us use of a sweet meeting spaced aptly named "The 6ix", which has a view of Lake Ontario from three sides of the room!
For content, we had Change Management from nCino, a session from Toronto's very own Salesforce MVP, Geoff Flynn (Formulas for the Everyday Admin), some new Marketing Cloud features from Andrei, as well as some fun and games provided by the Trailblazer Community team!

We were also lucky enough to be joined by Charlie Isaacs, CTO of Customer Connection and VP of Service Cloud Strategy of Salesforce. I've been a twitter follower of his since TrailheaDX, and when he tweeted a few months back that he was in Toronto for customer meetings, we ended up connecting, and he joined Andrei and I for breakfast.

We kept in touch and ran into each other a few times at Dreamforce (including a memorable evening involving a unicorn costume some pirates), and then by chance he happened to be in Toronto last week and was able to come to our event!

The 6ix was buzzing with excitement -  with highlights including Geoff's presentation (especially Steve Mo's "Power of One" formula), networking by way of Community bingo, taking selfies with Charlie, and of course our swag raffle.

On top of this, I loved sharing the E Komo Mai tradition with our new attendees - something that means a lot to me, and is a huge part of why I've become so involved in the community. I also loved seeing attendees making connections with each other - it gives me so much hope for the future of Toronto Trailblazer meetups, as this one was by far the biggest there's ever been!

I have to give huge shout outs to our sponsors for the night, Accenture, Slalom, and nCino, Geoff Flynn and Charlie Isaaces, and of course my fellow group leaders, Francis, Andrei, Valerie, Louise and Karanraj. So much #Trailheart at this event.
Soundtrack: Come Together - Gary Clark Jr. (from the Justice League soundtrack, because Wonder Woman)

Tuesday, 23 October 2018


On this day, 7 years ago, I moved to Canada. My trumpet and I left all our friends and family behind and set out on an adventure. I had been working in the music industry, in seemingly my dream job, but I had become increasingly more unhappy. I felt defined by my job, and was wondering where the hell I was going to be able to go from there? I can't have hit my peak at 24!

Fast forward 7 years, and I've grown up a bit. I'm married, and I have a house. I still play the trumpet, but have an upgraded model. I'm still involved in the arts, being a member of the board of directors of two musical groups, but I don't work in the music industry, I'm a proud Salesforce Administrator!

I know there are a lot of accidental admins out there, with all sorts of education and employment backgrounds, so I thought I would share mine.

I studied Music Business and Public Relations, and worked at a music magazine and then a boutique music booking agency. I also had my own music management/PR business too, called Zaz Music. I loved what I did, but became increasingly unhappy. At times I felt like so called friends only took an interest, as I could get them free tickets to cool shows. I also found myself burning out, as I was having to work multiple part time jobs, as full time work was hard to come by - I was also working in childcare, and starting work at 7:30am isn't really conducive to getting home from a show at 3am. I started to fall out of love with the industry I loved, decided I needed a change, and booked a one way ticket to Toronto.

During my time in the music industry, I spent a lot of quality time with Microsoft Word as I formatted press releases and bios on a weekly basis, so when I landed in Toronto, I was able to get a job in administration relatively easily. My first ever full time job, actually. A weird concept after being a free spirit and working multiple part time jobs for years. That job also required I handle some IT components, and I'd always been pretty tech savvy, so took to it pretty easily. That then lead to being database administrator, and then when we made the switch to Salesforce, our solo Salesforce Administrator.

When we moved over to Salesforce, no one at my company really understood what that would mean from a systems admin standpoint. Even after being involved in our implementation, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. But with each passing day, and each passing Trailhead badge, I'm helping my users be more productive in their jobs, and it's quite an awesome feeling!

So all said and done, I am happy. Happy that I get to use a program that I absolutely love, happy that I have passion in my career again, happy to live in such a great country, happy that I've made so many great friends from literally all over the world, and also that it has provided me with opportunities to travel to places I haven't visited yet.

If my 24 year old self could have known that her 31 year old self would be a Salesforce Administrator, and totally in love with it, well actually, she probably wouldn't know what to expect, as she didn't know what Salesforce was! She certainly wouldn't have expcted to still be in Canada, but she would be glad to know that we're working on something we love, and that we have had so many positive experiences as a result. It's funny how things have a way of working out!

Soundtrack: YYZ - Rush

Why YYZ? It is the airport IATA code for Toronto Pearson International Airport, and where I (usually) fly out of on my adventures (we have another airport, YTZ - Billy Bishop Airport). All Canadian airport codes start with a "Y", as they were only two letters originally. The codes for Canadian airports were taken from the Canadian Rail Network codes, and the code for Malton, closest to where Pearson lies, was YZ.

Also, I really like planes. I have the airport code for Sydney (SYD) tattooed on my wrist, and I plan to do the same for YYZ.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Dreamforce Recap: Don't Dream it's Over

After weeks and weeks and months of lead up... it finally happened. Dreamforce 2018. The event I'd been determined to get to the moment I walked into Bootcamp at TrailheaDX six months ago.

Of course far too much happened for me to cover in a blog, so I'll just recap my top five favourite experiences, in no particular order of course.

Empower Your Admin and Supercharge Your Business
Our session couldn't have gone better! We had a packed house, and lots of familiar faces in the room, but the best part - people stopping us during the week to tell us they enjoyed our session and how much they got out of it!
The #AwesomeAdmin Keynote
During my journey this year, I've gotten to know and really love my fellow #AwesomeAdmins, and as my first ever Dreamforce Keynote, it did not disappoint. I even got to sit in the front row and be right in the action!
The #AwesomeAdmin Lip Sync Battle
I mean, I'm sure you all know by now that I don't mind the spotlight...

I love being able to share my passion for Salesforce and help other people discover what makes this community so special. I worked four shifts in different stations - Trailblazer Community Cove, Camp Quick Start, Admin Meadow and Lightning Rapids. I probably got the most out of volunteering and helping the community then I did from any of the other sessions I attended. If World Tour is coming to you, or for future TrailheaDX or Dreamforce events, consider volunteering for a shift or two - you won't regret it!

The people! Oh my gosh, the people! While volunteering is amazing, it's the people that made my Dreamforce so special! So many wonderful people I was already fortunate to meet at either TrailheaDX, MidWest Dreamin, or WITness Success were there, so it really was just like a big family reunion. Then of course there were all those that I'd connected with online that I finally got to spend some time with in person. My heart was full of so much #Trailheart for the whole week.

I had my full circle moment when I got to be part of the giant "log photo". I remember seeing the one from last year, and thinking how fun it would be to to be a part of that group... and well, fast forward to this year, and I'm a part of it!

I'm already planning which events I want to go to next, as I've finally found my tribe. Thank you to everyone who made it such an incredible week!

Soundtrack: Don't Dream it's over - Crowded House

Monday, 8 October 2018

I'm Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving, so I thought I would share some of what I'm thankful for this year. Don't worry, my post-Dreamforce recap will be coming in the next few weeks.

I'll give you some backstory first. So obviously, being an Australian, I did not grow up with Thanksgiving, aside from what I saw on TV and in movies, but that of course was American Thanksgiving. Then I learned Canada had a different Thanksgiving, so it became Canadian Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving. But now that I live here, it's Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving. It's kinda like how before I used to refer to Hockey as Ice Hockey and Field Hockey as Hockey... it's part of my Canadianization. I'm sure these will also be questions that come up when I eventually take the Canadian citizenship test too!

So I digress... I know the majority of my readers are based in the US, and are wonderful people at that, so I'm sure most of you know that up here it's Thanksgiving today, and not in six weeks like the rest of the world think it is for everyone in North America!

And with everything that has happened this year - being one of the best in my working life so far, I wanted to share what I'm thankful for, from a professional stand point.

I'm thankful for the opportunity I've been given to learn to become the most #AwesomeAdmin I can be. I'm thankful for the resources I have at hand to be about to learn, including Trailhead, and the various conferences I've been able to attend. But most importantly, I am thankful for all the amazing people I have met this year, the Salesforce #Ohana.

Of all the new experiences I've had this year, making so many new friends has been the highlight by far, and I am thankful for each and every one of you. You are all truly amazing people, and I am in awe of how you all help each other at the drop of a hat, no questions asked. I am completely honoured to be able to be a a part of such a selfless group, and you all inspire me to be a better person.

So thank you Salesforce #Ohana - truly. I am so thankful for all the experiences I've had this year, with you, and I can't wait to see what is in store to come! Happy Thanksgiving!

Mind Over Matter: Low Code Love

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