Wednesday, 19 December 2018

New York World Tour: The Schuyler Sisters

New York is less than an hour of airtime from Toronto, so I really should visit more often. New York world tour seemed like the perfect opportunity to scratch my travel itch, see some friends, and do some learning, so away I went!

I met up with my roomie, Bhavana, and after lunch and a walk back to our hotel, we decided to go for
a visit to the Empire State Building. There were surprisingly no lines, and we were up the top in only 10 minutes! It's quite a view from up there - we found the Salesforce tower of course.

hello Salesforce tower!

From there we headed downtown to Silverline CRM for the pre-world tour New York Community group meeting. As if this day weren't already so wonderful, I was greeted at the door with the biggest possible hug from Sandi Nuss Zellner - leader of the New York Administrators group.

Sandi, Bhavana and I

This right here - this is why I love the Salesforce community. Seeing by people from literally all over the world, and coming together to learn and share knowledge. Not to mention awesome guest speakers - this time featuring fan favourite, Charlie Isaacs, as well as a surprise panel of Salesforce Evangelists. Wanting to get a realtively early night for a busy day we headed home via Rockefeller Center - it's Christmas time after all!

So now on to the main attraction - the biggest World Tour in North America, second biggest in the world only to London! New York has two a year, but the December one is extra special, as the events team go above and beyond to give everything that special holiday flavour.

I had a packed day of my own sessions/volunteer shifts, but to start my day off right, I headed straight for the Salesforce for Admins session featuring some of my favourite Salesforce WIT - Rebecca Saar, Gillian Bruce and LeeAnne Rimel.

From there I went to my first lightning session - Breakfast of Champions, then straight to my two volunteer shifts - App Building for Admins and Traillazer Community. I love volunteering at Salesforce events and helping people one on one... and honestly, I could have volunteered for more shifts/sessions, but I had to remind myself that World Tours are only one day! To round out my official commitments, I had my first ever WIT panel - The Code: Trailblazing Women in Code, where I was able to share my experiences as a newbie to the Salesforce eco system and my experiences as a  relatively new Woman in Technology.

Community Team member extraordinaire, Sofia Rodriguez

On top of that were all of the sessions I wanted to attend, booths to visit (hello Lightning Web Components!), and people to catch up with. So here's where the title of my blog comes in - the Schuyler Sisters.... A song about sisters empowering themselves on the streets of New York City - it couldn't be more fitting!

At the User Group meeting and all day at world tour, it was like a family reunion with some of the most amazing people in the ecosystem. Don't get me wrong, there were many awesome dudes there too, but as you know, I'm all about sharing the WIT love... and I honestly count my blessings every day to have found a group of people so caring and so supportive.

So as the fun at the Javits Center wrapped up, we all made our way to a packed pub for the obligatory Pep Up Tech fundraiser, and some stayed out later than others! The next morning was a great end to the trip - the Ladies Be Architects breakfast at Deloitte Digital - a perfect WIT ending to a perfect WIT trip!

Soundtrack: The Schuyler Sisters - Hamilton soundtrack

Mascot WIT - Appy and Cloudy

Holiday cheer!

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Christmastime In Toronto

I’m feeling a lot of love for Toronto right about now… so it’s fitting that this is the week I got my “YYZ” tattoo the companion to my "SYD" tattoo (representing my two homes). Last night the Toronto trailblazer community events joined forces for a holiday party… and we ended up with double the number of attendees we were expecting! I honestly felt like I was going to cry!

Let’s back it up a bit… I took over as leader of the Toronto Women in Tech group after being inspired by Bhavana Singh and Allison Park at TrailheaDX, but it wasn’t until I’d met some other amazing WIT leaders at WITness Sucess that I realized the Toronto Trailblazer Community had a long way to go. It was pointed out that Toronto is one biggest cities in North America, and the Admin and Develioer groups we were only getting around 30 perople max, per meeting.
It was at WITness that I decided I was going to make it my mission to grow the commumity, as I have been fortunate to connect with the online Ohana, so I was hoping the Toronto community would be able to experience the wonder of the Ohana too! It helps that the leaders of the other Toronto groups are awesome people - they’ve made it a pleasure.
Right before WITness, I’d held my first ever meeting as group leader, and we had a solid turn out of seven. Before Dreamforce, I only had three attendees… but then the groups banded together for a Dreamforce Global Gathering, and we had over 60, which was the most any of the groups had ever had.
After the fun we had at the Global Gathering, I saw that a lot of other cities do combined group holiday events, so I thought maybe that would be fun for us, so I took on the challenge. Initially we were quite skeptical, because in the past they hadn't done well (expecting 30~), and there's already so much other stuff going on during the holidays.
We would have been really happy with 60 attendees again, but instead we got 100! The other leaders and I were just laughing to ourselves as the numbers kept growing and growing... so much so that the coat rack broke due to too many coats! I only bought 80 name tag labels in total, thinking we might not even need the second pack of 40!
This was where the almost crying comes back in… because it wasn’t just 100 people there for free drinks and food… it was 100 people who were networking and engaging with each other - everywhere I looked there were people scanning LinkedIn QR codes, laughing and having a great time. So many people thanked me on the way out and told me how much they got out of the evening, and I haven’t stopped smiling since!

It seems as though the Toronto community is finally starting to reach its potential, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store and start planning for 2019!
A huge shout out to the other group leaders, and our ever supportive sponsor, Slalom.
Soundtrack: Christmastime in Toronto - Gord Downie (may he Rest In Peace)

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