My experience at Tahoe Dreamin 17!
This was my first time attending this community led conference in Northern California. On prior occasions, when I’ve traveled to the state of California. I’ve packed my bag light; so you could imagine my surprise when I had to pack my bag with MN weather attire. More so, when it was validated that packing MN weather attire was warranted for this trip.. Brrr!
I flew into Reno/Tahoe International late Thursday night; upon meeting up with the well-known process queen Jennifer Lee. In fact; I won’t ever forget her first comment to me when she saw me. “This look is new to me” and pointing at my attire. A friend once said to me. “I bet Justice goes swimming in a suit” – So, I can see how Jennifer was surprised to see a Justice in jeans with a designer hole/tear in the knee, sweater, boots and a leather jacket. Well after that funny exchange and catching up with one another we then made our long journey to South Lake Tahoe in a rental vehicle with a friend and former colleague of Jenn’s. The drive seemed long but we made it safe and the great conversation had along the way made it an enjoyable and scenic ride.
We eventually arrived at our hotels early Friday morning (1am ish). I slept in; being that my body didn’t give me another choice. When I did wake up I knew I was at a Salesforce Conference. I knew this because I had missed calls, text messages and e-mails from my fellow Ohana at the conference wondering about my whereabouts, there was even a conveyed sense of concern from an individual that I see as big sister (Shonnah). Given these facts there was an immediate feeling that came over me that can best be described as an elevated sense of belonging.
When I was ready to go and fully awake around 9:30am. I was able to take in and appreciate my immediate surroundings. I was standing in a lavish King Luxury corner suite with a wrap-around immaculate window view of South Lake Tahoe. The bathroom in of itself had multiple rooms (3) – One of the rooms was specifically for the lavatory… Yeah, just let that sink in for a moment. Another room was carpeted and housed a “his” and “hers” sink. Just in case you’re wondering.. I used both! While the other room was dedicated to a shower, bathtub/Jacuzzi and an additional marble vanity.
There was a sitting/meeting area near the wrap-around window overlooking South Lake Tahoe – the view was surreal! Long story short.. If there was a Presidential Suite in that hotel. I don’t want to know about it at this point. Not sure how it could have gotten any better than my setup. Thanks Zynbit!
After making my way out of my hotel and to the conference. I was embraced by familiar faces. The first was Stuart Edeal (The Man). It’s interesting.. (short story alert) the first member of the SF community and #GifSquadForGood member that I ran into at MWD16 (Midwest Dreamin) in Chicago was Stuart and now he was the first I’d run into at Tahoe. We chalk that up for now as being fate. Moving on, I continued to make my rounds and saw Shonnah Hughes, Melinda (Melindi), Eric Dreshfield, Daniel Peter, Leah McGowen-Hare, Adam Olshansky and many more Ohana.
I arrived moments before the kickoff of the opening keynote. Bill Grenshaw and the great Tahoe Dreamin group welcome us all. We heard from great speakers. The Keynote Speaker was none other than Sarah Franklin, SVP Developer Relations & GM Trailhead at Salesforce. Wow! ..What an amazing story and background she shared that served as an inspiration to all in attendance. It’s no secret that I’m a Trailhead advocate. So, it was great to see Sarah, as I’ve met much of the Trailhead team at #DF16. We also heard from a well-respected individual both at Salesforce (representing for <3%ers) and in the community in Leah McGowen-Hare. She shared exciting new features and capabilities (live demo) that got admins, developers and evangelists out of their seats. A world in which low code is the expectation for development in Salesforce; it’s an exciting time to be a Salesforce Admin/Developer/Evangelist.
There were so many moments of great impact. Some that come to mind:
- Conversing with Zachary Jeans on the importance of living a faith based life and incorporating it into your “why” and me being able to connect the dots on how Zach uses his faith to fuel his initiative with ImpactMatters. Zach is a guy that is well known and for all the right reasons. The conversation him and I had was inspirational beyond measure. Leadership by example.. this is how Zach lives and serves.
- A great conversation was had with Phil Dixon, CEO of Zynbit. The reality is we probably could have talked the day away. Our conversation was organic and fluid. It was apparent that we were learning from one another. We discussed in specific the capabilities of Zynbits solution for Outlook (Exchange and O365)/G-Mail integration with Salesforce. I learned a great deal much from our conversation that enabled a foreward thinking mindset, as I thought about how I could enable our organization to truly benefit from an optimal setup for Outlook integration. Phil and I have since had a conversation about the possibilities of leveraging Zynbit’s solution for outlook integration with my employer.
- A conversation with Monica and Stuart during lunch (Day 1). Not many know my history, past or why I do what I do. I just surfaced within the Salesforce Community almost a year ago with the infamous question via Twitter to the Salesforce Community; that I’ll spare this blog from Feel free to ask me and I’ll gladly share. Going back to our conversation with Monica and Stuart; I’d like to think the brand perception I support and enable for myself is one of possessing potential on the possibilities. Stuart and Monica for the first time heard a vulnerable side that rarely ever comes out in me. I felt comfortable with these two to shed insight on my goals, aspirations and why nothing will stop me from achieving those goals. In acknowledging that last statement; I think it’s important to recognize why the SF Ohana is a unique group of folks that makeup a support system that uplifts, encourages and supports one another.
There were so many other great moments in which I learned more about Salesforce’s ecosystem from proven subject matter experts. Additionally, being able to connect with new folks and re-connect with familiar faces.
Saturday came and went very quickly. The Tahoe Dreamin experience unfortunately and unexpectedly came to what felt like a screaming halt with a severe weather storm warning affecting travel plans for all in Tahoe.
As I wrap-up my shared experiences of Tahoe Dreamin 17. I want to leave you with key takeaways. They are as follows:
- First and foremost. A special S/O and Thank You!! to Zynbit for sponsoring my entire trip to attend Tahoe Dreamin. It was all made possible by Zynbit!
- The Hotel
- Roundtrip Flight
- Diamond Status (Total Rewards)
- Being and making themselves available
- If you were unable to attend. Please ask those who did attend about what happened to Bill Grenshaw on a 50ft high stage (Insider – This one is for you Bill)
- Lastly, the importance surrounding community led conferences is just that; they are community led. Be open to the learning experiences, perspectives of others and most importantly; the opportunities to network and connect with anyone and everyone. Your next breakthrough may come in the form of a conversation with someone in attendance at a conference, a session you sat in on or the realization of where you are in your understanding of the Salesforce ecosystem and potential of where you can be. Your #ImpactMatters
Stay Blessed and Be Well,