Shonnah Hughes + Ohana Community Love

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It has been an amazing summer with a whirlwind of community events. I had the pleasure and privilege of attending a few Salesforce community led events. I love these events because they are designed to be more intimate and accessible. They provide the Salesforce community an alternative to the larger Salesforce events such as Dreamforce and TrailheadX. Community events provide the same content, knowledge share and networking that you would find at the larger events -- but at a reduced rate, so that everyone interested can attend. I call these community events “Chicken Soup for the Soul” -- they help me recharge and reinvigorate my energy.

TEXAS Dreamin’

This is always one of my favorites. They say everything is bigger in Texas and I would agree. The community love that I felt while I was in Texas was HUGE! The leaders of the group describe this event as a “Texas-sized Ohana community led conference that provides knowledge + inspiration while celebrating anyone who uses Salesforce.” One of my favorite TXD18 moments was the keynote given by Salesforce’s Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet. Tony highlighted how Salesforce is championing equality for all, and also detailed how the community in Texas is blazing the equality trail. A local example is Vetforce. Vetforce is a Salesforce job training and career accelerator program for military service members, veterans and spouses. More information about that can be found here

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Toya Gatewood and I gave a presentation entitled “The Power of One”. We had great attendance and received amazing feedback. It was truly a great time engaging with the community in a meaningful way. I was show so much love in Texas by so many people but I have to give a special shout out to Joni and Jace Bryan, Stephanie Herrera and Holly Firestone!

Midwest Dreamin’

I am originally from the Midwest and this was the very first community event I ever attended, beginning in 2014. This is one of my top events to go to every year and I even volunteer for this event. Midwest Dreamin' is one of the first organized community events and is lead by some amazing people. Each year I can see the growth and success, and as a matter of fact I can recall something significant happening to me or someone I know. I met Toya Gatewood for the very first time at this event and she is one of my very best friends today. I have presented a number of times at this event and have also learned more than I can ever repay back to the community from this event. This year I got to meet some of my Now IT Matters team members at this event. We are a remote consulting company so this is how we get to see each other. The keynote given by Salesforce’s Chief Product Manager Brett Taylor was phenomenal. Midwest Dreamin’ will always hold a very special place in my heart because of all of this!

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Big Sky Dreamin’

This was the first time I had ever been to Montana and also happened to be the inaugural event. I was skeptical about going to Bozeman, Montana, but Tim Lockie, the founder of Now IT Matters, resides there and is originally from Bozeman. He suggested that I come out and we do a joint session with another colleague. I agreed, and so Tim, Shiv and I presented on ‘Diversifying Your Portfolio’. This session was a new concept designed to help individuals understand the benefit of having a diverse workforce. Tim and Shiv did an amazing job articulating how they have seen success multiply when they invest in their employees. Lockie explained, “CFO’s have asked ‘Why would you give them training experience -- they could leave and it's a dead investment?’ and I replied, ‘What if I don’t and they stay?’”  

The keynote was given by Salesforce’s VP for Strategic Research, Peter Coffee. He was so on point, (one speaker I had never seen before) and my favorite quote from his presentation was “New solutions require wildly different perspectives.”  The closing keynote by Zayne Turner was informative and insightful. She highlighted the fact that you need ‘Joy’ when building solutions. Sandi Zellner left no one with a dry eye in the room when she told her personal Salesforce journey. She was brave and inspiring! This event was small but mighty and I can see the greatness that is to come for next year’s event.

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The beauty of these community events is that everyone is welcome. You can feel the love flowing through every session, every speaker and all the hard work that it takes to put on these events. If you have the opportunity to a community event don't pass it up! Trust me, you will not regret it! So thank you to all the community teams who work tirelessly to entertain, educate and delight us. You are the REAL MVP’s!!!

Join my colleagues and I at Dreamforce in San Francisco, on September 25-28, 2018. We hope to see you there!