India Dreamin’ = Dreamin’ Success!

India Dreamin’ = Dreamin’ Success! By Tim Lockie

I was honored to be one of the speakers at the inaugural India Dreamin’. When Shiv first told me about India Dreamin’ and said there would be between one and two thousand attendees, I doubted this was realistic. It was.

Salesforce is a leading workforce option globally, but it’s a message that requires some convincing where I live in Montana. India is clearly getting the message -- there were over 1,400 attendees at this event, making it the largest community led event in the Salesforce Community. This is even more impressive when realizing that this is the first year of India Dreamin’!

I was able to attend four Salesforce Community-led Dreamin’ events this year (Tahoe Dreamin’, Texas Dreamin’, Midwest Dreamin’, and India Dreamin’). Each one has a different style, character, and focus. All were engaging and successful -- this was no accident. Success isn’t accidental, it’s earned. Here’s my list of the top ten reasons India Dreamin’ was a success.

1. Dedicated and connected core team

The core team of India Dreamin’ Shivand Vinayprovided clear vision and leadership. They also dedicated countless hours to planning, sponsorship, speaker selection, transportation, hospitality - you name it.

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2. An army of volunteers

A successful event takes so many people!  At India Dreamin’ there were scores of volunteers from user groups, sponsoring organizations, student groups, and the community who rallied to get all arrangements made, rides scheduled, signage created, and speakers coordinated. This was a huge effort requiring ‘round the clock support and the volunteers worked tirelessly to get it just right.

3. Top notch coordination

When you are putting on any conference, let alone an event for 1,400 people, you won’t be able to pull it off without amazing coordination. Behind the scenes using slack, email, and phone calls the India coordinating team was on it. A lot of this was the amazing work of SoumyaAshwin , and Sivasreebut there were many others who were responsive and helpful. I imagine the attention to detail needed with all the presenters, sponsors, volunteers and attendees -- what a feat!

4. Highlight top Salesforce Community contributors

The speakers at India Dreamin’ came from far and near. Drawing from many backgrounds, there were consulting partners, product partners, developers, admins, and trainers. However, they all had one thing in common (and maybe this is all they had in common): they all contribute to the Salesforce Community. Whether they were an emerging WIT (Women In Tech) leader or were leading multiple user groups, the community around them is stronger because of their contributions.

5. Offer presentations for all skill-levels, from beginner to advanced

Speakers were clearly selected to cover a wide range of experience within the platform. From Emily Hudsonintroducing the basics of the App Exchange to Siddhesh Salunke on technical expertise in using Marketing Cloud and Pardot, there was something for inexperienced admins to architects.

6. Highlight Women In Tech

Having been in many conversations with Shiv and knowing his personal commitment to advancing Women In Tech, I wasn’t surprised to see WIT leaders as speakers at Indian Dreamin’. The panel discussion led by Amy Oplinger, Angela Murray Mahoney, and Stephanie Herrera fostered some amazing dialogue from the audience. It was also an honor to get to know some of the WIT User Group leaders like Radika, Sonika, and Surbhi.   

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7. Provide unbelievable hospitality

The hospitality for India Dreamin’ speakers was amazing. I was truly treated like royalty, which may not be a good thing for my ego, but was a testament to Indian culture and dedication to planning. The day of the event, I was planning to slip into the keynote and then make my way over to where I would be speaking on Salesforce.org and the Nonprofit Success Pack. It turns out there was no slipping in unnoticed at India Dreamin. I was greeted at the door with flowers, a bracelet, and then shown into a large room where I was seated right in the front. 

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8. Include local culture

From the candle ceremony at the beginning to the dance performance at the closing, India Dreamin’ offered rich cultural experiences throughout the day. From the food (which deserves it’s own post - I thought that I had eaten palak paneer and naan before, but I know differently now. In fact, this event may have ruined all out of country Indian food for me..) to the flowers, the day was made special because it celebrated India’s culture.

9. Target an academic institution and get students and faculty on board

India Dreamin’ partnered with a local institute, G.L. Bajaj, which has 5,000 students. I talked with the Director, and was surprised to hear how much he knew about the Salesforce Community. He clearly saw the value that the Salesforce Community could contribute to his student body by being an event host and sponsor. By hosting the event at an institute, students were aware of the event and roughly one third of the attendees were students. This aligns with an increasing value in the Salesforce Community of empowering students.

10. Keep it to one day

As far as I know, India Dreamin’ is the only Dreamin’ event that is a single day. Before the event, I wondered if it should be two days, but I ended up thinking this was an advantage. Students are more likely to come for a one day event, employers may be more likely to approve a one day event than a longer event, sponsors didn’t have to teardown between nights, and when it was over, it was done. (Though for the volunteers it was more than just one day!)

It was a truly an honor to represent Now IT Matters and Salesforce.org at this event. Thanks, India Dreamin’, for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing event and adventure.

Tim Lockie is the Founder and President of Now IT Matters.