It was the year 2010. I'd been working as a Salesforce Administrator for a couple of years. From day one, I loved the product. It was easy to use and to configure without having to write code. It allowed me to delight my internal customers by helping to streamline and automate their business processes; by providing them with the reports and dashboards they needed to keep track of their performance; and they could access it from anywhere with an internet connection and a web browser.
To me, Salesforce was awesome, and I loved working with the product. But I wanted to learn more. How were other customers using it? What else could I do to help my customers? What were others in the wider Salesforce community doing? Did they love it as much as I? What were the challenges they faced and how did they conquer them?
I'd heard of Dreamforce of course. My managers came back each year excited about what they'd learned. (And "Oh my god, the parties are AMAZING!")
So, in 2010, I decided I would experience Dreamforce for myself.
Now you might be wondering - what does this have to do with GirlyGeeks? Only Everything! It has everything to do with GirlyGeeks, and I'll tell you why.
GirlyGeeks was an informal networking group created by the wonderful Geraldine Gray. Some of you may recognise her as one of our Salesforce MVPs, as well as the founder of Salesforce partner company - Endiem.
Amidst all the excitement and chaos of Dreamforce, Geraldine thought it would be lovely if women travelling all the way to San Francisco had other women to meet up with; attend sessions with; socialise with; and conduct a little bit of networking on the side.
In 2010, GirlyGeeks was born. Thanks to my colleague and friend, Carmen Hymes, I was one of the lucky women who attended the very first event. It was casual, informal - wine and cheese at Press Club in San Francisco. I met a wonderful bunch of people that evening - many of whom I am still in touch with today. It was great to have the opportunity to meet some people prior to the conference (which could have been a little overwhelming for this young woman travelling all the way from Australia).
Those of you who have attended Dreamforce over the last couple of years will no doubt be familiar with the GirlyGeeks. This movement has grown and spread across the Salesforce community like wildfire. Geraldine was interviewed for the Road to Dreamforce series last year and provided some great insights about what GirlyGeeks represents, as well as Women in Tech generally. GirlyGeeks groups have sprung up across the US, and around the globe. They are still casual, informal and social events, and women from all corners of the Salesforce ecosystem are coming along.
Now we are in Sydney! We are holding our very first GirlyGeeks event in Sydney in a couple of weeks' time. Since Dreamforce is rapidly approaching we thought it a great opportunity not only to launch the Sydney GirlyGeeks, but to host a Pre-Dreamforce Information Evening. The evening will be held at the Salesforce office, after which we will adjourn to a nearby venue for some socialising. We encourage you to come along to meet everyone, even if you can't make it to Dreamforce this year.
For more information about GirlyGeeks, our launch event (and future events), you are warmly invited to join our Chatter group on the Salesforce Success Community. To attend our first GirlyGeeksSyd event, please register via Eventbrite, or by clicking the button at the bottom of this post. Alternatively, you can always reach out to me - I live on Twitter a fair amount (@TweetsMcG).
As for Dreamforce - it more than answered the questions I had been pondering. I came back bursting with ideas, and, more importantly, I came back having met an amazing bunch of people ... and Saasy & Chatty!