The Sydney installment of Down Under Dreaming – the Salesforce event created by the community for the community – has just wrapped up. As Co-Leader of the Sydney Salesforce User Group, I’m pleased to say it was, in the words of one attendee, “a mission accomplished”.
Seven years ago, Salesforce community leaders in Midwest America had a dream to bring a ‘super user group’ to the midwest, providing those who couldn’t attend Dreamforce with a localised version, and access to quality speakers, content and networking opportunities. Midwest Dreamin’ was born.
The idea spread around the world and, inspired by its success, we decided to bring the concept to Sydney for the first time last year. Two years on, Down Under Dreaming has become the main event of the Sydney Salesforce User Group program. Now, as Australia’s largest Salesforce community event, it has also become quite the Australian roadshow with annual events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Down Under Dreaming is geared towards people who are regularly on the Salesforce tools, to inspire and enable them to do their jobs better. The event is about providing practical, tangible knowledge – no crystal ball-gazing – delivered by experts in the field. Everyone who attends is truly committed to getting the most out of the Salesforce platform and their investment – that’s why the event has been so successful to date.
This year, more than 400 Salesforce admins, developers and business users piled into the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for a full-day of learning from keynotes and 20 sessions that ran across three streams. The day covered everything from Salesforce development best practices to the growth of IoT, and the possibilities of using Einstein Analytics.
We had Trailblazers like Heidi Prowse sharing stories of inspiration, as well as an AppExchange Demo Jam and Trailhead Zone, where participants could earn a special Down Under Dreaming Sydney badge.
In the first keynote of the day, the McGrath Foundation’s Tracy Bevan set the tone, sharing the origin story behind the foundation, but more pointedly, what it takes to be a Trailblazer in today’s technological age.
Bevan discussed the importance of having vision and passion, and standing up and doing something you believe in, regardless of whether you’re qualified or not. She also spoke about the significance of having the right team, allowing them to lead from every seat and accepting that failure is fine, because that’s when you learn some of the biggest lessons.
Being a Trailblazer, according to Bevan, also means listening to your customers and delivering on the experiences they’re asking for.
Karen Mangia, Vice President of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce, continued the Trailblazing theme in her keynote.
Mangia spoke about defining your own recipe for success, both in business and in life, and the importance of not blindly following someone else’s path. She also highlighted the importance of work/life balance and listening to your internal voice to prevent burnout.
For me, the highlight of Down Under Dreaming was seeing the Salesforce community come together and all the new connections that were made. The Salesforce Ohana spirit was certainly in full force.
Not only were they getting the most from the tailored sessions, a good majority of attendees also used the time they had in between sessions or during the breaks to network, which was just incredible to see.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Salesforce community event without giving back. McGrath Foundation – also a Salesforce.org customer – was our not-for-profit event partner and, thanks to the generosity of attendees, we raised more than $10,000 to help fund specialist McGrath Breast Care Nurses. McGrath Breast Care Nurses help breast cancer patients (and their families) by providing free physical, psychological and emotional support.
Down Under Dreaming may be over for 2018 (well, in Sydney and Melbourne at least – Brisbane’s event is coming up on 6 December), but the journey of a Trailblazer is never over.
For those who attended Down Under Dreaming, it’s time to put all that new knowledge into practice.
And the great thing about the Salesforce community is that no-one’s alone in that journey. The Salesforce User Groups around Australia and New Zealand meet once a month, providing an environment where people can learn, network, share ideas and get the most out of Salesforce. Outside of that, there’s always Trailhead, which is a great resource to advance your Salesforce skills.