As Dreamforce ‘17 winded down on the final day, keynote conversations took on a more personal tone. From fireside chats with former first daughters to deep discussions about the power of compassion, day four was brimming with stories, ideas, and reflections that are bound to stick with you. Here’s what stuck with us.
Former first daughters Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush sat down with Salesforce’s Monica Langley to share their revealingly honest and funny stories about growing up in the public eye. Born into a political dynasty, the twin sisters watched as their grandfather became president, and then experienced life in the White House during their father’s presidency. Now both 35, Jenna, Today Show correspondent and mother of two, and Barbara, CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps, have co-authored a new memoir: "Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life."
The twins kicked off their talk about why they decided to publish a memoir. Being a part of a famous political family certainly has its ups and downs, but they observed that their lives (and their loved ones) were often reduced to a simplistic characterization in news articles and on social media. They wanted to release a more nuanced view of their experiences to tell a richer story.
From teenage adventures in crowd-surfing at Pearl Jam concerts to their painful memories of 9/11, Jenna and Barbara shared their unique perspective. “People seem shocked that we were raised to have our own opinions,” Jenna shares. Barbara agrees, “The perception is that if you have a differing opinion then your parents, it’s a betrayal. It’s not. It’s being your own person and hopefully, it opens up a dialogue with them.”
Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director for the Human Rights Watch and an expert in humanitarian crises, took the Dreamforce stage to discuss the ongoing refugee crisis in Burma. Over 500,000 Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group, fled persecution — fueling a huge humanitarian disaster. In addition to telling heartbreaking stories of what the survivors of the conflict face, Bouckaert discussed the key ways technology enables crusaders of human rights to take on some of the world’s greatest disasters. However, he reminded us that technology can’t be the only solution; “Technology is a great tool, but sometimes we need to remember that the best tool is in our heads. Technology can’t replace boots on the ground, courage, and determination in solving these crises.”
With today’s theme of compassion, Dreamforce attendees explored the topics of personal empowerment, resilience, service, and activism. First up, Wharton School of Business professor and New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant talked about the power of being a giver. Not only has data proven that it’s beneficial to your health, it leads to more personal fulfillment and satisfaction. He also discussed “compassion fatigue” and how givers can prevent burnout. He described two types of givers: “sprinklers” who give a little every day at small intervals, and “chunkers” who focus efforts in larger increments, but less frequently. It turns out that chunkers are less likely to experience compassion fatigue as they feel a larger sense of impact for their efforts. He recommends that as little as one day a week of generosity or helping can benefit your well-being.
Next, we chatted with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, who gave a shout-out for tonight’s Band Together Bay Area concert raising funds for North Bay Fire Relief efforts. Last but not least, Chaplain Earl Smith and Iris Brilliant took the stage to discuss personal empowerment and activism in today’s world. Named the chaplain at San Quentin in 1983, Reverend Earl Smith currently serves as chaplain for the San Francisco 49ers and the Golden State Warriors. Iris Brilliant is National Organizer and Coordinator of Family Philanthropy Programming at Resource Generation. They discussed the growing activism and philanthropy in the world of sports, as well the differences between charity, activism, and social justice philanthropy, “Charity is treating the symptoms— social justice philanthropy is diving deeper into the root causes,” said Iris.
And that’s a wrap on #DF17 — what an amazing four days of learning, innovation, and fun. See you next year, Trailblazers, save the date for September 25-28, 2018!