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What Was It Like to Be the First Golden Hoodie Winner?

What Was It Like to Be the First Golden Hoodie Winner?

Receiving the Golden Hoodie is one of the highest honors Trailblazers can receive. Read Zac Otero's story about what it was like to be the first to receive one.

We’re posting a series of vignettes to celebrate Salesforce’s 20th birthday. Follow our digital scrapbook to get a behind the scenes glimpse of our history.

What was it like to be the first Golden Hoodie winner? Well, for one thing, Zac Otero had no idea he was the first anything.

“I didn’t know what it was,” Zac says. “Nobody did. We’d never seen one before.”

Today the glittering garment is a great honor. Only around 60 have ever been bestowed to Trailblazers who are doing well in their careers and doing good in their communities.

All Zac knew as he sat in Moscone Center on Oct. 6, 2016, was that he was going to get some kind of recognition during the admin keynote. (The big crowd was in another part of the convention center, listening to tennis legend Billie Jean King discuss Equality, a key Salesforce value.)


“I figured they say a sentence or two about me, pan the camera, and we would be done,” Zac says. “I even asked, ‘You’re not going to pull me up onstage, are you?’”

zac otero mike rosenbaum

Mike Rosenbaum presents Zac Otero with the first golden hoodie ever at Dreamforce ’16.

They did. And after presenting Zac with the #AwesomeAdmin Trailblazer Award, Mike Rosenbaum, Salesforce’s Executive Vice President, Product, came toward Zac with something that looked to him like “a golden disco ball.”

The next day Zac wore it to the exam for his advanced admin certification, and people began to take notice. Heads turned. A Salesforce photographer asked him to pose for photos.

zac otero tower
Zac takes a celebratory photo in front of the under-construction Salesforce Tower in San Francisco after passing his exam.

For six months, he was the only person in the world with the Golden Hoodie. Later he watched his friends such as Mark Tossell, Jennifer Lee and others receive theirs.

“Those were actually the best moments,” Zac says.

Jeff Elder Journalist, Business Insider

Jeff Elder is a correspondent at Business Insider. He previously managed the Salesforce Blog, worked as a Wall Street Journal reporter, and as the blog and social media lead for Wikipedia.

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