Skip to Content

Shine On, Trailblazers: 6 Things To Know About the Golden Hoodie Tradition

A photo taken from above of a group of 30+ Trailblazers all sporting their Golden Hoodies.
Sharing a glimpse into the history and evolution of this delightful tradition.

Gifting a Golden Hoodie to inspiring Trailblazers at a Salesforce event is our way of saying thanks. Discover our Golden Hoodie Trailblazers stories, learn about many of our recipients, and enjoy the beautiful diversity of our community.

When you see a Trailblazer sporting a Golden Hoodie, you’ll probably wonder, “What’s that super shiny hoodie all about?” It’s a great question, one we encourage everyone to ask. We’re happy to share a glimpse into the history and evolution of this delightful tradition.

During Salesforce events, we invite inspiring Trailblazers to share how they’re “doing well and doing good” in their careers, companies, and communities. We then give them a Golden Hoodie as thanks for sharing their stories. And it’s no accident that the hoodie is quite the attention-getter. It helps the spotlight and inspiration carry on.

Here are six things you need to know about #LifeWithGoldie (lovingly referred to as such thanks to Zac Otero).

1. It began with an inspiring #AwesomeAdmin

This golden adventure actually began at Dreamforce ’14 during the first-ever Admin keynote. Sarah Franklin gave the first #AwesomeAdmin award to Cheryl Feldman, who shared her Trailblazer story with thousands of attendees sharing how she discovered the path to becoming a Salesforce Admin after her health forced her to forfeit her career as a hairdresser.

Of course, the award was a crowd favorite, and we went on to share 26 more #AwesomeAdmin awards at World Tours.

Then, in 2016, Admin Evangelist Mike Gerholdt met Zac Otero and invited him to share his Trailblazer story on the Salesforce Admin podcast. The team fell in love and invited Zac to talk about how he decided to leave the factory floor to study for and become a Certified Admin, live at the Dreamforce ’16 Admin keynote.

The Trailblazer Community already loved the iconic black Trailblazer hoodie, so a few creative minds decided to add some shine and surprise Zac with the first-ever Golden Hoodie. #LifeWithGoldie was born the next day.

2. The #LifeWithGoldie shine then spread worldwide

The fun went global in 2017 during Salesforce World Tour Sydney when Mark Tossell shared how he discovered a new career as an #AwesomeAdmin after being a Baptist pastor for 20 years. We went on to spotlight more amazing Trailblazers and thank them with Golden Hoodies as the World Tour marched around the world.

The last Golden Hoodie of 2017 went to Scott Luikart for sharing his story of moving from a Salesforce user to an #AwesomeAdmin and how he uses Salesforce to make a difference, especially in the lives of LGBTQ+ homeless youth in his area.

While we prepared to interview Scott and thank him with a Golden Hoodie at the Dreamforce ’17 #AwesomeAdmin keynote, Parker Harris (the ultimate Trailblazer advocate) asked an important question. “Don’t you think all the past #AwesomeAdmin award recipients would love to have a Golden Hoodie?”

Of course, the answer was crystal clear, so we gave them all their very own Golden Hoodies right after the keynote. The joy in the room shined even brighter than the 20+ Golden Hoodies, and it was unforgettable.

Golden Hoodie Trailblazers at Dreamforce 2017

A new trend started during Dreamforce ’17, when we gave John Lay, VP of IT at Camping World, a Golden Hoodie during the Service keynote, the first to be awarded outside of the admin world.

We loved that John was a learning leader who had an unquenchable thirst for earning Trailhead badges as he explored everything about the platform, delivered incredible innovation to his organization, and inspired many to follow suit.

3. It’s all about diversity, doing well, and doing good

Throughout 2018 and 2019, we spotlighted 30+ more amazing Trailblazers at Dreamforce, Salesforce World Tours, and TrailheaDX.

More #AwesomeAdmins, developers, executives, and entrepreneurs inspired our audiences around the world with amazing stories of grit, persistence, passion, and paying it forward.

While we continue to look for opportunities to set new trends (like when we awarded THREE hoodies to our Trailblazers in the TrailheaDX ’19 keynote), the spirit of the spotlight remains exactly the same: These Trailblazers are all incredible examples of doing well in their careers and doing good in their communities.

4. Selecting stories to spotlight is not an exact formula

We constantly listen to and ask for input from our local teammates and Community Group Leaders. And we watch for people stacking up Trailhead badges, engaging in the Trailblazer Community, sharing exciting achievements, and stepping up to inspire the next generation.

We often hear of these amazing people from their friends, mentors, and champions. We’re always on the lookout for the next inspiring story.

Connect with Trailblazers from anywhere

Join the conversation in the Trailblazer Community.

5. Don’t confuse it with the Salesforce MVP program

Salesforce MVPs are 200+ Community Leaders who are nominated by the community for their exceptional contributions to the community.

They’re product experts who have dedicated a lot of time to learning Salesforce and building amazing careers in the ecosystem — and more time helping others do the same. Participation in the program is renewed annually based on recent contributions.

Golden Hoodie recipients represent a wide range of experience levels and time spent in the ecosystem. And we give Golden Hoodies as a forever gift of gratitude.

6. It’s really not about the hoodie

Mark Tossell said it best in his blog, Demystifying the Fabled Golden Hoodie,

You don’t set out to win Goldie. That is, Goldie recipients have been given this honor as they sought to innovate and inspire, not because they wanted a coveted piece of swag.

Mark Tossell, Golden Hoodie Recipient

Right on, Mark!

The best thing you can do is focus on doing well and doing good. Commit to continual learning. Speak up and step up in the Trailblazer Community and beyond. Though there’s no guarantee this will lead to a hoodie, we can guarantee:

  1. We’re listening and loving how you all come together and succeed together.
  2. You’ll enjoy the incredible feeling of inspiring the next generation of Trailblazers.

Inspired? Check out more amazing Trailblazer stories and share your own!

We hope you’re inspired by our Golden Hoodie Trailblazers. And also know that there’s a big, wonderful world of Trailblazers succeeding together. Every Trailblazer counts, every Trailblazer shines, and every story should be shared!

Here are some fun ways to see more stories and share your own.

The Trailblazer Blog

Discover expert insights to help you develop your career, connect with Trailblazers, learn Salesforce, and earn certifications. Explore practical how-to guidance, authentic peer perspectives, and inspiring Trailblazer stories.

Becky de Loryn profile picture
Becky de Loryn

Becky de Loryn is a former member of the Trailblazer Marketing team. Becky lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, two kids, and two dogs.

More by Becky

Get the latest articles in your inbox.