Earlier this summer we ran the inaugural Blaze a Trail to Dreamforce Contest to find one lucky Salesforce community member from the UK or Ireland to win a VIP trip to Dreamforce. The contest was equal parts fun and hard-work, but we found a very worthy winner in Cristina Bran, who will not only join us in San Francisco, but will be the UK & Ireland social media ambassador during the event.

So here we are, with just a couple of weeks to go until the big event, and we wanted to find out a bit more about Cristina, and what she'll get up to at Dreamforce - and most importantly, how you can follow along at home.

Let's go behind the Trailblazer....


1) Firstly, congrats again on your amazing entry and winning campaign! Can you tell us a little about who you are, who you work for, and what your role is within the Salesforce community?


Thank you! It still feels surreal, I never wanted to win something so bad before.

I am a super lucky Salesforce enthusiast (aka Trailblazer) who works as a Business Applications Manager at The Guardian News and Media. I am active within the UK Salesforce community through my social media and community groups membership. I attend most Salesforce related events and because of my background, I believe most of my peers see me as a living success story.

2) You've had a really interesting and inspiring career path so far. Can you tell us about that, and give any advice to other people curious about starting a career in tech?


I am originally from Romania and moved to London when I was 17. I worked as a waitress in various restaurants for about 5 years until I was told about Biz Academy by my lovely friend Hannah. Biz Academy was a 5 weeks full time course funded by Salesforce through their 1:1:1 philanthropy model. It followed the official Salesforce administration ADM201 programme as well as CV building skills, maths, ICT and English.

At the end of the 5 weeks, we had to do a Salesforce presentation in front of potential employees. I secured an apprenticeship with an eCommerce company and completed a level 2 NVQ within my year with them. At the end of that I was contacted by The Guardian for a Salesforce Administrator role where I have been for the last 4 years.

My advice to anyone looking to start a career in tech is to get stuck in, work hard to learn as much as you can and never rest on your laurels. Technology is an exciting space to be working within and provides tremendous opportunities if you are passionate. Trailhead is the best place to get started, so what are you waiting for?


3) Technology is moving at ever faster speeds. How do you keep up with all the changes and make sure you're up to date with the latest Salesforce innovations?


Because I am 9x Salesforce Certified, I have to take release exams to maintain those certifications which means I spend time reading notes on each release as well as completing Trailhead modules to ensure I pass. Trailblazer Community User Groups and Salesforce events are also a great way to find out about new features and changes as well as to see them in action. Nothing paints a picture better than a real life example!


4) As someone who has never been to Dreamforce, what excites you about it? What drove you to enter our contest in the first place?


As a true Salesforce Trailblazer, Dreamforce is the ultimate "dream". I have wanted to attend since I very first started working with Salesforce products, I mean who wouldn't want to go to the coolest conference on Earth where you meet like minded professionals, learn more than you can imagine with hundreds of sessions to choose from, have the ability to give back and rock out with Metallica at Dreamfest? In fact, when I did my 2018 goals list, attending Dreamforce was top of my list. I entered the contest because I am competitive, love social media and I "NEEDED" to go to Dreamforce. It was always a need not a want! 




5) In your role as the UK & Ireland social media ambassador at Dreamforce, what are you planning to do? And how can people follow your adventures?


I am very adventurous and hope to take the UK & Ireland Trailblazers who cannot attend on the journey with me through the activities and sessions I will be attending, watch out for challenges and fun content. You can follow along with me on Twitter @CristinaaBran.

You can also follow the Salesforce UK social channels below, and of course right here on this blog! 

Twitter: @SalesforceUK

Facebook: SalesforceUK

LinkedIn: Salesforce

6) You're very active on Twitter, are you hoping to meet any of your social media connections whilst out at Dreamforce? 


Definitely! In fact, I have a few dates planned with people I have never had the chance to meet in person and I am super excited to finally put some faces to the @s.

It would be really cool to meet Chris Duarte, Tony Prophet and maybe even Mr. Benioff himself - I would love to thank him in person for the 1:1:1 philanthropic model and tell him how it truly changed my life.


Thanks for your excellent input, Cristina. We're incredibly excited to see how your Dreamforce adventure pans-out and will be sharing as much as we can on our social channels to keep everyone back home up to date with what's happening in San Francisco!

How can the community get involved?

If anyone in the community has a request for something they'd like Cristina to report back on, or a friendly challenge to put to her, or perhaps you'd like to meet Cristina and be part of the social story - please tweet @SalesforceUK with your suggestions and use #UKTrailblazerDF18

You can bet there will be a ton of learning and fun shared on social. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with hashtags #DF18 and #TrailblazerCommunity. And whether you’re attending or not, you should check out the Dreamforce Chatter Groups in the Trailblazer Community for more information on everything happening at the conference.