A Community Mourns, A Community Remembers – A Tribute to Tami Esling

When I think back to the day I first met Tami, I recall immediately feeling like I had know her all my life. Her amazing smile was contagious and anyone who was in conversation with her quickly found themselves smiling as well. Tami and I met at the MVP Summit in 2015, shortly after she was named a Salesforce MVP. It was a great pleasure to meet her in person, and after having so many online interactions with her, I felt like I already knew her well.

Professionally, Tami worked for SaaS Consulting Group with a focus on directing clients and colleagues towards Salesforce education and training to help them get the most out of their Salesforce implementation. She was a firm believer that with the proper education and training that anyone could accomplish big things. Unlike some, she also practiced what she preached. Tami held five Salesforce Certifications.

Tami certs

Tami was a giver too. She was the “mother hen” for all things Salesforce in Austin, TX. She led the Austin Salesforce User group. She was an active member in the Austin Women in Tech group, and a passionate champion of Salesforce Saturday. Anytime there was anything Salesforce going on in Austin, you could find Tami there. She volunteered her time to help others in the Salesforce Community get better educated, and hopefully well prepared so that they could successfully become a Salesforce Certified individual too. I decided to make the commitment of 15 weeks and join the online Certification Study Group that Tami was leading in late 2014. It was through the interactions in the group where I really got to see Tami shine. She skillfully facilitated the online study group, week after week, drawing out the best of everyone involved through thoughtful insights above and beyond the assigned homework. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t the “let it ride, let everyone through” kind of person. She was tough on the people who were not prepared each week, and called them out the next week, to make sure they were doing the homework and sticking to the commitments they made when signing up for the study group.  I should know, I was probably one of her “bad” students. I had a hard time keeping up with the homework, and missed a class or two, and paid the ultimate price for that, in that I was unsuccessful when I attempted the Certified Administrator exam. Notice I did not say that I failed, because I firmly believe that Wayne Gretzky explained that best.

gretzky

In December or 2015, I featured Tami in my “I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community” blog series. It was great fun working with Tami to recall all our interactions together, and to learn more about her background, how she got started in the Salesforce Ecosystem, etc. I asked the standard questions, including “What’s more important: Who you know, or What you know?” I will never forget Tami’s reply. She said: ‘If you’re on the Salesforce Community, then you probably “know” Eric Dreshfield. That is how it all began.’ That was the first time I truly felt speechless!

There was one other question from that blog post where Tami’s response was quite surprising to me. When I asked “What’s one fact about you that few people know, that would surprise me?” To that question Tami replied, ” I have skydived and plan to take another jump in 2016.” Wow! I sure was surprised by that answer.

Tami events

As we all struggle to find a way to deal with the hole left in our hearts, and in the community due to Tami’s untimely passing, I think it’s only fitting to share some words that her friends in the Success Community stated upon hearing the sad news.

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Thank you for everything, Tami. You are truly an inspiration to many and your spirit will remain alive in the Success Community as long as one person whose life you touched is there.

Tami Esling. Wife. Mother. Mentor. Coach. Friend.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Heart Association  This form asks you to complete a memorial card, please choose mail card and send to: Walter Esling, 14833 Irondale Dr., Austin, TX 78717

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I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Taylor Moore

This is the twenty-seventh post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.) Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce Taylor Moore.

taylor headshot

What’s your job title? Marketing Manager at McLarens. (EFD – In case you don’t know McLarens, they are a global claims services provider that helps clients achieve timely and equitable claims resolution. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the company has offices strategically located around the world.)

What does that mean you do? I ensure our global brands’ messaging is streamlined through various marketing media: social, digital, print, press, promotional (swag!), and ads. I most enjoy working with my international colleagues to learn about how the local language(s) and culture impacts our messaging so we can ensure our communication is relevant and meaningful. As it relates to Salesforce.com, I serve as a pseudo-admin and work with our sales team to maintain an environment that highlights their hard work & customer wins. (EFD – Does anyone ever really wear just one hat professionally? I don’t think so, and with all the engagement through social channels and the Salesforce Community, I think the line between professional and personal life gets rather blurry. Oh, and swag? Did someone say swag?)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been a Salesforce customer since 2012. (EFD – 2012…that was the year Red Hot Chili Peppers played at Dreamforce. I missed that concert, but I’m sure it was fantastic. Taylor told me she would have loved to see RHCP and she missed it too. She also said she was in Kindgergarten when they were a big thing. And to think, I felt like RHCP was a group my kids would like. #SomeoneIsFeelingOldNow)

Bacon or sausage? Bacon!  While I must admit that I try to stick to low sodium turkey bacon (what’s the point, right?!) Bacon is at its BEST when it’s cooked in a cast-iron skillet #SouthernStyle (EFD – Oh yeah!!! #DownHomeCookin)

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? Who you know…I’m early in my career and have many people to thank for getting me to where I am today. Networking is so important, both in and out of your own area of expertise. Pay it forward 🙂 (EFD – YES! Another one who really understands the power of the community! Pay it forward, people! The feeling you get from helping others is incredible!)

How did our relationship start, and when?  Wow, we met in the Atlanta airport on the way to Dreamforce ’13..THEN again on the sidewalk in San Francisco pre- or post- AppBash maybe?! (EFD – Yes! Truly a great story here. I was on my layover in Atlanta on my way to DF13, and posted in what we called the Dreamforce App back then, something like this: “In Atlanta’s airport on my way to Dreamforce. I’m at gate xx, anyone want to chat?  I should be easy to find with my classic red Salesforce MVP Rickshaw bag.” And literally, within 2 minutes, I hear this voice saying “Are you Eric?”  And that’s how Taylor and I met.  Later that week, late in the evening, while walking towards the App Bash at the Metreon, I spotted her at the corner of 4th & Mission and casually walked up to her and said, “Hi Taylor.”  Her reaction was priceless….out of the 50,000 or so people at Dreamforce, what are the chances of running into one you know?)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I’m not sure about your blog readers, but Eric, you might be surprised that I lean towards being an introvert. (EFD – Yep, I do find that rather surprising!)

You can find Taylor on Twitter.