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

Tahoe Dreamin’ – From Lake Michigan to Lake Tahoe

I planned my trip to Tahoe Dreamin’ about a month before the event. I was looking forward to seeing how the Western US took my Midwest Dreamin’ concept from the big city of Chicago to the ski slopes and mountains of South Lake Tahoe. Just a few short weeks later, I had accepted my new role as Advocacy Manager for Apttus, which suddenly meant most of my Tahoe Dreamin’ experience would come from interactions with people who visited the Apttus booth in the expo.

From my own, somewhat selfish point of view, I was not looking forward to that because I thought it meant I would not have time to spend with all my friends from the Salesforce community. For once in my life I was absolutely thrilled to be wrong. In reality, it meant that I got to spend time with NEW friends during the event, then new & established friends after-hours.

The Salesforce community is what makes events like Tahoe Dreamin so amazing. This event was not organized by Salesforce, rather it was organized and run by a small group of Salesforce community members, a small but highly motivated and passionate group of Salesforce customers and partners led by Bill Greenhaw, a Salesforce MVP and Leader of the Sacramento User Group.

Because of my new role, I did not have the opportunity to see the keynote, given by Shawna Wolverton, Vice President of Product Management, Platform at Salesforce, and Adam Seligman, Senior Vice President, Developer Relations, Salesforce, because our booth was busy, which is most certainly a good thing! From what others told me it was a great session with some flair that many of us would normally associate with the one and only, Parker Harris, a.k.a. Lightning Man. The keynote had Shawna and Adam wearing some awesome snowsuits!

Adam and Shawna Snowsuits

One that the next day Samantha Ready wore on the slopes!

Samantha Snowsuit

But fun in the snow isn’t what Tahoe Dreamin’ was really all about.

You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out. You do the hokie poike and you turn yourself around, that’s what it all about! 

What Tahoe Dreamin’ was really all about was the Salesforce Community, making connections and sharing knowledge.

Liz Gladstone put it this way: “Tahoe Dreamin’ provided the inspiration and community that Dreamforce does but in a setting intimate enough to talk with every single person.”

Shonnah Hughes had this to say: “Take Aways: Volunteer if you can, Speak up, get to know someone you don’t already know, Go to the after the event parties or gather your own group to party, ask questions, take lots of pictures and have the mind set that you are there to learn and have fun!”

Cynthia Saalfeld said this: ” I loved it!  I liked how well distributed the sessions were, not too short and not too long with a good break time in between sessions giving you time to visit the vendors and partners.   Moreover, talking to the speakers was possible and much more intimate than Dreamforce.”

Stuart Edeal (who came to Tahoe all the way from Minnesota!) wrote his own blog post about Tahoe Dreamin’.  He summarized the event this way: Attend regional events, and volunteer if you can. Share your challenges & successes. Accept invites for lunch, coffee, walks, etc. Ask questions, set goals, and enjoy yourself!

A few other comments I heard were: “Great venue”; “Fabulous food”; “Well organized”; “A little smoky at times, but it was in a Casino, with awesome scenery!”; “Bill Greenhaw and his team did a fantastic job pulling the event together”

I guess it’s safe to say I feel a little bit like a proud grandfather, having just watched a grandchild succeed gracefully in his first piano recital. Great job, Team Tahoe Dreamin’! I hope this becomes an annual event!

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Elna Miller

This is the eighteenth 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 the force behind the Salesforce Goodie List, Elna Miller.
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What’s your job title? Customer Success Strategy Senior Manager, Salesforce.

What does that mean you do? I help produce and run a global, interactive, community-integrated webinar extravaganza. I also like to hang out in the Success Community where I serve as a moderator for several groups and share my pet project, the Goodie List. (EFD – I love the Goodie List.  It’s always full of great things! And the Webinar series is loaded with awesomeness too. **Links to the webinar series and a few other “Goodies” are at the bottom of this post. )

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? Since 2009. I started as customer, as an admin/BA for a new implementation, then took a break to move cross country and have a set of twin girls before starting at Salesforce a little over four and a half  years ago. (EFD – Hmm, you took a break to move and have twins, and then you go back to work. I suppose now you work to get a break from the twins??)

Bacon or sausage?  Can’t I have both?  Don’t make me decide!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  What you know prepares you to impress who you know. (EFD – I knew the who and the what were connected, but I never thought about it that way before.)

How did our relationship start, and when? I believe we met at the first MVP Summit in 2014 and then we were lucky enough to recruit you as a guest host on one of our Premier Adoption webinars. Examples you contributed remain in the webinar presentation to this day! (EFD – I think we met virtually before the MVP Summit in 2014, but it was great to meet you in person at the Summit, and a total blast to help out with the webinar!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I am not allowed to give blood here in the US because I lived in the UK for more than 6 months during the “mad cow” era. (EFD – Uh…Moo?)

Here’s the scoop on the webinar series and some of Elna’s favorite groups on the Success Community:

New to Salesforce:
Intermediate/Advanced:
*exclusively for Premier customers
Community Groups and Hot Spots:

You can find Elna on Twitter.

I always give my featured community members a chance to review and comment on the blog post before I publish it (Yeah, I’m nice like that!) and in response to my “Twins” comment, here’s what Elna shared, and I can personally relate to that, living in a house with three teen-aged girls! (No offense to women intended at all…and if you are offended, I’m sorry. I’m expressing my opinion, and you are welcome to share yours!)

kids no-kids

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Claudio Castro

This is the seventeenth 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 the newest addition to the Salesforce Success Community Team, Claudio Castro.

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What’s your job title? Community Manager – Success Community, Salesforce.

What does that mean you do? I’m the go-to person for all things Success Community internally and externally (in the Community)! I handle the day-to-day shtuff (admin tasks, campaigns, questions, spam, awareness) as well as long-term projects. (EFD – Ok…two things:  1 – I like how you talk “shtuff”…that’s a combination of “Shhh” and “stuff”, which means you get things done quitely. 2 – Uh, EXCUSE ME!  Handling spam is not “day-to-day”…ok, so it may be a daily occurrence, but keeping the community free of it is certainly a BIG deal! So on behalf of the entire Community….Thank you!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been with Salesforce an AMAZING three months now. (EFD – Whoa….that long already?  That must mean your orientation was being thrown headfirst into Dreamforce week. Ouch!)

Bacon or sausage?  Can’t I have both?  Don’t make me decide!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  It’s definitely both! Who you know will get you in the door and the what you know will get you past the door. There have definitely been instances where I’ve experienced or seen both. When it comes to the “what you know” aspect of it though, you’ve got to know your stuff. It’s like Shark Tank. Cool, you’ve got something to present to some amazing entrepreneurs, but if your product is crap, they won’t invest. (EFD – Ahhh…another Shark Tank fan….and a great analogy.)

How did our relationship start, and when? A couple weeks into my role, I don’t remember exactly when, but you (and the other members of the Community) welcomed me with open arms by engaging with me on the Success Community!! (EFD – I’ve got an idea…how about you make a trip to Chicago and see the Community in action first hand at Midwest Dreamin’ 2016?)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I LOVE music. I can’t live without it. I listen to anything that sounds good to my ears regardless of genre, although my favorites are R&B and Rap. (Yes, some Country included.) DVSN, Ryan Hemsworth, and Ty Dolla $ign are some artists I’ve been listening to lately. If you want a new recommendation or need some music for a certain mood, holla at me on Twitter! (EFD – There’s some really great musicians in the Success Community like Ryan Headley, to name just one.)

You can find Claudio on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Tami Esling

This is the fourteenth 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 Salesforce MVP Tami Esling.

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What’s your job title? Senior Salesforce Consultant, SaaS Consulting Group.

What does that mean you do? I perform a variety of tasks from directing clients and colleagues towards Salesforce education (Trailhead is a must!) to full Salesforce implementations.  I receive so much joy in watching others grow and learn or completing an implementation that makes my client’s life easier.  There is never an end to learning or helping others in the Salesforce world!. (EFD – Trailhead rocks! If you didn’t see my post introducing Chris Duarte, check it out. She’s the reason Trailhead is so awesome!)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? Five years. (EFD – That’s a decent amount of time…in Salesforce Years!)

Bacon or sausage?  Its bacon or nothing!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  I think it’s a bit of both.  Connections are so important, but I also think you have to have the knowledge (or a strong desire to learn) to best help others and meet your goals. (EFD – I love how you worded that: you have to have the knowledge…to best help other and meet your goals. Very interesting that you put helping others ahead of meeting your goals!)

How did our relationship start, and when? If you’re on the Salesforce Community, then you probably “know” Eric Dreshfield.  That is how it all began.  Then I had the privilege to meet you in person at the MVP Summit in 2015. (EFD –                         <- see that? You rendered me speechless. It was truly my honor and privilege to meet you…and our online relationship started when I joined the Certification study group you facilitated. I must admit, I wasn’t the best student. I didn’t keep up with the homework, and in the end, that’s probably part of why I’m still “un-certified” today.)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I have skydived and plan to take another jump in 2016. (EFD – I’ve jumped out of plenty of airplanes…but they were all sitting on the ground when I did it. I’m guessing you did it at somewhere near 10,000 feet!)

You can find Tami on Twitter.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing THE Chris Duarte

This is the thirteenth 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 the one and only, Chris Duarte.

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What’s your job title? Managing Editor of Trailhead, Salesforce.

What does that mean you do? I make sure the content on Trailhead is rad! (EFD – For those who don’t know what Trailhead is, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE PAST YEAR?  Oh, sorry.  I got carried away.  Check out Trailhead here.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? Five years. (EFD – Five years?  Ha,ha!  I’ve got you beat!   What?  It’s not a competition?  Oh, so sorry.)

Bacon or sausage?  It’s bacon, or nothing!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  So here’s the deal. I’m a big believer in lifelong learning, and I think every day presents a chance to learn something new. Just this morning (EFD November 11th, the date Chris gave me these details) I was in a meeting with Todd Enders, and I was about to launch into this deck I created. He stopped me and asked a few questions, which got the room talking and got us off on the right note. The meeting had a great outcome, by the way, and now I’ve learned a new way to communicate with impact (thanks, Todd!).

This is the thing I love about learning! One minute you’re doing things the same old way you’ve always done them, and the next you’ve completely changed your mind about something you were so sure about before. You learn, and then you transform. It’s rad when it happens! Ultimately, that’s the reason I work on Trailhead. Because I believe where we can go and who we can become is limitless, and Trailhead is an amazing way to help us get there.

How did our relationship start, and when? I think we met on Twitter in 2014. Our relationship solidified when you agreed to present in our success theater at Dreamforce 2014. Then I returned the favor by presenting at Midwest Dreamin’ 2015. Thanks again for having me! (EFD – I’ve got an idea…how about a Trailhead “thing” at Midwest Dreamin’ 2016?)

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 related to Abraham Lincoln. (EFD – Wow, really?  I wish I would have know that, and you, back in early 1865 so I could have asked you to get me his autograph.  Oh wait….nevermind.)

You can find Chris on Twitter.

You Don’t Have to be From the Midwest….

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of a little event being planned for July 9th & 10th, 2015,  at Chicago’s Navy Pier…it’s a little thing called Midwest Dreamin’ 2015. The organizers of Midwest Dreamin’  somehow managed to convince Dan Darcy to come to Chicago to open up the activities on July 10th, and Peter Coffee will be making a return trip to Midwest Dreamin’ to close the event down.

Who is Dan Darcy?

dan darcy

Many of us that have attended Dreamforce over the past few years know Dan as “The Dreamforce Demo Man”, but he gave up that role about two years ago and moved into something bigger and better. Dan is now the Senior Vice President for Worldwide Product Readiness. He is responsible for working with the product organization to develop priorities, product positioning and competency strategy for the distriibution organization, customers and partners. In addition, he manages the New Product Introduction processes to ensure that product releases have an enablement plan and assets are developed for consumption by customers, partners and employees.  Dan is also still head of Customer Visions for Marc Benioff.

Who is Peter Coffee?

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Seriously? If you have to ask that question, one might wonder how long you have been a salesforce.com user, developer, administrator or fan. Just in case you did just crawl out from under a rock, or recently converted from some other CRM system, I’ll fill you in. Peter Coffee is the Vice President of Strategic Research at Salesforce.com, but to those of us in the Salesforce.com community, we think of him as so much more than that. He’s the voice of Dreamforce, the pre-Keynote entertainment, the Master of Ceremony at the worlds largest technology conference. He is the show, before the show. He sets the stage at Dreamforce and gets the crowd all pumped up to see Marc Benioff talk about all the exciting things that Salesforce.com is working on, and all the awesome good things the Salesforce Foundation is helping to accomplish thanks to the 1-1-1 model – One percent of your time, one percent of your profits and one percent of your products being donated to great causes in order to help make the world a better place for all of us. Peter currently supports Salesforce efforts in CIO and developer engagement; in regulatory and stakeholder discussions, including information security technology and practice; and in collaborations with research professionals in both the commercial and academic communities

Breakout Sessions Are the Skid Marks of Learning
I think it’s always interesting and entertaining to listen to Peter Coffee and Dan Darcy speak, but where the rubber meets the road is what really helps businesses and nonprofits alike. That’s why people attend events like Dreamforce and Midwest Dreamin’. Skid marks of learning – just what exactly is that?  These skid marks don’t get made from quick stops or from taking turns too fast. They come from the rapid acceleration of business growth, from increased innovation and new ways of taking care of customers. Midwest Dreamin’ just completed its call for speakers and has a great lineup of fantastic speakers talking on everything from “Creating Change with Salesforce Communities” to “So You’ve Inherited (or Created) a Mess…Now What?”  Check out more sessions planned for Midwest Dreamin’ 2015.

Time is Money
How valuable is your time? Consider not only your salary, but the time you spend with family and friends, the time you spend helping others through volunteering or just by being a good neighbor. Attending Midwest Dreamin’ 2015, can actually save you both time and money. Sure, there’s a hard cost to attending…travel expenses and the registration fee, but the knowledge you will gain and the value of those new ideas that will start floating around in your head will certainly exceed those hard costs and help you find more time in your day by allowing you to streamline processes.

The Proof is in the Pudding
I know what you are thinking now….how can I get in on this? What do I need to do to get a piece of this action? That’s the easiest part! Visit the Midwest Dreamin’ Register! page. Yes…it really is that simple!

What’s that? You want to help?
Are you with a partner and wanting to help get your company’s message out to the hundreds of attendees coming to Midwest Dreamin’? We’ve got plenty of sponsorship opportunities still available. For details, visit Sponsorship Options

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