By Amy Oplinger, Sr. Salesforce Consultant, Salesforce MVP
Whether you are just starting out, or well-established in your Salesforce career, you are undoubtedly familiar with Dreamforce, the tech giant’s annual conference in San Francisco. But are you familiar with the community organized regional events? These smaller but just as impactful events can not only help you level up your skills, attendees often can level up their careers as a result of attending.
In 2011, Salesforce MVP Eric Dreshfield, leader of the Southern Indiana User Group, had a thought to bring a little bit of Dreamforce to his town. Out of that idea sprung the very first community led conference, Midwest Dreamin, a two day event featuring keynote speakers, community speakers and a partner expo. Eric’s idea has blossomed across the community, as other people in the Ohana immediately saw the value of providing a conference to their area.
There are now “Dreamin” type events all over the world. Check out the list here.
Most of the community-led events follow the same format, so whether you attend one, or attend 20, they will have a familiar feel. The conferences all have the same goal: empowering community members by providing learning and networking opportunities. Typically, the conferences are two-day events, generally occurring on Thursday and Friday, but this may vary by region. The conferences often schedule powerhouse speakers from Salesforce like Peter Coffee, Erica Kuhl, and Tony Prophet. However, these are events for the community, by the community and, as such, the bulk of the conferences sessions are provided by knowledgeable admins and developers who want to give back to the community by sharing what they know. Regional community events provide a wonderful opportunity to gain speaking experience, with many submitting (and delivering) the very same sessions at Dreamforce.
The session content at the regional events mirrors what you will find at Dreamforce, in a more intimate setting. In addition to technical sessions, you can find sessions focused on career development, Women In Tech, and soft skills. These smaller sessions often allow for ample discussion and you will sometimes see these discussions carry on out in a common area after a session.
If you have ever attended Dreamforce, you are very aware that it is one busy conference, with more 170,000 registered attendees in 2018! Regional conferences however, are much smaller. Depending on the conference, you will see anywhere from 200-1500 attendees. As you can imagine, attendees have a bit more face time with each other. Since the conferences are often close to the weekend, special outings are sometimes arranged to give attendees some time to get to know each other on a more personal level, outside of Salesforce. The networking aspect of these regional conferences should not be overlooked, as you are able to meet and talk with Salesforce employees, Partners, MVPs and your fellow Ohana in a relaxed environment. Attendees often use this time to assess career opportunities and Partners are often there looking for talent.
As you can see, regional conferences can help you level up your Salesforce career by offering you an affordable local conference where you can increase your skill level, give back to the community by speaking, and network. Please look out for The Crevalle Group at the regional events; we would be happy to discuss your career goals and how we might be able to help!