Midwest Dreamin’ 2016

This was my second time attending this community event. What a week.


I am the person who arrives too early. I just do. It’s bad. I was at Navy Pier by 09:30. I got some work done, drank some coffee, and then joined the Women in Tech Diversity group for lunch (thanks to SaaSy Sistah for arranging!).


After lunch, it was off to register and start my first round of volunteering. I met so many people. So. Many. People.

The weird thing is that I was meeting pretty much all of these people for the first time in person, but it felt so much like seeing old friends for the first time in years – not at all like meeting brand new people.

Volunteering was fun; it was time to chat with people and also help a great event be successful. Wandering around was fun. The Expo Hall was fun. All around fun. Apex & the Limits was SUUUUUUPER fun.

There was a great tribute to the wonderful Tami Esling, who touched so many lives in the community.

And I capped off the evening at dinner with part of the Michigan Nonprofit User Group.

When I got back to my room, I remembered I have a job and had to get to it for a bit, but it didn’t feel so much like work after such an inspiring day.


Friday was down to business. The opening keynote by Vala Afshar was fantastic – so many gems, but perhaps my favorite was “company culture is what your employees do when the manager leaves the room.”

More volunteering. I missed some of the sessions I wanted to see, but I’ve made special arrangements.

#awesomeadmin trivia, anyone? Team SAAS took home the gold, and we didn’t have to swim in bacteria-infested waters to do it, which I view as a plus.


My own session went well, although I definitely know to choose a less broad topic next time. Who knew that all of the things that one needs to know about Marketing Automation took up so much space?? Want to see the list? You can go here (requires Salesforce Community login).

I had to miss Peter Coffee’s keynote in order to make the trek to Union Station. It was stupid hot out.

But overall…

It had that sense of community that Dreamforce lacks. Yes, Dreamforce is an amazing shindig and well worth a visit. But these regional gatherings are safer spaces, where people new to the platform, new to the community, can go and learn and feel welcome.

That was what I experienced last year, and through putting some time in, something I hope I was able to offer to those visiting this year.

This wasn’t a long post, not very detailed, but there are other reviews out there, run-downs, and snippets, and this time…selfishly, I wanted to keep some of it to myself.

Regardless, I hope to see many of you there in 2017.


Leaving Chicago, and I’m Thinking…

mdwdWe are officially less than a month away from Midwest Dreamin’. Less than a month. You should be excited. If you are in the Midwest. Even if you are not in the Midwest, actually.

Let me explain you a thing.

*a few minutes of laughing at own joke and Googling “let me explain you a thing” memes*

The Salesforce community created this event, and others like it. Midwest Dreamin’ isn’t about selling Salesforce. We’ve already been sold. This is about all of the admins and developers and adminevelopers and devadmins and any other combination of those things wanting to come together and share their knowledge on a grand scale.

It’s a celebration of more than a CRM; this is legitimately a community. It’s a movement. It’s a time to come together, learn, and excitedly talk about things like Objects, Processes, and Debugging. It’s a time to be part of a community that is supportive and welcoming.

If you are a Salesforce user, admin, or developer, you need to be involved with your local user group. If you don’t have one yet, you need to start one. Not for you, although I promise you will get so much out of it. But for the person just starting out, taking those first tentative steps onto the trail and feeling overwhelmed.

Take that, amplify it, and you get Midwest Dreamin’.

I know this because I went to Midwest Dreamin’ last year when I was starting to feel, I don’t know, a little bit lonely. I was a solo admin, and I felt like I was fighting every battle uphill. I felt like I was constantly battling, in general, and that is a terrible way to feel. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it to Dreamforce, so I thought, I’ll give this a try.

I’m a shy person. It’s really easy for me to be outgoing online, but get me in a room full of people, even ones that I have a lot in common with and admire, and I bottle up. I stood awkwardly at a table, wandered around, sent a bunch of excited texts to my husband about walking right past Peter Coffee. I didn’t quite come out of my shell, but that was where I decided to start a WIT chapter. That was where I realized that the giddiness I felt about Salesforce was not only ok but shared with so many others.

So now that you understand why this is more than just a conference, I need to talk about how excited I am about all the conference-y things.

Have you seen the list of sessions?!

(@SalesforceAmy, I need a gif for this, please)

Erica Kuhl (@ericakuhl) is speaking about Digital and Human Harmony, and if anyone can speak to that, it’s Salesforce’s VP of the Success Community; you know, the one who spearheaded the User Group program.

Speaking of Amy Oplinger, she’ll be presenting on Imposter Syndrome and kicking it to the curb. And for the record, if she suffers from it, I already feel better about my own struggles because seriously…seriously.

How about “Tips and Tricks to Unbreak Process Builder”? Honestly, presenters Zayne Turner (@zaynelt) and Bonny Hinners had me at “If ‘FlowApplication’ is a name in your address book…” *Salesforce humor* What a great topic, though, truly.

And, this is awkward, but I might have to skip my own session, so I can go watch Wizardcast Live. Or Jennifer Wobser (@crmsalesgem) talk about Salesforce1. Or Andrea Holmes (@TheAndreaHolmes) give advice on being a change agent.

Phillip Southern (@phil7s) is providing an introduction to the Developer Console. Want to learn how to debug? Thinking about doing the whole developer thing? This sounds like a winner.

Did you know there’s a Salesforce Agile Accelerator App?! I sure didn’t. But you can bet a whole lot of money that I’m going to go learn more about it at Timothy Kiekow’s session on it.

And that’s to say nothing of the Demo Jam, Admin Trivia, Expo Hall, and APEX AND THE LIMITS.

I feel out of breath right now, even though I didn’t say all of that out loud. At least I don’t think I did. That would be kind of awkward but not entirely surprising.

This year is going to be fantastic for Midwest Dreamin’, and I am just so excited to be a part of it again. So get excited, register, and join us all in Chicago, July 21-22.

More info here.

Follow Midwest Dreamin’ on Twitter @MidWest_Dreamin.