Georgia on my mind

I grew up in the peach state, various towns and cities at different times, only vaguely aware that people lived in other states. It’s weird how that happens. When you define a place as Home, it feels strange sometimes to think that there are billions of people out there who not only don’t live near you, but have most likely never even heard of your town.

When I was very little, I affected a thick Southern drawl, drew out my syllables as folk do in Georgia. But over time that dwindled, even living in the state. People who meet me now will not often guess that I spent the better part of my pre-adult years (and even early adult) in the foothills of Appalachia.

Fun fact: Georgia is the largest state East of the Mississippi. Yes, it’s true. Yes, even when you take the Upper Peninsula into consideration for Michigan.

I mention that because when I tell people I grew up in Georgia, they almost always know someone in Augusta or Savannah. I lived about 6 hours from them, in that case. I most likely don’t know them.

I’m headed that way on Saturday, the hubby and I hopping in a rental car to make the drive down. We’ll spend some time with my family at the homestead in the hills, and then I’m dragging him along with me to Southeast Dreamin’.

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In addition to being excited about being in the place I learned how to walk and speak and be an adult*, I’m really excited about this stuff:

  1. Charlie Isaacs‘s keynote. He’s one of my favorite people in the community, so I’m very happy to see him speak.
  2. Rebe de la Paz is going to talk about educating end users – a topic near and dear to my heart.
  3. For my NPO friends, you can check out Adam Kramer‘s session on Optimizing NPSP as an Admin.
  4. My friend and fellow #GifSquad member, Amy Oplinger, is reprising her fantastic session on Imposter Syndrome.
  5. Phillip Southern is going to share how they created the open-source Trailhead leaderboard.
  6. Doug Ayers is sharing his presentation on using Process Builder to create a Chatter Bot.
  7. THE Jen Lee of Automation Hour fame is sharing a session on Flow.
  8. Chris Duarte‘s closing keynote! It’s like a delicious Salesforce sandwich, people.

Did I mention the Hackathon on Thursday (this will be my first!)?

Did I mention the SaaSie Tech Social?

Did I mention time with the community, seeing the #Ohana?

To be honest, Georgia hasn’t been home in almost 10 years, but having so many great things to look forward to, I know it’ll feel a lot more like it next week.

See you there?

*I am legally an adult. Whether or not I’m an “Adult” is up for debate.

 

Ohana

Wow.

I got home a little after midnight, throat sore and super stuffy, but none of that mattered because *DREAMFORCE*.

As some of you know, things have been a struggle lately. And travel plans had me in San Fran for a limited amount of time. But that time was SO WELL SPENT.

My first Dreamforce was in 2014, and I had been using Salesforce for about 3 months. It was overwhelming. It was lonely. I was a solo admin, and I’m not always good at talking to strangers, so I didn’t put myself out there that year.

But I went to a ton of sessions, took so many notes, and I went back to my job inspired to be a leader in my company. I refreshed our org, found super users, focused on problem solving…I started on the path to getting certified.

Having stumbled onto Salesforce, in the way so many of us do, that was the perfect way for me to start. It got me excited for the platform and the potential.

Skip ahead to #DF16.

Things change, and they change fast. In 2 years, I got certified, got involved, and started meeting people in the community. I became more comfortable going up to people at Salesforce functions and introducing myself. I became more comfortable sharing knowledge and resources with people. I still struggle with asking for help, but I’m getting there.

This year was inspiring in a different way, but once again, in exactly the way that I needed it to be. I’m just going to say it: Dreamforce is the Room of Freakin’ Requirement.

It searches my heart every year, and it pumps out what it needs, and I come back with ideas and excitement and something new.

This year it was community. Ohana.

Working from home can feel isolating, even when the majority of the community activity happens online. But it’s one of those things – feel isolated, pull away, feel more isolated, pull away more, and on and on. And as an introvert – someone who recharges by seeking solitude, I feel like a cell phone. I become reliant on the charger (my house) to the point that time off of it, I’m less likely to hold onto my charge. 5 minutes in, and I’m looking for an exit. I don’t like that.

I had it in my head that, despite the friendships I have made in the community, I would continue to feel isolated at Dreamforce.

Newsflash: I was so wrong.

I have made friends, of course, but more importantly, I’ve built a family in the community. I have, in the words of Bilbo Baggins, “visitors, well-wishers, and distant relations.” Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Maybe it was because I didn’t have the whole week this year, I spent the majority of my time in community-based activities: User Group State of the Union, Awesome People Party, volunteering in the Admin Meadow (my personal favorite! Please, please, please let me do that again!!), DnDF16, celebrating LOVE…basically surrounding myself with my family.

It reminded me what is important. I came back with a list of priorities and goals, and I know that I have a whole community of people that will keep me honest and focused on those goals, that will remind me to focus when needed.

So thank you, Ohana.

This post brought to you by (in alphabetical order, to help me): Adam, Amber, Amy (x2!), Annie, Ashima, Ben, Beth, Bill, Brian, Chris, Dale, Denise, Doug, Erica, Gillian, Jen, Jennifer, Justice, Juliette, Kris, Kristi, Nana, Mark, Melinda, Misty, Ross, Sarah, Scott, Shonnah, Stacey, Steve, Stuart, Vinay…and pretty much everyone else!

ohana