My biggest takeaway tip for people wanting to succeed within the Salesforce ecosystem: build your network a.k.a meet a lot of people.
Through such networking I have made a plethora of connections with people I’ve met at Salesforce related events and I have established strong friendships with people I now think more of as family.
It all started for me when one day Selina Suarez (Salesforce Awesome Admin and a brilliant mind),whom I had recently connected with at Dreamforce 2016 (major Salesforce Conference) reached out to me and asked if we could setup a conference call to discuss her idea.
We discussed the two-day Salesforce developer boot camp event that had been run under a joined Salesforce user group collaboration last year in New York. For those of you unfamiliar with Salesforce User Groups, it is a community of people who work within the Salesforce ecosystem from all walks of life and various Salesforce related positions. There are Salesforce employees, interspersed with developers, admins, business analysts, accidental admins, project managers, sales employees, newbies and the list can go on forever.
These groups originally started as “I work with Salesforce and I need Help” type of groups or “I work with Salesforce and I need a drinking buddy to Vent” type of groups. Salesforce started the official Salesforce User Groups to unite all under one umbrella as well as capture feedback and of course support the collaboration model, which is a networking honey pot. You can join the Salesforce Success Community for free and I have a post I had previously written for a Girl Develop It class I co-taught earlier this year with a brief how-to as well as other great resources located here.
It is from these groups and the connections that the New York area groups in partnership with Salesforce and other sponsors were able to join with Monroe College to teach/mentor a successful two-day developer bootcamp.
I was in my car in the early morning commuting to downtown Chicago when Selina and I talked about her idea. She proposed to me an idea to collaborate on a national level with others using what I refer to as the networking honey pot and she began to reach out to several of us across the country. To give you scope: New York, Chicago, Florida, Texas & Michigan.
“Rebe, let’s pool our resources together and start a national non-profit with each of us taking charge of the states/cities we represent. We can use similar models or go separate, but we all have the same overall objective: to help people who didn’t have access to tech get access and training.”
How could I say no? I was both flattered and excited at the same time. I didn’t even let her finish, “You don’t even have to finish, just sign me up!”
Of course, after I hung up I began wondering “Just what the hell did you say yes to?” BUT I had no qualms and no reservations or regrets because it so right for me it felt good. I was energized, I was motivated and I was inspired. I was also scared, fearful of swinging and missing including over committing myself to something that could fail. BUT there was this burning sensation in my heart that told me, “This is what you were meant to do for your community that gave to you and now needs you.“
Sleep is So Overrated
The weeks/months following that discussion have been a whirlwind of late nights, early mornings, lunch breaks and weekends absorbed with planning our roadmap in addition to launching our non-profit. We all have full-time jobs, we all have families/loved ones and we all have other Salesforce related commitments (user groups, speaking engagements, etc). YET, what we set out to build is about this burning drive we each nurtured within our hearts to help others.
Five Salesforce Ohana (that’s how we Salesforcians within the community refer to ourselves) stepped up to the plate to start a national non-profit. We all saw the light at the end of the dark tunnel filled with mysterious non-profit hurdles hidden in the shadows, so we pushed forward towards the light. (Want to read more about us, checkout our website here.)
We Need a Name and We Needed it Yesterday
In the beginning we jumped on a call, volunteered to tackle various tasks and shared each of our hopes and dreams for our national as well as local objectives. Our first task before all others: what do we call this organization?
The name we had before was missing something and that became very apparent in the logo design submissions we were receiving. I am a speak my mind type of lady, I saw way too many Soul Train look alike logos with the original name: Steamforce. We dialed back as a group one very early morning before we had to go to work or for some commuting to work.
As we talked about our individual research and ideas regarding what we wanted to see represented when people see our logo, we identified our non-profit name with a cool tagline.
PepUp Tech – People Empowering People Up through Technology
Hmm…Now We Need a Logo
It was catchy, it was positive and it explained who were were in one phrase. Next, we needed a cool logo to go with this positive catchy phrase. I’m no artist, but I quickly began sketching my ideas with pencil. This way logo design artists would have something to work with when the true artists went to work.
We leveraged a really great site called 99designs.com, where independent artists have the ability to profile their work as well as sign-up for competitions to design a potential client’s logo. We submitted our color palette, stick figure designs and paragraphs filled with a variety of statements/recommendations from all of us.
Our finalist hit the design on the nail and we have a seriously dope logo that I never get tired looking at whenever I need to smile. I am so proud of what we accomplished together, of what we are doing as a team and what we are planning to do in the future with whomever wants to join us.
Website, Fundraising and Marketing
Website, fundraising and marketing, “Oh My!” That is literally what would go through my mind every now and then when I looked at all of my email/text communications regarding the building of our website. It goes hand in hand with fundraising and marketing because the website is the important hub of all of the things above. I remember the days prior to websites, now it is the single most important factor when a new company or organization is starting.
As professionals within the Salesforce ecosystem, we each understood the importance and for me it was scary. I didn’t want to eff things up. I mean, it is akin to that 15 minutes of fame people used to get on Star Search back in the 80’s. Either you get the stars or you don’t and that’s what it feels like when you launch a website. Make it or break it baby.
I think we did pretty damn well. I must confess it is not complete. I don’t think there is ever a website that is complete because there are always updates or changes. We had a really cool website designer from Sweet Arts NYC help us design our website and it really pops. You can access our website at www.pepuptech.org.
Now we are in our fundraising and marketing mode. Accessing the networking honey pot I mentioned before to fund our ideas. This blog post is a vehicle for accessing the network in addition to expanding and I hope people have enjoyed reading this brief on how we came together to start a non-profit.
I plan to write future posts on plans for each location, our successes, our failures, our lessons learned and our hopes.
Want to Help? Here’s How
So I’ve had people ask me the following:
- How do I help?
- How do I donate?
- How do I partner with you?
- What are you doing next?
As I stated above, our website is our hub and you can go to www.pepuptech.org to find all of the above.
Next Thursday, May 4, 2017 we are hosting a fundraising event at the Cosmopolitan Club in New York. Tickets are $100 and attendance is capped at a set number via our Eventbrite page. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to still checkout our Eventbrite page and you also have the ability to donate through Eventbrite.
One of our fabulous five Salesforce Ohana board members created a great youtube video to help you donate below:
YouTube Happy Path to donation – Pep Up Tech – Summer Explorers Fundraiser – HOW TO DONATE! https://youtu.be/8Iv7w8RFnEk
Feel free to comment or reach out to us via our website or through firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading!