An inaugural event and a debut speaker…InspireEast 2018

I’m fairly active in the online Salesforce community. I answer questions, post ideas on the Trailblazer Community and follow tons of Salesforce Ohana on Twitter…but you won’t see me pop up at many ‘in person’ events.

I’ve only been to 2 meetups in my local area and, until this year, had never been to a community event. Then I went to London’s Calling in February 2018; the speakers, content and atmosphere blew my mind! I realised I’d been missing out and decided I needed to be more involved.

So when I saw InspireEast tweeting about their brand new community event in Cambridge I knew I had to go, and this time, I wanted to be a speaker. I submitted my session and was thrilled to get accepted!

Unlike other community events, InspireEast is focused more on the declarative. This means it’s perfect for those of us who don’t write any code and are looking for enhancements we can implement using click not code.

“Our aim is to provide ideas based on real-life experiences that empower people to make positive changes in their organisation using clicks not code.”

The event was packed with top speakers, amazing keynotes and great swag. I enjoyed watching several sessions, especially ‘The Art of Matchmaking – Sales People : Salesforce’ with Tom Ringer. Tom was an engaging speaker and his talk confirmed that I’ve been doing a lot of positive things to engage the sales team in my org but also gave me some new ideas to take home. I was also lucky enough to catch the amazing Amnon Kruvi singing about invocable methods.

One of the great benefits of community events is the diversity of people you meet. It’s great for a solo admin like me to mix with developers and get a greater understanding of what’s achievable. With a little help from Amnon’s session, I finally understand why a developer would invoke code using Process Builder or Flow. I couldn’t get my head around why you wouldn’t use a trigger and the answer could not have been more obvious! A developer might invoke using Process Builder or Flow so that in future, if the criteria to call the code changes, an admin can change the criteria without needing to rely on a developer. It was a eureka moment.

The event was smaller than London’s Calling which gave it a very relaxed and informal feel, like you were meeting up with old friends. This friendly vibe was definitely a result of the wonderful team behind the event who worked tirelessly and did so much to support the speakers, sponsors and attendees. I don’t think they stopped all day and they deserve a huge round of applause for their efforts.

It was lovely to meet Christie Fidura from Salesforce and Debra Carlyle from Salesforce Supermum’s. We all took part in a campfire session about this amazing program and what it’s doing to support mums (and dads!) get trained as Salesforce Administrators.

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It was my debut speaking event and I didn’t sleep a wink the night before. I expected to be a tired, bunch of nerves on the day but the welcoming and fun atmosphere distracted me right up until half an hour before my talk when I discovered that my laptop was not going to connect to the internet. I would have panicked but I knew I’d get the help I needed. Chris E, Charlotte and Sarah came to my rescue with Sarah lending me her own laptop. Cue a very panicky 10 minutes as I tried to remember my Gmail and Salesforce passwords!

When it was time for my session I was really grateful for the number of people who turned up to listen to me. There were 4 speakers per time slot and presenting at the same time were Amanda Beard-Nelson, Louise Lockie and Matthew Morris. With these amazing speakers on, I thought I might be talking to myself!

To make my debut talk extra hard on myself I had decided to do a slide presentation, followed by a live demo. Getting started was the hardest part, but once I got past “my name’s Christine and I’m a Salesforce Administrator…” my enthusiasm for my topic took over and the rest of the session flowed naturally. StongGIFPeople even laughed at my GIFS (phew) and asked some great questions afterwards. It was fantastic to have such an interactive group and I’ve spoken to a few of them since who wanted to try out some of my examples.

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After the event I received such lovely feedback, better than I could have hoped for. This type of positivity and support is what makes the Salesforce community so special.

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Later in the day, while I was waiting for a session to start, a man came over to me with a camera. My first thought was that he wanted my seat as a better vantage point to record the talk but it was actually Salesforce UK who asked if I would do an interview with them. After that session we set off outside and they asked me some questions about myself and the event. I actually uttered the words “Salesforce changed my life…”, how very un-British of me. See the interview here!

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Speaking of un-British, that leads me nicely onto our post lunch session run by Andrea from InspireMe. She had us high-fiving, hugging and then singing; all those childhood years spent in choirs finally paid off as Andrea split us into 3 groups and we sang a song in a round. It should have been awkward, but it was hilarious and once again that small, friendly atmosphere meant we all joined in. Check out our phenomenal singing here!

InspireEast embodied the Salesforce Ohana spirit. The emphasis was on community, inspiration and empowerment; these themes were reflected in the two keynote speeches.

“The day is all about bringing the Ohana together, sharing ideas and giving you inspiration so that you can get the most out of Salesforce.”

First, Mark Orsborn talked about working for Salesforce. It was the kind of talk that raised the hairs on the back of your neck…we drank the Salesforce kool-aid and we loved it.

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Second, we listened to the very snazzily dressed Henry Stewart, Chief Happiness Officer of Happy Ltd as he talked about how to create engaged employees and what makes a good manager. It’s a shame we were starting to run out of time at this point because Henry had a lot of useful info and I really enjoyed his talk (and his shirt).

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We ended the day with drinks and more networking, yet another opportunity to interact with the wonderful community. I met so many interesting people on the day and felt a bit disappointed I didn’t have enough time to talk to more! Special mentions go to Andy, Amnon, Rob and Chris H who all kept me company throughout the day and were hugely supportive.

I better wrap this up as it’s turned into a long post but the inaugural InspireEast deserved a comprehensive write up. I will definitely be back again next year, and I hope lots of the community will join me.

InspireEast team if you read this, I’m sending you a virtual round of applause.

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