TrailheaDX 2019

This was my first ever trip to TrailheaDX in San Francisco. Despite the long flight, I made the most of the half term week by bringing my little girl, Mollie along with me. When I told my mum that we were going, she told me how much she would like to go too. So we made it a family thing. It turned out to be such a good idea!

We arrived on the Monday afternoon. The first thing we did, upon Mollie’s insistence, was to go to Target. It was just around the corner and she had heard our family discussing all the things you can buy there. We kept her up till her usual bedtime before retiring shortly afterwards. It was going to be a really busy week.

TrailheaDX Eve

On the morning of our first full day in San Francisco, we were excited to be going to the Ohana floor at Salesforce Tower! When we arrived, we saw our Paris MVP and friend Jean-Michel Mougeolle (having seen him the week before at World Tour!) and I met Selina Suarez in person for the first time. Then Susannah came to join us; we hadn’t seen each other since Dreamforce, so we caught up on a few things and then off we went!

When we came out of the lift near the top of the tower, everything was beautifully decorated in the usual Salesforce style, homely and cosy. It was lovely. We got some coffees and took a walk around to admire the panoramic views of San Francisco and the Bay Area. As we walked, we saw a piano that was playing itself, with a huge Astro sat on the bench in front of it. Mollie loved it.

Then from the top of the tower came some Power Shopping, followed by lunch at the Trailblazer Tavern. I went from thinking this was some kind of meeting room or cafeteria, to realising that Salesforce ACTUALLY has its own bar/restaurant! My friend and Bluewolf colleague, JD, came to join us and the cocktails and salads were just great. And thus began the frantic run around San Francisco!

Before long it was time to head over to the E’ Komo Mai welcome event for new Salesforce Ohana members, organised by Monica and Misty which was jam-packed.

There, I had the opportunity to introduce our Ohana friends to my mum and daughter, but also, to catch up with Susannah and Charly together in person in advance of the three sessions we were doing together over the next 2 days. Working across the miles (Susannah’s in Boston, I’m in the UK and Charly is in Texas) means it can be a challenge to get together, but we certainly make the most of every opportunity we get!

And, finally, as brand new MVPs, Charly and I had our first opportunity to connect with other Salesforce MVPs at the MVP party. It was at Trailblazer Tavern, so I headed there for the second time that day to meet up with some friends, while Mollie and my mum went to bed after a noisy and busy afternoon!

Needless to say, because we were on stage at 08:15 the following morning, Charly and I left the MVP party and went straight back to our hotel. Charly moved her room up near ours and we enjoyed some coffee and a good catch up in the bar. We’ve both been really busy so it was great to just catch up on each other’s lives since we last saw each other at Dreamforce. I love this girl.

TDX Day One – LBA on Stage Again :0)

Well, where do we even start?! At 08:15am, when myself, Susannah and Charly (Ladies Be Architects) took to the stage in Moscone West to deliver our first session: Tips and Tricks for Architect Exam Preparation.

Despite the early start, this session was quite well attended and we were able to share some of our most interesting tips and experiences. Not only that – we were thrilled to introduce the brand new-look Architect pyramid, featuring brand new character – Ruth the Architect!


You can take a look at our slides if you like:

The Architect Lodge

Then it was off for a wander around the brand new Architect lodge! Seeing this come together was just amazing; I couldn’t believe this even existed, let alone the immense popularity of this track. An area was reserved for one to ones with CTAs, an Architect Theatre, a stand where our friend Jordan McDaniel represented us – and even had a big photo frame made with our logo on it! Not to mention…..certification vouchers and badges to celebrate the arrival of Ruth the CTA elephant. The lovely Domenique (aka. Astro’s mum) gave a brilliant talk all about her and why she’s so amazing.

The Keynote

I somehow managed to get to the keynote on time! It was packed with announcements – Salesforce Blockchain (expertly presented by Leah McGowan-Hare) and Lightning Web Components going open source were the most significant. And then came the Trailblazer stories. This time our friends at Rad Women were featured in the first of several videos.

Then, I welled up with pride to see my friend and Ladies Be Architects co-leader, Susannah St-Germain, featured as an architect Trailblazer for her employer, Boston Scientific.

It makes a fundamental impact on our ecosystem to see women in technology being given the spotlight. stem. Susannah and Angela Mahoney (leader of RAD Women) received Golden Hoodies for their contributions to the Salesforce community – and they were well-deserved too. Susannah also ran an equality panel in the Architect theatre later at the conference, while our co-leader Charly Prinsloo focused on the more technical side, teaching OAuth – which got amazing feedback.

Oh, and I met Parker Harris. Score.

Set Yourself Up for Architect Success

This had been a long time coming, but I wanted to do a talk (and eventually a blog!) to give some advice on how to use your career, projects, Trailhead and certifications in a smart way to build yourself up as a Salesforce architect. This was also only my second talk delivered in a theatre at a Salesforce event (the first was a week before, in the Admin theatre at London World Tour!).

I found the experience helped me greatly; it was a different one to delivering a talk in a meeting room or breakout session, and I found I was more measured and careful with a mic attached to me and a stage to walk across. I absolutely loved it for this learning opportunity. It was also incredibly humbling to see how many people turned up to listen to me jabber on!

The talk itself was about being smart with your certifications, Trailhead, and your career. Slowing down, studying with friends, valuing every experience and resisting the temptation to “collect” certifications as if we’re playing Pokemon.

…and as a Mum and a Daughter…

The second time I presented was in the Architect Theatre on the second day. This time, my little girl, Mollie, was on hand to move us on to the next slide. I’ll never forget her little face as she looked up at me to ask “Next slide, mummy?”. It was lovely to have her (and my mum) there with me.

Mollie and my mum also had the privilege to attend the WiTDevs meet-up at Salesforce Tower that morning to take part in the 100 Days of Trailhead celebration. They both turned up dressed in sunflowers in support of Ladies Be Architects – and Mollie not only gave out stickers and helped out, she even named the golden unicorn!

And later, she had an amazing time wandering around the expo. Her favourite thing to do was hang out with the mascots, especially Codey, whom she planted her sunflower hat onto. People loved to see her and were so gracious – they treated her like family and she particularly loved meeting Charlie (“Robot Charlie”) Isaacs, who talked her through the train track they were showing in the IoT section.

Takeaways

To sum up why I think going to TrailheaDX is an important consideration, here are the things I experienced:

  • New experiences – like speaking in a theatre at a Salesforce conference!
  • Networking
  • Opportunity to learn new things
  • I was inspired by the stories of some incredible people – check out PepUpTech
  • Announcements: Salesforce Blockchain and Lightning Web Components going open source!
  • Education (through the boot camps)
  • Practical exercises
  • Friendship
  • Inclusivity
  • The same Ohana goodness you get at Dreamforce – on a slightly smaller scale. That made it less intense!
  • I am humbled by the people who came up to say hi. That’s an incredibly odd feeling – I sit here on my living room sofa, writing this in relative silence. I don’t see you all reading this blog until you come and say hello at conferences and meetings – it’s a real privilege to meet you and be worthy of your time.

That’s it! I hope I get to see you here at TrailheaDX next year! I’ll leave you with a little 2-part interview we recorded with Laura Woods from Salesforce. She helped me write better when she invited me to write for the Salesforce blog, so it was amazing to meet her in person.

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