Earlier this month over 170,000 people descended onto San Francisco for the annual pilgrimage called Dreamforce. Over time, this Dreamforce has taken a life of its own and is always is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends, colleagues and be inspired by the Salesforce non-profit community. The Merivis Foundation was fortunate to be a big part of the VetForce crew which were invited to attend the event. We had nine of our veterans from cohorts 1-3 from Merivis attend and and take it all it (cohort 4 was still on class). The blog below captures a few of the highlights from Dreamforce for Merivis.
Dreamforce started for the veterans with orientation Sunday evening. There veterans were briefed on what to expect and procured some really cool swag for the week. In addition, veterans were asked to complete this trail entitled “Military Veteran Recruitment Strategy”, which we all did.
The first full day of Dreamforce started with a flurry. On this day, veterans had the opportunity to attend hands on Salesforce training for key areas of the platform to sharpen their skills. Many veterans had the opportunity to attend an employer networking event at Camp Innovation on the Dreamforce campus. This allowed many to sharpen their networking skills, while learning what employers are looking for in regards to Salesforce talent. The highlight for veterans this day was watching Donald Bohrisch on stage at the Partner Keynote and get a standing ovation from the crowd. Donald went through the VetForce program and Salesforce training back in 2014 and has not looked back. Currently he is employed at Deloitte Digital and shared his journey of going through the VetForce program. That same day Merivis cohort 3 grad Juliet was interviewed at the Admins Panel stage and she was joined by fellow board member Stephanie Herrera also talking about PepUp Tech. Later that day, Merivis’ board member and Salesforce MVP Stephanie Herrera had the spotlight during the main keynote with Marc Benioff! We are so proud to have Stephanie on the board and you should definitely check out her inspiring story.
As daylight broke and day 2 began the veterans had another full day packed of events. Some veterans went to see Michelle Obama speak, while others had the opportunity to explore the Dreamforce campground. In addition, each veteran had the opportunity to talk to a career coach and sharpen their skills. As the day winded down, the festivities of Dreamfest took over. Many veterans took the opportunity to hike over to AT&T park and check out Lenny Kravitz and Alicia Keys. It was surreal to be in a baseball stadium and enjoy a great show with ALL the food and drinks for free. Many of us we astonished and thankful to be a part of this experience.
The morning approached with weary eyes from the night before, but attending Lisa Jaster’s morning session entitled “Dreamtalk: Never Quit” was just what everyone needed. All VetForce members had the privilege to hear Lisa talk about her journey as one of the first two female Army Rangers to have completed the training. Lisa talked about her journey and that its not really about gender equality but people equality and the potential of that person.
The veterans wrapped up Wednesday with a VetForce Rally and happy hour at one of Salesforce offices in San Francisco and it was awesome! We heard many inspiring stories about what veterans are doing with their Salesforce training including Sheldon Simmons from Merivis cohort 1.
Salesforce leadership was out and in big support of VetForce and Merivis.
As Dreamforce came to an end Thursday, the veterans wrapped up with a few last sessions and really looked forward to catching up on much needed rest. We leave you with some quotes from \Merivis alumni who attended Dreamforce ’17:
“This was an incredible opportunity for me, as a transitioning Army Officer, to engage with the leaders of the future and learn how I can be involved in transforming the world for the better.” – Dennis Kelly
“Dreamforce 2017 was an incredible conference…so many great elements and things to do at this BIG EVENT…I’m still recovering! We had a fun and amazing group of military, veterans and spouses with our Merivis team along with all the other great folks from Vetforce. Many thanks to Hector, Ann Weeby, Jason Noma along with all the support team from both Merivis and Vetforce for making this a memorable and worthwhile experience!” – Glenn Goodwin
“Dreamforce 2017 was an awesome experience, i have learnt so much in this big event, meta lot of great people and I had a lot of fun with all the Verforce members and Merivis team. I will never forget this experience. It was a great opportunity to be part of this excellent conference. I want to Thank all the Merivis Board member for all their support and Special thanks to Hector, you are amazing. All the Vetforce members for supporting the Veterans and spouses, Ann, Cory and Jason thank you so much guys for this great Opportunity “ – Juliet Coulanges-Pierre
“This is my first dreamforce. I could not do this if I did not find Merivis Foundation and get in to the Salesforce Ecosystem. Thanks to Hector Perez for supporting the veterans at Texas with the training and getting them ready for job market. Thank you Vetforce for giving us the necessary platform for the training and certifications, and last but not the least, for helping us getting into Dreamforce 2017 and arranging the events geared towards the veterans. This is a life changing opportunity to me as all this kind endeavors led me to land a job as a Salesforce Business Analyst. Moving forward, I know Vetforce and Merivis is working hard to getting more veterans employed in the Salesforce Platform. Please let us know if we can contribute anyway to keep the torch up and finish the circle.” – Anis Khan
“An amazing experience… Dreamforce is your ultimate rock show circus playground. Discover and learn new skills, reunite with friends, meet many inspiring Heroes and Trailblazers, and enjoy one of the most exciting weeks of your life.” – Cory Hinrichs
“Dreamforce 2017 was filled with great moments, both personally and professionally. I was able to connect with many others who are Veterans and pursuing a career in the Salesforce ecosystem, while learning about current functionality, possible future functionalities, and what it means to give back to our community. The amount of learning that I’ve had the opportunity soak in was second only to the amount of motivation I felt on my way back home (and still have now).” – Yann Germain-Tardieu