5 October 2019 - An inspiring conference - Inspire East

Yesterday saw the return of Inspire East, a conference based in Cambridge targeting a Salesforce audience from the eastern region of the UK, who don't usually get the opportunity to travel into London for events. Its a cosier event, compared to some other offerings, but this more select audience does make the day feel more intimate and the speakers more approachable to attendees.

Hosted in an amazing learning environment, the Moller Centre, how could we not come away inspired from a cracking line up of speakers, some whom had traveled from all over the world for this event. 

We cannot forget a nod to the sponsors, without whom these events cannot happen. It is only through their support that we can come together to share, learn and network.

The day kicked off with an opening keynote from Stephanie Herrera, Computer Futures VP and Salesforce MVP. She had been known to me for some time, I had seen her Trailblazer Video that gave a quick summary of her story but Stephanie's keynote gave more details into her background. It was truly humbling to listen how, despite a very poor and unstable upbringing and her personal struggles she turned around her life by learning Salesforce and embracing the community. Stephanie then decided to give back and has been the key driver in multiple initiatives to help others who are in a disadvantaged position to learn Salesforce and improve their career prospects. Lady, I take my hat off to you. 

Wow. I mean really, how do you follow that opening keynote? I had to put my game face on as it was a busy day for me. 3 speaking slots spread neatly across the day and time for the first one, which I kicked off with 'How to manage an effective global team'. Thank you to my audience who attended and collaborated during my talk. It's lovely to get feedback from attendees to say they learnt something from the session and will be taking that gem back to try our with their teams.

With a two session breather in between, I did take the opportunity for some of my own research by attending a couple of talks; 'Find your path to Salesforce DevOps Enlightenment' by Steve Harris and afterwards 'Einstein Analytics for every day process' by Sachin Arora. 

And then onto my next session of the day, this time I was speaking about 'From Accidental Admin to CTO - how Salesforce can propel your career. This was about my personal journey where I touched upon my studies as a child, the aspirations (or lack of them) from my parents, my earlier work career and then my discovery of Salesforce, which effectively changed my life. When I start this talk I do like to ask my audience what they wanted to be when they grew up. I am starting to collect these responses and am curious to see, over time, if there are trends to observe. Thank you to those who shared with me.

Time for lunch, which was very decent - thank you and then onto more sessions. My first stop with Stephan Chandler-Garcia on 'Demystifying the data privacy and governance objects' and then onwards for Mel Cawkell's 'Systemising customer feedback: create, automate and integrate Salesforce surveys'. A shout out to Mel as this was her first speaking opportunity, for which she handled so well and even did a live demo. Fierce first go! We'll be signing you up for a London Admins speaking slot very soon.

And then onto my final speaking slot of the day and this time I hosted a panel to talk about 'How not to screw up your next project'.  Joined by Chris Emmett, Richard Clark, Kerry Townsend and Barry Roberts, I believe between us we had over 40 years of project experience, enough content to write a book and certainly some top tips to share to an eager audience on the realities of working on all types of projects. 

Duties completed, I could now relax while watching 6 sponsors battle for the coveted Demo Jam trophy, bravely won by the Provar team, who incidentally also won (in my opinion) the best swag item of the day - a branded cookie. I took a quick picture before removing the evidence.

The closing keynote was brought to us by Dominic Monkhouse, a business coach who spends much of his time consulting leadership to help grow businesses. As someone who is in a leadership position and in a company looking to mature and grow I found this to be a very valuable session, busily taking notes to take back to my office. I'll share one gem from Dominic, "the first hour for a new starter is the most important". Dom went on to suggest that how a new person is onboarded can really affect how they feel about the business and their productivity in return. Thought provoking.

Formalities complete, all content shared and done for another conference it was time to celebrate an event well organised and executed by a tight team. Brilliant day, super location and lots of fun. Congratulations Inspire East team.


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