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The Dreamforce Ohana Experience

My first Dreamforce has left a lasting impression. I’ve attended countless events hosted by large enterprise technology companies over the years and figured this would be similar. I mean that in a positive way. These high tech folks sure know how to put on show at a grand scale!

I was forewarned that Dreamforce would be unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I was prepared for mingling with the 100k+ throng of attendees, walking to multiple venues at the Moscone Center complex and nearby hotels to attend sessions and hitting Marc Benioff’s keynote to hear the big solution announcements. Yup, I was ready.

Here’s what I wasn’t prepared for - the overarching message that there is a higher purpose we all share as a human race. And that is to give back. Marc empowered everyone that we - as a community - are a driving force to do great things for our world.

Here are two great examples of leaders working to make our world a better place and executing their missions by embracing technology:

will.i.am spoke about beyond B2B and B2C, there’s P2P – people to people.  He is leading initiatives to bring education to kids in inner cities and inspiring them to love “STEAM” - science, technology, engineering, art and math. As he said,”Geekdom can change inner cities forever.” Marc then encouraged us to go to our local public schools and ask what we can do to help.

Deborah Dugan, CEO of (RED), (founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver), spoke about the life-changing work (RED) is doing to realize an “AIDS FREE GENERATION by 2020.” She shared Bono’s belief that each life has equal value.  That it’s not about charity. It’s about justice.  (RED) uses Salesforce to measure its organization’s ultimate ROI, LIVES SAVED.

Many of us spend hours each day in face-to-face and virtual meetings focused on achieving our companies’ goals for growth, expansion, customer engagement, efficiency, etc. Each year I personally look back and am impressed by how much was achieved with the dedication and hard work of my team members and business partners. My achievements to give back personally pale by comparison.  

I work for an amazing company that is dedicated to making the world a better place. Dun & Bradstreet offers numerous opportunities for its employees to volunteer, including “Do Good,” an annual week of giving, as a way to contribute to the communities where we live and work. I volunteered that week at a facility for severely disabled children. It was such a personally rewarding experience and the kids really appreciated my visit. I think about that day often. 

Dreamforce was more than just a technology event.  Marc considered it a reunion, an “ohana”, the coming together of a great family. It was an opportunity to connect and reconnect with people, to form new and better relationships and find ways to serve our higher purpose. 

So as you reach across the table or phone during your hectic work day, remind yourself how valuable your relationships are. Find new ways to make deeper connections with the people you interact with and act on opportunities to make the world a better place, the best way you know how.


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