Over the last four years, we’ve been fortunate enough to participate and/or help lead a number of Salesforce Community events here in Halifax. We’ve learned together, had lots of fun, and are excited to continue building the Salesforce community in Halifax in 2020.
For those of you who don’t know Prag, he is the Salesforce Practice Lead here at CloudKettle. We sat down with Prag to chat about the last four years and how he leveraged the global ohana to help build the Salesforce community in Halifax.
Prag has been in the Salesforce ecosystem for 10+ years and is passionate about helping others learn about Salesforce. During his careers, he’s helped 300+ people pass either the Admin or Developer Salesforce certification. He’s also the founder of the Salesforce Saturday Cohort (which will chat more about in this interview) and is a 5-time Dreamforce speaker.
What led you to create the Salesforce Developer user group?
I moved to Halifax in 2015 to work for a large consultancy, and I was surprised to discover I was the only “Salesforce” person. In the environment I had come from, I had many Salesforce colleagues; people to bounce ideas off of, learn from, and chat Salesforce. The idea to lead the Salesforce Developer User group started when I did a Google search; hoping to find a local group I could join. When I discovered no group existed in Halifax, I decided to start my own.
How has the Salesforce community grown in Halifax over the last four years?
When I started the Salesforce Developer group in 2016, we’d see less than ten people show up to each gathering on average. Today, we see, on average, 30+ attendees per meeting and have 300+ members on MeetUp.com.
Tell us about the Salesforce Saturdays Cohort program?
Over the last few years, more and more people were showing up to the Salesforce Developer Meetups, who were complete beginners but interested in learning more about Salesforce. It was difficult to plan topics that appealed to the huge disparity in Salesforce experience amongst those who attended, and it became obvious there was a gap in the community.
To address this, we decided to create a training cohort called Salesforce Saturdays Cohort geared towards those who are new to Salesforce and interested in learning about the platform from an Administrator standpoint. With the goal of each cohort taking the participants from knowing nothing about Salesforce to being set up on the path to becoming Salesforce Admin Certified.
I was inspired by Stephanie Herrera’s Salesforce Saturday initiative and took my own spin on it to serve the needs of my community and address a major gap I saw here.
How many Salesforce Saturdays Cohorts have you run?
I pitched the idea for Salesforce Saturdays to CloudKettle’s management team back in 2017, and in 2018, we ran two cohorts and graduated 15 students. In 2019, we hosted three cohorts, two Admin and one developer, and graduated 25 students. CloudKettle has provided the space, coffee, and snacks, and the training is delivered by myself with help from a couple of my team members.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Reaching a diverse audience. One of the values we set out when creating Salesforce Saturdays is accessibility – being equally available for women and minorities. This has meant reaching outside of our regular circles and not just posting on social media to the groups that already follow us. We’ve started to create relationships with different community partners locally to try and widen the group of people we reach.
It’s a work in progress, but we’re committed to this value. As an example, in our first cohort, we graduated zero women and received very few female applicants. When applications opened for our second cohort, we proactively connected with different Women in Tech (WIT) groups and affiliated organizations to encourage more female applicants. We graduated three women in our second cohort (out of eight participants) and saw a large jump in female applications the second and third time around. Gender parity is one of the many forms of diversity we try to promote within our Salesforce Saturday Cohort program.
What advice do you have to community leaders trying to build community?
I have two pieces of advice I’d like to share:
1) Leverage the global Salesforce Ohana.
2) Start today.
When I started the Salesforce Developer User group, I had so many ideas and a finite amount of time and resources to bring those ideas to life. Leveraging the global Salesforce Ohana has allowed me to be a multiplier within my community.
When I started Salesforce Saturdays Cohort, I reached out and received help from countless Salesforce community members like Erica, Holly, Jessica, Alex, Tiffany, Kendall, and many more. Without the support of other Salesforce Ohana members, I’d never be where I am today.
Lastly, start today where you are. There’s the natural desire to perfect an idea before launching it, but in my experience, you can always improve over time. A lot of times, waiting until it’s perfect leads to never taking that first step.
For more information about Salesforce Saturdays, please click here to read our blog post.
We’re looking forward to another year full of learning and growing with our Salesforce community in 2020 – thank you for being apart of our community.