DF18 Recap: Merivis is “A family within a family”

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By: Roger Miranda with contributions from Nick Charles, Johanna Ciezczak, Misty Fierro, Clayton Mitchem, and Daniel Weyant

This year, more than 170,000 people came to Dreamforce ’18 in San Francisco, CA. Can you even imagine that many people? That’s enough to fill AT&T Stadium twice! Within the endless sea of Salesforce Ohana, 50 of us were members of the Vetforce Dream Team. An even smaller cohort of Merivis (aka #Merivets) ohana were a strong and vibrant group within the Dream Team. Kate Perez, Executive Director of Merivis, told me that someone referred to the Merivis team as a “family within a family.”

For some of us this was our first Dreamforce experience, for others, it was our third, fourth, fifth, or even more. Regardless of your individual experience level, the Dreamforce experience is awe-inspiring both in it’s sheer size and the magnificence of the speakers, sessions and after hour events. Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, joked that there were 2,700 events and her expected us to see them all!

It was great to hear Tyler Prince kick off the Admin keynote by recognizing the members of the Vetforce Dream Team. Katherine Clark, the Vetforce #AwesomeAdmin, was recognized in the Admin keynote for the fantastic work she has done for Vetforce. Katherine is continually working to add increased functionality to the Vetforce org, such as creating a job seeker component to help Vetforce members find careers in the Salesforce ecosystem that they are qualified for.

Perhaps the greatest Dreamforce highlight for many of our family was the Dreamtalk presented by Medal of Honor recipient Captain Florent Groberg. “Flo” shared with us the story of how he earned the Medal of Honor, but more importantly, he shared with us what he learned on his journey starting as a young French immigrant to becoming a U.S. Army combat leader in Afghanistan. He told us of how as a newly minted lieutenant, he put rank, pride, and ego aside and asked his most senior enlisted advisor to teach, guide, and mentor him. “It’s about utilizing all the assets around you. About being a teammate before being a boss or a leader. It’s about brotherhood and sisterhood. It’s about caring for each other. It’s about sacrifice.”

Some of our Merivis graduates shared how the Merivis program helped to prepare for Dreamforce ’18.

  • “Merivis has exposed me to so many amazing people. If it wasn’t for Merivis, I would not have received my admin certificate and been nominated to represent Merivis at Dreamforce. I would not have had the opportunity to learn from the best and show how awesome military veterans are! Merivis is my ohana! “
  • “The NEED to develop a family atmosphere of support and encouragement was highlighted as our family stood out among other groups. It made me swell with pride!”
  • “Merivis has taught me I have to sell myself and Kate has guided me down a path on how to do it. I used the skills taught to network and tell my story at Dreamforce.”
  • “It has allowed me to understand the importance of networking, understanding career paths, and allowed me to find my place in this Ohana.“
  • “Merivis helped me prepare for a crazy week that has so much information thrown at me regarding Salesforce.”

Dreamforce ’18 was a phenomenal event and we encourage every #Merivet to attend at least one to experience the Salesforce Ohana coming together to celebrate each other. There were lots of favorite memories: hanging out with Parker Harris before the Admin Keynote, watching Trailblazing friends earn their Golden Hoodies, spending some down time in the hotel getting to know each other, even watching Merivis Founder Hector Perez sing Back Street Boys at the PepUpTech karaoke fundraiser! Of course, none of what I have written could have been possible without the tireless efforts of the Vetforce team. They truly created and curated a world-class experience for the #DF18 Vetforce Dream Team.

Some of our Merivis family wanted to share some advice for those Veterans and military spouses who are considering applying for a Merivis cohort:

  • “If you want your entire career trajectory to turn for the better, with a skill set that will be here for a while, get involved ASAP.”
  • “Absolutely do it. Vetforce is great, but the tools Merivis provide are really what make you stand out in the workforce.”
  • “JUST DO IT! It is an amazing program. The people, experience, and opportunities you will be exposed to are like nothing else. “
  • “A fantastic program that will give any individual a foundation needed to start a career in the Salesforce Ecosystem.”
  • “You can do this! You are not alone! We have your back!!”
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