To say it’s been an incredible year for Merivis would be an understatement. At our 2019 Board Retreat, I had “Merivis included in Dreamforce keynote” listed as a 5 year pipe dream, who would have known that 12 months later that dream and dozens of other milestones would have true with the help of an amazing leadership team, community and hundreds of alumni demonstrating the success of our programs.
While there are many great memories with our students, coaches and volunteers we narrowed it down (considerably) to our Top 5 Highlights of 2019:
#5: SUPPORTING PARTNERS
As a nonprofit organization, we can’t offer our programs in support of veterans and mil-spouses without financial support. This year a few partners went above and beyond in helping Merivis:
- Accenture: In addition to a $15,000 grant, Accenture awarded us $50,000 pro bono consulting hours to help us implement Pardot, a Salesforce product designed to automate our communications and help us scale.
- Salesforce: In addition to renewing their grant from 2018, Salesforce employees have gone above and beyond in financial donations, volunteer hours, and awareness. The 1-1-1 model that Salesforce has championed has created an impact with Merivis in every way possible and we’re grateful to be a part of the community.
- Narrative Science: As they headed into their first Dreamforce, Narrative Science included Merivis as their nonprofit partner for “demo for donations” amounting to a 10K donation to our programs.
- Veterans Day Giving Campaign: not only did we raise $30K and surpass last year’s fundraising total we had a record number of alumni, volunteers and advocates pass $1,000 each in support of our campaign. To have our graduates especially advocate on our behalf and pay it forward for more veterans to re-skill is one of the greatest compliments we could ask for.
#4: PROGRAM EXPANSION
This year we tripled the number of cohorts, growing from 3 in 2018 to 9 in 2019 (yes, 9!) and they included a pilot sales/service/community combo class AND one of the first marketing cloud cohorts offered throughout the Salesforce nonprofit partner network. With this came new students, coaches, volunteers, and instructors that we welcomed into the Merivis family.
#3: SECOND HOST CITY
In June we expanded to the Pacific Northwest, launching our second host city in Seattle – a city where both the technology and the veteran communities are some of the strongest in the country. We have already seen a cluster of alumni, coaches, and volunteers start to develop, and while we know it’s not as strong as Austin it’s just a matter of time before this metro area is a one to rival our presence in Central Texas.
#2: A NEW BRAND
One of my favorite memories of the year – a new brand identity! With the help of Arrow, an Austin based branding agency, Merivis embarked on a 9 month process of research and design to ensure our brand was a reflection of our programs, community and alumni, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. With that came a new and improved website and blog, and new communications with the help of our Pardot implementation. Having a previous career in corporate marketing, I knew this was an enormous undertaking but one that was vital to our success. The fact that we wrapped it up barely a month before Dreamforce might have taken years off my life but it was absolutely worth it when it comes to our continued success and expansion. Which leads me to…
#1: DREAMFORCE 2019
As I mentioned, earlier this year it was a distant dream to be included in a Dreamforce keynote, much less Co-CEO’s, Marc Benioff and Keith Block’s conference opener, so this takes the #1 spot on our 2019 Highlights list. There are too many people to thank here but when we say it takes a village this was one of those times. I do want to highlight Sheldon Simmons, Merivis graduate and board member who stood up in front of millions of attendees and online viewers and shared the Merivis story. (You can watch a replay of the opening keynote here).
And we were included in one of the most inspiring videos we could have imagined to share how Merivis affects the lives of veterans and milspouses.
Was there a memory that stands out during your last year with Merivis? Join us on twitter with hashtag #MerivisMoment and celebrate our community’s accomplishments during what was an incredible 2019.
As we start off 2020 we’re excited to share several new things with you, including a renewed focus on professional development services, more locations and advanced training opportunities plus an expanded leadership team! We’ll be posting some great announcements starting next week on our social media so stay tuned for those exciting details.
On behalf of the Merivis staff and board of directors have a Happy New Year and we’ll see you in 2020!
Kate Perez, Executive Director