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Trailblazer Community Conference Leader Spotlight – Eric Dreshfield

At Dreamforce 19, Trailblazer Community team kicked off Brunch Dreamin’ – an event where all the amazing Dreamin event leaders were invited under one roof for celebrating their success, networking, and fun. Being the founder of one of such events – India Dreamin’ -the largest community dreamin event in the world,  I recognize and applaud the efforts placed by the Trailblazers who are converting dreams into realities and hence this inspired me to come up with the idea of sharing amazing stories of these trailblazers. I hope this blog series will help Salesforce Ohana know more about these events, their organizers and the communities that they drive and support.

 

If you help to organize a Dreamin event and I have not reached out to you yet for this series, please message me on twitter.

Here is the blog interview of our first spotlight – Eric Dreshfield  –  Vice President, Delivery at ITequality; Founder – Midwest Dreamin’ and a Salesforce MVP.

Q. What event do you help run and what is your role in it?

I founded Midwest Dreamin’ in 2011. That year, I did it all by myself. Since then, my primary duties include securing sponsorships, managing the relationship with the sponsors, securing keynote speakers, planning the logistics of the event with the venue, and managing the finances for the event.

Q. What inspired you to start this event? 

Back in 2010, my first full year in the Salesforce ecosystem, I was unable to attend Dreamforce. I got this crazy idea in my head that I wanted to bring Dreamforce to me…and so began Midwest Dreamin’. Over the next 2 years, when there wasn’t a Midwest Dreamin’, many people kept asking me about the event – when the next one would happen. In late 2013, I restarted the event in a big way, in Chicago, and with the help of many community group leaders and MVPs from the Midwest. This time around, the motivation was to create a community-driven event that would provide the same level of learning as Dreamforce, but on a regional level, and more affordable for attendees.

Q. What have you learned from being a part of Midwest Dreamin’?

Wow-what haven’t I learned! By starting Midwest Dreamin’ I quickly learned 3 things: 1 – Anything is possible if you have enough drive and determination; 2 – It takes a lot of work to create a world-class event, so don’t do it alone; and 3 – The Salesforce community craves the opportunity to learn from one another and the opportunity to meet each other in person, as often as possible. We really are Ohana, family.

Q. Top 5 reasons why one should attend a Dreamin event?

1. To meet face to face with all the people you network with online

2. To learn more about the capabilities of the Salesforce ecosystem and how it can help your organization & your career

3. To have 1-on-1 time with Salesforce celebrities, executives and product managers

4. To have an opportunity to give back to the Salesforce community by sharing your own personal challenges and successes, because someone else out there is facing the same things who need help but maybe afraid to ask, or not even know where to go for help

5. Attending Dreamin’ events is a great way to keep the Dreamforce feeling alive all year round.

Q. What has been your most memorable Dreamin experience to date?

As an organizer of a Dreamin’ event, I invest a lot of my time into making sure the event will be the best it can be. This means giving up time with my family and giving up sleep in order to get done everything that needs to be done before the actual event starts. It takes a lot of work to make a great event. For me, my most memorable Dreamin’ experience didn’t happen at a Dreamin’ event, but rather it happened at Dreamforce 2015. While walking between sessions someone stopped me and asked: “Aren’t you Eric, the person who started Midwest Dreamin’?” I said yes. They responded with: “I attended in 2014 and learned so much I was able to land a new job with a much better salary. I simply want to say thank you for creating such a great event. It changed my career and my life.” And for me, as the organizer of the event, that one thank you was all the motivation I needed to go through all the sacrifices for another year and create the next Midwest Dreamin’. I hear several stories just like that one every single year.

Q. What type of event organizer are you?

1. The Natural – Calm under pressure

2. The Strategist – With an eye for details

3. The Wizard – Pulls off the impossible

4. The Trailblazer – Sets the trend

I think I’m a good mix of all of those types of event organizers. In the beginning, I ran Midwest Dreamin’ by myself. I risked my own reputation and money to create something great out of nothing. I was a Trailblazer, creating community before Community was a thing. And at times I felt like a Wizard, pulling off what seemed impossible. Since 2014, it’s been a big team effort. I’m the Strategist by making sure all the “behind the scenes” things come together, and I seem to be a Natural at calmly working through any issues. I’m incredibly humbled and honored that I have what I feel are some of the best minds in the Salesforce community helping drive Midwest Dreamin’ forward year after year. Most of the current team has been together for several years. We know each other as well as we know our own reflection in the mirror. We work great together. Everyone has their specific roles, and the thing seems to just get done almost effortlessly. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a huge amount of effort to bring Midwest Dreamin’ to life every year and it couldn’t happen without the help of the amazing team of Denise Carbone, Dale Ziegler, Samantha Safin, Nick Lindberg, Kelly Bell, Andy Ognenoff and Jim Carbone….and the countless others who generously give their time to volunteer during the event and help with registration, making sure attendees find their way to keynotes, Demo Jams, breakout sessions and more. This event is truly one that is “of the people, for the people, and by the people” of the Salesforce ecosystem.

Q. Any details you want to share specifically about your event?

For 2020, Midwest Dreamin’ is making what some consider a bold move, by relocating to Minneapolis, Minnesota. After 6 great years in Chicago, we decided it was time to find a new home. And as we evaluated locations in the Midwest, the Twin Cities kept coming out on top. We are super stoked by all the buzz and excitement coming from the Twin Cities community already, and fully expect 2020 to be a bigger and better Midwest Dreamin’ than we have ever seen before. 

Hope you enjoyed reading!

If you help to organize a Dreamin event and I have not reached out to you yet for this series, please message me on twitter.

If not yet, do not miss reading out the other spotlights in this series :

  1. Eric Dreshfield
  2. Manish Thaduri
  3. Ines Garcia