By: Joanna Iturbe, Director of CRM Strategic Initiatives, University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business, 2020 Chair, Higher Education Advisory Council and Salesforce MVP
Historically, the start of the academic year also meant the start of a new term for the Salesforce.org Higher Education Advisory Council. This year, we made a change and have aligned our council year to the calendar year. Because of this, we’ve had to wait longer to announce our 2020 council! We have 17 returning members and six new members to the Council. They are dedicated trailblazers, committed to helping the higher education Salesforce community.
The Council, unlike many advisory groups, is customer-driven. Our mission states that we work with Salesforce.org and the community to recognize and set common standards for the delivery of platform solutions to support education. We fulfill this mission by:
- Leveraging our collective higher ed and Salesforce expertise to make a difference on our campuses
- Maintaining a collaborative community that shares code, best practices, and documentation
- Identifying needs and advocating for solutions
- Connecting with new and prospective Salesforce.org higher ed customers
- Participating in outreach efforts through webinars, blogs, Higher Ed Summit presentations, etc.
- Recognizing the diversity of functionalities and needs of higher ed institutions
We are a working council composed of volunteers who share best practices, answer questions, host events and site visits, provide demos, give product feedback, and much more.
We have ongoing initiatives that transcend the community and council year-over-year, including Higher Ed Office Hours and Higher Education User Groups, sessions at Dreamforce and Higher Ed Summit, webinars and guest blogs, and The PodCACHE. In fact, you can catch the recent Dreamforce sessions on the Salesforce.org YouTube channel to see the latest on what council members are doing with their own implementations. We also have working groups that are aligned each year with the Council’s interests and Salesforce.org’s strategic initiatives.
Engage with Members
Because the Council is recognized and supported by Salesforce.org, it’s easy to spot Council members at events. Just look for the signature blue lanyard and gray backpack, both with the council name and logo, and introduce yourself. Council members expect and enjoy these impromptu conversations, so don’t hesitate to say hello.
Of course, not everyone can get to an event, but that doesn’t mean you can’t engage with members. Each month, members host Higher Ed Office Hours, a call-in program where the community can ask questions of veteran users. Each session is an hour-long conversation about all things Salesforce and all are welcome, whether to ask a question or just to listen.
Request Council Assistance
Members also contribute in less formal ways. Often, they spend time sharing individually with schools, away from public venues. Yes, members are active in the Power of Us Hub and Trailblazer Community, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; but they more often connect directly for one-on-one conversations. This is an open invitation to reach out to us!
Members also take time to mentor the community, explaining how giving back to peers is a reward, in and of itself, and providing guidance on how to get involved. Since the community grows stronger as more people get involved, the Council provides an increasing number of ways to contribute. If you’re inherently motivated to give back, just ask. You can be sure a Council member will help you find just the right opportunity for you.
I encourage you to get to know the community by interacting with the Council. Take a look at the Council’s page on the Salesforce.org site. There, you will see member photos and bios, as well as a short deck on the Council itself. Don’t hesitate to contact us to request assistance. Take time to call into Office Hours. Ask how you can get involved in the community. Engage with members. You’ll meet fantastic people and you’ll get help when you need it. As chair of the Council, I can guarantee that, if you do, this year will only get better.
Last but not least, registration for this year’s Higher Ed Summit, the country’s leading Salesforce Higher Ed conference, is open! The 2020 Higher Ed Summit will take place in Indianapolis and will be co-hosted by Indiana University (IU). Don’t miss out on the opportunity to network with and learn from peers in the education community!