Learn, Share and Network Locally at New Regional Higher Ed User Groups
By: Kathleen Lueckeman, Chief Innovation Officer, Maryville University, Higher Education User Group Leader and Immediate Past Chair of the Higher Education User GroupOne of the best things about being a Salesforce user is the extensive, active community – and one of the very best things about the community is the chance to join a user group to learn, network and grow professionally. Now, in addition to joining the general Higher Education User Group, you can connect with your peers onlinea and in person at regional industry user groups.
Since every user group serves members locally, meeting days and times vary by region. A few have upcoming meetings already scheduled and are included below. To join one near you and learn about upcoming meetings, join the user group’s dedicated, private Chatter Group in the Trailblazer Community:
- DMV Area Higher Ed User Group
• Meets the third Friday of each month
• Special event in DC on June 28, focused on Marketing Cloud and Advancement: The University of Virginia, William & Mary, University of Maryland Smith School of Business and UMUC will each share their story about how they use Marketing Cloud, with a focus on Advancement. We’ll also be at the Smith School of Business’ suite on the concourse level. View the schedule, agenda and registration information.
- Mid-Atlantic Higher Education User Group
- New York Higher Education User Group
- Northeast Regional Higher Education User Group
- West Coast Higher Education Group
- Ontario, Canada Higher Education Group
- United Kingdom Higher Education Group
- Upper Midwest Higher Education Group
• Next meeting is August 1 from 11 am – 3 pm at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. Registration will open in mid-June.
• December 7, 2018 at Carleton College in Northfield, MN)
Spring 2018 saw many of the regional user groups’ first meetings. The Northeast group kicked off their Pan-Northeastern meeting with special guest Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist for Salesforce.com.
The Value of Regional Higher Education User GroupsWhile the original Higher Education User Group meets twice each year in person (Dreamforce and Higher Ed Summit) and nearly every week online, we know it can be hard to get face time with this group. Regional user group meetings, on the other hand, are a great way for you to meet in person with other higher education peers and technology enthusiasts.
In fact, when you need help with a specific issue in your Salesforce org or want to learn more about a peer’s use case, you can take a quick few minutes at any local meeting to get your answer or inspiration for a new solution. Honestly, the chance to talk to other Salesforce each other face-to-face is invaluable and can leapfrog your Salesforce work with just one conversation.
No Regional User Group Near You? Start One!
Since we just received official support of our regional groups, not every local area has one yet. If you’re interested in taking a leadership role in bringing together the higher ed Salesforce community, volunteer to be a user group leader today.
The West Coast Regional User Group’s February 2018 meeting included a session on the open-source “object merge” solution.
Special Thanks to Regional User Group Trailblazers
With the help of the Salesforce.org awesome community team, Corey Snow (Harvard University) won approval for the first regional industry user in the Northeast and has served as a great resource for others to do the same. Ish Sodhi, Shelley Hou (both of Stanford) and Anne Duperault (Huron Consulting Group) quickly followed Corey’s lead, establishing the West Coast group, as did Emma Hutchinson with the New York group, and Jeff Dixon (Queens University) and Nash Zgonjanin (Algonquin College), who made the effort international with the one in Ontario, Canada. About the same time, Mid-Atlantic and DMV were established and the Upper Midwest group, which had been meeting unofficially, was officially recognized.
For member convenience and like many user groups, the Northeast Regional Higher Education User Group chooses different locations for each meeting. This one was in New York in late April 2018.
Understanding the Many Types of User Groups
Confused about the many types of user groups? Below is a quick primer. After reading this, you’ll understand why we feel so lucky that Salesforce expanded their user group program to include regional groups for Higher Education!
- Developer: As the name implies, these user groups foster collaboration for developers, though admins are welcome.
- Regional: These are the grand-daddy of all local user groups and focus on Salesforce in general.
- Industry: User groups are grouped by industry verticals, including our own Higher Education User Group.
- Nonprofit: While most higher eds are nonprofits and are welcome at nonprofit user groups, these tend to follow the division that Salesforce.org has made – higher education and all other nonprofits. These regional groups primarily serving the “all other” nonprofits and often focus on the use of the NPSP solution.
- Product: These product-specific user groups include Analytics, Chatter, Community, Marketing, Platform & Apps, Sales and Service.
- Student: Just announced: our students can have their own user groups. Establish one at your school today!
- Affinity: These groups promote collaboration around Diversity in Technology and Women in Technology.
Bonus: User Group Pro Tip
If you’ve never been to a user group, you probably don’t know that meeting attendees usually get some sweet swag!
About the Author
Kathleen Lueckeman is Chief Innovation Officer at Maryville University, where she leads the enterprise-wide implementation of the Salesforce platform. Maryville—a pioneer in the system-wide implementation of Salesforce across the entire organization for the complete student lifecycle — uses the platform to improve communications, enhance service, and automate processes. She is past chair of the Salesforce.org Higher Education Advisory Council, moderates Higher Ed Office Hours each month and serves at the Higher Education User Group chair.
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