Thursday, June 1, 2017

Simon Gascoigne - Sydney Salesforce User Group

This blog is part of a blog series to highlight Salesforce Community Champion, from user group leaders, developer group leaders, and members from around the world #Ohana

I would like to introduce our first champion from Southern Hemisphere Simon Gascoigne, co-leaders of Sydney Salesforce User Group from Australia.

Hello Simon, tell us something about yourself, which User Group you lead, and how many co-leaders in your group?
I have been involved with Salesforce for over 10 years both as a customer and more recently a partner. I co-lead the Sydney Salesforce User group along with 3 other co-leaders.

How do you become User Group leader, and what make you interested in accepting the role as a User Group leader?
In 2015, I was asked to take part in a rebooting of the user group by Salesforce MVP Peter Chalmers. As an active member of the community for many years, I was keen to give back. Very early in my Salesforce journey, I was lucky enough to spend time with fellow customers at several events (pre-dating the user group program we now know). 
The openness and willingness to help of attendees at these meetings really sold me on Salesforce as the place to be. I am really keen to bring that to everyone. We now have a word to put on it, our Ohana.

I heard something about ‘Down Under Dreaming’ in Sydney, what is that and can you share with us?
We had been watching with interest as Mid West Dreamin' and the events that followed around the world like London Calling caught fire. We are really keen to bring a community led Salesforce event to Sydney. 
We are excited to be hosting our event at Taronga Zoo overlooking iconic Sydney Harbour. We are putting together an amazing agenda and are thrilled that Erica Kuhl and Peter Coffee will be joining us. Early bird tickets are now on sale!

How often your group meetup? And how long it have been established?
One of the things we wanted to achieve when we rebooted the user group was regular meetings, so we have a meeting monthly. The roots of the user group go back many years but in it's current rebooted from is around one year. 

How big is your user group member, meaning the number of members attend for the meetup?
Depending on the meeting we normally have 50-200 attendees. 

What do you love being a User Group leader?
The people, our Ohana are very special. Someone saying they found value in a session is all we need to hear to know it's worth it.

Any challenges to run User Group and how to overcome it as a leader?
Finding suitable spaces for the size of our group can be very challenging. We just do our best to come up with different solutions.

Tell us something unique about your group
We were very proud at our end of year celebrations last year that we were able to raise 10,000 AUD for charity. This was due to the generosity of our sponsors and members. To have over 400 people attending was impressive in itself, but seeing the money raised was truly inspiring.

Share us tips that make your User Group success
As mentioned before meeting regularly, working to get engaging speakers and varied topics. Not being afraid to ask for things! We are fortunate to have had some amazing speakers from Salesforce come to our user group because we asked.

What would like to see your group in the future?
We would like to explore chapters that cover verticals in more details as part of the User Group. For example, Financial Services. Allowing those members to meet as well during the year to focus on their vertical while still being part of the main group. Also to look at Satellite groups in Greater Sydney.

One last thing you would like to share with the community
Please get involved with the community, I guarantee you will get out more than you put in! Be it online in the Success Community, on Twitter, at you local User Group meeting or by joining us in Sydney for Down Under Dreaming on Aug 29th! 

Simplysfdc comment: it is really awesome you guys able to raise AUD 10,000 for charity. But, seems like you guys party more then Trailhead sessions, I kid :)

Hope the first Down Under Dreaming in the next few months will succeed and benefits for the community.

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