Dreamforce. It’s the must-attend tech conference of the year for anyone who’s anyone in the Salesforce Ecosystem. Salesforce hosted the first Dreamforce in 2003 with an attendance of 1,300 people. Ten years later, in 2013, Dreamforce was home to over 130,000 attendees, and now, in its 15th year, the event has sold out, with a rumored attendance closing in on 200,000. That’s more people than those who call Salt Lake City, Utah, home. That’s some phenomenal growth! Dreamforce has had some amazing speakers over the years too. People like Melinda Gates, will.i.am, Mark Cuban, Billy Jean King, General Colin Powell (two different years,) and the list goes on and on. At Apttus we might define “celebrity” a little differently, so we came up with a few questions to ask each of our celebrities.  So without further delay, allow us to introduce our final celebrity of Dreamforce 2017.

Celebrities of Dreamforce 2017: Introducing Geraldine Gray

Our final Dreamforce Celebrity for 2017, has been working with Salesforce so long she doesn’t remember which year was her first time attending Dreamforce. She’s such a powerhouse in the ecosystem she was an Apttus Dreamforce Celebrity last year. Let’s meet our only 2-time Celebrity of Dreamforce, Geraldine Gray!

Oh the memories!

Apttus: What year was your first Dreamforce, and how many have you attended since then?

Geraldine Gray:

    • The first was 2007 or 2008 – I didn’t know there was going to be a “badge of honor” for attendance and I’d be asked to recall that fact so many times or I would have paid more attention! I remember INXS so maybe it was 2006.

Apttus: Who was your favorite session from Dreamforce 2016, and why?

Geraldine Gray:

    • a. My favorite session was Dreampitch – it was fast, demanding and nerve wracking just watching it, so I can’t imagine the sweaty palms and heebie-jeebies of being one of those on stage.

Apttus: Which band was the most memorable?

Geraldine Gray:

    • a. Stevie Wonder in 2010, with an honorable mention to Tony Bennett at the UCSF Gala in 2013, not a concert per se, but a fantastic evening all around.

Apttus: What’s your funniest Dreamforce memory?

Geraldine Gray:

    • Being speaker ZZ for the keynote pre-show. When you are the last person to be interviewed by Peter Coffee you are actually the lowest ranking guest. I filled in for someone who cancelled at the last minute and I was about 10 down on the telephone tree and said “no” but then relented and said “yes” when the response was “OK, I’ll keep calling people.” Hilariously, when you are that low on the totem pole you are also the warm up to Marc Benioff and Al Gore. The room was packed to the brim by the time I stepped up to the stage. Even funnier, as I looked at my well-prepared co-interviewee, speaker Z, he was green to the gills with nerves, whereas I was still a bit clueless and didn’t have time to get nervous.
Excuse me, Don’t I know you…

Apttus: Has anyone ever asked you for a selfie?

Geraldine Gray:

  • Yes – I get stopped in the street with the accusation “You’re Geraldine Gray! You started Girly Geeks!”
Looking Forward

Apttus: What excites you most about going to Dreamforce 2017?

Geraldine Gray:

    • I love catching up with my friends and our customers from all over the world. Many of us have seen each other in the last 12 months at TrailheaDX, at one of the community events, as a benefit of a work trip or just on personal visits, but it’s always special to be together and hang out. And I won’t lie – being able to turn off my bat ears for a few nights and having a lie-in is pretty desirous in our house! But my favorite “session” is not really a session – the night before Dreamforce opens there is a Women In Tech event that fills a ballroom and is always inspiring and uplifting and motivational and fun and funny. That one evening is always special.

 

Apttus: If you could offer any advice to Salesforce rookie, what would it be?

Geraldine Gray:

    • Attend hands-on training. Don’t overbook yourself. Spend an entire afternoon in the Expo. Only accept the swag you actually want and can use. Dress nice but wear comfy shoes. Bring blister band aids. Dress in layers. Leave your laptop in your room. Ship all that swag home via FedEx.

 

Now you know more about Geraldine Gray, and perhaps even a little more about what to expect at Dreamforce. Be sure to follow Geraldine on Twitter.

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