Shared Passion Ignites

I haven’t always had the same views politically as I do now. I grew up in a small town (under 10K people) in Texas and can confirm that locale matters when it comes to public opinion and forming of political views.

However I had a set of parents that were outspoken and encouraged me to be the same. They had been places outside of that small town and experienced different things and knew there was so much more to our society and world as a whole. And they talked about what they saw on the news with my sister and I frequently. And their views evolved over time as well.

As I’ve gotten older, moved to a more metropolitan area, changed jobs and friends and economic status, my views have morphed and grown with me.

And as a proud member of the Salesforce Ohana, I have learned to embrace diversity, equality, and tolerance. I’ve learned that through the example that Salesforce as a company sets but more importantly through my social interactions with the broader Ohana community.

We come from all over the world. We come from different backgrounds. We are different in every way possible, but we are the same in that we realize it is those differences and our ability to communicate and interact despite those differences which makes us all better.

We listen to one another, debate issues, learn from one another, help one another and laugh together.

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It doesn’t matter if we are black, brown, white, male, female, trans, gay, speak English, Japanese, Indian, are a developer or an admin, are a college graduate or a HS dropout, are a parent, or single, live in a mansion or share a flat. None of those things matter. Our SHARED PASSION for the jobs that we do and the tools that we use to do those jobs is more than the sum of all of those differences I mentioned above.

That makes for an awesome community.

But not everyone has experienced a community, an Ohana, like this one. This is painfully obvious to me these days as I watch what is happening politically in my country. I worry about the huge divide I see on a daily basis. The inability for So. Many. People. to look past themselves and realize it is that same type of shared passion that will make our country great.

That it isn’t about my agenda, or your agenda. That it isn’t about what I’m comfortable with or what you are comfortable with. And it is most certainly not about a political party.

It is about working together because of our shared passion for this country. About listening to one another, debating issues, learning from one another, helping one another and laughing together.

This is what I believe our government was meant to be.

A great community (or Ohana if you will) of people with a shared passion for our country and the people in it.

ALL of the people in it. It doesn’t matter if we are black, brown, white, male, female, trans, gay, speak English, Japanese, Indian, are a developer or an admin, are a college graduate or a HS dropout, are a parent, or single, live in a mansion or share a flat. None of those things matter.

We are Ohana.

Share your passion.

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An open letter to Marc Benioff and Parker Harris.

Thank you.

Such a simple phrase. These two little words are completely inadequate to convey the emotions they are bursting with when uttered by a member of the Salesforce Ohana.

In 1999 you set out to build a company. A company to offer software as a service.

Now here we are in 2017 and your company is changing lives and the shaping the world around us.

My story is much like the ones we’ve heard before. Accidental Admin with no degree or tech training, but with a drive to learn. When I started a decade ago, the Community was still using training wheels but gaining ground. As a new Salesforce Administrator I wanted (needed) to learn all I could so I scoured the internet for help. Some of the standouts to me from the early days were names everyone knows like SteveMo, Cheryl Feldman and Brian “The Wizard” Kwong. They didn’t live anywhere near me but were always answering questions and helping others in the community by sharing knowledge.

At the time I never would have dreamed the impact this Ohana would have on the lives of me and my family.

I’ll fast-forward through a few years and pick it up in 2012. My first Dreamforce. The A-Ha moment for me where I was inspired to do and be more. I got to meet my Ohana idols mentioned above along with others and walked away from that event with a passion and a drive to give back like they had done for me.

I threw myself into both the Success Community and the community on Twitter and surrounded myself (virtually) with Ohana around the globe where we forged bonds like no other. Started a blog, co-hosted a Salesforce-themed podcast, spoke at Dreamforce, sang in a Salesforce Community band and was invited to join the ranks of the illustrious Salesforce MVPs.

Those things in themselves were life-changing.

But they don’t hold a candle to what happened next.

On December 26th, 2015 around dinnertime the tornado sirens blew in my little suburb of Dallas. As my family took shelter I posted a pic on twitter (because that’s what we do). Minutes later our house was struck by an F4 tornado.

In a flash, our lives changed. You hear about it happening but never really expect it to happen to you.

When you think about moments of tragedy, there are people you know will be there for you. You’ll have family, friends, co-workers and neighbors come together to help.

What I didn’t expect, but was blown away by, was the power and strength of this Ohana that you built.

Within a few hours of the destruction of our home, a community came together. A community that spans oceans and borders. People I’d never met in real life. People who speak different languages. While we were still standing in front of our ruined home in the rain trying to figure out what to do next, the Ohana were putting out a call to action to help us.

It is this Ohana that kept me from falling. Who lifted me (and my family) up through their prayers, calls, cards, donations and by just being there. Checking in on me. Being there for me.

You set out to build a company to deliver software as a service. Which you have done. And done well.

Ohana

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But the best thing you built, the thing that moves mountains, is the Salesforce Ohana.

This Ohana that you built is not just a group of software administrators or developers. It is a culture of people who hold out their arms to lift up others. You’ve embedded this culture into the very foundation of your company along with everything and everyone connected to it. You’ve lined that foundation with gems by  hiring like-minded people who embody and exude the culture, people like Erica Kuhl, Chris Duarte, Holly Firestone, Adam Seligman, Charlie Isaacs, and too many others to list here.

I will never be able to adequately say thank you for what you’ve built.

I know I am just one of many stories. Stories that describe lives changed because of your vision and guidance.

And on behalf of myself and all of those yet untold stories, Thank you.

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Valentine’s Day

When I was about 2 months old, my parents opened up their own Flower Shop. They had purchased a plot of land with two houses on it, converted one to the flower shop and we lived in the other.

thehutch

All of my memories growing up revolve around the shop – from just hanging out there, to using the work tables to make school projects, to helping out on holidays and weekends and more.

For our family, Valentine’s Day was a huge undertaking. Definitely not a holiday for us, but instead, several weeks of planning and prepping and hard work.

I remember lots of late nights prepping buckets for flower deliveries, unpacking/displaying stuffed animals, wiring roses, writing cards, making bows – oh the endless bow-making!

Dad would create some nifty holders for the car – for bud vases and arrangements to ride safely during deliveries. We had city maps on the wall and at the ready and would carefully plot each delivery run to ensure everything got where it needed to be.

Family members and friends and boyfriends and eventually husbands would be drafted to help out – answering the never-ending phone calls, taking orders, driving the delivery truck, and running the deliveries to the door.

And at the end of the day we would all collapse, exhausted. With torn-up hands from the water and rose thorns. With the endless sound of phantom phones ringing in our ears. With just enough energy to order a pizza for dinner.

It was always a day where we got to be a part of spreading joy.

I’ll forever be grateful for growing up as part of a family and business that was there for our community. For their beginnings, for their endings, for their joys and for their sorrows.

I will always miss the frantic pace, smell of floral foam, roses and carnations, the cramped hands and tired feet at the end of a productive holiday. But especially the smile when someone would open the door and realize that delivery is for them.

Priceless!

<Support your local family-owned businesses>

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Make a Ripple

Nevertheless,
She Persisted.

And so becomes the battle cry. And it certainly does feel like we are in a battle. A battle for our children and our children’s children. A battle for their eventual partners and spouses. A battle for our neighbors and a battle for those who don’t have the means or strength to battle themselves. A battle for our ancestors. A battle for our country.

These last 3 weeks have been painful. Painful to watch. Painful to explain to my children. Painful to realize that people you know have biases and prejudices and (sometimes) a blind willingness to only see an issue as black or white and seemingly ignore the grey in-betweens.

These last 3 weeks have also been enlightening. Enlightening to see so many people stand up for what is right. Enlightening to see that so many people are not concerned with “What’s In It For Me?”, but instead focused on what our duties are to to those less fortunate (whether from within our country or without).

These last 3 weeks have highlighted that it is not enough to sit back and let our politicians speak for us. We MUST be active and vocal. Or things go all to hell in a hand basket like they are now.

We are all to blame. For being complacent. For ignoring what we learned in political science class. For assuming that our voices and wishes aren’t enough to make a ripple in this political pond.

Because all it takes is a single voice, backed with enough strength and willpower, to create a disturbance. To shift the wave. To Make A Difference.

#RESISTANCE

takes

#PERSISTANCE

Posted in Quirky Stuff, Working on Me! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Shades of Grey (a political post)

Yep. I’m about to get political up here in my blog.

With politics at the forefront of everything right now it’s clear to me that many people just can’t handle or understand the greys. Everything must either be black or white. Liberal or conservative. You must be either for or against something or you’ll get lambasted. And if you aren’t all for or all against, again, you just don’t fit in.

So I’ll open up and tell you a story about me and why I feel that many of the issues that are being fought about don’t have a clear cut answer. That the answer must be more nuanced. That the solutions aren’t as simple as implementing bans and preventing services.

So here’s my story:

My daughter was around 4 and a half and my son was almost 2 when we found out we were expecting again. Yay! We wanted another and were thrilled. Doctor visits confirmed and we were sent home with prenatal vitamins. Being my 3rd pregnancy, I knew the drill.

But at around 10 weeks I started having sharp pains in the left side down near my hip. At first I thought nothing of it, pregnancy comes with its own weird aches and pains, but it grew more pronounced so I called the doc who said to come on in and they’d take a look.

So met with the doc and went over the symptoms and he decided to order an ultrasound. As the technician moved the wand over that side I could tell something was off. You’ve probably read or heard (or experienced) the stories where the technician would go quiet, then slip from the room to call the physician. Those typically don’t end well.

So she came back in and said she had my doctor on the phone and handed it to me. He explained that the ultrasound showed that the pregnancy was ectopic. That means the baby was growing in the Fallopian tube – it hadn’t travelled on down to the uterus like is should have.

So for those who haven’t heard of this, imagine a grass snake. One of those tiny little ones. Imagine if it ate an egg. You’ve probably seen cartoons like that – the long slender snake body with a big round thing distending it in the middle. That’s what was happening. Except in this case, the reason I was feeling pain is because the baby was growing. And that fallopian tube will only stretch so much.

So I’ll stop the story here so you can ponder the options a woman in this predicament has:

  • Option A: If there is no indication of imminent rupture yet, get sent home with a prescription for Methotrexate which will ‘interrupt’ the pregnancy.
  • Option B: if there is a rupture or signs of imminent rupture, go to the hospital and undergo laparoscopic procedure to remove the baby from the Fallopian tube. (And no, it can’t just be moved to the right spot. I asked.)
  • Option C: Do nothing. Then when the growth of the baby does rupture your Fallopian tube, pray you get to a hospital in time to prevent infection, sepsis or even death.

Those are the options. I don’t know about you, but to me all of those options were pretty shitty ones. So for those hard-core pro-lifers out there what’s the solution?
Because if you wanna get technical about it, options A & B are technically abortions.

For us there wasn’t really a decision to be made. We had 2 kids at home that needed their mom and per my doctor’s advice we headed up to the hospital for laparoscopic surgery. And it sucked. And we had to fight with our insurance to cover it and have our doctor prove it was medically necessary before they would pay for it. (All while grieving the loss.)

Now back to the comments in my first paragraph. About how things aren’t always black and white. There are shades of grey everywhere. This is one.

And you can say that the abortion regulations aren’t for issues like this, but where is the line drawn?

And when the definition of medically necessary is something different to everyone how can that be defined or regulated?

All it takes is ONE PERSON in charge who decides that Option C is acceptable in our nation for the 1 in 50 ectopic pregnancies to end in maternal distress or death.

That’s why I’m frightened to leave issues like this in the hands of politicians. And honestly it’s even worse that it’s in the hands of mostly male politicians. Because they will never ever be able to understand or empathize with what that pregnant woman is going through.

We had a terrible decision to make that day. I am a believer that life begins at conception. And I was faced with a lose/lose situation.

And I firmly believe that the ONLY people qualified to aid in that decision were my husband and my doctor.

Not my Senator.

Not my Governor.

Not my President.

It’s mine and my husband’s jobs to raise our children with our values.

It’s not the job of our Government to do that. Right?

So let’s let them stick to more important issues (like providing accessible health care and affordable birth control options to everyone) and we’ll stick to ours.

If everyone were to raise their kids right and support each other and provide accessible healthcare and prevention, there would never be a need for abortions unless medically necessary anyway.

Boom!

There you go.

So I guess that’s why I get frustrated when I see all this back and forth about pro-life and pro-choice and anti-abortion.

I fall into that “I’m all of them and none of them” category because of my own experiences and beliefs.

And I don’t understand why anyone would want a bunch of politicians making these types of decisions.

You don’t want them to regulate or take your guns, because you are responsible enough to handle them properly yourself.

I don’t want them making these decisions for me for the same reason. I’m responsible enough to make those decisions myself.

If you want to make me take a class first, great. But if you have enough faith in me that you’ll let me walk around with a loaded weapon at my hip, then have enough faith in me to let me be responsible for making these decisions.

I AM NOT going to debate any of you on this topic. My feelings are very clearly written above and I’ve done so to provide a glimpse as to why someone might not have such black and white or clear cut views on this issue.

And how someone can be pro-life but pro-choice all at the same time.

And that we might want to think long and hard about those people up there in Washington and where we should draw the line between governing and interfering.

Posted in Quirky Stuff, Working on Me! | Tagged