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.


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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.

About Nana

Mom. Salesforce Architect. Runner. Artist. Writer. I am a Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame member. For more information on the Salesforce MVP community, visit: . Salesforce, Force,, Chatter, and others are trademarks of, inc. and are used here with permission.
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10 Responses to An open letter to Marc Benioff and Parker Harris.

  1. Parker says:

    Great story. Thanks for being part of our Ohana.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome Tale 🙂 Thanks for being part of our #Salesforce #Ohana.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome thought !! Your story is so inspiring !! Thanks for sharing with #ohana family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. moyezblog says:

    Nana, you embody the spirit of thankfulness. Thank YOU for epitomizing #ohana


  7. Pingback: Count the Ways | Nana's Musings

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