Road Trip Retrospective
Road Trip Retrospective

Road Trip Retrospective

11/02/2023 by Jason M. Atwood (he/him)
Come along for a look back at a Salesforce adventure across the Northeast.

A few takeaways from a recent jam-packed road trip including an executive panel of Habitat for Humanity leaders, speaking to the future of business, attending Northeast Dreamin’ and meeting a GTD master trainer. 

I had the chance to hit the road in early October which I had chalked up to just logistics and events planning. However, as I was talking it over with a former Arky, they were quick to say “You should write a blog post about it”, so here are some observations and takeaways from the road trip.

Habitat for Humanity Pro Bono Day

The first stop was our Habitat Probono Day that Andrew Fretwell did a great job of recapping. While this was one of our many virtual events this year, it was my first chance to host a panel discussion which turned out to be a real pleasure and wonderful experience. I spoke with three different great Habitat organizations and came away with a few takeaways. 

  • While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere right now, it isn’t for everyone (yet). Of the three organizations I spoke with, each was adopting it at their own speed and one not at all. 
  • The Homekeeper (LINK) application is Habitat's best friend. All three Habitat organizations use it and were very thankful for its existence as part of their technology stack. 
  • Enablement is very important in a Salesforce implementation, but don’t forget to measure and promote adoption after it is over as an ongoing process. 
Skidmore Lecture 

My next stop was back to my alma mater Skidmore College. I was invited to speak to a class of business students who were getting ready to start their own journey into the business world. Unsurprisingly, I was given the topics of entrepreneurship, sales, and CRMs. I presented for about twenty minutes but spent another hour answering great questions from the students about anything and everything. Here are a few quick takeaways from this unique and inspiring experience. 

  • AI in the classroom. I was a bit surprised that not only had cell phones and laptops made it into the class, but ChatGPT was encouraged as part of the curriculum.
  • While I am sure customer relationship software existed in some state in the early nineties, it certainly wasn’t taught. Having the professor teach CRM and sales technologies was impressive and forward-thinking. 
  • I shouldn’t have been surprised that a lot of the questions revolved around the hiring and job-seeking process. It was clearly on the top of everyone’s minds.
Northeast Dreamin 2023

The second to last stop on the trip was to head to Manchester, New Hampshire to attend a Salesforce community conference. I hadn’t been to Northeast Dreamin’ since 2019 so I was excited to go back and bring out my native New England accent. While the conference was in the same location as in 2019, the topics of discussion and takeaways were much different. 

  • Community conferences continue to bring incredible value to the Salesforce ecosystem. If you haven’t gone, put it on your 2024 list. 
  • Sitting with people in person and having in-depth conversations was the clear highlight. From AI (of course) to long-term Salesforce trajectory, it was thought provoking and fun to just talk and mostly listen. 
  • Everyone in the nonprofit world is freaked out about the new Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud which is now on their core industry clouds. The who, what, when, and how much of NPSP will translate to Nonprofit Cloud was a big talk track. People are feeling a lot of information overload and uncertainty.  

Northeast Dreamin’ 2024 will definitely be on my list for next year, so join me there in October of 2024.

Meeting a Master Trainer

The last stop on the road trip was six years in the making. As a student of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology for almost two decades, I had enjoyed many hours of listening to Meg Edwards, a GTD Master Trainer and thought leader in the space. I was just enough of a pest to get her to agree to meet for lunch close to her home in Falmouth, Maine. Here are some of the things I took away from our over two-hour conversation. 

  • For the first hour, we just swapped stories of our families and all the trials and tribulations of growing older. We agreed that having a plan in place for your family and future generations was the key.
  • Discussions around the future of GTD led us down paths of content, business models,  and what GTD might look like over the next few decades. 
  • I got coached. It wouldn’t have been a successful encounter if Meg hadn’t turned to me towards the very end and coached me on my own GTD practice. We debated Inbox practices for a good twenty minutes with no resolution other than “I will think about it.” 

If any of these topics or takeaways spark further discussion, feel free to reach out to me @JasonMAtwood or on LinkedIn. If you or your organization would like to learn more about Salesforce, Nonprofit Cloud or the NonProfit Success Pack don’t hesitate to contact us.