I’ve been in the Salesforce ecosystem for nearly a decade now and from as far as I can remember, April Kyle Nassi has been a name synonymous with the Salesforce Developers Community. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have worked very closely with April on several of her key initiatives. Last month, April moved out of her role with the Salesforce Developer Relations team to another role within the company.
While I (on behalf of the Salesforce developer community at large) wish her good luck, I do want to take some time out to write about about her contributions and the journey she’s shared with the Salesforce developer community.
My first interactions with April were when she was managing the Salesforce Developer Forums (officially called the Discussion Boards). Back then, the Discussion Boards were not very active and since I moved up the leaderboards quickly, my interactions with her increased over a period of time. From keeping the discussion boards spam-free to re-vamping the forums to use Salesforce Communities instead of the dated Bulletin Boards, it’s fair to say April played a key role in turning things around on the forums. This was followed up with another initiative to reward top members on the forums for their participation and being a moderator there, I’m glad to say that it’s turned out very well.
Developer User Groups
April was instrumental in setting up with what’s popularly known as Developer User Groups (DUGs) all over the world to help Salesforce developers all over the world to learn via collaborative community-driven events. Starting off with a few groups, DUGs are now a global phenomenon. If I were to look at India as an example, the phenomenal growth of DUGs across tier-2 and tier-3 cities has been a remarkable achievement.
While setting up those groups is easy enough, it’s a challenging task to keep them running with quality content served periodically. There has been a constant effort by April & her team to do special events such as Mobile Developer Week, Lightning Week, live keynote streaming and several others – that has helped sustain the momentum at DUGs over the years.
I’ve been a speaker at Dreamforce every year since 2012 and anybody who’s spoken at Dreamforce knows how helpful April typically has been. From helping plan speaker schedules to coordinating with the Dreamforce team, I’ve always found April to be in the thick of things. My only regret would perhaps be that April’s always been so busy ever year that she hardly has time to interact with anyone at the conference. I’m hoping that changes this year and she spends some quality time with the developer community at Dreamforce 2016.
The Salesforce Developer Champions program is another key initiative to drive adoption and learning in the Salesforce developer community. I (and I’m sure many others) were inducted into this unique program by April. The program is a mutually win-win proposition – while community experts are rewarded for their efforts, the community benefits from their expertise in several forms – blog posts, tutorials, webinars etc.
I’m not a Salesforce MVP (contrary to what a lot of people assume) so I can’t really comment much on it. However, from my interactions with April, I do know that the MVP program is really close to her heart and all of the MVP friends I know have always appreciated her sincere efforts.
And despite not having the title, she actually made me a ‘MVP for a day’ (accidentally or otherwise) at the Salesforce World Tour in New York last year – so thank you for that, I’ll keep that memory as my claim to fame 😉
On a more serious note, she would always provide encouragement and support to those who’ve worked for the community cause and I’m sure that will continue in her new role as well.
Despite having a big presence in India, Salesforce did not have a developer advocacy team here until last year. April worked very closely with the community to ensure that we never really felt hampered by any geographical borders. We hear a lot about managing developer communities these days, I believe April and her team have set a great example of how to pull it off at a global scale.
To sum it up, across our professional careers, we meet and interact with hundreds and potentially thousands of people, but only a few leave a long-lasting impact on our minds and for me, April has been one of them.
Thank you once again April for your contributions to the Salesforce Developer Community. To say that you will be missed will be a huge understatement. Good luck in your new role and we’re looking forward to working with Jessica going forward.