Salesforce Championing Diversity – Jenny’s Admin Tip #25

WomenInTech (1)

In 2015, Desynit held an an inspirational Women in Technology themed Forcewest event. The topic was ‘Inspirational Women’, which got me thinking about diversity in technology. Specifically, diversity in Salesforce, where women account for 15% of all leadership positions, globally, at Salesforce.com.

Forcewest played host to three amazing women speakers from all walks of life. Damilola Erinle – Senior Regional VP of Financial Services at Salesforce.com, provided an amazing insight into diversity and was a true advocate for women in leadership positions at Salesforce. Dami provided key advice on; how to work your way to the top in the technological industry; having the drive to succeed and not being afraid to ask for help; surrounding yourself with the best mentors and people that will help you get to that higher position. She truly believed that if you want something, don’t be afraid to go and get it.

Now, obviously that is easier said than done. Marc Benioff has openly admitted in 2015 at the Lesbian who Tech event in San Fran, that “bringing diversity into the workforce is a super hard problem.” He has also said that ever since he started his journey with Salesforce 16 years ago he was thinking about ways to get more women into technical, leadership and management roles.

Now I don’t aim to tackle the subject of diversity in Salesforce, however I am interested to see what Salesforce are doing to champion diveristy, especially since Marc Benioff stated “I want more women leaders at Salesforce.com” when interviewing Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook chief operating officer, at Dreamforce 2013.

So here are the most fascinating pieces of information I found that suggest that Salesforce are Leaning In for Diversity in Salesforce over the past few years: –

The Lean In movement

For those not familiar with Lean In, it focuses on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions and changes the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do, through the Community, Education and Lean in Circles (of which there 33 Salesforce LeanIn Circles).

Talking at Dreamforce in 2013, Sheryl Sandberg -author of Lean In, and Marc Benioff discuss the issues of Diversity. It was at this Dreamforce Fire Side chat, that Sheryl credited Benioff for his recognition and interest in the LeanIn moment. Marc went on to say that he ..”wanted to have more balance between the men and women leaders on my team”. And by Salesforce hosting 33 LeanIn circles, he hope that this is another step to creating that balance.

Parker Harris, co-founder is also a proud supporter of LeanIn.org’s new initiative, #LeanInTogether – which gives men the opportunity to advocate for diversity.  Parker believes that we should all move in together for more diversity in tech and has gone on to say that we should all; be transparent and facilitate an open dialogue; Address unconscious bias; develop diverse tech talent early. You can read more about how here.

Women’s Surge

Making efforts in the Lean In movement is a great start, but Benioff has taken on an unusual step to change diversity within Salesforce. Calling women in tech a “crisis of prioritization”, Benioff has created a program called “Women Surge” which aims to identify executive-potential women employees and mandate that they be included meetings.

His target for this is for meetings to include 30% to 50% women. Now I am not entirely sure the stats on this since creation of the Women Surge, but maybe it’s too early to see whether this is working or not. What is doing though is making a conscious effort for women to succeed which is amazing!

Salesforce Diversity Stats

Statistics, we all love ‘em. Although not many, these stats published by Salesforce.com provide a regular updated indication of gender in roles on a global scale and ethnicity from the USA only. You can also see how Salesforce are championing Equal pay, Equal Achievement and Equal Opportunities here. Lets hope more and more join the quest to increasing diversity and inclusion at all levels across the computing and tech industries.

Lastly, but not least YOU

The balancing of gender in technology isn’t going to change without the most important factor – YOU.  Women and men like Dami, like Parker, Sheryl and more showing the world that it is possible for women to be in leadership roles within technology. That there are men who are LeaningIn and playing an active role in helping the change. That there are women out there that want to help and share their stories so that you can see that there are no ‘cant’s’ when it comes to you and technology.

With the latter point in mind and moving slightly away from Salesforce, it would be injustice of me not to mention Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. After watching her presentation – Teach girls, bravery, not perfection, on TedTalks this year, it cemented my thought that we need to take charge and start teaching girls that it is ok to fail, it’s ok to take risks, it’s ok to be BRAVE. We all know that feeling of being sat in a room and not being brave enough to answer a question or provide a solution because you think it isn’t good enough., because it’s IMPERFECT.  “Even when we are in ambitious, even when we are LeaningIn that socialisation of perfection has caused us to take less risks in our careers.”  The message – “Socialise to brave, not perfect.”

If you are thinking of getting into Salesforce, but are intimidated by the idea of technology, or maybe you are already have a Salesforce role, but are afraid to reach for those higher position, then I would advise reading LeanIn by Sheryl Sandberg, take on Dami advice above, join a local Salesforce LeanIn circle or  join Girls Who Code or Women Who Code UK.

See you next week.

Jenny

WomenInTech (1)
By Jenny Bamber
17 April 2015
Jenny's Admin TipsThe Good Systems Blog

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