It is always a privilege to hear the remarkable stories of people who are making a difference in society. For me, it’s so inspiring when the story ties in with themes close to my heart. This was the case last week when I presented the pre-keynote at Salesforce World Tour Sydney 2017, and shared a story that celebrates both equality and mentoring.
At Salesforce, we are dedicated to ushering in the Age of Equality. We believe business has a role to play in equality, and that people have the right to be their authentic selves at work.
This week’s World Tour was a celebration of equality. We heard from Tony Prophet, our Chief Equality Officer; and we had an amazing line-up of equality sessions throughout the day, in which many of our equality trailblazers shared their stories and left us with a clear call to action on how we can work together to embrace this new age.
But the story that stood out to me the most—not least because I was there on stage as it was shared—was that of one of our amazing non-profit customers, an organisation called AIME. This organisation is literally changing the lives of thousands of indigenous students across Australia.
AIME was created in 2005 in response to the striking fact that indigenous Australian students don’t get a fair start in life, particularly in the education system. A group of passionate people decided to address this endemic problem by walking into a local school in Redfern NSW to start mentoring high school kids. From that first day, AIME has grown significantly—last year, it worked with 7,500 kids around Australia.
Mentoring is at the heart of AIME’s success. University students are trained as mentors, and are then connected with disadvantaged high school students to help guide them on a path away from poverty.
When I spoke with the organisation’s founder and CEO, Jack Manning Bancroft, at the World Tour pre-keynote, I was interested to know what lessons the mentors share with students. He said that the focus of their mentoring was on building resilience and other life skills, and teaching them that embracing one side of their identity doesn’t mean they have to shed another side of it.
This was inspiring, empowering stuff. I believe that all mentors share this responsibility—and this honour. To play a part in actively reshaping someone else’s life for the better is something we should all aspire to.
As Bancroft says, “The moment you recraft a self-fulfilling stereotype, you break the cycle of disadvantage.” I encourage you to watch it and discover AIME’s incredible story.