I'm excited to share the news that for the first time, Salesforce will be a Major Partner at this year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – we are very excited to be visible, vocal and proud.
By participating in the festival, we will amplify our message of equality and encourage other Trailblazers in our Ohana to do the same.
As well as having a float in the Mardi Gras parade with 80 of our Ohana dancing and celebrating, we’ll also be at Fair Day on Sunday 17 February – come down to Victoria Park in Camperdown to join us and celebrate Mardi Gras with the LGBTIQ+ community in Sydney and from all over Australia – it’s sure to be a very fun day.
Throughout the festival, we’re also partnering with JOY 94.9, Australia’s out, loud and proud radio station – the team from JOY 94.9 will join us on our float and live-stream the event. JOY 94.9 is just one organisation we're proud to already support in APAC – Salesforce employees in Melbourne use their paid volunteer hours to digitise JOY 94.9's extensive music library and record their community announcements, and we are so proud to extend this partnership for the Mardi Gras festival.
Over the two weeks, many of our employees from around Australia will be involved both behind the scenes and right up-front – our staff are investing their time in this because equality is one of our four core values. We strongly believe that business can be a poweful platform to drive social change and we believe our higher purpose is to champion equality for all.
We also know that creating a culture of equality isn’t just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do. Diverse companies are more innovative, more creative and are better positioned to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We respect and value employees from every background, and we thrive as a result.
We believe in bringing your authentic self to work, and by showing up, listening and speaking up publicly, we will make it known that Salesforce is a company that lives its core values
We're proud of the actions we've taken around the world to defend equality and act out against discriminatory legislation. We show our support for our LGBTIQ+ employees and allies through our Outforce Ohana group – made up of Salesforce employees and allies. In the US, we challenged the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which sought to ban same-sex marriage, and of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). We took this action to strongly oppose legislation that allowed for discrimination against our LGBTIQ+ Ohana.
In June 2016, we partnered with Australian Marriage Equality to demonstrate our support for changing the marriage legislation in Australia, and in late 2017 and early 2018 we worked to support the ‘Yes’ campaign once the postal plebiscite was announced.
When the Yes win was announced, our employees came together in our offices around Australia to watch and celebrate as one Ohana. This was a moment that showed the full power of our Ohana – and one that brought us a step closer to equality for all.
Our employees’ response and support of our actions to date has been incredible. As Martin Azzopardi, a Salesforce team member in Melbourne, shared: "I sat at my desk at 35 Collins Street with tears in my eyes. I never thought I would see this day and I look back to the boy that was bullied and teased at school for being different ... and in that one moment, everything changed here in Australia. You will never know how much this means to this one person and now my marriage will now be recognised in my country". The post was overwhelmingly met by messages of support and pride by employees all across the world.
In 2018 Outforce ANZ also supported Wear it Purple Day by hosting events across all our ANZ offices. In Sydney, we joined with our Darling Park neighbours CBA and IAG to host a morning tea, with executive sponsors from each company speaking about the importance of the day and how each company is blazing a trail for inclusion and diversity.
Each day we work together with our whole Ohana – our employees, customers, partners, community and industry – to build a path forward to equality for all. As we gear up for the parade on Saturday 2 March, we’ll be ramping up our focus on equality and celebrating all that our Ohana and the LGBTIQ+ community in Australia has achieved in the past couple of years.
Together, we can reach #Equalityforall – supporting the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and dancing in the streets is just another way we can be visible, vocal and proud.
Barry Dietrich is Vice President Enterprise Sales and the Executive Sponsor of Outforce for Salesforce Australia and New Zealand. Read more from Barry.