Salesforce Career Stories: Flying The Flag For LGBTIQ+ Equality
As the ANZ Chair of Outforce – Salesforce’s Employee Resource (Ohana) Group for the LGBTIQ+ community and allies – it’s a pretty big month for Damian Le Brocque, who’s been heavily involved in the activities supporting Salesforce’s partnership with this year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Damian shares how he can bring his best self to work every day, what the Mardi Gras partnership means to him and why it’s an important step towards #EqualityForAll.
How did your career begin?
I completed a Bachelor of International Studies at UNSW, majoring in Development Studies. That led to jobs in not-for-profits including an AusAid program in East Timor.
While I didn’t really expect to end up in technology, I’m in a great position to use the skills that I gained in the field, now working as an Account Executive in Salesforce’s NonProfit team.
What attracted you to working at Salesforce?
I have a lot of respect for companies that do more than just give you a salary; the ones that empower you, make you feel valued and encourage you to bring your best self to work. It’s these workplaces that are full of engaged people.
Before I joined Salesforce in 2015, I remember walking past my morning café and seeing a guy I knew who worked at Salesforce. He was there with colleagues, all in volunteering t-shirts. They were spending the day cleaning up Centennial Parklands, and were just so excited and happy to be there, giving back to the community. Meanwhile, I was heading off on the bus to go to work.
That was one of the things that drew me to Salesforce – the opportunities available to employees to step outside of their day-to-day and make an impact on the world, combining your personal passions with professional career goals. And that could be putting your VTO hours (Salesforce employees get seven paid days of volunteer time off each year) to good use or joining one of our Ohana groups – there’s so many ways to give back.
The workplace then becomes less of a nine-to-five thing, and more of a place where you go to celebrate working together and giving back to the community. This was a big selling point for me.
How did you end up joining the Salesforce team?
I was referred by my friend’s brother, who works at Salesforce. During the interview process, what really struck me was just how laidback and startup-like the culture is. It’s not a formal, pretentious environment at all. You feel very comfortable being yourself.
I began my career at Salesforce as a Sales Development Representative role, which was a step back in my career at the time, but I just wanted to learn as much as I could. Twelve months later, I was promoted to a Business Development Representative and then, 12 months after that, I started my current role as an Account Executive in the NonProfit team.
How can businesses be platforms for social change?
In the words of our CEO, Marc Benioff, “The business of business is to improve the state of the world”. We believe that businesses can be powerful platforms for social change, and Salesforce enables everyone to be a part of this purpose, particularly through its 1-1-1 Philanthropic Model.
While some businesses might tokenly sponsor certain events or have their one day volunteering time, through the 1-1-1 model, we get a great opportunity at Salesforce to lead by example and harness the power of people to drive real change.
Working in the NonProfit team, I’m so fortunate in my position that I get to see the 1-1-1 model directly benefit our nonprofit customers.
How did you become ANZ Chair of Outforce?
It was my first week at Salesforce and there was a Wear it Purple Day. All of Salesforce’s LGBTIQ+ employees and their allies got together for an event in the office. And I immediately felt at home. I felt that this was a great community, and something that I wanted to have more of a role in.
So I put my hand up to help. I started out organising a small event, which pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me. But I learnt a lot, and now four years later I’m busy organising our first Mardi Gras float! It’s been an incredible trajectory.
How do you feel about Salesforce becoming a Major Partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2019 and amplifying the message of #EqualityForAll?
Globally, Salesforce has been an ally of the LGBTIQ+ community for a very long time, defending equality and acting out against discriminatory legislation. In Australia, the business was a vocal supporter of the Yes vote for marriage equality, and this feels like the next evolution of our mission. Myself and the whole of Salesforce are looking forward to being visible, vocal and proud throughout the festival and beyond.
The Mardi Gras partnership has also given employees from around Australia to come together to work on an incredible project that’s championing one of our core values: equality (the others being trust, customer success and innovation).
I’ve had a really great time working with the team on this project, especially Fair Day, and meeting different people from across our business who all share a passion for the work that we do with Outforce. I’m also really excited to work closely with our nonprofit festival partner JOY 94.9, Australia’s out, loud and proud radio station. And I can’t wait for the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade.
Overall, it’s been a pretty eventful 18 months for the LGBTIQ+ community in Australia and for Outforce. And I just love that when I see my customers, I can tell them how I’m giving back every day through our partnerships with LGBTIQ+ nonprofit organisations like JOY 94.9, or how we made over 500 calls for the marriage equality campaign encouraging people to vote ‘Yes’.
Can you give us any hints about the Salesforce Mardi Gras float?
Nope, it’s all top secret! But I can tell you that the theme of Mardi Gras 2019 is ‘fearless’, which aligns with Salesforce’s vision to empower a community of Trailblazers. As a business, we encourage people to be fearless every day. And our parade float will definitely bring together some of our most fearless Ohana!
But, all will be revealed on Saturday 2 March – make sure you catch all the parade action and glitter in person, or via the SBS broadcast and on our Salesforce APAC social channels.
What’s the wider impact of Salesforce’s participation in Mardi Gras?
I hope that such displays of support for equality will lead to more people from the LGBTIQ+ community saying, “Yep. I want to work at Salesforce, because it’s a safe place to work, and because they’ve got great values – values that they’re proud to put on display and stand up for.”
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