As Marc Benioff stated boldly in his keynote this year — “we are entering the Age of Equality.” Our mission, as our new Chief Equality Officer stated, is to drive towards this age with four main pillars — equal pay, equal opportunity, equal advancement, and equal rights. This year at Dreamforce, Equality was more than a theme — it took center stage. From the Women’s Leadership and Equality summit, to the employee resource group (ERG) lead track, to fundraising events and partnerships to uplift our surrounding communities, and more — Dreamforce committed to fostering dialogue and taking action towards a more diverse, inclusive, and equal world.
1. Dreamforce kicked off a week of Equality events with the annual Salesforce Women’s Network & Women in Tech event...
The week began with two moving panels on the Monday night before Dreamforce, featuring astonishing women leaders in tech and both followed by standing ovations from the crowd. Trailblazing women such as Rana El Kaliouby, PHD, CoFounder and CEO, Affectiva, Sylvia Acevedo, Interim CEO, Girl Scouts USA, and Minerva Tantoco, CTO, the City of New York, discussed how they forged their own paths and how community, connection, and mentoring play a key role in furthering women in STEM. In between panels, Ayori Selassie, Senior Solutions Engineers, Salesforce, discussed Work/Life Integrity and her path to finding her way to a better life.
“Equality for women isn't just for women to solve — we need the voices of men who champion it.” — Minerva Tantoco, Chief Technology Officer, City of New York.
2. This year featured the first ERG-lead “Equality” track…
This year Dreamforce took the grassroots work of Salesforce’s employee resource groups and brought their conversations and unique perspectives to our attendees. Employee resource groups are passionate advocates for a diverse, inclusive, and equal workplace. They build diverse communities from within while expanding the reach of the network and giving back to create an equal world. At Dreamforce 2016, these groups — Salesforce Women’s Network, Outforce, Latinoforce, BOLDforce, Abilityforce, Vetforce, Pacficforce, and SouthasiaForce — lead over 10 compelling sessions in the new “Equality” track. Here are highlights from some of the sessions:
Tony Prophet, Chief Equality Officer, Salesforce introduced an eye-opening BOLDforce and Pacificforce lead panel entitled Tales from Minority Leader Breaking Glass Ceilings, featuring Ron Guerrier, CIO, Farmers Insurance, Taro Fukuyama, CEO, Anyperk, Tracy Young, CEO, Plangrid, and Candice Petty, Director of Litigation, 24hour Fitness. Guerrier, who explained what it felt like to be mistaken for a conference worker and asked to get coffee at an event where he was the keynote speaker, said, "I want to make sure I'm not just saying there's a problem, but that I'm also doing something to improve it.”
In an inspiring session lead by Abilityforce, Solve for Customer and Employee Needs Through Accessibility, with Kim Katrin Milan, Executive Director, The People Project, Milan left us with this resonating quote — "we were born with the capacity to understand everybody."
Angelica Ross, Founding CEO, TransTech Social Enterprises and Vivienne Ming, managing partner, Socos, took the stage to discuss Navigating Diversity in the Age of The Customer. “Allow folks to self-determine — don't define their boxes for them,” said Ross.
"A diverse force is a stronger force," said the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin R. Parker, during a Vetforce lead fireside chat with the Honorable Parker and Salesforce Secretary of Defense Fellow Lt. Colonel Lara Morrison
In a Latinoforce lead session, Latino Entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley, Iliana Quinonez, Director of Solutions Engineering, Salesforce, Roberto Angulo, CEO, AfterCollege, Miguel Casillas, Executive Director, SV Links, and Sylvia Flores, CEO and Co-founder, Manos Accelerator, discussed the challenges Latino entrepreneurs face and some of the current resources they have at their disposal.
3. Equality took over the main stage during the Women’s Leadership and Equality summit..
Thursday of Dreamforce week was the “Day of Equality” and featured main stage discussions on important issues such as equal pay, equality in the workplace, racial equality, and more. This was a captivating and emotional keynote titled Road to Equality through Business, Sports, and Government, introduced by Tony Prophet, Chief Equality Officer, Salesforce, and moderated by Pattie Sellers, Executive Director, Fortune MPW. Speakers Billie Jean King, sports icon and humanitarian, Bernard Tyson, CEO, Kaiser Permanente, and Civil Rights icon and Congressman, John Lewis shared how they have personally championed the fight for equality.
"My simple philosophy is that when you see something that is not fair, not right, not just — you need to speak up." — Congressman John Lewis
The summit also featured the infamous Lilly Ledbetter, Equal Pay for Equal Work activist who was the inspiration for President Obama's first act of legislation, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, as well as a compelling conversation on the role of men in gender equality with leaders from PWC, Splunk, and Gilead Sciences.
4. The women’s leadership track turned dialogue into action...
To further the important equality conversations during the "Day of Equality", Dreamforce featured a number of women’s leadership breakout sessions throughout the week to move attendees to action. Leaders and changemakers from top organizations discussed how to bring more girls into STEM fields, what it means to be a woman leader in the workplace, how to assert your power through body language, and ways to take control of your own career.
Inspiring Women and Young Girls in STEM was a panel moderated by Ebony Frelix, SVP, Salesforce.org, and featured Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics, Stanford, Dr. Geeta Nayyar, CIO, Femwell Health Group, Keisha James, Commercial CIO, GE Power, and Sylvia Acevedo, Interim CEO, Girl Scouts USA. "When they say 'let's make a decision over scotch & cigars', I say 'what if we made it over manis & pedis?’" – Dr. Geeta Nayyar.
Theresa Kushner, VP, VMware, Renee Mckaskle, CIO, Hitachi, Maria Jose Lloret Crespo, Commercial CIO, GE Aviation, and Suma Nallapati, CIO, State of Colorado, spoke to a standing-room-only audience about being Women Leaders in Tech. "Diversity's being invited to the prom, inclusion's being asked to dance...the flaw is someone has to ask you" — Renee McKaskle, CIO, Hitachi
5. The luminary developer sessions returned with inspiring equality thought leaders...
The developer track this year wasn’t just about Apex Code and Lightning Components. Thought leaders inspired developers to level up their careers, think big about the future of technology, and be part of the solution for increasing inclusion in tech.
In Data Driven Diversity, Jessica Rose laid out the evidence of bias in recruiting (spoiler alert: the system is biased) and then tackled the real question — what can we do about it? Rather than trying to fix our biases, Jessica Rose proposed removing bias from the hiring process. Rose left us with this piece of wisdom, "we are all biased. It's how our brains are wired.”
In Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color, Kalisha Dessources, Policy Advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls, engaged the audience in a thoughtful discussion about issues and solutions. "It needs to be all hands on deck to solve the problems around women & girls of color," she said. Attendees were floored, calling it the “best session they went to” and scoring it a 5/5 on the feedback survey.
6. The kids coding den promoted equal opportunity for underrepresented youth...
Dreamforce hosted nearly 400 students from eight different San Francisco and Oakland schools, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Oakland, BUILD, Know Yourself, Mission Bit, NextThingCo RAFT, and Self-eSTEM, to learn the basics of coding and STEM. This is a continued effort lead by Salesforce.org to give opportunities and access to underrepresented youth. The Daily Show correspondent, Aasif Mandvi, even stopped by to speak to the students. In this photo, Shonnah Hughes, Salesforce MVP, teaches high school students about Salesforce-related careers and how to get hands-on with Trailhead.
7. ERG’s strengthened their diverse communities while giving back...
BOLDforce hosted their first annual networking and fundraising event, Purple Dreams, at the stunning Starlight Room in the St. Francis Drake hotel. The event raised $20,000 for STEM programs at their adopted Oakland school, United for Success Academy.
Outforce’s annual party, “Outfierce,” was not only one of the biggest Dreamforce parties — the event also raised $35,000 for The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
Latinoforce engaged their community of employees, customers, and allies with a salsa night — over 200 people attended.
Vetforce hosted a networking event to help military members advance their careers. Nonprofits such as Vets In Tech, Bunker Labs, Vets Tech Trek, Veterans 2 Work and IAVA, all came together to support this important cause.