Salesforce is celebrating International Women’s Month, featuring the game-changers and trailblazers who are transforming the world. Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, SVP of Industries at Salesforce, has been blazing her own trail as a widely known technology executive and innovator. She sets Salesforce’s strategy and go-to-market initiatives across industries, and is also responsible for curating an ecosystem of partner solutions and accelerators to amplify Salesforce’s industry success.
In addition, Neeracha has been the Executive Advisor for the Salesforce Women’s Network for the past seven years, focused on attracting, developing and retaining talented women. We caught up with her for a Q&A on her early technology roots, work and vision for equality.
What originally got you interested in technology and brought you to Salesforce?
I took my first job in tech as just something to do for a year before going to graduate school, but found that I loved the pace and the people, as well as being at the forefront of creating tools that were truly changing our world. And Polly Sumner–now chief adoption officer at Salesforce–actually recruited me to join the company almost nine years ago. She promised me that I’d love it and she was right!
Customers have so much power now. In the consumer world of social platforms, every single person has a voice.” Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh
What are you working on that is helping to drive Salesforce’s technology and innovation goals?
I’m thrilled to be leading the Industries Go-to-Market team this year. Industries is a key growth lever for the company, to take us to our $20 billion revenue goal. Our team develops the strategy for our focus industries by working closely with the products organization on roadmaps, creating solutions that solve common challenges and enabling our entire company to speak the language of our customers.
Customer expectations have changed dramatically in recent years. What are some of the biggest changes from your perspective?
Customers have so much power now. In the consumer world of social platforms, every single person has a voice. The rewards of harnessing your most ardent fans are amazing, but customers will also be very vocal when they are displeased. So knowing your customers and understanding their needs has become critical to success, no matter what industry you’re in.
Equality is one of our company’s core values, and International Women’s Month is here. What are your thoughts on equality and the opportunities and challenges for women in today’s workforce?
I’m immensely grateful that our company has such a deep commitment to equality and takes a very deliberate and thoughtful approach. We’ve come a long way as a society in terms of becoming more aware of the benefits of diversity and the costs of exclusion. I have seen so much positive change even just over the course of my career. I firmly believe it will continue to steadily improve for future generations.
Can you tell us more about the Salesforce Women’s Network, and why this program is important to you and the company?
I have been unbelievably fortunate throughout my career, by having people who believed in me and supported me in numerous ways. I’ve also learned some valuable, and sometimes painful lessons. I think it’s crucial that women share their experiences and learnings with each other. The Salesforce Women’s Network started as a grassroots vehicle for supporting each other, but has now evolved into a global, sophisticated team that brings in women and allies under a single umbrella with a focus on attracting, nurturing and growing women within Salesforce.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
State your needs, and ask for what you want. Nobody is a mind reader.
Looking into the future, what are some of the technology trends that you think will drive the most change?
Although I can’t claim to fully understand the ramifications, I think blockchain is fascinating and has the potential to be game-changing. In the immediate future, AI will continue to permeate our lives and add more and more value as the algorithms become more sophisticated.
What is at the top of your music playlist?
The Hamilton cast recording. It’s been on the list for two years now but I still love listening to it.