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Business as a Platform for Change

Salesforce ‘Career Spark’ Attracts the Next Generation of Tech Leaders

This summer, Salesforce launched Career Spark, a Citizen Philanthropy campaign on a mission to create a diverse workforce by inspiring young people to pursue careers in technology.

From May to July, Salesforce hosted a marathon of career exploration programs and educational workshops in more than 100 cities across the globe. The campaign engaged nearly 1,600 young people from nonprofits and schools and amassed more than 4,000 hours of volunteer support from Salesforce employees.

Career Spark provided opportunities for young people at various stages in their educational and career journeys — from high school students exploring post-secondary options to young adults seeking their first full-time corporate job opportunities. Three participants, each at a different stage on their path towards entering the workforce, shared insights about their experiences at Salesforce and how the programs have sparked their imaginations for what’s possible.

Leslie: U.S.

Summer Intern, Corporate Creative Department, Old Navy

 Leslie Vallejo-Avila, Incoming Freshman, University of  California, San Diego, USA

Hometown: San Francisco

Nonprofit Affiliation: Enterprise for Youth

Enterprise for Youth’s mission is to empower under-resourced San Francisco youth to reach their potential through transformative paid internship experiences supported by a community of employers, caring adults, and peers.

Career Spark Program: Bay Area Career Spark, June 28-July 15, San Francisco

Bay Area Career Spark is a three week, paid summer program for high school students and recent high school graduates. This year, Salesforce welcomed 40 young people from Enterprise for Youth and JCYC. Students completed 20 hours of career exploration including demos of Salesforce products; day-in-the-life presentations from a cross-section of employees in various roles; info sessions about internships and early career programs at Salesforce; and a design thinking team project.

Q. How did you get connected to Enterprise for Youth, and what have been some of the highlights of your experiences in their programs?

I found Enterprise for Youth (EFY) during my sophomore year of high school when I was on the internet searching for youth programs I could take part in. It wasn’t until my junior year, during lockdown, that I gained the courage to apply for the program, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve continuously recommended them to friends and family because of how organic and inviting the program team is. EFY’s job readiness training workshops taught me about financial literacy, how to write a cover letter, and how to control my nerves during interviews. I’m now part of EFY’s Youth Council, and I’ve worked with a group of other members to create Youth for You, a four-episode podcast highlighting youth social issues and amplifying youth voices. This summer, through EFY, I’m interning in the Creative Department at Old Navy headquarters.

Q. What made you decide to sign up for Bay Area Career Spark?

I was an intern at a Big Four accounting firm one summer. It was next to Salesforce Tower, and I used to go to Salesforce Park every day for lunch, so I knew that Salesforce has the tallest building in San Francisco. By taking part in Bay Area Career Spark I got to learn about Salesforce‘s youth-oriented opportunities, create an app design, and network with Salesforce professionals.

Q. What were some of your takeaways from the presentations led by Salesforce employees?

Learning about Futureforce, Year Up, and Pathfinder was eye opening because I had no idea that these opportunities existed within Salesforce. I think it’s cool that Salesforce has these opportunities. Learning how Salesforce is bridging the gap between students and jobs in technology is something I plan on keeping my eye out for.

Q. What should companies like Salesforce do to get more young people excited about careers in the technology industry?

I believe there’s still a gap in students’ knowledge on what there is to learn about the tech industry. If young people are encouraged to explore Salesforce and the technology industry, I believe young people will pursue the opportunity.

Tasmiya C: India

Student, Parikama Junior College

Tasmiya C, Parikrma Junior College, India

Hometown: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Nonprofit Affiliation: Unherd

Unherd’s mission is to develop students into work-ready professionals through a holistic, practical, and experiential learning model.

Career Spark Program: STEMforce, July 1 – 23, Bangalore
STEMforce is a three week summer program for post-secondary students in India. This year, 24 young people from Unherd received career counseling and completed workshops to develop a well-rounded set of skills to succeed in business. They explored topics such as social-emotional learning, goal-setting, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy and learned how scalable business models can be used to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Tasmiya. I was born and raised in Bangalore. I am studying at Parikrma Junior College. I am in grade 12 now. My family consists of six members — my parents, two younger sisters, and a younger brother. I am the oldest amongst my siblings. My father is a water supplier and my mother is a housewife. My hobbies include reading books, doing Mehandi designs, and writing poems. I am a fun-loving and gregarious person.

Q. How did you hear about the STEMForce program, and what were your expectations before attending?

I heard about this program from my college. My expectations were to learn more about science, emotions we go through, decisions we make, management of finance (especially during the pandemic), and confidence development.

Q. What is the most important thing you have learned from the program so far?

The most important thing I learned from the program is decision making. It has been very useful because each day we make decisions. Sometimes they are very small decisions like choosing whether to rest or to gear up and study instead. I have learned to make responsible decisions. The POWER model (Problem, Options, Weigh, Elect, Reflect) has been very useful in my life.

Q. What skills are students and graduates lacking in India, and how do you think companies like Salesforce should help?

The skills high-schoolers and graduates are lacking in India are leadership skills, communication, coming out of their comfort zone, and being aware of oneself. Companies like Salesforce can help students to develop these skills. They can teach the application of skills in the professional world. 

Jenna: France

Commercial Project Manager, Canal + Group

Jenna Rosemain, Recent MBA Graduate, Commercial Project Manager at Canal + Group

Hometown: Vitry-sur-Seine, Val-de-Marne, France

Nonprofit Affiliation: Mozaik RH

Mozaik RH has a mission to fight discrimination in employment and promote diversity in companies. 

Career Spark Program: The Business Value of Values July 1-23, France

The Business Value of Values is a multi-session, virtual program that helps participants develop a values-driven approach to their career goals. This July, 35 young people from Mozaik RH connected with  Salesforce employees to learn how leading with values has impacted their careers. Through discussion and reflective practice, participants identified their own values and practiced communicating them through mock interviews.

Q. Tell me a bit about yourself.

I’m a young business school graduate. I have had the opportunity to work in different sectors: banking, retail, fashion, and luxury. Since April 2021, I have been working as a Commercial Project Manager for a subsidiary of Canal+ International in Togo, Africa, where I am on an international voluntary assignment. I am involved in the development and management of the distribution network within a 50-person Sales Department. My values are: ambition, humanity and passion.

Q. How did you hear about this program, and what were your expectations before attending?

I learned about this program through NQT, a French charity which promotes equal opportunities. It accompanies young graduates towards employment and offers solutions to help them integrate into the labor market. It offers workshops in partnership with large companies such as Salesforce and Google.

My main expectations before attending the Business Values workshop were to discover the Salesforce culture, to build a professional network, to discover job opportunities at Salesforce, and to get tips on how to succeed in interviews at Salesforce.

Q. What is the most important thing you have learned from the program?

The most important and useful thing I took away from the program was perseverance. At the beginning of the program I thought I was too inexperienced to be selected for job interviews at Salesforce. Many Salesforce employees encouraged me to persevere, train, and believe in myself. They gave me the keys to succeed in the interviews, and I am very grateful for that!

Q. What skills are young graduates lacking, and how do you think companies should help?

Young graduates need mentoring and personalized coaching to construct their career plan, increase their self-esteem, and practice interview skills. Companies should create more inclusion programs. They should also partner with schools to present today’s and tomorrow’s jobs, share market expectations, and offer opportunities for employees to coach young people.

Learn more about Salesforce’s Citizen Philanthropy programs and get involved today.


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