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Trailblazing Women Summit: Five Key Gender Equality Takeaways

Salesforce hosted its second-annual gender equality event - Trailblazing Women Summit - which reached over 2 million online viewers. The event brought

The event reached over two million online viewers

By Tia Joseph

In honor of Women’s Month and International Women’s Day, Salesforce hosted the second-annual Trailblazing Women Summit on March 5. The event featured luminary business leaders, authors, equality advocates and actors who came together to elevate the conversation around gender equality.

Amy Weaver, President & Chief Legal Officer, kicked off the event which covered topics on advocating for yourself in the workplace, leading with authenticity to harnessing the power of community.

The Trailblazing Women Summit, in partnership with Deloitte Digital, was streamed virtually and reached millions of online viewers. The event was an important opportunity to empower the current and next generation of women leaders as we work toward creating a more equal world for all.

Events such as these, together with the work of the Salesforce Women network – our employee resource group for women and allies – are important ways to drive gender equality through the professional and personal development of our employees.

Here are 5 key takeaways from the Trailblazing Women Summit panels:

1. Use your voice to drive positive social change

From L-R: Molly Ford, Senior Director, Global Equality Programs, Salesforce speaking with Gabrielle Union, actress, entrepreneur, and activist.

“I’m at a place where I literally can’t sleep. If I let some things go down on my watch, I can’t call myself an activist but then not do anything. (It’s like saying) ‘I’m going to go ahead and protect my privilege and my comfort, but I’m going to retweet you later though about your pain. I’m going to get a seat at this table, but I’m really just taking up space to protect my privilege. I’m really not actually interested in centering the most marginalized of us.’ Those are challenges we face every day, whether that be in tech or Hollywood,” said Gabrielle Union, actress, entrepreneur, and activist.

2. Mentor and sponsor others that don’t look like you

From L-R: Moderator Andrea Leszek, EVP and COO of Technology, Gail Moody-Byrd, CMO of Noodle.ai, Ritu Bhasin, Author/Leadership & Inclusion Specialist at Bhasin Consulting, Inc., and Sarah Franklin, EVP and GM Trailhead, Salesforce

“When you are mentoring and sponsoring across lines of diversity, make sure you don’t push for conformity, but push for authenticity and inclusivity,” said Ritu Bhasin, Leadership & Inclusion Specialist and The Authenticity Principle author.

3. Include diverse perspectives to create innovative solutions

From L-R: Moderator Archana Subramanian, COO, Retail/CPG Sales, Salesforce, KR Liu, Head of Brand Accessibility, Google, Breanna Zwart, President, SF Commission on the Status of Women, and Stephanie Buscemi, Chief Marketing Officer, Salesforce

“The internet was created by a man who was deaf and he created email to communicate with his wife. The typewriter was created by a woman who was blind so that she had some way to write. Text messaging was created when mobile was released so that deaf people could actually use mobile. Now everyone cannot live without email, the Internet, or text messaging,” said KR Liu, Head of Brand Accessibility, Google.

“It’s important to bring people with disabilities to the table, whether it’s part of design, how you do your brand messaging, and how you represent us in the media and advertising,” she added.

4. Pull up a seat at the table for others

From L-R: Moderator Paula Goldman, Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer, Salesforce, Hang Black, Head of Global Sales Enablement, Juniper and Cristina Jones, SVP, Customer Marketing, Brand Partnership & C-Suite Engagement, Salesforce.

“When I have a seat at the table, I pull up as many seats at the table as I can. I worry that some women or people of color don’t, because it’s really hard to get to the table, and when you’re the only one there, you don’t want to rock the boat. If you get to the table, pull up as many chairs as you can. You need to come from a space of abundance, and not scarcity,” said Cristina Jones, SVP, Customer Marketing, Brand Partnership & C-Suite Engagement, Salesforce.

5. Find your squad and support system

From L-R: Moderator Alexandra Siegel, Director of Equality Content at Salesforce and author Minda Harts

“You have to build a squad, you need to build a network, and once I did identify those people to put on my squad, it wasn’t just my peers but they were some of them. It was my manager, it was skip levels of management, it was HR, right, because they know some of the tea that I don’t know. I realized that success is not a solo sport. I can’t get to the table by myself,” said Minda Harts, author of The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table.

Watch all the sessions from the Trailblazing Women Summit below:

We are all on this journey together to Equality for all — learn more about our Inclusive Leadership Practices and how to champion Equality in business: Salesforce.com/Equality.