Salesforce has named Lori Castillo Martinez Executive Vice President and Chief Equality Officer. In this role she will lead the company’s global equality efforts, including equality strategy and programs. For the past six months, Lori has served as the interim Chief Equality Officer and was previously the head of Global Employee Relations and Equality — a role uniquely designed as a way to accelerate and integrate people and equality initiatives at Salesforce.
“Lori has already made a significant impact on our culture in her role as interim Chief Equality Officer,” said Brent Hyder, President and Chief People Officer at Salesforce. “She has a unique ability to build talent strategies guided by the voices of of our employees, while influencing company-wide action. This makes her the best leader to push us even further into this next chapter.”
Under Lori’s leadership, the company has continued to increase representation and create a more inclusive culture through equity-focused processes and programs. Key milestones include launching and scaling the Warmline (an employee advocacy program for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ and Women employees), introducing new inclusive talent processes informed by equality data, integrating bias and microaggression training into key talent moments, and creating the new Equality business partner team to deepen expertise and drive change in the largest functions.
We sat down with Lori to learn more about her and her vision for the Office of Equality at Salesforce:
Q. What is your vision for the role?
My vision is simple — to become the most inclusive workplace possible. With the full support and guidance of our employees, leaders and experts, we’ve developed a clear five-pronged strategy:
- Accelerate representation: We will continue to strive to create a company that reflects the world around us, and that means accelerating representation. During my time here I’ve witnessed and supported significant innovations in our recruiting processes, especially as part of our racial equality and justice efforts, which have made deep impact like doubling our representation of Black hires year over year.
- Focus on employee experience: We know that representation is connected to more than just hiring – it requires focus on experiences and systemic change. We’re working to create access, advocacy, community. This year we introduced our Black Women Experience initiative to address the unique, multi-layered, and intersectional challenges that often confront this community.
- Design intentional systems: Being intentional about how we approach our systems is critical. We saw tangible results when we focused on our recruiting processes with a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Now we’re taking the same approach for our internal systems like promotions, talent reviews, and manager processes.
- Lead with a global mindset: To be truly inclusive, we must have a global mindset. Our work can’t be defined by a U.S.-centered approach. We’re making some of our biggest investments in our global team and strategies so we can build personalized experiences that are created by and resonate with our employees and underrepresented communities around the world.
- Engage stakeholders: Finally, this work can’t happen in isolation — we have an opportunity to make the greatest impact together with our stakeholders. We have an entire ecosystem of customers, partners, and Trailblazers around the world who are also on this equality journey. We’ll continue to listen, invest in diverse suppliers, create an equitable talent marketplace, conduct learning opportunities, and use our platform to elevate leaders driving change.
I’m excited to share more about our vision, strategy, and early progress in our annual equality update in February.
Q. What excites you about this work?
I love innovation — breaking and redesigning systems. I’ve spent much of my career in HR and business operations roles which has given me a deeper understanding of the policies, processes, and cultural challenges that are foundational to DEI impact and systemic change. When I made the move to Salesforce in 2018, I felt I could make a real difference. And now I have the opportunity to change people’s individual experiences every day — that’s powerful.
Q. What is the biggest challenge you anticipate?
This has been an extremely trying few years, so one of the things I’m focused on is navigating societal issues by creating spaces to have challenging conversations and understanding the unique needs of our employees. We’ve developed a model of listening deeply, responding with meaningful action and impact, and partnering closely with our Equality Groups so the communities most impacted are truly part of the solution. One of the best examples of this is the Racial Equality and Justice Taskforce. We engaged BOLDforce, our employee resource group for Black employees, and gave them a seat at the table as we built our strategy. It has led to some of our most important work to date.
Q. Tell us a little more about you and your leadership style.
I am a proud Latina, and growing up I attended a very diverse all girls school in San Jose, CA — so I was raised thinking that women like me ruled the world. However, when I entered the workforce and realized I was one of very few women or Latinas in every room, reality set in. Fortunately, I was able to navigate and succeed because of career mentors, sponsors, and champions who cleared a path for me. I remember the day when I became a leader myself and a former mentee told me how meaningful it was that she could see a Latina in leadership. I realized then how many others were trying to navigate this reality and the immeasurable power of representation and advocacy. From that day on, I committed to bringing others along who didn’t have the privilege or access that I did. I call it the “ladder down” approach, bringing others up with you. That’s something I’ve taken with me throughout my career and will continue to do so.
From that day on, I committed to bringing others along who didn’t have the privilege or access that I did.Lori Castillo Martinez, Executive Vice President and Chief Equality Officer
Learn more about Salesforce’s commitment to equality on our website and in our latest equality update. Stay tuned for more details on our strategy and progress in our February annual equality update, which is coming soon.