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WiNG Lessons: Winning Influence, Promotions and More Pay

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July 02, 2019

Equality at Salesforce when WiNG convenes for second time.

org-talentBe selective in your choice of work, stand up for office decision-making (vs. on the golf course or at the ballpark) and make sure you are paid what you’re worth. Those were some of the messages from NeuGroup’s most recent Women in NeuGroup (WiNG) event held in San Francisco.

Following on the success of NeuGroup’s inaugural event at Mastercard in March, Salesforce this time played host to another WiNG meeting, with support from its treasurer and Tech20 member, Joachim Wettermark.

Equality push. On stage for the keynote address was the dynamic Molly Ford, Senior Director, Global Equality Programs at Salesforce. After several years as PR manager, she fell into her current role after a fortuitous meeting with the company’s founder, Marc Benioff, who at a corporate event asked her what is was like to be a black woman at Salesforce. Well, ask a question, Mr. Benioff… A short time later, he called her on a Sunday and asked her to take six months away from her job to lead a diversity initiative to gather data and suggest action items for a more diverse and inclusive Salesforce. After that, there was no going back, and the Office of Equality is now permanently established.

Salesforce lodestar. Equality, trust, customer service and innovation are the “North Star” or guiding principles at Salesforce where the business is also seen as a platform for change. That means equal opportunity, equal rights, equal pay and equal education. To put that into practice, the company financially empowers employee resource groups (albeit with some guidance and guardrails) to ensure staff feels included. These comprise groups for minority employees, women, LGBTQ, etc., and volunteering time to community and other non-profit groups is encouraged. One thing that was highlighted was that hiring people who just “fit the culture” is the “new racism” as the practical effect is often to hire too many of the same kind of people, and Salesforce actively promotes hiring “culture add-ons.”

Small-group discussions. The meeting set-up was much the same as the earlier Mastercard gathering, with NeuGroup members chairing tables for small-group discussions. NeuGroup would like to thank Barbara Hill, founding member of Tech20 and now award-winning wine maker in Anderson Valley, current Tech20 members Kirsten Nordlof and Odette Go from Autodesk and Lam Research, respectively, and Michelle DeBella, VP Finance at Lyft and former member of NeuGroup’s IAPG (Internal Auditors’ Peer Group) for agreeing to join us.

In these discussions (intense without being loud and with plenty of laughter), women shared anecdotes of pushing back on items like influence, promotions and pay:
  • Choose where you work wisely. The tone starts at the top so learn as much as you can about your founders (if you work at such a company) or senior management. This was the advice from Barbara Hill who mentioned a former employer who immediately acted to confront a sexual harasser in the office as soon as he heard of his behavior. It made all the difference for morale going forward. Her advice also played in the next point:
  • Make decisions where they should be made. In a start-up or high-tech environment like the Bay Area, work happens everywhere, all the time. However, if some of the senior guys who are perhaps friends outside of work, too (as may be the case in companies still run by the founder), go to a sports event and return having agreed on several business related items, push back in a way that makes it clear that that kind of decision-making should take place in the office with all the relevant stakeholders’ point of view taken into consideration, not when friends who happen to be colleagues go out.
  • More work, more pay. Where you are in your personal life must be taken into account for development opportunities, and company financial status, but generally, if you take on a broader scope in your role, you should ask for more compensation to match; men do and so should you.
  • Are you evaluated differently? When asking for a pay raise or promotion, are you having to justify yourself in different ways than the men do, for example by providing a granular list of accomplishments?
Mark your calendar. The next WiNG event will take place on September 24 in Seattle, hosted by Expedia. Details to come.

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