Pipeline™ founder and CEO, Katica Roy, sat down recently for a Facebook live interview with Tony Prophet, Chief Equality Officer of Salesforce.
We launched our Voices for Equity™ series in 2017 with the goal of bringing more voices into the conversation around gender equity. It was the next generation of our initial social listening campaign, Fix the Leaky Pipeline™, that we launched in August 2017. As an expansion of our Voices for Equity™ series, we recently embarked on the first of what will become an ongoing series of Friday Facebook Live interview sessions.
Pipeline™ founder and CEO Katica Roy, sat down for the first of our Friday Facebook Live sessions, with Tony Prophet, Chief Equality Officer of Salesforce.
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Tony was gracious enough to take time out of his schedule to answer a handful of questions surrounding the topics of diversity, inclusion, gender equality, and gender equity within business.
Mr. Prophet has an extensive background in business having worked as an executive for both Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. He joined the Salesforce ‘Ohana’ (family in Hawaiian) in 2016 as the company’s first Chief Equality Officer, and works closely with Salesforce CEO and founder Marc Benioff.
“I’ve been working in business for over 40 years—Over the course of those years, I’ve worked in many roles—I gained more satisfaction out of the things I was doing to impact the state of the world, and less of it out of, ‘how much did the cash register ring’.”—Tony Prophet
Salesforce is known as a company encouraging of global efforts to support gender equality, within business. Speaking to USA Today in 2016 Tony said, “Marc has truly planted a flag that a corporation can be a force for good in society. And now he’s extending that by creating this smart platform for driving not just inclusion and diversity but driving equality.”
“The business of business is to improve the state of the world.”—Marc Benioff, Salesforce
Speaking with Katica, Tony discussed a relatively recent shift in philosophy around the purpose of corporations; thinking beyond the bottom line and working to positively impact employees and stakeholders. This focus has been a component of the Salesforce business philosophy since the company’s inception 19 years ago, and continues to drive much of the operational philosophy of Salesforce today.
“If we make that decision, what impact will it have on our employees?”—Tony Prophet
Many people think initiatives to achieve gender equality within business, are only successful when enacted from the executive level down. In our interview with Tony, Katica asked for his take on this commonly held business-belief. He agreed, transformation must be aligned and influenced at the highest level of a company, but pointed out; to be successful, initiatives around gender equality, and gender equity, require buy-in and collaboration at every level of a company.
“In any transformational movement, in society or in business, it takes great top-down vision, strategy, resource alignment, accountability, and engagement, but you need to have a grassroots. —You have to have all of the elements aligned or it’s destined not to succeed.”—Tony Prophet
When asked his opinion on what it will take for more companies to embrace gender equity initiatives and leverage this economic opportunity, Tony had this to say:
“There are quite a few things going on simultaneously. We are seeing leaders of companies, setting examples, and other leaders observing them saying, “wow, they are a beacon for me.” You see iconic leaders standing up, people admiring them and admiring the business results. —You see a groundswell of employees voting with social media, and voting with their feet, and wanting to work for and be aligned with companies that reflect their own values. You also see consumers making the same sort of choices— voting with their dollars. It’s getting harder for brands to stand on the sidelines on societal issues and not have a viewpoint surrounding matters of equality.”
More companies are starting to engage in ‘equality audits’ to determine the effectiveness of their efforts to achieve gender equity. According to Tony, the most foundational component of an organization’s ability to transform is in equal pay.
“You want to send a strong signal to the organization at large, and people outside the company, that you’re standing for equality. There’s no more tangible measure of what value you place on someone than what you pay for his or her time. Once you say it’s equal pay for equal work, and you live up to that and perform an equal pay audit—that’s a tangible step to take that sends a clear signal.”—Tony Prophet
Tony’s closing thoughts were both insightful and inspiring:
“Everyone has a role to play in this. We are all together on the dawn of this fourth industrial revolution, and that’s going to change everything. The forces of machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics, and all of the factors that are driving the fourth industrial revolution, are resetting the playing field. We are in the midst of participating, as companies and as individuals, in writing the next chapter of history for the world.”
Katica and Pipeline™ would like to thank Tony Prophet and Salesforce for taking the time to chat—it was an honor.
RELATED: Keep Competitive: Making Gender Equity a Part of Your Economic Goals
Take some time to enjoy each clip of Katica’s interview with Tony Prophet, and join us on April 13th, for the next edition of Pipeline’s Friday Facebook Live chat, with Yolanda L. Chase, SHRM-SCP, CPM, CM Director, Global Work(place) Forward, Inclusion & Diversity, at Arrow Electronics.
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