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7 Key Takeaways from Salesforce’s Representation Matters Summit

Salesforce Careers

August 08, 2023



As part of Salesforce's work to drive greater equality and become the most inclusive workplace possible, we continue to focus on increasing representation in tech. On December 8, Representation Matters, our annual racial equality summit presented by Deloitte Digital, returned for its fifth year to highlight the continued work of equality advocates and celebrate the progress that’s been made to elevate and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ communities.


Over 763,000 viewers joined us at what Molly Q. Ford, VP of Employer Brand & Recruitment Marketing at Salesforce and co-founder of Representation Matters, calls an “event [that] gives us the opportunity to see and hear from leaders who exclusively look like us.”


The half-day celebration was packed with dynamic discussions, featuring top thought leaders and influencers who offered insights on the importance of leading with purpose, the power of leveraging your talents and perspective to influence change, digital innovation, and more. Participants were also treated to an intimate conversation with two-time Emmy-nominated actress, two-time New York Times Best Seller, and vegan food influencer Tabitha Brown on her rise to stardom and how she’s building a business empire — all while being authentic and paving her own unique career path.

Here are seven takeaways from the summit that show how diverse leaders are thriving and shining in their respective fields, as well as lessons you can apply in your own career journey. 


1. Don’t be afraid to be authentically you.

“I always tell people, ‘Show up as you in the interview so that you don’t have to shock nobody later.’ I think that if we get to a place of understanding of what freedom is, we can gently reintroduce ourselves — to yourself and to the people around you.”

– Tabitha Brown, Two-Time Emmy-Nominated Actress, Two-Time New York Times Best Seller, and Vegan Food Influencer

2. Create a vision for what you want — and what you deserve.

“Remind yourself that if you’re looking at a career and your best day is always going to be so much less than what you truly know you’re capable of doing, then that’s not a risk. That’s a reason for change.”

– Kwasi Mitchell, PhD, Chief Purpose Officer, Deloitte
“Dreaming big, especially when those dreams involve spaces not widely represented by people who look like us, often means we have to create our own vision of what that looks like.”

– Jessica Ross, EVP, Enterprise Strategy and Operational Excellence, Salesforce

Rewatch your favorite sessions and catch the ones you missed from Representation Matters.

3. Build relationships that are meaningful, not transactional.

“Connect to these relationships. Especially when you’re a person of color, you have to work harder at those relationships. You can’t sugarcoat it … where do you want to be? You decide. The people out there hustling, who are memorable, they’re the ones who are going to win.”

– Shannon Nash, CFO, Wing (an Alphabet company)

4. Lead with a digital-first mindset.

“It’s important to remember that the faster you learn, the more competitive you are. The barrier to learning has never been lower in my mind. There are so many free resources online now for you to learn more. Access those and take advantage of that.”

– Paula Starr, CIO, Cherokee Nation Government

5. Influence change from where you sit.

“Working in human resources, I am in a unique position to work behind the scenes to create opportunities for others. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to use whatever pathways are available to help others reach their goals. That’s a large part of my corporate vision.”

– Erin Dangerfield, SVP, People and Culture, Golden State Warriors and Chase Center

Check out these insights from speakers at last year’s Representation Matters summit. 

6. Use your platform to drive impact.

“Be transparent. We all have a story. We all have something that we can provide to someone that provides a new way of thinking. Really tapping into that and being open and willing to share that is an incredible way to make a continuous impact and drive change.”

– Kylia Combs, Head of Brand, Strategic Marketing Leader, Grammarly

7. Lift others up as you climb.

“I always tell everybody, ‘You can always mentor somebody.’ There’s always somebody out there that can be mentored by you — whether it’s at work, in your family, or in your community. Put in the time. Mentorship is an active sport. It requires dedication. It’s a thing you invest time in. It’s something that we all need to do because for better or worse, it’s our duty.”

– Manny Medina, CEO,

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