The Salesforce EVP Who Got Coworkers Equal Pay Wants You To Know This About Leadership
via Forbes : The salesforce EVP who got coworkers equal pay wants you to know this about leadership
Leyla Seka is executive vice president of the Salesforce AppExchange, the world’s largest and longest-running business apps marketplace.
International Women’s Day may be behind us, but the theme, #BeBoldforChange, has stuck with me. It got me thinking that it’s the perfect directive for women’s leadership in the workplace. When leaders are loud, fearless and bold, they can make a real impact on their environment. Personally, I’m known for shaking things up, being ‘bossy,’ making noise — and I love it. I embrace these adjectives because they are exactly what has allowed me to be effective in my career and create high-performing teams.
Equality begins when employees are empowered to use their voices to create change, and it takes active leadership to get there. So how can women business leaders use their platforms to create a culture of action and promote equality for all within their workplaces? There are three key things every woman must do:
Stand up for what you believe in.
When I graduated college, my father wanted me to go to law school.
It was certainly the practical path, but I wanted to do something more — I wanted to make a real impact. This desire to create change in the world led me to spend two years in the Peace Corps in Mali, Africa. It was hard, exhausting at times, and one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Today, I’m an executive vice president at Salesforce where I lead the AppExchange, our business apps marketplace. During my nine-year career at Salesforce, there have been moments when I needed to be an active and vocal leader for my colleagues. One of the more notable times was when our EVP of Employee Success, Cindy Robbins, and I called upon our CEO to investigate whether Salesforce had a gender wage gap. I was nervous and I didn’t know what would happen — but I also knew I would always regret it if I didn’t speak up. And I’m glad I did. Turns out we did need to adjust some salaries — for both men and women — and Salesforce spent nearly $3 million to close its pay gap.
I am a firm believer in the idea that if your gut is telling you to do something or help someone, do it! Whether you’re in the Sahara Desert or the top floor of a skyscraper — stand up and speak out for what you believe in, even if your voice shakes.
When we use our platforms to amplify the voices of those around us, whole movements start. As an EVP of a top tech company I have the platform, support and privilege to be vocal on issues that other women may not be able to express. I do not take this lightly and I strongly feel that, as leaders, it is our responsibility to seize this position and create real change whenever possible.
Embrace the change.
It’s not enough just to want change or to tiptoe towards implementing it — you have to dive in head first. Change is scary, uncomfortable, and hard, but people who are adept at embracing it become the best leaders. I work in an industry where everything gets turned on its’ head constantly. Technology is accelerating faster than you can sing the alphabet; for perspective, when I started nine years ago, the iPhone was four months old and hardly anyone knew what an “app” was. All we had was an idea that using apps should be as easy as purchasing books on Amazon, and our journey since then has required us to constantly embrace change and always be ready to turn on a dime.
The same flexibility, quick thinking, and creativity is needed when we confront gender diversity. Are you lacking women leaders? Is there a stubborn pay gap? If the answers to these questions are yes, what are some creative ways to fix them — what would we do if it was a product strategy we needed to rethink? This is the thought process I applied when I started to develop the Women’s High-Potential Leadership program in our tech and product organization. I knew I had to think outside the box and train women in leadership the same way we would train new hires to use Salesforce.
Strive to be your authentic self.
Early on in my career, managers kept telling me to be “less-Leyla” — meaning they wanted me to be a quieter, more docile version of myself. I refused. I truly believe the only way to tap into your full power and potential as a leader is to be your authentic self. This is what will distinguish you from the rest. When you are comfortable being your authentic self, you lead by example and encourage others to do the same. There is strength in that. You will watch your workplace become somewhere people want to be, a platform where everyone can be heard, an environment where anyone can perform the best work of their careers — without barriers or self doubt.
This Women’s History Month, let’s celebrate being “bossy,” “loud,” “pushy” — all words that really mean fearless and bold. Let’s support the women in the workplace who are taking risks and striving to be the leaders our companies need to create a path towards equality for all. #BeBoldforChange
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