LOS ANGELES Cloud computing service Salesforce has always believed in the power of live events. Its annual Dreamforce conference draws more than 170,000 people from 83 countries to San Francisco every year, making it the world's largest software event; it has been named one of BizBash's Most Innovative Meetings in the past due to its tailor-made experiences and focus on human interaction.
But the company, which provides tools for business owners and their customers, hasn't stopped there. Salesforce has launched a new series of events called “Make Change,” which center on the idea of using various industries—such as music, food, or sports—to make a positive social impact. It ties into the company's “trailblazer” theme, a term used to describe Salesforce customers who are using the platform for innovation in their own fields.
The inaugural Make Change event took place on July 12 at Flood Magazine's art-gallery-like headquarters in Los Angeles and focused on food culture. Celebrity chef Roy Choi—who is perhaps best known for helping spearhead the gourmet food truck movement—spoke with KCRW's Evan Kleiman about bringing healthy, affordable food and employment opportunities to low-income communities.
Proceeds from the evening, which included food and drinks from Choi's Kogi and Locol before a panel discussion, benefited the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Salesforce also donated 20 meals to the food bank for every social-media post that used the hashtag #platformforchange. The local Salesforce team also volunteered at the food bank the following day, packing 1,680 senior nutrition kits.
“This was the first in a series of events that will focus on discussions around local and national issues led by change agents who are making a difference in their communities today,” explained Cristina Jones, Salesforce’s head of trailblazer marketing. “We launched this series to shine a light on trailblazers like Roy Choi, who are using their business as a platform to affect change. This particular discussion focused on the business of food, its effect on culture, and how we can create opportunity where currently there is none.”
“Salesforce is using its business as a platform for change—and these stories will inspire, educate, and empower business decision-makers to do the same.”
Jones says that the series will focus on entrepreneurs and business leaders—a.k.a., Salesforce users—who are using their success for positive social impact. “Make Change events will take place in communities where we can identify leaders who are also using their businesses to create change,” she said. “Salesforce is using its business as a platform for change—and these stories will inspire, educate, and empower business decision-makers to do the same.”
While the events will, of course, serve as a promotion for Salesforce and its services, Jones said, “this is not about traditional K.P.I.s. These trailblazers are passionate about giving back. By creating a space where they can share their story and engage in authentic conversation with others who want to do the same, together we will create conversations that reach beyond our traditional audiences and affect change at scale.”
The next Make Change event will be held at Dreamforce, which takes place September 25 to 26 in and around the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The event will highlight PepUp Tech, a nonprofit organization (and Salesforce user) that creates a path for people of color to get into the tech industry.
“Forward-thinking companies understand the value of creating a workforce that is reflective of the society in which we live and work,” said Jones. “While the tech career ecosystem is one of the fastest growing industries, it is also one of the least diverse. ... Using the Salesforce platform, PepUp Tech has developed a scalable model of workforce development that will benefit thousands of young people and the tech industry as a whole.”
Correction: The headline has been updated to more accurately reflect the series' speakers.