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Mark Benioff: Being Bold on Equality

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Key Lesson:  When fairness and equality are at issue, being bold is often the answer.

Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff does not shy away from any challenge or controversy. As a pioneer in cloud computing, he’s built substantial wealth and influence in the world of tech and beyond. And he doesn’t hesitate to use that clout. When the wealth gap in San Francisco began to threaten the city’s social fiber, Benioff responded by launching SF Gives, a campaign where 20 companies (Apple included) have pledged to fight poverty in the Bay Area. When Indiana recently passed legislation that many viewed as discriminatory, Benioff immediately urged the business community to boycott the state, and offered to relocate his own employees who wanted to move elsewhere.

So it comes as no surprise that Benioff has now turned his personal attention to another hot-button issue — the pay gap between men and women:  ” My job is to make sure that women are treated 100 percent equally at Salesforce in pay, opportunity and advancement…when I’m done there will be no gap.” Describing pay as the “third rail” for business, Benioff also told the Huffington Post that he has already given pay increases to some women and expects “to be giving a lot more.”

Mark Benioff is our Grounded Leader of the Week for his dedication to building strong communities based on fairness and equality both inside — and outside — of Salesforce.com.

The Healthy Leader

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