Attracting the Best and Brightest – Salesforce Founder Marc Benioff

In 1996, Marc Benioff was feeling burned out. Although he was the youngest person to be promoted to vice president at Oracle, he was unhappy and unfulfilled. Benioff’s multimillion-dollar salary, stock and perks didn’t fill the void. 

Benioff’s boss, Oracle founder, Larry Ellison, suggested a sabbatical. Benioff and a friend traveled together to India on a trip that changed his life and planted the seeds for the company he would start a few years later. Benioff was determined to build a company for profit and purpose. The idea of giving back was weaved into the fabric of Salesforce from day one. 

Benioff tells the Salesforce origin story in his new book, Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change. The book, published this week, serves as a reminder to business leaders that rhetoric alone isn’t enough—anyone can talk a good game when it comes to giving back, but authentic leaders express their values through their words and actions. 

Yes, Salesforce had to prosper in traditional measures, but Benioff was equally determined to build a company to make a positive impact. “We decided that no matter how big the company grew, we should always set aside 1 percent of our equity, product, and employee time for charitable causes,” Benioff writes. The Salesforce 1-1-1 philanthropic program has become a model for thousands of other businesses. It has generated $300 million in grants and four million hours of employee volunteer time.

Salesforce has performed well on every financial metric, but Benioff says the greatest engine of growth has been to build a company that performs well on the most important metric of all—the good that it does in the community. 

Read the full article on the Forbes website here:

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