BEING AN INTROVERT IS A STRENGTH

When Cindy Robbins was tasked with leading Salesforce's human resources division, she felt "uncomfortable" with the new role. A self-described introvert, Robbins says she has learned to become "comfortable with being uncomfortable."

"I've learned over time that being an introvert is a strength. It's how you embrace it, and how you bring it into your leadership, and I've done that," Robbins tells CNN's Poppy Harlow in a recent episode of Boss Files. "I'm not the only introverted leader out there, but I don't need to be the loudest voice in the room." 

Born in Southern Texas, she credits her Mexican-American heritage for instilling the work ethic and values that helped guide her to leadership. She was the first in her family to go to college. Her father picked cotton during the day, and handled a lot of the domestic work at home while her mother built a career in real estate sales.

"My mother became the breadwinner, she became a very successful real estate agent, and my father, kind of had a nine-to-five job and was the one that had dinner waiting for us, that took us everywhere we needed to go," Robbins reflects. 

Robbins later moved with her family to Northern California, but her roots down south made a lasting impact.

 

 

"I would go to Texas, and you would see kind of a different culture that I remember as a kid growing up. You see the women in the kitchen, and the women cleaning. But how I grew up, my mother was the driver, their partnership was so strong, so supportive, never a jealous moment of anything. My father was just so proud of everything my mother achieved, but she couldn't have done it without him."

It's that "inherent responsibility" to elevate women that helped Robbins raise the issue of equal pay at Salesforce in 2015. Robbins and her colleague, Leyla Seka, found gender pay disparities in an internal audit and suspected that women at Salesforce were being paid less than men at the company. Benioff was skeptical at first.

Cindy Robbins, president and chief people officer, salesforce Robbins says it's the responsibility of CEOs to fix gender equality in the workplace. "It's the tone from the top, and it's what CEOs should be held accountable to. They set the tone. They set the vision," Robbins says. "That starts to shift behavior down the chain."

When Benioff realized there were hardly any women in his quarterly meetings with top executives at Salesforce, he decided to do something about it. He now requires that 30% of the quarterly meeting attendees are women. Robbins is part of this "Women's Surge" initiative.

"As an officer of the company, it has given me permission, when I'm in certain meetings, if there are 15 people around the room and I'm the only woman, to say to the organizer of the meeting, 'Why am I the only woman in this meeting?'" she says. "I do that because I think we've created this culture now, where it feels like it's permissible to say that."

 

When Benioff realized there were hardly any women in his quarterly meetings with top executives at Salesforce, he decided to do something about it. He now requires that 30% of the quarterly meeting attendees are women. Robbins is part of this "Women's Surge" initiative.

Salesforce has since completed three internal audits of its pay practices. To date, the company has spent nearly $9 million to close its gender pay gap, adjusting salaries of its nearly 30,000 employees. But Robbins says there is still more work to do.

"This is not a Salesforce issue. This is not even a tech industry issue. This goes across multiple industries. It's not a US issue," Robbins continues. "This is not something that I believe will go away. I think it's just, companies will be forced to be more transparent."

Robbins says it's the responsibility of CEOs to fix gender equality in the workplace.

"It's the tone from the top, and it's what CEOs should be held accountable to. They set the tone. They set the vision," Robbins says. "That starts to shift behavior down the chain."

"As an officer of the company, it has given me permission, when I'm in certain meetings, if there are 15 people around the room and I'm the only woman, to say to the organizer of the meeting, 'Why am I the only woman in this meeting?'" she says. "I do that because I think we've created this culture now, where it feels like it's permissible to say that."

Source Edition

Training Program

CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER (CHRO)

"Establishing and Developing" the
career standard of human resources and
human resources management in Vietnam

For more information, please click here

OTHER NEWS

PACE’S GLOBAL PARTNERS