When members of the Executive team of BOLDforce walked into the United Way offices for their interview it was clear we were looking at a team of individuals who shared a great deal of respect and camaraderie between one another. We also liked their matching BOLDforce t-shirts.The BOLD in BOLDforce stands for Black Organization for Leadership and Development. This nominee for ELEVATE’s Employee Resource Group of the Year is one of 10 equality focused Ohanas for Salesforce employees. This Employee Resource Group, or ERG, represents the African diaspora and invites allies to join and support one another.
One of the group leaders, Jackie Motton said the group changed her life. “Everyone is very open and able to be their true selves. We are proud and unapologetic about who we are. We need to talk about issues. How things affect us. There’s no standing back. We’re honest. We work so hard to show that there is more about us than stereotypes.”
While the group formed to serve internal employees, they’re highly driven to make an impact on the community. Their chosen issue: education. Through BOLDforce, employees offer workshops within Indianapolis Public Schools and host Job Shadow Days where students can shadow engineers, see what it’s like to work at Salesforce, and be exposed to career paths they may not have considered. The kids are matched with a mentor by shared hobbies or goals to make the interactions even more meaningful.
Motton emphasized that there are many job opportunities available, but “The kids need to not only know about the options, but also be able to see themselves in a tech career. My life may have been on a totally different path had I known about tech earlier. I had one teacher at Pike Township, Miss Abdul, a woman of color, who taught me HTML. She showed me this path was possible for me. Representation matters.”
Now, the group is officially adopting Longfellow Middle School and developing a high school internship program.
Other special events have included healthy nutrition classes, film screenings and workshops with HR about navigating career paths within a large organization like Salesforce. On MLK Day, 100 BOLDforce members volunteers with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. Partnerships have blossomed with Urban League and others as the group continues to branch out into the community. They even launched Indy Black ERG Collaborative, an effort where groups from other large companies like Roche, Cummins, and Eli Lilly can network and learn from one another.
Bunmi Akintomide, another of the group leaders, said, “BOLDforce helps me be a better leader outside of work too.” It spurred him to found Indy Black Millennials to help black young professionals who might not work for a large company and have the benefit of an ERG like BOLDforce. A partnership with The Next IT Girl, an organization that reaches out to young women of color from elementary through early 20s and teaches them to code, led to a board opportunity for Jackie Motton, where she also volunteers as program coordinator.
Kai Johnson, another group lead and Manager of Community Relations at Salesforce said: “We have the dream team. We’re all passionate about the work we do. Being recognized as a finalist for an ELEVATE Award for our efforts is just a cherry on top.”
Congrats on the much deserved recognition!
Salesforce is proud to recognize BOLDforce as a game changer in the community.