Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff’s Indianapolis address
Below is a transcription of Marc Benioff’s address to Indianapolis at Salesforce Community Day on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The speech was nearly 15 minutes in length and was met with cheers from the enthusiastic crowd. Relevant information has been linked for further reading on the announcements.
I am thrilled to be here for you in one of America’s great cities and great urban spaces. For the past 18 years, Salesforce has transformed the way businesses around the world connect and improve their customer relationships. And today, we mark another milestone in the journey of our company and in the life of this city and this state the official opening of Salesforce Tower Indianapolis. Isn’t that beautiful up there?
On behalf of everyone at Salesforce, I want to extend our deepest gratitude to all state and local partners. To the religious institutions, to the nonprofits, to the NGO’s, to the schools, to all of you who have made today possible. But especially former Governor and now Vice President Mike Pence, thank you. And to current Governor Eric Holcomb thank you. And Former Mayor Greg Ballard thank you, and current Mayor Joe Hogsett thank you, all of you, together as one, have been true champions of our expansion here.
And to all of these incredible, dedicated workers who have transformed Indiana’s tallest building, into a shiny new symbol of the dynamic future of this city and this state, thank you.
And at Salesforce, we are not simply coworkers and colleagues. You probably have heard this word. We are Ohana, the family word. It is the Hawaiian word for family. And I want to acknowledge all members of our Ohana: our customers, our partners, our employers, our stakeholders, our community and all others we serve who have worked so hard to bring us to this moment. And especially, all of our employees right here in Indy. Our Indy team. Thank you, Indianapolis Salesforce.
This includes our outstanding patriotic men and women in uniform. And on this armed forces day, let’s thank our vets three times, four times, we salute you. We are deeply filled with the gratitude that you deeply deserve and we thank you for your service, which allows us to live in the freedom and prosperity we have today in Indianapolis and Indiana and our great United States.
This building and the Salesforce sign that now graces the Indianapolis skyline, reflect our commitment to being your partner with this community. This renovation has created jobs for Indiana workers. Some of the construction materials actually come from right here in Indiana. And we have donated the excess materials to our local Indiana churches and religious organizations. And this building is made in part by recycled materials and is more energy efficient. We strongly believe the environment is a key stakeholder in all of our success. Thank you, environment. We forget that you are here holding us up.
And the 47th floor, our Ohana floor, at the very top. This is going to be a beautiful open space where our employees, our customers, our partners as well as all of the people of Indianapolis — the NGO’s, the religious organizations, the schools — when we are not using the space, we open our doors to you so you can use it free of charge to do all of the things you need to do. Because at Salesforce, we are deeply committed to you, our community.
Today’s opening is part of a major expansion of our regional headquarters. With the acquisition of ExactTarget — and thank you Scott Dorsey, wherever you are — With the acquisition of ExactTarget, Indianapolis became Salesforce’s largest presence outside our San Francisco headquarters. We could not be more thrilled that we have become the largest tech employer in the great state of Indiana.
I know that when we bought this company from Scott Dorsey, I know people feared we were not committed to staying in Indy in the long term. We are here forever we love Indiana and Indianapolis! And we believe in you, our Indianapolis talent, our people, our community, and our families, and not only have we not pulled out, we doubled-down on Indianapolis. Over five years we are creating 800 more jobs in Indy, we are creating another $40 million dollars here, and we hope our expanding presence creates a ripple effect exactly as the governor and mayor were saying.
And, with our expansion, even more business travel and visitors will come to our city, seeing all the great things and all the great people here, all the great Hoosiers. We have already seen some of our customers follow our lead and open offices right here in Indianapolis creating even more jobs, and in fact the governor and I were just talking about one of Salesforce’s closest partners who is also moving here to Indianapolis and taking more space in Salesforce tower as well. I know more and more amazing people are coming to this great state. Which means, more Hoosiers are coming and all of us are going to stay and work here together in this great state that we love. Governor Holcomb says we want to make Indiana the tech market of the Midwest. Well, Salesforce wants to help you realize that vision, Governor. So thank you.
And let me give you a wonderful example of what that means. We are finding incredible local talent in Indy. Where is Trey Robinson? Trey, stand up. Come up here. Let me tell you about Trey.
Trey is from right here in Indianapolis. Let me tell you about him. He went Ivy Tech and got his associate degree in 11 months instead of 2 years. We’re lucky to hire him. We are grateful for you. Now you’re a development engineer at Salesforce. And you are just a great example of the great talent in Indy. Thank you, Trey, for being here.
Just as Salesforce is helping this city grow, I want to thank everyone on this team, like Trey, who are helping to sustain our extraordinary growth at Salesforce in part because of you. We are the leader in customer relationship management software. We are the fastest growing top 5 software company in the world. And this year we will grow to 30,000 employees worldwide, many of them right here in this great state Indiana. This year, we will surpass $10 billion in revenue. By 2020 we’re going to add $400 billion to the world GDP through our platform. Salesforce is also going to add by 2020 2 million jobs worldwide. Many of them right here in Indianapolis, and many of them right here in the United States. That’s an incredible impact we’re having at Salesforce. We call that the Salesforce economy. Our celebration today reflects our commitments to the urgent economic challenges we face as a nation.
Ladies and gentlemen, we want to make sure that all Americans have the training, the skills they need for the jobs of the future like at Salesforce and at our customers and partners right here in the U.S. And as part of our Futureforce initiative to develop the workforce of tomorrow, I’m very excited to announce, right here in Indianapolis, 500 new apprenticeships opening right here in this building.
We’ll train these apprentices. And you know the people back in Washington, D.C. like that word apprentice so we are politically correct on this.
We’ll train them on data management and software development. We have this incredible dream. We’ll teach them how to build new applications with our amazing interactive learning experience Trailhead, which makes everyone a trailblazer for Salesforce. And we’re going to open up and send those apprenticeships and apprentices worldwide. That is part of our vision of 5 million apprenticeships in the US that we have aligned with President Trump on.
In addition, we’ve already teamed up with the Indianapolis Department of Veterans Affairs to offer free training and free classes and free support to local military veterans to help them find jobs and make sure they are employed and their families are taken care of and they are supported with Salesforce customers, our partners, and we all need to be doing everything we can to help our veterans who have done so much for us to succeed in the next chapter of their lives.
We can all hire a Hoosier vet. We’re going to keep investing in economic growth and opportunity. And for reducing economic equality, we’re going to invest in education. At Salesforce we are guided by this model, this model of giving, and we recognize that education is equality. At Salesforce we are guided by the model of corporate philanthropy that we pioneered — 1:1:1. Giving 1% of our corporate equity – our technology, our profit, our product. Actually, when we started it was very easy, we had no profit, we had no product, we had no equity, now 1% is actually worth something.
What does that mean here in Indianapolis? More than 90% of our Indy time has volunteered their time. And one of the biggest beneficiaries has been, and this is near and dear to my heart and to all of yours, someone we need to focus on and double focus on and recommit to, the Indianapolis Public School System. We are so proud of our partnership of the Indy Public School system. And we adopted James Russell Lowell School 51 and we are happy to be joined by the Pantherbots Robotics Team from Pleasant Run Elementary. Stand up to be recognized!
Today I’m thrilled to say our Salesforce Indy team is committing 200,000 volunteer hours by the end of this year. Many of them will be in local public schools and that’s the power of the 1:1:1 model.
I’ll just stop and I’ll say I hope that every great company here in Indianapolis follows us and dedicates 1% of their employees time, to our schools, and to those organizations that need us the most. It’s only four hours a month, 6 days a year paid off for volunteerism in these schools and it makes a huge impact for them.
Finally, we’re going to stand up for our core values as a company and as a country. You heard that from the Mayor, you heard that from the Governor. That includes our core value of equality for every person, ensuring that equal rights, equal opportunity isn’t just the right thing to do but it’s the smart thing to do. And for gender equality, equal pay. Let me tell you, it’s good business, it promotes growth, it allows us to draw on the talent of everyone, and drawing on the talent of everyone, of all of us, rises all of us up together, which is where we all deserve to be, together as one united people in Indianapolis and Indiana and we will keep standing up for pay equality for women, pay equality for equal work, for equality for all, regardless of gender, regardless of affiliation, regardless of ethnicity or sexual orientation, because ladies and gentleman let me tell you, we are all one, we are all connected, we are all better when we realize that and we can release the true power of Indianapolis and Indiana and feel that love rise up together as one.
In closing, I want to share a story that captures hope for the future here.
As a young boy, growing up in San Francisco, not so far away from here, about a four-hour flight, come and visit us, I’d walk with my grandfather downtown. And he’d point to this iconic Trans-America pyramid building as you’ve probably seen it. He’d say hey that’s the future of San Francisco rising up. And that image always stayed with me, it always made me think this is what’s possible, this is the future, this is exciting, this is what’s coming, well my hope is that someday soon a young boy or a young girl will be walking down the streets of this great city with their family and look up at this gorgeous new tower with the Salesforce logo up top and say “that’s what the future of Indianapolis is, it’s rising up, it’s connected, its one, it’s bringing us all together, it’s about giving, and that’s the future I want to be part of.
Thank you very much, everyone. God bless you, Indiana, and America, and thank you all of Indianapolis.