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Dreamforce 2022 - previewing the top equality and sustainability sessions

Madeline Bennett Profile picture for user Madeline Bennett September 19, 2022
With sustainability and equality on the Dreamforce agenda alongside the cloud tech, I pick out what look to me to be some of the most interesting sessions from the event.

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As Salesforce gets ready to kick off its first major Dreamforce event in three years, I find it reassuring to see that the company hasn’t dialled back on its commitments to corporate philanthropy and using Salesforce as a platform for change.

There are 22 equality-themed sessions to choose from this year, which have a much broader focus than was the case at Dreamforces of the past. Women in tech dominated the diversity strand of earlier events, broadening out to areas like race and veterans support in more recent years.

At this year’s show, the focus is broader still, encompassing everything from building equity in justice and healthcare systems to supporting workers with ADHD and digital accessibility.

Back in 2019 – the last time Salesforce hosted a large-scale in-person Dreamforce – there were 65 sessions focused on equality, with a further 30 specifically on women in tech.

While Salesforce has scaled back the amount of equality-focused content, reflective of a smaller event rather than a loss of focus, it has turned its attentions towards a topic that requires just as much (or it could be argued more) urgent action: sustainability.

As the climate crisis worsens, Salesforce is using its platform to promote sustainable ways of working, governing and living to the thousands of Dreamforce attendees.

The highlight of the sustainability sessions has to be Wednesday’s keynote featuring a personal hero of mine, conservationist and chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall. Goodall will be talking to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff about how businesses can develop a new relationship with nature, from carbon sequestering to the ecopreneur revolution.

Across the week, there are a further 50 sustainability sessions. The testimony on offer from organizations that are already reworking their operations to prioritize the planet – while still outperforming their peers – should help encourage other businesses to follow suit.

Listed below are my picks of the equality and sustainability sessions at Dreamforce 22.

My top five equality sessions

Women in Tech: CIOs Breaking IT’s Glass Ceiling

Tuesday 20 September, 1:00 pm - 1:40 PM
Camp Four (Moscone South, Salesforce+ Camp)

Only 25% of CIOs in Fortune 500 companies are women. During this panel discussion, female CIOs including Alvina Antar, Chief Information Officer at Okta and Vidya Rao, Global CIO at Genpact share their strategies to close the gender gap in tech, move women up the ranks and advance equality.

How a Data-Driven Strategy Supports a More Equitable Future 

Wednesday, September 21, 10:00 - 10:40 AM

Room 2011 (Moscone West, Level 2)

Attorney General of California Rob Bonta will outline the modernization journey of the largest state DOJ in the nation, and share how to set an example for transparency and equity in US justice & public safety systems.

Building a Culture of Disability Inclusion

Wednesday, September 21, 11:00 - 11:40 AM

Presidio (Metreon, City View)

Disability inclusion and accessibility are fundamental to businesses being powerful platforms for social change. In this session, Catherine Nichols, VP Office of Accessibility at Salesforce; Carden Wyckoff, President, Abilityforce & Accessibility Support Engineer at Salesforce; Becky Kekula, Director, Disability Equality Index (DEI) at Disability:IN, and Mike Hess, Executive Director at Blind Institute of Technology will discuss how they are working toward equality for all.

Bringing Inclusive Language to Salesforce Products

Wednesday, September 21, 12:30 - 12:50 PM

Trailhead Theater (West, Trailblazer Forest)

Learn about the tools Salesforce is using to provide inclusive language and hear best practices from Jassica Zhou, Salesforce Principal Software Engineer and Peggy Madani, Director, Program Management-Technology at Salesforce on how to make your own technology and business more inclusive.

Architect’s Guide to Working with ADHD

Thursday, September 22, 10:00 - 10:20 AM

Developer Theater (West, Trailblazer Forest)

Get a glimpse into the ways ADHD shapes the daily lives of architects, and learn from Kavita Patel, Senior Delivery Principal at Slalom Consulting and Sebastian Wittenstein, Director of Consulting Services, Solution Architect at CGI about tools and techniques to compensate for struggles with organization, time management and focus.

My top five sustainability sessions

Linking the Circular Economy and Net Zero Targets

Tuesday, September 20, 2:30 - 2:50 PM & Wednesday, September 21, 1:30 - 1:50 PM

Net Zero Vista (Moscone West, Level 3)

Salesforce’s Global Heads of Sustainability Strategy Practice, Jon Powell and Jenny Liu, will highlight emerging tools, methods and technologies that can help companies harmonize their circularity and net zero goals.

Digital Strategies for Combating Climate Change Down Under

Tuesday, September 20, 3:30 - 4:10 PM

Presidio (Metreon, City View)

The Government of South Australia and Accident Compensation Corporation will share how they’re using Net Zero Cloud to reduce carbon emissions in a key geography in the global ecosystem.

The Ocean’s Superpower to Reverse Climate Change

Wednesday, September 21, 12:00 - 12:20 PM & Thursday, September 22, 2:30 - 2:50 PM

Net Zero Vista (Moscone West, Level 3)

Ecopreneur Michael Stewart, Co-founder of Sustainable Surf, will outline how SeaTrees is enabling individuals and businesses to restore ocean health and reverse climate change

Sustainable to the Core

Wednesday, September 21 3:00 - 3:40 PM

Camp Five (Moscone South, Salesforce+ Camp)

Experts in sustainable transformation including Simon Mulcahy, CEO of CO2 and President of Sustainability at TIME and Paul Polman, Campaigner and Co-author of Net Positive, will discuss the strategies needed to embed sustainability into organizations’ business model and prioritize profitability

90-Day Launch of a Sustainability Solution

Thursday, September 22, 1:00 - 1:20 PM

Net Zero Vista (Moscone West, Level 3)

Dawn Rodney, Chief Innovation & Growth Officer at The National Wildlife Federation, will explain how the US conservation education and advocacy non-profit went from sustainability idea to impact in 90 days.


NB - many Dreamforce sessions will be streamed live on Salesforce+, while a number will be available on demand

And for up-to-the-minute coverage, check out our own Dreamforce event hub.


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