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Event preview - the DEI and sustainability sessions that should be on your Dreamforce agenda

Madeline Bennett Profile picture for user Madeline Bennett September 11, 2023
Alongside the AI focus, sustainability, diversity and equality are high on the Dreamforce agenda. Here's my pick of the best sessions from the event.


Salesforce’s Dreamforce user event is taking place this week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. While this year’s Dreamforce is being dubbed “the AI event of the year”, there’s still plenty of focus on tech for good and using Salesforce as a platform for change.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)-themed sessions this year encompass everything from the work of the White House Gender Policy Council to increasing diversity on boards and opening up opportunities for people without degrees in the tech workplace.

Building on its efforts to tackle climate change, Salesforce is also using its platform to promote sustainable working to Dreamforce attendees.

A raft of Salesforce customers will be taking to the stage to share how they’re managing ESG reporting requirements and adopting more sustainable business practices, while still outperforming their peers – hopefully, inspiring other firms to take their own climate action.

There’s also Google on the role of AI in preventing climate change; and Dreamforce favourite, conservationist Dr Jane Goodall, on innovative solutions within nature.

Listed below are my picks of the top DEI and sustainability sessions at Dreamforce 2023.

My top five DEI sessions

How Tech Titans Smash the Glass Ceiling

Wednesday 13 September, 10:30 - 11:10 AM PDT and Thursday 14 September 2:00 - 2:40 PM PDT
Data Roundtables (Moscone South, Lodge Village)

In this session, Aisha Quaintance, Chair, Executive Data Forum @ Women in Data and other leaders will share strategies on how to close the tech gender gap and move women up the ranks. A vital session considering only 25% of CIOs in Fortune 500 companies are women.

Rethink Your Approach to Talent and Invest in Inclusion

Wednesday 13 September, 12:00 - 12:20 PM PDT
Trailhead Theater (Mwest, Trailblazer Forest)

Restricting tech hiring to people with a degree limits opportunities for diversity and can exclude certain communities. Hear from Erica Adams and Ike Nwokoye at Deloitte Digital about how their organization changed its approach to hiring and talent development. In collaboration with Salesforce, Deloitte Digital is empowering professionals without a traditional 4-year degree with job opportunities.

The Power of Partnerships to Advance Disability Employment

Wednesday 13 September, 2:30 - 3:10 PM PDT

Golden Gate Ballroom B (Marriott, B2 Level)

This session brings together the Blind Institute of Technology and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to discuss different paths to career success, while Salesforce accessibility experts will share how the firm is empowering Trailblazers with disabilities to find success in the Salesforce economy.

Why We All Win with Black Women in the Boardroom

Wednesday 13 September, 3:30 - 4:10 PM PDT

Golden Gate Ballroom B (Marriott, B2 Level)

Black women currently hold just four percent of board seats. Merline Saintil, Founder of Black Women on Boards, will host this sneak peek of the award-winning documentary OnBoard. Watch the journeys of Black women corporate leaders and leave inspired to boost representation beyond four percent.

The Actions That Empower Women in the Workplace

Thursday 14 September, 1:30 - 2:10 PM PDT

Golden Gate Ballroom A (Marriott, B2 Level)

Jennifer Klein is Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Gender Policy Council. Klein will be talking to Lori Castillo Martinez, EVP & Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce, about the dynamic and intersectional experiences of women in the workplace and how companies can support them.

My top five sustainability sessions


ESG Reporting for the Supply Chain

Tuesday 12 September, 9:00 - 9:40 AM PDT

Room 3018 (Moscone West, Level 3)

For companies with massive supply chains, accounting for and reporting on ESG metrics is a huge data challenge. Three large Salesforce customers - Clif Bar, Werner Enterprises and Morningstar - share how they’re tackling this challenge efficiently and at scale.

Carbon Accounting for Subsidiaries and Portfolios

Wednesday 13 September, 10:00 - 10:40 AM PDT

Grand Ballroom A (Intercontinental, Level 3)

Salesforce customers Starwood Capital, Will Solutions and World Kinect Corporation will share how they're using Net Zero Cloud to account for carbon in multi-level organizations, including franchises, investment companies, subsidiaries and customers.

Nature: The Best Tech for Fighting Climate Change

Wednesday 13 September, 2:15 - 3:00 PM PDT

Keynote Room (Moscone North, Hall F)

As new technologies change the world, some of the most innovative solutions are found within nature. Conservationist Dr Jane Goodall and actor Rainn Wilson explore how we can solve the climate crisis, together.

How AI Can Change the Game for Tackling Climate Change

Thursday 14 September, 10:00 - 10:45 AM PDT
Yerba Buena Theater (Yerba Buena Center)

AI can be a powerful tool to combat climate change. Hear from innovative climate leaders, including Kate Brandt, Chief Sustainability Officer at Google, about how they’re using AI to prevent and respond to the effects of climate change.

Be Prepared: All You Need to Know About ESG Regulations

Thursday 14 September, 1:00 - 1:20PM PDT
Intercontinental Ballroom B (Intercontinental, L3)

ESG regulations are coming to the US, Europe and the rest of the world. Join this primer with Emma Grande, Director, ESG Strategy and Engagement at Salesforce to find out what rules will be introduced in the different locations, and how to be ready when they come into effect.


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 which goes live Tuesday. .

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