Salesforce’s Jane Brown kindly sat down with B&T, to share what she has learnt from all the women she has worked alongside.
Jane Brown is the Area Vice President of Comms, Media, and Utilities at Salesforce ANZ. She’s driven, savvy, smart, and has graduated from being someone’s valued peer to becoming a trusted leader in her field.
In fact, when I asked her if she has a ‘work wife’, she pointed out that she’s at a stage in her career where team members now see her more as a ‘work mum,’ someone who leads authentically and with empathy. This makes sense when you consider Brown is as warm as she is clever and incredibly passionate about helping other women in technology.
Brown’s career has undeniably been enriched by the women she works with, even though the technology industry has long been criticised for being so male-dominated. Despite this, Brown’s career has undoubtedly been shaped by women and male champions she’s worked alongside. She’s also the first to point out that while she’d always like to work with more women, the team she’s curated has a healthy gender balance.
So, what has Brown learnt from the women around her? Brown points out, “I’ve had some personal health challenges within my family, and believe that the female leadership at that time really showed me understanding and empathy, creating space for my family within my job.”
It’s the support that Brown now passes on to women she works with and leads, “I’m very conscious of driving equality and opportunity for them,” she explained.
Brown also witnessed firsthand how important women supporting women is in the workforce, “Salesforce is a global tech company, and I’ve had the privilege of leading some of our largest accounts. Our Chief Adoption Officer, Polly Sumner, a key driver of Salesforce’s Women’s Network, would be someone who’s supported my Salesforce career. She ensured I always had a seat at the table to ensure I was part of progressing C-suite-level conversations both locally and globally.
“I remember her saying if there wasn’t a female around the table in a meeting, she would leave the room.”
Brown’s also had the opportunity to work alongside Pip Marlow, CEO of Salesforce ANZ & ASEAN. “I learn from Pip every day, on how to be a woman in leadership, how to lead women, and how to manage work/life balance. And it’s been such an asset in my career evolution.”
Brown also feels the sometimes devalued traits that are often seen as inherently female are in fact invaluable, “Authenticity and vulnerability are qualities usually women bring in spades to work, and it really makes a difference.”
While the women she’s worked with have helped her create such a brilliant career, it’s also about working for a company that champions women. Brown said: “Salesforce has been there at every turn. In terms of supporting me both personally and when I moved into more delivery roles and then into leadership and senior leadership, they provided mentorship and support at work and home so I could succeed.”
Brown constantly drives home a holistic approach to working with women, helping women and empowering women in technology. It’s not enough to just say you want to support women. It’s about giving women the space to feel supported professionally and personally. When her female leaders have done that, it has allowed Brown to thrive.
Salesforce launched the Women’s Network in 2008 to amplify the progress of female Salesforce employees across the world at every step of their journey. It centres around professional and personal development, allyship, mentoring opportunities, supportive connections, and taking action on gender equality.
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