I see that you are angry. I feel your disappointment. I understand your confusion….. Let me explain:
When I initially got the call to participate in #TrailblazerDay not a lot of information could be given. I dont like making blind decisions so I asked for more information and time to process. I was told that they wanted me to tell “My” story, the story behind PepUp Tech. I was also initially told that a member of the Whitehouse would be taking part, I was later told that it was Ivanka Trump. Of course, this gave me pause.
My initial reaction was not positive you want me to do what? with who? I was not happy about it at all. I did not understand why this company that I love so much would be willing to mingle with an administration that seemingly goes against everything that I stand for. I needed guidance so I prayed about it. I then spoke with some of my mentors about my reservations. I am not a political person so this decision or any decision for that matter will never be based upon politics. So know that I prayed, I meditated and I listened before I made my decision.
In the end, you all know I decided to have the conversation. The reason I made this decision was not about me, peoples opinions of me are just that and I could care less I dont do any of this for their notoriety or approval. It was not about politics. It was not about anyone with the last name Trump.
It was about the STUDENTS that we serve. This opportunity and this platform will give us more opportunities to support them. Much like a parent, we make decisions that may not have a positive outcome for us but it will benefit the ones we care about.
However, we feel about the current administration they have the power and the means to influence policy so this was our way of inviting them into the conversation. Uncomfortable conversations are the soil from which change can grow.
Calling People In:
I know for a fact that Ivanka knew we had opposing views. However, she was still willing to come and be; even for just a bit uncomfortable. She didn’t just come for the photo op moment she came and had dinner with all of us and invited us to converse. Yes, I could have called her out (I am known for doing that) however, what would that have accomplished? So instead I chose to “Call her In” giving her the opportunity to make a meaningful impact. We shall see if she keeps her word and even if she doesn’t we still got our message out and in doing so I hope we see more growth.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Marc Benioff and the entire Trailhead team. They invited me into this conversation without hesitation this is how I knew it was a genuine event. It was unscripted and uncensored. They wanted us to tell our stories our way even knowing how outspoken I am.
The love, care, support and consideration that was shown throughout this entire event was exactly the values they live by. Salesforces number one value is trust and I am telling you I trusted them in these moments.
Marc is a true Accomplice; he didn’t need to bring us into this conversation. This could have happened in a boardroom with no one else but the two of them. I like to think he wants to be held accountable to make this world a better place. He also wants to give recognition to those who are doing the work.
Some people like to be negative and only see the bad and that’s fine if that’s how you want to live your life. However, I choose to see the positive in any situation even if I need help from time to time to do so. I’ve had people ask and say aren’t they just using you as a token because you are a black woman. I would say to those people “We shall not be able to turn natural advantages to account unless we make use of local guides” additionally “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, You need not fear the result of a hundred battles” – Sun Tzu