In January, Business Insider’s US editor-in-chief,
Alyson Shontell, hosted a contention with two top executives at
the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Cindy Robbins, the trainer and arch people officer
at Salesforce, helped spearhead the program famous as Women’s
Surge at the company.
Janet Foutty, the authority and CEO of Deloitte
Consulting, has risen to the top and seen firsthand the
hurdles women face on the way.
Cindy Robbins started at Salesforce 12 years ago, and worked her
way up the ranks before getting a life-changing phone call from
CEO Marc Benioff.
“He said, ‘Now you’re gonna report to me,'” Robbins told Business
Insider’s US editor-in-chief, Alyson Shontell. “Definitely that
became a kind of ‘oh my’ moment.”
Shontell spoke with Robbins and Janet Foutty, the authority and
CEO of Deloitte Consulting, in Jan at the World Economic
Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Before she even unpacked her list some-more than 26 years ago, Foutty
had schooled firsthand some of the hurdles women face as they
try to make it to the top.
“The offer letters of my two male colleagues who started the same
summer as we did were sitting on the recruiter’s desk, and we could
not help but see them — it was almost double pay,” Foutty said.
Shontell, Foutty, and Robbins discussed a operation of topics —
including the gender compensate gap, the necessity of womanlike mentors, and
the significance of holding on projects outward your comfort section —
for this partial of Business Insider’s podcast, “Success! How I
Listen to the full partial here:
Subscribe to “Success! How we Did
Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. Check out previous
Microsoft’s Executive Vice President for Business Development
“Shark Tank” star and FUBU founder Daymond John
Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini
Walmart.com CEO Marc Lore
BBG Ventures President Susan Lyne
Buddhist priest Matthieu Ricard
The following twin has been edited for clarity.
For Robbins and Foutty, success requires anticipating good mentors and
going outward your comfort zone
Janet Foutty: So we assimilated Deloitte right out of
business school, formulation to do a classical two-year army as a
consultant and then figure out what we wanted to be when we grew
up. And 26 years later, now find myself with the good privilege
of heading this smashing business.
we will tell you that, for many of the things over the march of
my career, we have focused on just a couple of criteria: Am I
doing really engaging things with really engaging people,
and am we formulating impact? And that can apparently have lots of
opposite definitions, but that’s the criteria with which I
totalled what we was doing at every step.
But if you would have asked me — positively 26 years ago and
substantially 20 years ago — either this role was something that I
directly aspire to, the answer would be we adore what I’m doing. I
adore the people I’m doing it with and the impact that I’m having.
And that’s really what grounds and me and really what matters at
the finish of the day.
Alyson Shontell: And now, Cindy, you’ve been
with Salesforce for about 12 years.
Cindy Robbins: Twelve years.
Shontell: And risen by the ranks there,
clearly. So one thing that you were partial of and you helped with
is this thing called Women’s Surge. So what is that, and how did
you breeze up doing this organisation of 700?
Robbins: Well, we can’t take credit for the name
— that is my boss, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.
It started like 4 years ago. He binds these quarterly
government meetings for the top managers in the company, and it’s
a parsimonious group, very insinuate meeting. And one day, he looked
around the room, and he just said: “Where are the women in this
room? There are no women.” And he finished a very sincere movement to say
that going brazen on those meetings, 30% would be finished up of
high-potential women — the future heads of product, heads of
engineering, heads of marketing, etc.
And so we got invited to that assembly for the first time. we wasn’t
the conduct of HR at the time. we was, we think, still in this HR
generalist form of role. And my pursuit was to keep getting invited
to that meeting.
You know, once that doorway opens, you have burden to stay
in that room and to keep that chair at the table. So we extol him
for that. we swell my career after that — that’s kind of since he
calls it the Women’s Surge. And substantially 6 months after that
first meeting, my prototype left the company, and he asked me
to take the big job.
Shontell: Wow. So what do you consider — you’ve
both been at your companies for a prolonged time. What do you think
your companies and your coworkers and you all did to be means to
find a place where you could really grow?
Foutty: we always consider about what’s the thing
that you’re bringing to the examination or to the situation
that’s a given, that you know you’re smashing at and that you’re
bringing? And what’s the thing that’s stretching you up?
we consider almost of like a step step. You’ve got the platform,
that’s the thing that you’re really good at, and what’s the thing
that you’re stretching and flourishing in?
So we really plea myself, as good as my team, to always be
meditative about, OK, what are you bringing, and what are you going
to use this next event or step to really widen and grow
in and around for yourself? And that has helped me arrange of keep a
fresh frame, both for myself as good as for the team.
Robbins: The other piece that helped me we think
really grow my career was we had a lot of advocates. we had some
champions. And we had a manager who invested in me very early in my
reign at Salesforce.
He actually started at Salesforce like 17 years ago, came in as
an MBA, Stanford intern, and got mentored by Mark, and then
became the COO of the company. And he’s now given left, and he’s
still my mentor. But he was, we would say, my biggest advocate,
biggest champion, but my toughest critic. And that is really
important, right? Because we consider to grow your career, you need
that criticism. And it’s tough to hear sometimes, but it really
did help me grow.
He kept revelation me, “What do you wish your code to be?” Right?
And these are questions we never really suspicion about, and he kept
severe me, and he said, “You have to get also comfortable
with being uncomfortable.” So he always would pull me to do
things kind of outward my comfort zone, which helped me.
Shontell: Does anyone really strech the top
alone? we consider the answer is “no,” no matter who’s there. So what
is the disproportion between a manager and a sponsor, and how do you
demeanour at that role now that, we assume, you all are mentoring
people as good and assisting them?
Foutty: There’s clearly a very big difference
between a manager and a sponsor. And we’ve really tried to shift
the examination in a classification to be much some-more anchored in
and around sponsorship than mentorship.
Mentorship, obviously, is something that is critical — advice,
counsel, guidance. But it’s behind the scenes. we consider of it much
some-more like a coach. Sponsorship is putting your domestic capital
on the line to help somebody. Very, very different.
The turn of investment that you privately take to sponsor
someone is a very opposite examination than “I’m gonna give you
advice.” we can give anybody recommendation wholly free. My political
collateral as a unite — very different.
What we’ve found in and around gender and underrepresented
minorities is that we have to be much some-more trained around
making certain that sponsorship happens, since it doesn’t happen
always as naturally and organically. we consider partial of the tricky
thing is since it is about domestic capital, you need a lot of
bravery to be a sponsor, generally if it’s someone that you have
not arrange of grown up in and around or doesn’t demeanour accurately like
you. So that’s some of the things that I’ve been meditative about
and estimate and elaborating in this conversation.
Shontell: Yeah. Another thing to strech to the
top is you need to take risks, and you need to put yourself in
rather worried positions. So have you two found — was
there a role that you didn’t feel maybe utterly prepared for? That
you’re like, “Oh god, this is it, we need to step up”? And then
how do you kind of get over that feeling and just get there?
Foutty: Every role I’ve ever had.
Robbins: Yeah, we was going to say.
Shontell: It’s good to know, since we feel the
Robbins: So 3 and a half years ago, when my
prototype left, we was kind of in this global HR generalist
role. And we had a lot of tenure, built a lot of good
relationships, had a lot of sponsors, advocacy. But we was very
comfortable, right? we was very successful at what we was doing,
and we felt good about it.
And when we got the call about holding on the conduct of HR, we became
in an worried place very quickly. And it’s really hard
since it’s, you know, of march I’m going to take the job. But
at the time, we was going to report to the COO of the company, and
that was my mentor. The person that invested in me at the very
commencement of my tenure, for the first time, we was now going to
report to him.
After we got that job, 3 weeks later, he motionless to leave
Salesforce. And then we got a call from Marc, and he said, “You’re
now going to report to me.” And that became kind of my “oh my”
moment. Even yet we had a prolonged reign at Salesforce and we knew
Mark, this was going to be a big change — you know, stating to
the CEO of the company.
But we got gentle eventually, and now being mentored by one
of the top CEOs out there. So it all worked out. But definitely
that was kind of my “oh my” moment.
Foutty: So we am propelled by always being sort
of on the corner of what we feel that we can do. Now we do consider that
women generally are reduction assured in knowing. You know, we tell
a immature women — generally a immature women in India — to be,
you know, really courteous about how they position themselves
for new things, since we remind them that the men next to them
will be intrepid in doing that.
But we do positively live any and every day waking up thinking,
OK, what are things we have to do today? What do we know how to do,
and what do we not know how to do? And if we ever get to the place
where we know how to do them all, then something has left very
It became the many apparent to me when we was a youngish partner
and had arrange of first shortcoming for a tiny partial of the
business. And we had a partner in my organisation who is struggling, and
the inhabitant leader, who is formed somewhere else, said, “Janet,
since don’t you speak to him about the issues?” And so quickly
dumped that on me.
And we sat down to speak about what was going on. He goes: “I
don’t know since I’m struggling. This pursuit just isn’t that hard.”
And it was a genuine epiphany for me. And we asked him, “Well, do you
arise up arrange of every day, you know, meditative about how you’re
going to navigate the day and what—”
“No, no, no. we arise up totally ease and comfortable.”
And it was such a clarifying moment for me that relief for
him had arrange of taken him off the rails.
How to set up for success in the first 90 days of a job, and how
to align your team
Shontell: we consider it’s critical to comprehend that
you don’t need to know all the answers. You don’t have to have
all the answers. You don’t have to be the smartest in the company
at every aspect — as prolonged as you have a really clever organisation that
you can gaunt on for the tools where you’re still getting up to
speed or you’re still learning.
Foutty: we consider we’ve been articulate a lot in our
classification about courage, and, we think, the bravery to surround
yourself with people who are opposite from you on many
magnitude and will pull you.
Someone once told me, they’re like: “You know, Janet, your team
is so aligned. You know, you’re surrounding yourself with
yes-people.” And we thought, oh my goodness, if you could lay in
on a executive cabinet and watch, it is the farthest thing
We have impossibly heated discuss and discussion. Are we aligned
when we leave? Absolutely. For all the right reasons. But the
bravery to approximate yourself with people who will plea you
and pull you is something we feel I’ve grown a lot over the
march of my career in as well.
Shontell: When you get this outrageous new job, how do
you spend your first 30, 60, 90 days? How do you make certain you
set yourself up for success?
Foutty: For me, it is about two things.
It is being pure about my beliefs and values. But that’s
about the only articulate we do; the rest is all listening.
we go on flattering complete and endless listening tours and
conversations. And that’s all from a many youth staff
to a many tenured partners. That is one-on-ones. That is small
groups. Lots of conversations over dinners. So we go into
heavy-duty listening mode.
And then since I’m a quant by background, we also get really
smart about the analytics underlying the topic.
So those are the arrange of 3 things we do so that when we get to
about the 60-day mark, we can start to put a clever indicate of view
on the list that’s really well-informed and where I’ve begun to
build accord by all the conversations I’ve been in.
Robbins: You do have to go into listening mode.
You can’t impact an bulletin down anyone’s throat or anything like
So we spend a lot of time listening to the team, getting their
feedback. And then you align them, right? That’s very, very
important, and that’s substantially what we spent a lot of time at
Salesforce doing. And that’s what we do by the business
plan, which we call V2MOM at Salesforce.
But aligning people to what they’re actually going to grasp for
that year and the next year is really, really important.
Shontell: we was going to ask you a little bit
later, but we can do this now: What is the V2MOM?
Robbins: So the V2MOM was combined by Marc since
the pregnancy of the company, and it stands for Vision (what
you’re going to aspire to do for the year), Values (the set of
values that will grasp that vision), Methods (the actions that
you’re going to take, for the year), Obstacles (the obvious
hurdles that you’re going to have to overcome), and Measures (how
you magnitude success).
It always starts with the corporate V2MOM, which is Marc and the
government organisation coming together to kick off the year. And then
from there it’s a drip down, right? So from Marc’s V2MOM,
Cindy does her V2MOM, and then Cindy’s people do their V2MOM, and
then every employee has their V2MOM.
They are all finished customarily by the first entertain of the year, and
it’s all pure — so anyone can entrance anyone’s V2MOM in the
It’s a business plan. It’s an fixing tool. It’s a way to get
your teams organized. It’s also a way for your teams to
know what partial they play in the success of the company. So
that’s the V2MOM.
Foutty: So as we’ve been starting this dialogue
today, there’s lots of things that you and we have very much in
common. But we can tell you that heading in a partnership, can you
suppose — within a consulting business, we have 2,000 partners;
any of them is an businessman unto themselves and thinks that
they are positively aristocrat of their castle.
And so we are all about shepherding and aligning, but the
structure of which I’m impossibly sceptical of — that turn of
infrastructure and fortify — since we are in the herding
cats business against a very assertive agenda, which is really
fun, but it does create some very opposite obstacles in terms of
the forms of examination you have and how do you lead any and
So I’m going to take that back and see if we can just — pepper
just a little bit of that in.
Robbins: Just a little.
Foutty: Just a little.
Shontell: So one thing we wanted to ask you also
about is how you grown your own caring style. It can be
really tantalizing to feel like you need to obey the person that
was in the role before you, or to do what your boss did. So how
did you come into your own?
Robbins: That was very tough for me, mostly
since I’m an introvert. I’ve always struggled with that,
since we always felt it was kind of noticed as a bad thing, as a
sign of weakness. And I’ve embraced it, and we know that it’s a
caring character that is great, you know? And it should be viewed
as a certain thing and not as a diseased thing.
But we consider the No. 1 thing is just being your authentic self and
really staying loyal to who you are, your words, your message,
since that will come across.
And we remember — it’s really hard, since when you fill another
person’s boots who was an extrovert and so out there, or you work
for someone who was so out there, you’re challenged kind of about
who you are as a leader. But you have to really stay loyal to who
you are, since you can't influence, you can't motivate, you
can't enthuse anybody. And we consider that’s what I’ve learned
by my caring character is around that and really embracing
who we am as an introvert and as an effective leader.
Foutty: Everyone that I’ve transposed has been
positively a 42-long male — perfect, you know, text 42 long.
And apparently I’m not that, and so emulating it is absolutely
we consider the multiple of good feedback from my clients who
really don’t caring about the politics or what’s happening within
a classification and meaningful that there is no way that we could
obey those people that I’ve transposed arrange of gave me that
Authenticity has apparently turn partial of the vernacular. It was
not, as we was flourishing up, ever partial of the conversation. It was
arrange of one of those things that was not talked about. Once in a
while, you competence get a comment: “Oh, that’s an surprising way to go
representing that.” But never “Oh, that’s a good thing, because
it’s your authentic self.”
When it became the many pure to me that this examination had
arrange of come full circle, I’d just come into the role to lead the
business and had lots of records and calls from my clients and from
a business partners and, of course, from the partners within
the organization. And the records were — many of them were lovely
and courteous and as you would design very gracious.
But one of my partners — and as I’ve reminded you, all 2,000
partners, any with their own opinion, they will be very direct
with you — and it’s not someone we knew very well, and he said,
“Congratulations, Janet, I’m really vehement for you in the role,
and the best thing is you did it your way.” And classical girl
reaction, I’m like, “What the ruin does that mean?”
And we spooky and we spooky and we spooky about what does he
mean, and what is that really saying? And we got really agitated,
and of march all the good records we ignored, and we just examination and
reread and spooky over that one.
And arrange of when we came to assent was since this authenticity
examination was elaborating at that same time. The certain perspective of
that was that it’s positively what he was trying to contend — it was
not a linear path; we took a lot of career twists and turns,
generally when we was had immature children, but we also had a very
opposite character than the 42 prolonged that had preceded me.
Addressing gender compensate disparity, and how Foutty felt when she
schooled what her male colleagues made
Shontell: One thing we wanted to ask Cindy about
specifically: we know some work you’ve finished at Salesforce that’s
been really critical has been around the gender compensate gap.
Robbins: So at the time when my career surged
and we was promoted into the big job, a co-worker of cave who’s a
product executive at Salesforce, Leyla Seka — her and we go back
20 years, pre-Salesforce, just personal loyalty there — and we
both got promoted at the same time. She also got towering around
when we did.
And after coming down from a euphoria of being kind of
promoted, we put a heads together, since we’re like, why
isn’t it easier for women to get towering at Salesforce? Why
can’t we see this occur a little bit more? And what are the
things that are prohibiting it?
And so we put a heads together, and we talked about things like
at the time just making it a good workplace for operative moms, so
augmenting the maternity leave. More programs to really identify
who those heads of engineering and product, etc., were going to
be, so we can kind of bring those people a little bit more
sincerely up. And the third was pay.
And so we had a one-on-one coming up with Marc, and we invited
Leyla to that meeting. we don’t really put agendas together ahead
of time with Marc, so we just went in. He did not know what we was
going to go in with at the time. And we pitched him.
And when we talked about pay, he said, “Do we have a problem?” And
we said: “I don’t know if we have a problem. We’ve never finished this
form of comment before. I’m assured we have good pay
practices, but an examination and equal compensate are a little bit different,
right? But we know that we can't demeanour under the hood, do the
assessment, see a big dollar sign, and close it.” And he said,
“Go do the audit.”
And we did it, obviously. It resulted in $3 million at the time.
It impacted about 6% of the population.
And then we did the second audit. And we got some criticism
about, well, “Why do you have to compensate again? And since do you do
this comment again?” It’s very simple: It’s not a one-and-done
situation. And that was what we told Marc at the time. we said, “If
we do this, this is now inbred in a culture.” And he said,
“Of march it is, partial of the DNA of a enlightenment going forward.”
And that was when we started to shift, and he started to talk
about this “women’s issue” some-more sincerely in the company — and that
is the tinge from the top, since that finished his approach shift, and
it’s a drip down, right? It starts to just change the behavior
in the company.
We also had a biggest merger year the year before — we
acquired 14 companies, which was a record for us. And when you
acquire 14 companies, you acquire their compensate practices, right? And
we had to do the comment again for that as well. But, you
know, you have to put a lot of tangible processes and systems in
sequence for this to keep going, and so you have to do the
comment frequently to make certain you’re staying within those
parameters and ensuring you’re profitable your people equally.
Foutty: So when we started way back when, 26
years ago, we were in a down marketplace — well, many of you probably
won’t even remember — in 1991. And there were only 3 MBAs
that started that summer, and the offer letters of my two male
colleagues who started the same summer as we did were sitting on
the recruiter’s desk.
And I’m not a disreputable person whatsoever, but it was such the ’90s,
these angled tables, and they were sitting right there. we could
not help but see them.
And we had left to a opposite school, so we arrange of rationalized.
“Well, it’s a opposite school.” But these were — it was almost
Foutty: So, we didn’t consider to — I
compartmentalized it. And we had a really, really, really good
first year. One of my two colleagues had had a excellent first year,
and the other had a common first year.
So we go in — and I’m flattering unassuming at this conversation
— for my first remuneration examination at the finish of year one.
And I’d gotten a medium signing reward as well, as partial of
starting out of business school. And the person giving me my
examination and remuneration said, “You had a good year, and here’s
your raise.” And I’m a quant, we fast did the math, and I’m
like, “Wow, I’m going to make reduction next year than we did last
And so we did about what you would design from a 25-year-old MBA
who’s hit with something where she’s no suspicion what’s going on: I
detonate into tears.
Foutty: So we literally detonate into tears. So, you
know, we manager women about asking for what they need — well, that
was my response to asking for what we needed.
And the person was positively mortified. And we was trying to pull
myself together and explain that we had suspicion we had a great
year. we suggested that we knew what my colleagues were paid and
that we could not face meditative about making reduction my second year
after such a good year.
And so we simulate on how tough it is for women in sold to ask
for what they consider they deserve, so the practices that we’ve all
been putting in place in and around not asking story of
compensation, which is substantially the many critical pierce that
we’ve made, to get that fortify into the complement so that it’s
natural, so we can equivocate tears and that offensive moment that I
had early in my career.
But it is very personal to me that this is an issue that we’re
collectively rebellious as a village to make certain that we are not
putting a women on the mark to have to ask for what they need,
but we are doing it, meaningful that there’s still a prolonged way to
Shontell: And did you get that raise?
Foutty: we did. They actually did adjust my comp.
Shontell: Good, good.
Foutty: Not by a lot — by adequate so that we was
making some-more than we had the first year. And it was substantially five
years before we was entirely held up. But we felt that my voice had
been listened in the conversation.
Shontell: So you two have reached the top. It’s
impossibly considerable and formidable to do for anyone, but as we
lay here at Davos, you are two of the few women in the crowd. How
do you consider about the caring instance that you set not just
for your employees, for the people here, for the people around
you, but for really anyone who sees you in your position?
Robbins: we mean, I’m holding a pivotal from my
mentor, you know, who said, “Now you have to compensate it brazen a
little bit.” we try to find two or 3 people and really take
the time to deposit in them and really support them, and that
means being their toughest censor as good as being their biggest
champion. And that’s inherently what I’m trying to do because
that is what helped me get successful, so I’m trying to remember
that and give it back.
Foutty: So for me, we do feel a tremendous
shortcoming to the immature women in my own organization, to the
immature women in the communities of the clients with which we serve,
and to my daughter and all of her friends. So we do feel a
extensive burden to compensate it forward.
Do we really wish to share with you all that we detonate into tears
when we was 26 years old? I’ve gotten a lot some-more bravery over time
to share those stories since we consider it’s impossibly important
to know that men and women are different, and that there
are lots of opposite ways with which you can be wildly
successful in the things that you select to do.
And so being here and being partial of this examination is
impossibly critical to me, gives me good energy, continues to
put me on the corner of pulling myself. And it is really a pleasure
and a payoff to be means to do so. So that’s how we consider about
Shontell: Great. Well appreciate you both so much for
Foutty: Thank you.
Robbins: Thank you.