Business, Tech, and Social Leaders Come Together for Inspiring Resilience.Work Virtual Event
Content Marketing Manager
July 27, 2020
The inaugural Resilience.Work Virtual Event is in the books! A huge thank you to all of the sponsors, presenters, and attendees who made the event such a huge success. There were fantastic keynotes, dozens of sessions, and thousands of attendees.
Were you one of them?
If you missed any part of the event, or just want to listen to a session again, we’ve got you covered. Read on for highlights of the top sessions and to get links to the recorded presentations.
Malala and Anousheh Deliver Inspiring Messages of Resilience
The most anticipated speakers at Resilience.Work were two people who embody the very themes this event is about: hope and resilience.
The main keynote was delivered by Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of the Malala Fund. Malala talked to OwnBackup CEO Sam Gutmann about her recent graduation from Oxford and what her future plans might be, including whether she would consider running for Prime Minister.
She also discussed the Malala Fund and its work to help girls get a safe and quality education. Reflecting on her time in Pakistan and the events that led to her to become a global female education activist, Malala shared one of her most famous quotes and the inspiration behind it.:
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
The event also featured a discussion with Anousheh Ansari, the first female Muslim to go to space. Anoushesh talked about what it was like growing up in Iran and that what fascinated her with becoming an engineer was her unquenchable desire to find a solution to any problem. She also talked about what made her and her family decide to start XPRIZE, a $10 million competition that ignited a new era for commercial spaceflight.
But the most captivating part of the conversation was the story of Anousheh’s journey to space, from the nine months of intense training to the actual launch day. Here’s how she said she she felt moments before liftoff:
“I always thought that I would really freak out when the time for the launch came, sitting on top of all that explosive material (laughs). But when I was actually sitting inside the capsule, what I felt was this amazing calm and this feeling of gratitude.”
Companies Have So Much More to Give
How do companies balance profits and innovation with social responsibility? This question was at the heart of the discussion with Leyman Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate, and Triona Byrne, Director at Salesforce.
Triona said unequivocally that human rights and ethics should be built into every new technology. Leymah echoed her point and even took it a step further, saying that any new business must first ask themselves, “how will my business help bridge the gap between my customers and the challenges they are facing today?” When it comes to philanthropic efforts, Triona explained that a company’s responsibilities go far beyond their wallets:
“I think the days of just giving money are gone--companies have so much more to give. And people want to work for organizations with a social conscience, so that’s really helping drive this change.”
The two leaders also talked about their combined efforts to fight human trafficking, poverty, and other injustices, identifying “inequality” as the greatest human rights challenge we are currently facing. While technology can help make great strides in overcoming these challenges, they said it means little without collaboration from organizations, governments, and society as a whole.
Businesses (Literally) Can’t Afford to Ignore Diversity
Diversity and inclusion, once a priority for just HR departments, is now a top focus for business leaders worldwide.
Ebony Beckwith, Chief Philanthropy Officer at Salesforce, welcomed Pledge 1% CEO Amy Lesnick, and Cassiopeia CEO Shiran Yaroslavsky to discuss this shift and how companies can continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion in their workforce.
The discussion ranged from the business impact of diversity (research suggests a direct link between a company’s profitability and the diversity of its people), to the effect the current pandemic is having on women in the workplace, to Amy and Shiran’s personal experiences and challenges in the business world.
“I was at a company where the management team thought there was nothing wrong with an executive retreat meeting being held in a hot tub with cigars. And I personally had no desire to sit in a bathing suit with 10 other executives, who were of course, all men.”
According to Amy and Shiran, one of the best ways to overcome some of these challenges is not settling for a culture that doesn’t value diversity and inclusion. Amy and Shiran also talked about the key role that mentors have played in both their professional and personal lives, and the advice they would give to women just starting out in business.
Remote Work is Here to Stay. But How Do We Stay Connected?
In a conversation led by Salesforce CTO and Co-Founder Parker Harris, Ancestry.com Co-Founder Paul Allen, and Cassiopeia CEO Shiran Yaroslavsky discussed what the future of work looks like for organizations and their employees.
Much of the discussion focused around how to maintain employee well-being while working remotely, and why it’s important to provide flexibility, particularly to employees who are balancing kids or other personal responsibilities while working.
To help remote AND distributed workers thrive (the panel goes on to explain the difference between the two) , Shiran’s company, Cassiopeia, delivers actionable insights to boost team collaboration, belonging, and mental health by analyzing communications patterns.
“As a remote leader, you’re basically working, in some sense, with a smaller data set. You don’t see how people engage, what is their dynamic, if they are smiling during the day, and so on. So there’s a real gap that needs to be addressed.”
- Shiran Yaroslavsky
Later in the discussion Parker, Paul, and Shiran talked about how AI can improve the virtual work experience by helping remote workers be more intentional. This includes reminders to take breaks, and other things that come naturally in an office environment but fall to the wayside when working remotely.
What We Can Learn From Scientists About Embracing Uncertainty
During the COVID-19 pandemic, much focus has been on the pharmaceutical companies working to produce a vaccine in an incredibly short timeframe. And rightly so. But what had to happen to even make this possible?
In the Healthcare and Life Sciences Keynote, Nobel Laureate Dr. Thomas Sudhof and Joshua Newman, SVP of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Salesforce, discussed the relationship between fundamental science and clinical applications. Dr. Sudof talked about the important scientific research that was done to lay the groundwork for a possible vaccine, well before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Dr. Sudof said that this example is just one of many--scientists do research and seek knowledge all of the time, usually without knowing what type of real-world application it might have in the future. This led to a fascinating conversation about scientists' relative comfort with uncertainty, and why it makes it difficult for scientists to become social advocates:
“As scientists we cannot say anything about the future with certainty. That doesn’t exist. We can only say with a certain degree of probability that this is going to happen. So that’s why as scientists, we can never tell the public, ‘you have to do this’. We can only tell the public, ‘these are the facts, you have to decide what to do with them.'”
Dunder Mifflin’s CFO Gives Real World Finance Advice
The Banking and Financial Services Keynote was delivered by Andy Buckley, who you might know better as “David Wallace'' from the hit TV show, The Office. In the session, Andy shares the story of how he went from being a wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch to an actor, what he said to his clients during the 2008 financial crisis, and how financial companies can navigate this most recent economic crisis.
But the true highlight of the session was when Andy discussed his time on The Office and his experience working with his costars, particularly Steve Carrell:
“In between takes, Steve would sit there and keep thinking about a different way to do the scene. And each time it would be funnier than the next. I was constantly laughing in the middle of takes and the director would say ‘OK Andy, keep it together.’ And I would say, ‘You don’t understand, I’m just a stockbroker!'”
The Cloud is Getting Complicated
In addition to the main keynotes and track keynotes, all of the event’s sponsors held sessions and hosted virtual booths so attendees could ask questions and learn about the latest offerings and solutions. While each of these sessions focused on a different aspect of Salesforce, a common theme emerged: there is more data to manage than ever before.
As cloud apps and platforms are adopted, data volume and velocity are growing exponentially. The complexity of the cloud has outpaced our ability to fully comprehend it, which means errors or corruptions can have cascading implications.