I recently took my 10 year old to WITness Success.
She attended a few sessions with me, had a blast with a new friend, and collected ALL THE SWAG. (Seriously. I am a proud no-swag taker. She made up for my six+ years of not taking any swag in one day.)
A few days after we returned home, I asked my daughter what she learned from attending WITness Success with me.
I expected her to say something akin to "Well, dearest mother, I learned foundations for building a career in tech. By the time I am 12 years of age, I plan to have two Salesforce certifications and have built an app."
How did she respond?
She likes when the plane takes off much better than when it lands.
She liked all the stickers and her Equality hoodie.
She liked hearing me present ("You were so professional!").
She liked meeting my friends, especially my friend with the cool glasses.
Maybe my expectations were just a little unrealistic for a 10 year old.
So why does it matter? Why did I fly my daughter to Denver?
Generally, her context of professional women has been that women are singers or dancers, nurses, or teachers.
Then there's me.
She knows that I work for Now IT Matters and I am a Salesforce consultant. She's told me many times she's going to work for Salesforce when she grows up. A common household imaginative role play is "Let's play Now IT Matters" which consists of her and her brother pulling out their computers and pretending to talk to clients.
I work from home and she sees me on the phone and computer all day, but doesn't really know what I do.
I wanted her to gain a broader context.
I wanted her to see HUNDREDS of successful women in tech.
When we discussed this fact, that my goal in bringing her on the trip was broadening context, she looked at me as if to say, as a 10 year old often does, "Duh, Mom!" and said "Yes! That was really cool. There were a lot of women there! They were all really nice and made me feel welcomed."
She didn't need to talk about it much more, but I realized right then that what mattered was the welcome.
Being there in the room, running around with her new friend Z, collecting dozens of pairs of socks, all helped her to feel she belonged.
I think welcoming is the thing that the Salesforce #Ohana does best.
In a world that is deeply divided, the art of hospitality and making room for a welcome matters significantly. Making space for others to be themselves and belong is a gift.
Being welcomed by the amazing WITness Success #Ohana helped my little one envision a future where she is a successful woman in tech. And since we've been home she's been begging to "do Salesforce" -- she loves Trailhead and we have a plan to run a BAM! event in the future.
Thank you, WITness Success, for a beautiful event and for welcoming little O.
Soundtrack: Sara Groves, Why It Matters