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The Executive Who Helps Salesforce Stay True to Its Founders’ Philanthropic Pledge

Ebony Beckwith started her career in operations and rose to oversee charitable giving and the software giant’s foundation

6/19/2021 10:00:00 AM

When Salesforce’s head of philanthropy needs advice, she turns to fellow corporate leaders—and a mentor she’s known since she was 8 years old

Ebony Beckwith started her career in operations and rose to oversee charitable giving and the software giant’s foundation

June 19, 2021 12:00 am ETIn Personal Board of Directors, top business leaders talk about the people they turn to for advice, and how those people have shaped their perspective and helped them succeed. Previous installments from the series arehere.Ebony Beckwith occupies a powerful perch as chief philanthropy officer of Salesforce . com Inc. and head of its nonprofit foundation.

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The highest Black executive at the business-software giant leads a global operation that disbursed more than $65 million in charitable grants during the year ended Jan. 31. She reports to Chief Executive Marc Benioff, a rare setup among corporate philanthropy officers.

Yet Ms. Beckwith feared she might get fired soon after joining the San Francisco-based company’s information technology department in 2008. Her supervisor, Kirsten Wolberg, criticized her for failing to finish projects and not requesting help.“I thought I should know better,” the 44-year-old Ms. Beckwith explains. “Sometimes, that led to analysis paralysis.” The reformed perfectionist now knows she can perform better by seeking assistance—especially from mentors like Ms. Wolberg.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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