Interview

CSR Innovators and Change Makers: Cheryl Timoney Vice President of Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org

Cheryl Timoney is the VP of Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org, helping change-makers realize the promise of technology to scale their missions and impact. Cheryl goes beyond traditional approaches to help drive strategic impact at the intersection of business and society. Prior to Salesforce.org, Cheryl led program teams in the nonprofit sector, building community solutions for economic and community development.
By
Vanessa Poulson
|
1.23.2023
Lorem ipsum sit dolor et sua vous.
Interview

CSR Innovators and Change Makers: Cheryl Timoney Vice President of Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org

Cheryl Timoney is the VP of Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org, helping change-makers realize the promise of technology to scale their missions and impact. Cheryl goes beyond traditional approaches to help drive strategic impact at the intersection of business and society. Prior to Salesforce.org, Cheryl led program teams in the nonprofit sector, building community solutions for economic and community development.
By
Vanessa Poulson
|
16.11.2022
Lorem ipsum sit dolor et sua vous.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has grown in importance in recent years as consumers, employees and investors are increasingly demanding companies take a stand on global issues. Businesses are recognizing the need to not only focus on profits, but also to make a positive impact on society and the environment. 

This is where social impact professionals come in, individuals leading the charge at organizations large and small to transform how their organizations make an impact. 

We’re profiling CSR and social impact leaders to engage their insights into how CSR is transforming and what inspired them to follow this path. 

Cheryl Timoney is the VP, Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org, helping change-makers realize the promise of technology to scale their missions and impact. Cheryl goes beyond traditional approaches to help drive strategic impact at the intersection of business and society. Prior to Salesforce.org, Cheryl led program teams in the nonprofit sector, building community solutions for economic and community development.

Could you tell me a bit about your current and previous roles in social impact? 

At Salesforce, my vision is to create opportunities where a large technology corporation can provide its resources - whether that’s our technology, services, talent, or spaces - to help nonprofits scale their capacity to do their incredible work. I have built teams and several programs that bring these sectors together to convene, collaborate and deliver impact on society's most pressing challenges.

Today, our team engages around 5K volunteers to deliver an average of $10M in pro bono consulting value. These programs are focused on the implementation of Salesforce and the development of solutions on our platform to help organizations that are taking on a variety of social issues like equity in education, climate, food security and more.

I have been with Salesforce for the last 8 years, but I feel privileged that my entire career has been dedicated to social impact. I started right out of college at an affordable housing nonprofit in the San Francisco Bay Area. As we all know, housing and homelessness are incredibly complex issues with a lot of stakeholders, so I partnered with a network of nonprofits, government entities, private sector companies, community activists, and philanthropists. Collaborating with so many organizations got me thinking about how every individual, organization and sector has something to contribute to the betterment of society. The key is defining the right role and the best way to work together to get the most out of our diverse expertise. My career evolved through these partnerships, which led me to work for a variety of nonprofits, foundations and, now, Salesforce.

What inspired you to begin working in social impact?

As a student, I had the opportunity to study abroad twice. Immersing myself in an entirely new environment shaped my understanding of the word “culture.” Even when I went to Australia, I naively assumed that because it was Western and we spoke the same language, we would be very similar. That’s where I learned just how varied and nuanced culture is not just from country to country, but city by city, and community by community.

This experience, and being able to interact with many different groups of people, sparked my curiosity about how our quality of life is impacted by so many variables, such as climate, culture and politics. By the time I graduated college, I was set on finding a career path that would allow me to help improve the quality of life for people in a locally appropriate way. I actually thought that would be in public policy, but I clearly went in a different direction!

Why does increasing the number of people working in social impact matter?

The last three years expanded our awareness of how interconnected and complicated these big social challenges are. For example, food insecurity, climate change and access to education all impact, and are impacted by, each other.

This awareness has led to a new shared understanding about the responsibility each and every one of us has to our communities. There is also a new level of urgency as a lot of these challenges have gone from stats in a documentary, to landing on our front door step.

Taking action can happen at an individual, organizational or governmental level - but to make sustainable change that really moves the needle at the speed we need it to, all of those entities need to work together. We have to take into account different perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise to operate with the cultural competency and empathy that are critical to developing truly sustainable social impact initiatives. The more people we have working in social impact, the more we can capitalize on that opportunity.

What is your favorite project that you have or are currently working on?

Honestly, my job is my favorite project. There is always something new that keeps me excited. My team works across so many different organizations and with so many partners in our community that there is no end to the inspiration I feel when I come to work.

One project, for example, is the Impact Exchange. This brand new platform sits at the intersection of a lot of what we’ve covered here - working together, combining resources and tapping into what we’re passionate about. We’ve been running a pro bono volunteer program for 8 years, and used what we’ve learned to build a platform that facilitates high-impact engagements between nonprofits and Trailblazers (professionals in the Salesforce ecosystem).

What would you tell others interested in pursuing a career in CSR or social impact?

I get asked this question a lot and I love answering it. My advice is to look past today’s job titles and roles when they are considering a career in CSR or social impact. The field is evolving and there are more roles today than ever and this trend will continue.

The best part is you do not need to be limited to your current career path or even industry. If you take the time to reflect on your purpose, and what drives you, you can find ways to apply your skills to your community. By volunteering, for example, you not only support an organization you care about, but you can develop the types of skills that can help lead to new job opportunities.

At Salesforce, where our entire business is a platform for change, our employees tap into their social impact passions, marry that to their skills and get going. We hear amazing stories every day about their volunteer projects, the incredible work of our employee resources groups, or even their own social impact initiatives that they created. The critical piece is to be action oriented. Jump in! That’s how you can build skills and experience that will serve you in new social impact roles in the future. 

Discover a New Way to Create Social Impact

If you’re inspired, learn more about how creating real-work experiences for Fortune 1000 leaders of tomorrow can accelerate your DEI and CSR goals while bolstering employee engagement.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on the latest in CSR, social responsibility, and corporate leadership news and events.

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Interview

CSR Innovators and Change Makers: Cheryl Timoney Vice President of Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org

Cheryl Timoney is the VP of Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org, helping change-makers realize the promise of technology to scale their missions and impact. Cheryl goes beyond traditional approaches to help drive strategic impact at the intersection of business and society. Prior to Salesforce.org, Cheryl led program teams in the nonprofit sector, building community solutions for economic and community development.

Vanessa Poulson
January 23, 2023

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has grown in importance in recent years as consumers, employees and investors are increasingly demanding companies take a stand on global issues. Businesses are recognizing the need to not only focus on profits, but also to make a positive impact on society and the environment. 

This is where social impact professionals come in, individuals leading the charge at organizations large and small to transform how their organizations make an impact. 

We’re profiling CSR and social impact leaders to engage their insights into how CSR is transforming and what inspired them to follow this path. 

Cheryl Timoney is the VP, Tech for Social Impact at Salesforce.org, helping change-makers realize the promise of technology to scale their missions and impact. Cheryl goes beyond traditional approaches to help drive strategic impact at the intersection of business and society. Prior to Salesforce.org, Cheryl led program teams in the nonprofit sector, building community solutions for economic and community development.

Could you tell me a bit about your current and previous roles in social impact? 

At Salesforce, my vision is to create opportunities where a large technology corporation can provide its resources - whether that’s our technology, services, talent, or spaces - to help nonprofits scale their capacity to do their incredible work. I have built teams and several programs that bring these sectors together to convene, collaborate and deliver impact on society's most pressing challenges.

Today, our team engages around 5K volunteers to deliver an average of $10M in pro bono consulting value. These programs are focused on the implementation of Salesforce and the development of solutions on our platform to help organizations that are taking on a variety of social issues like equity in education, climate, food security and more.

I have been with Salesforce for the last 8 years, but I feel privileged that my entire career has been dedicated to social impact. I started right out of college at an affordable housing nonprofit in the San Francisco Bay Area. As we all know, housing and homelessness are incredibly complex issues with a lot of stakeholders, so I partnered with a network of nonprofits, government entities, private sector companies, community activists, and philanthropists. Collaborating with so many organizations got me thinking about how every individual, organization and sector has something to contribute to the betterment of society. The key is defining the right role and the best way to work together to get the most out of our diverse expertise. My career evolved through these partnerships, which led me to work for a variety of nonprofits, foundations and, now, Salesforce.

What inspired you to begin working in social impact?

As a student, I had the opportunity to study abroad twice. Immersing myself in an entirely new environment shaped my understanding of the word “culture.” Even when I went to Australia, I naively assumed that because it was Western and we spoke the same language, we would be very similar. That’s where I learned just how varied and nuanced culture is not just from country to country, but city by city, and community by community.

This experience, and being able to interact with many different groups of people, sparked my curiosity about how our quality of life is impacted by so many variables, such as climate, culture and politics. By the time I graduated college, I was set on finding a career path that would allow me to help improve the quality of life for people in a locally appropriate way. I actually thought that would be in public policy, but I clearly went in a different direction!

Why does increasing the number of people working in social impact matter?

The last three years expanded our awareness of how interconnected and complicated these big social challenges are. For example, food insecurity, climate change and access to education all impact, and are impacted by, each other.

This awareness has led to a new shared understanding about the responsibility each and every one of us has to our communities. There is also a new level of urgency as a lot of these challenges have gone from stats in a documentary, to landing on our front door step.

Taking action can happen at an individual, organizational or governmental level - but to make sustainable change that really moves the needle at the speed we need it to, all of those entities need to work together. We have to take into account different perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise to operate with the cultural competency and empathy that are critical to developing truly sustainable social impact initiatives. The more people we have working in social impact, the more we can capitalize on that opportunity.

What is your favorite project that you have or are currently working on?

Honestly, my job is my favorite project. There is always something new that keeps me excited. My team works across so many different organizations and with so many partners in our community that there is no end to the inspiration I feel when I come to work.

One project, for example, is the Impact Exchange. This brand new platform sits at the intersection of a lot of what we’ve covered here - working together, combining resources and tapping into what we’re passionate about. We’ve been running a pro bono volunteer program for 8 years, and used what we’ve learned to build a platform that facilitates high-impact engagements between nonprofits and Trailblazers (professionals in the Salesforce ecosystem).

What would you tell others interested in pursuing a career in CSR or social impact?

I get asked this question a lot and I love answering it. My advice is to look past today’s job titles and roles when they are considering a career in CSR or social impact. The field is evolving and there are more roles today than ever and this trend will continue.

The best part is you do not need to be limited to your current career path or even industry. If you take the time to reflect on your purpose, and what drives you, you can find ways to apply your skills to your community. By volunteering, for example, you not only support an organization you care about, but you can develop the types of skills that can help lead to new job opportunities.

At Salesforce, where our entire business is a platform for change, our employees tap into their social impact passions, marry that to their skills and get going. We hear amazing stories every day about their volunteer projects, the incredible work of our employee resources groups, or even their own social impact initiatives that they created. The critical piece is to be action oriented. Jump in! That’s how you can build skills and experience that will serve you in new social impact roles in the future. 

Discover a New Way to Create Social Impact

If you’re inspired, learn more about how creating real-work experiences for Fortune 1000 leaders of tomorrow can accelerate your DEI and CSR goals while bolstering employee engagement.

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on the latest in CSR, social responsibility, and corporate leadership news and events.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vanessa Poulson

As lead of The Impact Report, Poulson focuses on developing Paragon One’s industry insight into the expanding world of CSR, ESG, and social impact.

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