Rebecca Gundalech, 16 June, 2021
Ahead of her appearance at the QUT Business Leaders' Forum on Tuesday 31 August we sat down with Pip Marlow, the Australian head of software giant, Salesforce. Pip’s largely tech-focused career includes three years driving customer focus into all aspects of Suncorp’s business, and more than 20 years with Microsoft Australia, including six as Managing Director. Here Pip shares her insights into the leadership qualities that matter most, and how the pandemic has changed this and where she hopes to see Salesforce in the future.
What has been your biggest career achievement to date?
Creating a model that allows me to be a mother of two, wife, and friend, whilst having a career where I can achieve a higher purpose, and not just profit.
What leadership values are most important to you?
- Courage - to take on big goals, to set high standards, and to stand up for values
- Inclusion - to create an environment where everyone can do the best work of their lives, regardless of who they are, who they love, or what they believe in
- Self awareness - to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Being open to feedback and lifelong learning.
Has the pandemic changed your idea of what an effective leader looks like? And if so, how?
Yes and no! I’m not meaning to sit on the fence. Many of the effective leader traits have stayed the same -- what has changed is how these leadership traits need to be demonstrated in order to effectively support our employees and customers. For example, if I could only inspire or coach someone who is physically in the same room as me, then my skills would be void in the digital-first world created by the pandemic. Creating team cohesion now requires a digital first approach.
Additionally, my priorities around the most important leadership traits have shifted. Resilience, for example, has become higher on the list as we worked through wave after wave of crisis, challenge, and ambiguity over the last year.
Where do you hope to see Salesforce (ANZ & ASEAN) in five years’ time?
At Salesforce, we operate with the purpose to enable and inspire every organisation to do well as a business while doing good in the world. In the next five years, my vision for Salesforce in ANZ and ASEAN is to be the employer of choice for people who want to work with an organisation fueled by innovation and values.
This includes being the trusted digital transformation partner for every organisation as they move into a digital-first strategy to connect with their customers and colleagues.
It’s 2030 and there is gender equality across the tech sector, what was the one big change that got us there?
Well first, why are we waiting until 2030? We have already waited hundreds of years. We must shift the mindset around Gender equality from being a “women's issue” to a human rights issue. Everybody should be committed to not just address equal access to opportunities, pay and education, but to also identify the steps and create processes to address the inequity that exists that constrains a fair outcome.