Mayor of London Sadiq Khan today opened the Ohana floor of the Salesforce Tower in the City of London, at the same time as the supplier announced $1.25m in funding for education charity Ark and a Pathfinder training programme that it runs with Deloitte.
Ohana is a Hawaiian word that means “extended family”.
Khan also bestowed a “Good Work Standard” award on the customer relationship management (CRM) supplier, recognising it as a company aligned to his mayoral campaign to make London “the best city in the world to live and work in”.
The mayor cited former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown’s words that “the good economy and the good society advance together”. Khan said: “I have always believed it is a myth that the goals of growing the economy and supporting businesses are in conflict with standing up for workers’ rights and equality. London’s business community should be seen as an ally, not an adversary, when meeting big challenges like the climate emergency and forging a fairer society.
“It is also a myth that businesses only care about what is in their bottom line. Yet trust in big business institutions is extremely low and that is why it is so good to see a global technology business like Salesforce recognising its place and responsibility to the wider community.”
Khan followed, as a speaker, Marika Rydel, a 15-year-old pupil at School21, a state school in east London with which Salesforce has worked. “Salesforce is very big on giving back and giving their time to non-profit organisations and schools like mine,” said Rydel.
She related how she had benefited from a 17-month work experience at the technology company and said: “I think success should come from hard work and opportunities, but I don’t think those opportunities should be a privilege.
“I don’t come from a particularly privileged background. I am a first-generation immigrant. My parents worked very hard to come to this country when I was young. They didn’t know much English, but they fought very hard for me to have a good start in life.”
Rydel finished by saying that she believes “every student in England should be provided opportunities”, such as those provided by her school’s involvement with Salesforce, “so they feel like they can be successful” – that they could become a CEO or prime pinister despite coming from a state school, she said.
Khan said he knew the prime minister, Boris Johnson, “very well” and that Rydel could do a “much better job”.
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As part of the opening event, Salesforce announced a $750,000 grant to education charity Ark and a $500,000 grant to Ada, the National College for Digital Skills. It also announced the coming to the UK of its Pathfinder training programme, which provides participants from “diverse backgrounds the technical and business training they need to obtain jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem”.
The Ark grant is for advancing mathematics education through its Mathematics Mastery programme.
Jayne-Anne Gadhia, UK and Ireland chief executive at Salesforce (pictured above with Khan), said in a statement: “Today is a landmark moment for Salesforce in the UK, as we make significant investments to skill and train the workforce for the future, while also opening our first international Ohana floor – an inspiring space for the whole community. We believe businesses have a responsibility to benefit everyone in society, so we must step up to meet that challenge.”
The Ohana floor is available to non-profits and local education groups in the evenings at weekends at no cost.