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"When I became part of Outforce, I felt 100% myself, I finally found myself and I was able to talk about it without any fear"; Ainhoa's Story

Meet Ainhoa Ocon, a Business Programs Associate who works at Salesforce. Ainhoa originally joined Salesforce last June in 2019 as a Futureforce intern supporting the Sales Programs South Growth Markets Team. She is also an active member of Outforce, one of Salesforce’s 12 Equality Groups. Want to know what a Salesforce Equality Group is? And curious about Outforce?

Read Ainhoa’s story of joining Salesforce as an LGBTQ+ graduate:

When I first started in June 2019, I met my intern colleague and friend Sam at the Salesforce Madrid office. He was involved in Outforce and from my very first day, I learned what Outforce was and immediately wanted to join.

At Salesforce, we have 12 Equality Groups or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that promote diversity and inclusion at work. Outforce brings together employees who are allies of equality in sexual orientation and gender identity. We promote an open and inclusive culture that empowers employees to bring their whole, authentic selves to work every day. Along with all our Equality Groups, Outforce also educates our Salesforce ecosystem on how diversity and inclusion create business success.

At first, I did feel a bit nervous and didn’t know how to reach out but I wanted to join the group. For a long time, I wanted to join something similar, but couldn’t find something here in Madrid. I had come out in my personal life to family and friends and they were really supportive, but I still didn't feel comfortable whatsoever.

I eventually reached out and asked to help with Pride month. Sam was super happy and introduced me to members of Outforce Iberia. I was involved from the very beginning of organising Pride 2019, and it was amazing! Hundreds of people turned up from the office for Pride. From there, it was so easy to get involved in Outforce activities and I felt more encouraged about coordinating different events.

One time at an equality event with Salesforce and [email protected], the speaker called on every woman who considers themselves a lesbian to stand up, and I didn’t want to stand up. I was scared maybe. So Sam pulled my arm and stood up with me and this was the first that time that I publicly came out and that gave me loads of confidence! No one was looking at me in a weird way so that was the first real thing I did as an LGBT+ person in Salesforce.

When I became part of Outforce, I felt 100% myself, I finally found myself and I was able to talk about it without any fear. Salesforce helped me to normalise it and to come out to myself, and to be proud! I meet with the Outforce team every week - it’s a real movement, and not just company marketing fodder. We don’t just celebrate Pride month, the LGBTQ+ community is always being supported and highlighted at Salesforce.

For example, we’re organising an equality group event for Futureforce, Salesforce University recruitment team, where Outforce and other ERG speakers will highlight the different Equality Groups to students in Spain, and host fireside chats and breakout rooms to answer questions in a more personal way. And we’ll have a DJ so it’s going to be awesome!

And this is why I’m so passionate about coordinating events like the Futureforce Equality Event; it’s so important to highlight LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace. We are so privileged at Salesforce to be in a safe, diverse and welcoming environment. I’ve never experienced discrimination but I know there’s discrimination and that’s why I’m an active member. And that’s also why I chose to work at Salesforce. It has made me so aware of what a company stands for; their values and culture, and the equality efforts they’re driving in their company and community.

I would advise anybody looking for a new role; check out the company’s stance on Equality. And join the LGBTQ+ group, don’t be scared! It’s a great opportunity to connect with colleagues who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and your allies, and this will make you feel more secure and safe at work to be your authentic self.

Equality is a core value at Salesforce. We believe that businesses can be powerful platforms for social change and that it is our responsibility to further Equality for all. Want to learn more about equality at Salesforce? Read more here:

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