Eight years ago, Marc Andreessen penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal that proclaimed “software is eating the world.”
Today software is hungrier than ever, with digital, mobile and cloud software transforming entire industries. All of us at Vlocity are honored to be at the forefront of software’s growth and impact. But software is also giving back. One of the core values here at Vlocity is: “We Give Back.” Increasingly, I see companies leveraging their talents and code to help others, help society and help the planet.
One such company giving back to others is Optus, a telecommunications and media leader based in Australia, and Vlocity customer. I had the opportunity this week to represent Vlocity in the beautiful Hunter Valley north of Sydney as a corporate sponsor of The Optus Gift 2019. Every year, Optus executives host a two-day event to raise money for worthwhile causes. This year, Optus Gift 2019 was led by Optus VP of Retail and Channels Maurice McCarthy and Optus VP of Operations and Enablement Frances Martin, two incredible executives who care deeply about charity, camaraderie and collaboration.
Optus has been hosting the annual event for over twenty-five years to raise money for Australian charity organizations. This year, over $117,000 was raised via corporate and personal donations from the Optus leadership team and ecosystem partners to support children’s charity The Smith Family, helping disadvantaged and vulnerable youth through education and employment programs, and The Kid’s Helpline, a free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service that has helped over 8 million young people since its founding in 1991.
Beneficiaries from both organizations took to the stage to share their personal experiences of how The Smith Family and The Kid’s Helpline transformed, and saved, their lives. I confess, their stories brought tears to my eyes and many others attending.
Optus vice president Frances Martin summed up the import, and impact, of the program quite nicely towards the end of day two: “Great business is made of great partnerships. The generosity and expression of care from our leaders and our business partners at The Optus Gift has a significant impact on the lives of our youth and those in real need. We are incredibly grateful.”
Optus is exemplary of the positive and growing trend of corporate leaders that care about their communities. There’s much to be emulated in how Optus’ articulates its strategy in its 2019 Sustainability Report, for example:
We want to create sustainable and long-term growth for our business, while leading and shaping positive change for all our stakeholders… We are focused on those issues that are the most material for our business, the areas in which we have the expertise to make a meaningful impact, and in particular, where we see opportunities to use innovative, tech-based solutions to help address major societal challenges.
Optus brings this to life in a multitude of programs, from providing mobile phones, credit and connectivity to disadvantaged youth, to partnering with local community organizations like the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) and La Trobe University to help kids learn how to be safe and responsible in the digital world.
Vlocity looks to the leadership of innovative companies like Optus and Salesforce for our own “tech for good” initiatives. Thank you, Optus, for your commitment and leading by example and setting the bar high for software, and all technology and companies, to give back.