BRAVO Leadership Conversation with Salesforce's Gavin Patterson

"There’s no snapping back into a previous existence," said the company's president and chief revenue officer, adding that a digital strategy is imperative for today's companies.


  • Gavin Patterson, President and Chief Revenue Officer, Salesforce
  • Susan Segal, President and CEO, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

"If companies didn’t have a digital strategy before they went into the pandemic, quite frankly they learned they didn’t have a strategy," said Gavin Patterson in a BRAVO Leadership Conversation. As some offices look toward reopening plans, he said he expects about 80 percent of Salesforce's 57,000-strong workforce to spend three days or less in the office. The executive, who began his new role as the pandemic was starting, learned early on the importance of blocking out his time, especially given that he was working with teams all over the world. "I learned that I’m not going to give my best work if I’m working more than 12 hours a day," he said. Now, he said, "I make sure that my working time available is not infinite. To be truly productive, I need to work on my health and relationships in my life and making sure I have a balanced lifestyle." He also spoke to the importance of leaders setting an example of these types of practices because "if you’re not demonstrating it, [employees] don’t believe you."

He also highlighted shortage of workers with digital skills, which he saw as only getting worse. "There is an extraordinary reskilling imperative, a training and development priority that needs to be part of every economy, developed and underdeveloped," he said.

Patterson took the discussion with Susan Segal to announce that Salesforce would be donating $500,000 to assist the pandemic response in three hard-hit Latin American countries where the company has offices—Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico—adding that the funds would go to vulnerable and economically disadvantaged people.