Marc Benioff, Salesforce Chairman & CEO, to be honored at GLAAD Gala San Francisco

Today, GLAAD announced that it will be honoring Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, at GLAAD Gala San Francisco on September 8, 2016. Recode executive editor Kara Swisher will present Marc with the award.

Benioff has been a vocal supporter of LGBT equality, especially following a series of anti-LGBT, discriminatory laws, starting in Indiana in 2015. As soon as Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the state's so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," Benioff vowed to use the power of Salesforce to urge a repeal of the Indiana law. The company canceled events, made plans to pull investments from outside of the state and Benioff even offered $50,000 relocation packages to employees that felt unsafe or unwelcomed in the state.

In an interview with CNN, Benioff stated, "All I want is to live in a great nation, which I do. And I want, as part of that nation, to have equality for all and that's especially important for our customers and employees." That's key to Benioff's strategy of Chairman and CEO; he believes that the people most essential to the success of Salesforce are not the shareholders, but the stakeholders: customers and employees. Benioff is setting an example for all companies that should be listening to the concerns of their stakeholders and taking a stand. In fact, Benioff is proving that taking a stand to support stakeholders isn't dangerous to his company, but will actually increase revenue.

Benioff's support didn't end after the Indiana law was amended to specifically prohibit discrimination against LGBT people. Salesforce has continued to loudly stand up against anti-LGBT bills and laws as they arise across the country. 

“Marc Benioff is an innovator not just in technology and business, but also in his advocacy to advance acceptance for the LGBT community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO. “He is at the forefront of the corporate movement to stop discriminatory anti-LGBT bills across the country and his commitment to fairness and equality is steadfast.”

Benioff will be receiving the Ric Weiland Award at GLAAD Gala San Francisco, an event to honor innovators in the Bay Area who are advancing acceptance for LGBT people. The Ric Weiland Award specifically honors an innovator in tech and new media and is named after Ric Weiland, a computer software pioneer and philanthropist. Together with his surviving partner Mike Schaefer, Weiland is known for his dedication to LGBT and HIV and AIDS organizations.

GLAAD Gala San Francisco will be taking place at City View at Metreon on September 8, 2016. The event will be hosted by Aisha Tyler. More information about the gala and ticket information can be found here.

To receive the latest updates on GLAAD Gala San Francisco, follow @glaad on Twitter and use the hashtag #glaadgala.