First month at Salesforce: A Legal Intern’s Perspective

-Nichole Hathorn

A month ago I started my internship in the legal department at Salesforce. Many aspects of the program have already made an impactful and lasting impression. So far, the Ohana culture, inspiring leaders, and dedication to giving back have been the most significant.

Ohana Culture

The first thing I have noticed is Salesforce’s commitment to the Ohana culture. From day one, you immediately feel a sense of belonging to a family. This was made particularly apparent when I met the legal team. They all took a genuine interest in getting to know us and were very welcoming and friendly. All of the interns were excited to finally meet and get to know one another. In just one month we have already become great friends and even share inside jokes!

“Take a picture of me with all of these books!”- Priyank

The Ohana culture was also apparent when we met our mentors. At least one works within the commercial legal team and the other works within another legal group of your interest. My mentors were truly interested in learning about my goals for the summer and we created a plan to achieve them. They scheduled recurring meetings and check-ins for the rest of the summer. Within just a week of meeting them, I felt very supported and comfortable going to them with questions or for advice.

Ohana culture was also exemplified when I took on my first project which involved redlining a sales agreement. After I completed the project, I scheduled time with an attorney to get feedback on my work. The feedback was both constructive and encouraging. I felt that the attorney really cared about my learning and progress. It made me want to take on even more projects in order to improve.

Our Ohana culture was apparent once again when we were invited by Amy Weaver, President, legal and Salesforce general counsel, to attend and participate in the Legal Town Hall. At the meeting, she gave us a special shout-out and welcome. Afterward, she took the time to speak with us. It was very meaningful because she clearly wanted to make us feel like we are a part of the team despite her busy schedule. This showed us how the Ohana culture is promoted by Salesforce’s leaders and really illuminated how important Ohana is to Salesforce’s identity.

Learning From Inspiring Leaders

The next significant aspect of the first month was learning from the inspiring leaders of Salesforce. We were able to attend Lunch and Learns which allow interns the opportunity to learn from executives across other departments (and eat free lunch). In the first month, we learned from Sarah Franklin, senior vice president and general manager of Trailhead. I found her Lunch and Learn to be particularly moving. She challenged us not to ask “can I change the world?” but instead “how will I change the world?” Sarah’s motivational words electrified the room and encouraged us to be fearless and to think outside of the box. This really highlighted Salesforce’s relentless desire to be disruptive, innovative, and well-rounded. Her message not only related to the workplace, but also to the service of the greater community. Using Gandhi’s words, she reminded us to never forget to “be the change that you wish to see in the world” while we pursue success in our careers. This Lunch and Learn motivated me to be better in all aspects: a better intern, a better student, a better friend — a better person.

We’re always on the same page . . . (From the right, Elena, Nichole, Kim)

Commitment to Giving-Back

Another significant aspect of the first month was signing up for VTO (volunteer time off). The legal interns along with other members of the legal team signed up for an expungement clinic. Being presented with the opportunity to give back to the community within the very first month of our internship showed me that Salesforce’s deep commitment to giving back is embedded in its DNA. Salesforce’s sense of purpose in the community makes me feel like I am a part of more than just a company.

Looking Forward

The first month of the internship really gave me a glimpse into the heart and soul of the company. The three most significant aspects to me: the Ohana, the inspiring leadership and the deep commitment to giving back, were beyond my expectations and truly left an impression. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” When I look back on my first month at Salesforce, I will never forget what it felt like to be welcomed into the Salesforce Ohana. I am grateful to be here and I am looking forward to the rest of the summer.