Salesforce founder and CEO Mark Benioff sounded off on diversity and giving back at the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco last week.  You can catch the whole conference online.

Benioff said he has been pushing technology executives to give back . He recently gifted $100 million to help build out the UCSF hospital and research center in San Francisco and sees more technology entrepreneurs doing similar things. He noted we live in a nirvana, but startup executives don’t often appreciate how they can contribute to building a better culture. It’s easy to get lost in the details of growing out a great product or business, while neglecting culture in the process. But changes in culture are likely to outlast the effects of a particular technology or product, he said.

Executives need to think beyond just financial giving. There is a real opportunity to apply their leadership skills in making the world a better place. This can include finding ways to connect their employees, customers, and partners to a cause. Technology executives also have unique management skills that could help shape the success of community building efforts.

Bringing Balance to Tech Shops

Benioff said attempting to bring diversity into the work force is a super hard problem. But it is important for startups to consider this from the beginning. It is much harder to shift gears once a company has been established. When he started Salesforce 16 years ago, he was constantly thinking about how to get more women to take on technical, leadership, and management positions and move them up.

He explained, “When you are starting out as a CEO of a company you have a beginners mind at that point that you don’t want to lose as a CEO. When you have the beginners mind, you have a window of all possibilities. Now you can choose what kind of company you want to create. I think what the industry is saying, just like the question of what you are going to give back is, what are you going to do to support women and have a balanced relationship? If you are a leader and start with that intention, you will have a great outcome.?

Make a conscious effort for women to succeed

One of the strategies that Salesforce has adopted is what Benioff calls the women’s surge. When there is not a balance of women at a management meetings, managers will invite their most high potential female executives into the meeting until they get the target percentage. Salesforce shoots to have 1/3 to 1/2 women in these meetings. “You have to make a conscious effort said Benioff.?

Benioff recommends that families introduce their children, and particularly their daughters to practical hands on coding efforts so they get exposed to coding through efforts like code.org. He also advocates that families should buy their kids a Raspberry Pi so they can learn how to program the Internet of Things. This is important even if they are not likely to become coders, but because it will introduce them to the various components of technology.