Aug 13, 2019
Music by Robert Reid
Hosted by Barbara Alberts
Akshay Mudgala: It's a million-dollar company and giving back to the society. Having the thought is probably very good in terms of humanity so I was inspired with that. So 1-1-1 model really inspired me. And that is the reason why I stepped ahead to give back to the society along with my peers.
Barbara Alberts: Curious about what it's like to be an intern at Salesforce? Welcome to the Salesforce spotlight, the podcast series that highlights the extraordinary stories of Salesforce employees and Futureforce interns. I'm Barbara Alberts, and on this episode of The Salesforce Spotlight, we're going to India, where success agent Akshay Mudgala and his team have dedicated themselves to give it back to the Hyderabad community through volunteering and donating. Tune in for more and happy listening!
On the podcast with me today is Akshay Mudgala. He is working at our India office and he has a great story about how his new grad class really kind of started to start this culture of giving back in India. So Akshay, thank you for joining me!
Akshay Mudgala: Yes. Hi Barbara, this is Akshay. How are you?
Barbara Alberts: I'm doing well, yeah! So why don't you just start by telling us a little bit about yourself and how you kind of came to find out about Salesforce?
Akshay Mudgala: So, I've completed my Bachelors of Engineering in 2018 and probably joined Salesforce through campus recruitment as fresher. And my role here is success agent, which means I do technical support operations for Salesforce product. So let's say we have a customer who is developing a project on Salesforce platform, so if there is something going wrong technically or something is not working as expected, then customers will get back to us raising a case, and we do take the ownership of it and assist the customer in resolving that issue. So this is the overview of what my role is and what I do at Salesforce.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah, absolutely! Can you tell me a little bit about your Day 1 experience when you first kind of stepped into the Salesforce office and got to know the company and the people that you'd be working with?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes, yes. My Day 1 at Salesforce was very impressive and there are other 50 folks who joined along with me on the same day. And I think this is the first batch in the entire history of Salesforce where the recruitment was done in such a huge number. And probably I was astonished after entering the office by looking at the infrastructure, the cafeteria, the people around there, and the work culture.
On Day 1 it was probably our orientation day and they walked us through what Salesforce is and what our job role is and what are all the core values of Salesforce. And we also have done few activities and we introduced each other to each other. So on Day 1, we were taught about the core values of Salesforce and I was a little bit impressed about the work that Salesforce does, the 1-1-1 model, how vast the Salesforce product is. So 'til my Day 1, I was not aware what Salesforce is and how big this product is. But after joining Salesforce, as days goes on, I've got to know the importance of this, and how big the product is.
Barbara Alberts: So you know, you mentioned that you have been inspired by the 1-1-1 model and Salesforce's culture surrounding giving back to the communities and things like that. Was that something that they introduced to you Day 1 near the second you stepped on Salesforce as a new employee?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes, yes. On probably the Day 1 or Day 2, I'm not sure, they walked us through what Salesforce is and how the workplace looks like, and what are all the cultures that we follow, the trust values, the Ohana, so everything was mentioned on the Day 1.
Barbara Alberts: And so when you heard about that, and you heard about this emphasis to give back, did that inspire you to start participating in that 1-1-1 model?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes, of course! That's a million-dollar company are giving back to the society. Having the thought is probably very good in terms of humanity, so I was inspired with that. So 1-1-1 model really inspired me. And that is the reason why I stepped ahead to give back to the society along with my peers.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah, can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Akshay Mudgala: Yeah, so with our first paychecks, so probably after a month joining the Salesforce, I've decided to do one volunteering activity wherein we will be giving back to the society. So what we thought is with our first paychecks, instead of going somewhere and partying, we thought of collecting 500 bucks. So let's say 500 and then we are around 50 people, so 500 into 50: 2500 bucks. That would be probably useful for any of the orphanages or old age homes. We thought of that and we have collected our first paychecks and everyone from the company, the vice-president, the directors, and all the managers came a step ahead and they helped us in contributing for the first VTO and that very successful. So… and from then, we have decided to do each VTO every quarter. And so far, it's been like almost one year and we have done four to five VTO's, one per quarter. And that's still going on, people are contributing to it, and yeah we are very happy in doing that.
Barbara Alberts: When you say people are giving you like $500 a quarter, or something like that, is that from their own personal paychecks? Or is that from VTO hours that they've accrued?
Akshay Mudgala: No, it's from their pocket… pocket money.
Barbara Alberts: Okay, so people are giving money out of their pockets to donate?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah, that sounds really cool! So when you had this idea to kind of donate your first paycheck, what was the response like from your co-workers and from everybody else in that office when you came to them with that idea?
Akshay Mudgala: Most of us were happy. In fact, the first paycheck, we would be giving to our parents and we will be spending some of the amount on parties. This is probably… very few of… most of us will do. So we thought of initiating this and everyone felt happy but kind of… they are… not only they're taking care of the family and friends, but they are also involving in society, contributing to the society. So they felt happy. They feel like they are doing something to the society with their first paycheck. And yeah, after the volunteering activity, everyone was very satisfied with the 500 bucks that they spend.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah, so you mentioned that this has been going on for about a year now because you do have one VTO per quarter. Has participation continued to be strong within these VTO activities?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes, yes. It's like every quarter, I'd be putting a message in the group saying that let's initiate this quarter VTO. And the response will be amazing, if you believe it or not. I'll be getting a message, I mean, within five to six days, I will be getting amount credited to my account. I'll be taking a note of that and I'll be keeping account, will be telling everyone the amount collected and the groceries or probably the material that we are buying to donate the orphanage. So that'll be kept on a track.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah, absolutely. So can you tell me a little bit about the impact that these donations are having in the community around Salesforce?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes. So the first thing that I really considered about donating is it should be a long-term use. So if you are donating, let's say, 1,000 bucks and if that is lasting for just one day or two days then that'll be again put into end. So what I'll think of is if there 1,000 bucks, how to utilize that so that it'll be helpful in a long-term to some of the orphanage or some of the probably, old age homes.
So what we have done, let's say I'll be giving you an example of what we have done. So with the amount collected in couple of quarters back, probably I think in the third quarter after joining, so we… there was a government school and we have repaired the taps. They are probably lacking water supply and we have repaired the water tanks, water taps [audio cuts out 00:08:08] the connectivity. And now that is still being useful. And that will be at least working without any problem for three to four years, if I'm not wrong. So that is again a long-term.
And we also went to a government school where we have donated almost probably 20,000 worth notebooks, and that will be useful for almost 400 students for a year span. So again that is a long-term. So I'll be looking for a long-term help in terms of what we can do with the amount that we collect.
Barbara Alberts: Do you have a general idea though of how much money your team has donated since you began running this VTO?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes, so I keep a track on it and I have everything documented. If I'm not wrong, it's around one lakh, 20,000 bucks… Indian rupees so far…
Barbara Alberts: Wow.
Akshay Mudgala: For four to five quarters.
Barbara Alberts: Wow.
Akshay Mudgala: And I still have 5,000 bucks which are pending. So that I'll be transferring it to the next quarter amount… next quarter VTO.
Barbara Alberts: So you know, you mentioned that people give you the money from the VTO and then you go and you donate it and you put it into good use into the community. Have people continued to give the same amount of money that they started with at a couple of quarters ago? Or have you seen an increase in how much people are willing to put toward these projects?
Akshay Mudgala: There are different kinds of people, I mean, from the first quarter, they started giving the same amount so far as well. So let's say 500… started with 500, 500, 500, so they're continuing to keep that amount as it is. There are few people who increase the amount drastically, from let's say 500 bucks to 6,000, 5,000 bucks. So it depends… it depends on their money, their financial adjustments for that month.
Barbara Alberts: Oh yeah, absolutely. But you're still getting involvement from people?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes, yes.
Barbara Alberts: One thing I do want to ask too is there are a lot of VTO options for people to explore. What inspired you to make this your VTO and this… how you choose to spend your time and give back to the community?
Akshay Mudgala: Yeah, so if I initiate something… those kind of things then I feel satisfied. Instead of just getting into some other VTO, so I feel like I'm satisfied with what I'm doing if I initiate things because I'll be doing… it is about what I'm doing. So if I feel I'm not doing anything wrong, then it makes… it probably gives me a good sleep in the night, and I feel satisfied for what I do.
Barbara Alberts: And so how do you choose which organizations that you're going to donate to and which organizations you're going to help out for that quarter?
Akshay Mudgala: Yes, normally I do have friends and I used to work with a couple of NGO's when I was in college. So I'll be getting a requirement saying that this orphanage or this old age home, or this government school is in need. So, I'll be putting… I'll be keeping a note of that and in the next quarter, or probably in the same quarter, I'll try to help that particular organization. So through friends or through neighbors, I'll be getting to know which orphanage or probably which organization is in need.
Over searching in social media, I've got to know that there is one particular orphanage which is looking for helping hands, and there are probably 11 to 12 children of… who were around…who are studying in around 6th to 7th class, and they're probably looking for helping hands to pay their school fees. So I've reached the orphanage head and I've talked to him, so he said that they are good with all the groceries or all the clothes, books and everything, but they are lacking to pay their school fees.
So what we have done is I have intimated this in groups at Salesforce and people started contributing. And the first contribution I've got was 10,000 bucks.
Barbara Alberts: Wow!
Akshay Mudgala: So probably, with almost… almost I have collected 30,000-40,000 bucks for that… for two quarters. And I went to the school, along with the children and also the orphanage head, and we have paid the school fees that was useful for… school fees for almost six months, first semester let's say.
Barbara Alberts: Wow!
Akshay Mudgala: So yeah, for twelve children.
Barbara Alberts: And which quarter was that in?
Akshay Mudgala: That was in my second quarter… second quarter and also third quarter I think.
Barbara Alberts: Wow. How does Salesforce's values really help you with this project in terms of people being willing to give money out of pocket? I don't think that there are very many companies out there where people are willingly giving up part of their paycheck to donate. And sp how do you think that Salesforce's values have helped you kind of keep up with these projects?
Akshay Mudgala: So since Salesforce core value is probably giving back to the society, 1-1-1 model, everyone would be involved since that is one of the core principles of Salesforce. So… yeah, no one will oppose of what I'm doing since I'm doing for the betterment of the society. And probably, everyone, if not donating, they probably at least try to help me in pushing in terms of publicizing the VTO or spreading the word. So some or the other way, are helpful from Salesforce.
Barbara Alberts: So you came up with this idea, and I mean you were only an employee for about a month. So what was the response from your manager when you brought this idea up?
Akshay Mudgala: Everyone appreciated literally and I feel very happy for that. So the day that we have done VTO, the vice-president… and we got appreciation the Futureforce and IT Futureforce [indiscernible 00:13:24] appreciation for a work we have done with our first paycheck, and that is the reason why you are now interviewing me.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah! (laughs)
Akshay Mudgala: (laughs)
Barbara Alberts: So I guess my last question for you would be, what kind of advice would you give to a newly hired employee or someone who's just joining Salesforce who's looking to make an impact to the community around them?
Akshay Mudgala: It depends on an individual. If he wanted to do something or contribute something to the society, then he can do… or he or she can do wherever he's at. So it's not only about Salesforce, wherever he search or in any multinational company, if he put some time, placed three to four hours per month, then they can just do whatever they want to do to help the community… to help those who are in need.
We are joining Salesforce and if you observe the infrastructure, the food, or the benefits, or the salary, or the pay package that we have. It's probably very good when compared with few of the people who are staying in huts on the roadside, or people who are begging or people who are looking for some help. It's not a big amount, if we contribute, at least let's say 500 bucks, 1,000 bucks per month from our salary or from our pocket. So, collectively that will become a big amount and will be useful for a lot of people out there who are actually looking for helping hands. So, this is what I've got to know and probably inspired from my dad. So, that is the reason why we are still… probably I'm still very active in doing volunteering activities.
Barbara Alberts: Why was your dad the one who inspired you for this?
Akshay Mudgala: Yeah, because he was from that stage who came from very low background, with little amount of food to eat from the stage when he was at my age. So, he didn't have proper clothes, proper food, proper shelter and from that stage he came to a betterment… better stage now. So, he knows the struggle that he has came across, so that's why he probably kept pushing me in studying well and getting a good job. And that is the reason maybe I'm here sitting now.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah, absolutely!
Akshay Mudgala: In Salesforce.
Barbara Alberts: Yeah! Akshay, thank you so much for sharing your story with me and for talking to me a little bit about… just kind of the amazing work that you and your team are doing in India. So thank you so much for joining us!
Akshay Mudgala: Yeah, thank you so much for your time as well.
Barbara Alberts: Still want to know more about interning at Salesforce? Check out the rest of the Futureforce website or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks for listening.